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Thread: Newby request for machine recommendations

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    21
    Hi there

    For the past month or so I've been using my mother in law's Bernina. She inherited it from her mother. Its not exactly new, I hesitate to take it upstairs cause its so damn heavy I think we could end up with it in the living room downstairs with a nasty hole in the ceiling. And it has its own peculiarities some of which I've clearly not figured out yet. Neither has my mother in law!

    My lovely husband (more lovely since this suggestion) has said that he will buy me a machine for Christmas/birthday (never before have I been so happy to have them close together) and that I should spend a few months figuring out exactly what I want on the budget he can afford :lol:

    I'm very much a beginner but don't want to find that I want to be upgrading a short while later. Obviously mostly want to quilt but something that I can do a bit of other basic sewing is good. Live in the UK so something obtainable here (online good too cause there seems to be a serious shortage of that kind of shop here - only place selling machines within easyish driving distance is Argos and for obvious reasons i don't think they're my best bet!). Oh yes, the all important budget... is somewhere around 150 sensible?

    Many thanks for any suggestions - will be googling lots over the next few months. xx

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    612
    I am a fan of both Bernina and Husky/Viking. Both companies offer machines that will keep you busy for years. If I were to choose one, I would probably choose the Bernina.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Pilot Mountain, N.C.
    Posts
    277
    Write down all the different techniques, crafts, etc. which interest you. Like making a long range plan if you were in business. Then look at machines that perform these techniques. We all have our favorite brand machine, but that doesn't mean it will be your favorite. Also, dealer is very important. Dealers will let you use a machine in their shop. Test the machine. Don't be rushed when testing. Remember, this is your machine, and it should make you happy. Keep in mind, any optional items you may purchase for the machine. if and when you upgrade, will these options fit new machine or if you change brands what do you do with optional items you purchase. I have purchased one brand for years. One because it fits my needs and two is because of the investment in optional items.

  4. #4
    Super Member QultingaddictUK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    North Wales UK
    Posts
    1,700
    I live in the UK and I know what you mean but........ I used to live in Scotland and went to the 1st Loch Lomond Quilt Exhibition, which was fantabulous but whilst I was there I bought my Elna 7200 but the best thing was that I bought it from one of the best sewing machine suppliers in the UK, David Drummonds in Edinburgh. Don't let that faze you, their service is second to none and David personally runs the business and sells reconditioned machines, a really good option on a limited budget. What I would recommend it to give him a ring and have a chat I am sure he can help. If you have a prob getting his telephone number PM me. DON'T go to Argos for a sewing machine EVER, they only sell cheapo standard machines which are no good for quilting.

    BTW I now live in Wales and I still get David to service my machine as he gives free shipping if you keep the original box!

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    374
    Look at the new Bernina 300 series. Proven work horses and low Maintenance. The first in the series has 39 fancy stitches, many of which you will use for quilting. Computerized, good price on sale. Can add the knee lifter to the first two models at a later date if you want.

  6. #6
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    13,716
    Here's another thread from this morning that may give you some Food for Thought!

    http://www.quiltingboard.com/t-152308-1.htm#4185108

    An additional thought ... choose not only the machine, but the dealer where you know you will/can get the service you may need.

    I heard a horror story the other day ... I met a professional seamstress at the store where I purchased my 6600. This lady who "loves" Bernina had problems with her machine. Sent it to her local dealer, and after 3 yrs he had not fixed it, claiming it needed a new motor and he could not get one. She got on the internet, and found a motor via the store I deal with. They shipped it to her. And the original guy, couldn't fix it.

    She put all in her car, and came to visit her cousin in the same town where she'd ordered the motor (24 hour drive!). Guess what, the problem was NOT the motor, and they had her machine fixed in 20 minutes!!!

    Guess what? she now deals exclusively with this store. While inconvenient, they can ship her what she needs overnight and most times she can do it herself, with the shop's service mechanic for advice if needed. When she does come this way, she brings machines for servicing and they rush them thru while she's in the area.

    Service. Service. Service!

  7. #7
    Junior Member sewhat540's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Cheektowaga, NY
    Posts
    258
    I just got the Bernina Artistia 635 on Saturday. Now, I do have another Bernina 1630 and had a Bernina 931 but it was 21 years old and when checking it out, they said there were problems with it. After all that time, it is time for something new. I could have picked something else but hubby liked this on that I just got. So, the 1630 is still working fine but that is what I take out to sew. This 635 will remain in the house as it does embroidery also. I am sure that there are many companies out that their machines do well. The main point here is that go for the gusto if you can. I had the so called starter years ago and got nothing but frustrated. So, pick something good that you know will take you 20 good years of sewing. Have a great day.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Western Australia
    Posts
    503
    I have Bernina's and never have troubles with them .

  9. #9
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    1,258
    I would keep the Bernina, the best machine available in my opinion, but the new ones are $$$.
    Take the machine and have it cleaned, tell them what you are having problems with.
    Yes, Berninas are heavy machines, thats quality, better than a plastic machine. :thumbup:

  10. #10
    Super Member JNCT14's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    CT New Haven County
    Posts
    1,048
    I have a Bernina 1230 that I love but it is not very good for quilting. If you can find them in the UK, I would strongly recommend a 'mid arm' machine. These are great for the quilter that doesn't do commercial quilting (and thus requires a long arm). The bed is about 9" as opposed to 7", it has nifty features like a button that cuts the thread even in the middle of the fabric, it doesn't have a thread tail that often turns into a big knot when you start sewing and it does GREAT Free motion. Usually they are also very fast so sewing strips goes quick. Expensive ones have the decorative stitiching but if your Berinia is in decent shape or if you can figure out the quirks, then get a mid arm that does only straight stitching - they may be cheaper and quilts don't really require buttonholes or zigzag! I find I only use my Bernina now for specialty sewing. I have a Baby Lok Quilter's Pro but there are others out there that are equally good. I think Patrice did an article about mid arms on the forum.

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