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Thread: Sewing Machine Question...

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    I am thinking about investing in a new sewing machine. Right now I'm working on my first quilt which is an English Paper Pieced Grandmother's Garden Hexagon hand stitched quilt. I've been working on it for 2 years, only taking a break now and then to do other things, not quilting. I currently have a Kenmore, basic model, I was 21 or 22 when I bought it. I'm now 54. It's never been serviced and it runs like a dream but it only has basic stitches and my ex took all of the attachments and owners manual when we divorced, lol. I can't find an owners manual anywhere or the attachments online or anywhere else. I even tried some older repair shops and they didn't have them either. My machine doesn't have a blanket stitch, only a few decorative stitches that some I can't figure out how to use. I've done alot of cross stitch and crochet before but I've haven't quilted anything on my machine, yet. I'm wondering if there is a particular machine that you all use and one that works well for you. I had my eye on a Singer but now I'm reading bad reviews and that alarms me. I've noticed that over the past week alot of the fabric stores, Walmart, Sears and JCPenney all have that machine on sale for almost 40% off which is telling me that they are trying to get rid of them. I happened to be in a well known fabric and craft store one evening and a lady was trying to return a machine and the sales lady gave her a world of grief over returning a sewing machine. After the lady with the machine purchase finally got mad and had to get ugly they agreed to take back the sewing machine. Then when the lady who had just returned the machine left the store another sales person ask her what she was going to do with the machine that was just returned, she stated, "repair and resell. WOW!, I thought. Now, I'm back to square one. I tried asking the fabric store that I frequent mostly but they are pushing a certain brand this month and the sales lady tried to talk me into buying one right there on the spot but when I went home and looked it up, that machine had alot of bad reviews AND the return policy on a sewing machine once you've taken it out of the box and set up to try, it's like pulling teeth to return it if something isn't working the way it should. So that's my dilimma. Can anyone give me a few pointers on what to look for and the best places to buy a machine or even what make and model to buy? I know sewing machines just like anything else in todays economy have a wide range of prices. I am willing to pay a descent price but not cut off an arm and a leg. I'm on a budget but I am willing to take a part time job in order to pay for a descent machine. I know that sounds a little weird but Hey! now days, you get what you pay for, sometimes, and I want to invest in a machine that will last for a while. My current machine has a metal outer body and I haven't seen too many now days that's all metal. The knobs are metal, everything on it is metal, very sturdy and rugged. This poor machine has been half way around the world and back. My ex was in the Air Force and the machine went everywhere I did. LOL....I'd greatly appreciate any help you can offer. Thanks so much!..........Babs

  2. #2
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    Wow, it's amazing how long a post can get once I get started, lol. Sorry all for the long post. I forgot to ask, what features should I look for on a new machine? Thanks again! ..............Babs

  3. #3
    Super Member tomilu's Avatar
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    Are you looking for a new machine or would you like one of the trusted oldies? The oldies with all metal parts like the early Singers or others would serve you well and be much less expensive. There are folks on this board who could help fix you up with one of those.
    Tommie

  4. #4
    Power Poster
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    What is your price range? I love my Bernina 440 QE but I know that is beyond what some people can pay. Mine cost about $3000.00 with the Bernina Stitch Regulator (Free Motion Quilting.)

  5. #5
    Super Member
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    Well, check reviews and post questions in the sewing machine section of PatterReview.com. Any model you consider, you can look up non-commercial (unpaid reviews) there and comments here. Good luck!

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    I cannot tell you what machine to buy, but I suggest thinking about what features you want/need. I can tell about my sewing machine journey. The first SM I got was a Singer 401 which my husband bought for me from a co-worker. It was 35 years old when I got it. Wonderful machine, I love it-a workhorse. It is in a cabinet, heavy, not very mobil. Years later, when we bought a house, a flyer came in the mail about new machines being sold at a hotel near us- advertised as a school home-ec overstock sale. The brand is Taylor. We went, looked, loved and bought. My machine repair man said the Taylor is a Singer produced in Poland. Terrific machine and I would not have gotten another except I stared quilting and learned about "dropping your feed dogs". So about 10 years later for my 50th birthday my husband bought me the machine of my choice. This turned out to be the Viking Quilt Designer- love this machine. It does everything I need and more. My last purchase was a Singer Featherweight
    because I wanted something small and lightweight to take back and forth to classes and guild workshops. So there you have my journey. Again, think about your needs, what the machine can do for you. Ten years from now you my need/want another.

  7. #7
    Banned
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    Just my opinion --- I'd go to a dealer to try of the machines they sell if I were in the market for a new machine. Their business is built on the reputation they have developed in fair sales practices and the service they provide for their machines. Department/discount stores do not. Also, the dealer usually offers free lessons and has a trained staff that can point out the pros and cons of the machine and help you find the right machine for the sewing YOU do. Granted, buying from a dealer is more expensive, but my feeling is that over the long haul, the service you receive will be more than worth it.
    As far as the oldies but goodies, I have a couple and I love them. They are reliable work partners. But, the new machines have features that the oldies don't.

  8. #8
    Senior Member quiltingaz's Avatar
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    Go to a local shop and check them out. If you get a new one, make sure you can get service and repair locally. If you get a new one, I would probably go with a little more expensive machine, not Singer or Brother. They are light weight and will not hold up as well as the quality ones, Bernina, Pfaff, Babylock or Janome would be my choice. I have Bernina and Pfaff, really love both, but have moved to a location where I must take them 3 hours away to get serviced and it is very inconvenient because it usually takes 2 trips because I must leave them. Just my opinion.

  9. #9
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Go to as many shops as you need to to try each major manufacturer. Keep a notebook with you. Keep notes on ease of use, features you like and features you cant do without. Try all the stitches and all the features. Ask about training and servicing. Dont discount used machines either. Good luck!!

  10. #10
    Super Member Amythyst02's Avatar
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    Patti, I had a similar question recently, and I was amazed at how helpful everyone was. But, the best advice I got was to go and test out the ones I was interested in, and to take along the types of fabric I would be using.

    I have a Kenmore as well, but a fairly new model, and although it sews beautifully for clothing, it was struggling on thick materials. Thus my reason for looking for a new one, as I want to make quilts and it just will not be able to handle it. It struggled on fleece when I was making a robe for my hubby.

    If you are going to spend a great deal of $$ I would strongly suggest you purchase from a local dealer. Althought there are some excellent dealers online, you will probably need to have some type of lessons, or at least someone to call and talk with about questions you have.

    Best of luck in your search and keep us updated, and let us know what you decide. Also, right now there are some excellent buys going on here at least, they are having Christmas in July. So some very good sales.

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