Welcome to the Quilting Board!
I agree with BellaBoo. Start by making a list of your 'needs'; 'wants'; 'dreams'. Then let your fingers do alot of walking on your keyboard. I use a spreadsheet for this type of effort. A list of features down the side and then the various machines across the top. Color code your categories if that helps. Then just put checks, x's or whatever in each spot that the machines you select in the appropriate boxes. Put the price on the bottom. Then see which machines fit your needs and your budget. And certainly consider the dealer(s) you have local to you. Test drive the machines that best fit your needs and see how you get along with the dealer and all of their staff. Talk to the person who actually does the service and repairs on the machines. Talk to a couple different repair folks if you can. See if you can determine if they are 'brand loyal' to the dealer they are working for or if they give you an honest opinion regardless of brand. And don't be afraid to consider a used machine. I know there are a few older high end machines on CL in my general vicinity for some really good prices. As long as I could make arrangements with the seller to have it ok'd by the service person of my choice, I wouldn't hesitate. It really shouldn't be any different than buying a used car from that perspective. All that said, I bought a new Viking Platinum when I was in the market a number of years ago now. I do all the same type sewing that you mentioned and have never had an issue with it. More $$ then than your current budget but wouldn't hesitate to recommend the brand.
I have three machines and I purchased them all from www.allbrands.com. They have super FREE and fast delivery. They sell a nice variety of brand names in sewing and embroidery machines. Check them out!!
When it seems like the world is falling to pieces remember that the pieces are falling into place. We are nearing closer to the End Times.
The next machine I buy will have a LARGE throat. I will try it out before buying. It will also have duel feed. It will run smooth, no clicking or clanging. LOL
The pfaff I had for 30 years was a workhorse. I'm so sorry I sold it, thinking it was time to upgrade. What a mistake.
My other machine, a Kenmore, I paid 350 for way back when, was also a workhorse, but couldn't compare to the Pfaff.
My Esante ESe2 is an embroidery machine, which is ok, but not the best. It is noisy. The Viking sound smoother. I don't have the money to buy another machine right now, but I know I will be sitting down and testing each machine and test it from shear materials to thick layers.
Always ask the sales person, when is the next model coming out? What will the new model have that the old one doesn't have. I think the machines are over priced anyway. Just take a day off and go out testing.
I have a viking . LOVE it. Cost about $700.00
Hello, and welcome to this awesome board! I actually bought my last 2 machines on-line, and they have been terrific! I have a Brother PC-420 that I use for regular sewing, and it has lots of stitches. Purchased from Amazon, and actually the 1st one I received dropping the feed dogs seemed "off" to me. I contacted Amazon about it and they overnighted me a new machine and paid for me to send the 1st one back, now that amazed me! I have nothing but great things to say about the machine and the customer service I received! I also purchased a Brother PQ-1500 from Allbrands.com, and have nothing but good things to say about the machine and the customer service from there, too. The 1500 is considered an "industrial" machine, it has a 9" throat plate, is a straight stitch machine only..I bought it mainly for my fmq; as my PC-420 does do fmq, and actually does a nice job of it, but I worried that I would burn it up or something if I used it too much for that (which is probably a needless worry...lol) So I purchased the more heavy duty 1500...Besides anyway, can't hurt to have 2 machines, eh??... I recently purchased a Grace machine quilting frame, but haven't tried my PQ-1500 on it yet. The PQ-1500 also has Pin-feed system which makes is awesome when I am piecing my quilts, especially chain piecing. Both machines have the knee lever and auto thread cut, which is something I really wanted. I know it really is just a matter of preference, and I also know that some say buy local to get the best customer service...After I weighed pros and cons I just couldn't see paying up to $500.00 more for the same machine to buy it locally...for that I could really almost buy another machine! .. Here are links to the 2 machines I have, in case you want to check them out more in depth, and feel free to pm me if you have any other questions..
Lastly I will say prior to buying these machines I had only had Singers...but the last Singer I purchased just didn't work nearly as well as the "old" ones I had used...Just my opinion, which we know what is said about that...lol...
PS I do have an antique Singer 66 in its original cabinet that I inherited from my grandma, it was her mother's...my dear hubby is in the midst of "restoring" it for me..
Last edited by kiffie2413; 08-28-2012 at 02:56 PM.
Janome Horizon 7700, Juki HZL-400, Brother PQ-1500, Brother PC-420, Singer 66 treadle in original cabinet (inherited from my great grandma, she also had an electric motor added to the 66), Singer Featherweight 221, Singer Featherweight 221-K, Singer 301 in original blonde cabinet, Minnesota Rotary in original cabinet, Brother XL-2600i
In the garden of life everyone has a row to hoe, some people just have more weeds...
Always do right, it will gratify some and astonish the rest...Mark Twain
Take your own fabric samples, and samples of what you do or would like to do. Go to a dealer and give the machine a good workout. Check out all the feet and extras. If that dealer won't let you do hands on with supervision, I'd find another dealer. You are the one that has to "feel" the machine to know if you can live with it. Most machines are very good. That said, they all have quirks and will even have a quirk between two machines of the same type. You are the one who will be using it, so make sure it is one you will be comfortable with.
Thank you for the advice, I will be going over to the States to purchase my new machine.
Thanks so much for the warm welcome. I am heading out in a few to a couple of other stores to try out some machines. Hopefully they will listen to my needs and not try to push me towards machines that are too expensive. I love the idea of making a spreadsheet and taking that with me as well as my own fabric. I appreciate the great advice from everyone!! You have made my search much easier. Thanks so much!!