I was looking for a sewing or cooking show on PBS to get me through cleaning out the refrigerator on a Sunday morning and stumbled across HSN while flipping channels. Ordinarily I don't look for opportunities to spend money, much less watch HSN, but HSN was promoting Singer sewing machine sales in connection with Singer's 150th anniversary and in anticipation of National Craft Month (in March) so I left it on while I tossed leftovers.
Their sewing show put me in mind of the aspiration I have nourished for years to make a Baltimore Beauty as soon as I retire. I can't retire yet, but my thoughts turn increasingly to a master-level quilt undertaking. I have 2 machines--a ca 1964 Singer Touch and Sew I have had since jr. high and a $150 electronic Brother from Costco. I will never part with the T&S, but acknowledge it does have some limitations.
If money were no object, never mind that it always is, what general quilting sewing machine with specialized embroidery and applique features (embroidery, applique, welting, cording, invisible stitching, etc.) do you suggest I get if I want the full benefits that a high-quality precision machine offers? I am not looking for something so complicated that a "Go-to" machine is also needed when the "good" machine is viewed as too much trouble for a small project or "regular" sewing. I am hoping I don't need 2 new machines, but I am serious about the goals and totally open to your advice and recommendations.
Fran in Northern California
I am a Pfaff lover and couldn't think of anything better than a Pfaff. I just bought a Pfaff 2140- it is 7 yrs old and has some features that I love for applique. Applique is what I do the most.
I bought it on December and will be upgrading it soon just because this one doesn't have the USB port to download embroidery designs.
It does have neat features, the one that made the whole difference to me when doing satin stitch for applique is the needle down that raises the foot so you can tilt the fabric without touching anything else. But has more features, tappering with different angles, different foot for cording etc. And more than 300 decorative/embroidery stitches as wide as 9 mm. I cannot wait to experience a newer model, Creative Vision - top of the line right now if I had the money.
For now I will settle for a Creative 2.0- due to my budget.
Good luck in your search. Use the search feature here in the board and you will see many different advices given for this very same question.
I am a Pfaffie also but I do suggest you go to various QS's and try out their machines. We all have our particular loves here and it will be you doing the sewing/quilting and need to find the one that you fall in love with! Take your time, take practice sandwiches, and fabrics with you and test them all. Look for customer service, before, during and after you purchase your machine. There are sewing/embroidery machines that are fabulous and then you can have two separate machines also. It just really depends on what you usage and wants are. You can go to the Pfaff, Bernina, Viking, etc., websites to see what they are offering and then you can get out and test drive what peaks your interest.
I ordered a Singer L-500 from HSN a while ago and some of the QB members have and love that machine. Mine was a real disappointment when I finally got it - and I so wanted to love that machine. The price and the features were gggggreat. Nope, it drove like a tank, skipped stitches and it was clear that we were not going to be a happy couple.
My other machines have always been Pfaff. BUT Pfaff is now owned by VSP Holding Company (Viking, Singer, Pfaff) and their quality and customer service has gone to the toilet. I had gotten a new Pfaff but she wasn't what the old ones were. (A non-Pfaff user may not notice the difference, but i could.)
As a result, I test drove Janomes, Brothers, and finally landed happily on a Babylock.
The nice thing about HSN is that they have a wonderful return policy, so if you want to try the machine you are not out any money if she doesn't meet your expectations.
I am a Viking lover although I have a fairly cheap Brother here that I am beginning to fall in love with Although I would give just about anything for a machine that had a font on it so I didnt have to drag out my embroidery machine everytime I wanted to write something on my quilts
If you have an early Touch & Sew, you probably have everything you need for applique right there in that machine except for maybe the cam that makes the blind hem stitch and an applique foot. The earlier T&S's were great machines. :)
My little Brother CS6000 is probably like yours - it has all kinds of decorative stitches and stitches that would be useful for machine applique and I think it came with the applique foot, too.
The Brother *may* handle the invisible nylon thread a little better than the T&S, but maybe not. My T&S's do just fine with any kind of thread I give them, but every machine is a little bit different.
You can find cording, piping, couching & overedge feet for either of your machines.
I just did my first Baltimore Album style block - and I mean "just" - I washed it and pressed it only a couple of hours ago. :) I'm amazed that I really did it - I never dreamed that I could do something this precise, but aside from the rather tedious preparation, it was actually easy.
Mine will be all hand work, but the samples they had up in the store used a variety of methods - starched & turn under, fused and turned under, fused and raw-edge, fused and zig-zagged - and they were all beautiful! :)
Good luck and have a good time with it.
I am a big fan of Husqvarna Viking machines. I started with the #1+ sewing/embroidery machine and then upgraded to the Designer SE.
Husqvarna Viking machines deliver a beautiful stitch, have tons of built in decorative stitches, help screens, auto tension, make beautiful button holes, needle up and down feature, thread cutter, needle threader, adjustable lighting, and so much more.
The embroidery is flawless. If you can, visit a dealer and spend some time trying out their different models. Also you might ask about gently used machines. So often, people will upgrade and their trade-in is virtually new. The dealer will service it and offer a warranty. If your timing is good you can save thousands of dollars on a top of the line machine. They also will offer you classes.
I've used inexpensive machines in the past because that was all I could afford. If you can afford a better machine, go for it. You will see a difference in the stitch quality and performance, to say nothing about the added features.
Good luck :thumbup:
Have had many machines and my favorite has always been Janome until I got my Babylock Ellisimo. What a dream! It is the most user friendly machine I have ever seen. I have friends who have the Bernina 830 (new one), Viking Diamond and Janome 11000, all of which I have used (I am the go to sewing machine guru around here) and none of them compare in my opinion. This is my first Babylock and I am so happy that every time I sew on it, I tell it how much I love it!
Of course, everyone has different tastes so before you jump on the bandwagon, I agree you should try to spend some time on all the machines you are contemplating. I made up some kits with different types of fabric and took them to the dealers and played around with as many as I could. I then made notes of the pros and cons of each. I spent about six months before I chose the Ellisimo. These machines cost a great deal of money and if you are like me and have to watch your pennies, it is worth the wait to ensure a good investment.
Sorry for rambling. Wish you the best of luck in your search and keep us posted!
I'm a viking fan. I would go to various dealers in your area and try the different machines. I would also suggest that you ask the dealers if they have any trade-ins. They may be a bit higher priced than a used machine on Craig's list or eBay, but they usually offer a warranty.
If I were in your position I would go with a Bernina. They are fabulous machines!! :D