Vintage vs New...
My wonderful hubby said I can buy a new machine for quilting:) I am very new to quilting (I made my first at Christmas last year.) My question is, should I get a newer or vintage one? I honestly have no clue what to look for in the way of quality, etc. any suggestions? I love the way the old ones look, but are they really good about going through thick layers? I have a Janome Class Mate (model sold to schools) that I got used after only 2 years at a school, so it's still pretty new, but has a hard time going through denim :( I appreciate your comments!!
the older Singers go thru anything. a 201 or 301 are workhorses. The best part is you can clean them yourself so no sewing machine repairman.
It depends on how much you want to spend. Any of the major brands are good. I love my Bernina 440 but it was about $3000. It works really well on most quilting projects. The only trouble I've had is sewing through a welt on blue jeans. The dense fabric pulled the needle out of the needle holder. When I sew things like that I switch to my Singer treadle. It only does a forward straight stitch but can handle some really funky fabrics.
If you have the money I'd buy a modern machine (if it is for most quilting jobs)from a good local dealer with a good warranty. Most offer classes and maintainance. There good older machines but I wouldn't have the experience to know what is a good deal on them. I would also worry about something going wrong with it after I buy it. If you can get an older machine from a reprutable sewing machine store that will warranty it or offer repairs/returns you could see if you like one. Good Luck.
Some will say that I am weird but I much prefer the vintage machines to the newer.......If you are going to do piecing mainly, the featherweight or 301 cant be beat.....but I do love my 201 and the feeddogs can be dropped...if you want to try machine quilting....plus there isn't much the 201 can't sew through with the right needle.....I "loaned" my Bernina to my sister (because I wasn't using it) and she prefers it to her featherweight for piecing. It would be great if you could do a trail...to see what you prefer.
I am admittedly prejudiced against the new machines.
I have a number of reasons to include:
plastic internal control parts,
plastic internal cam stacks,
plastic external body shells,
stamped metal internal parts,
lightweight aluminum or pot metal skeleton,
no maintenance type design (read that programed obsolescence),
not enough room under the arch,
little hand room around the needle bar ( some new machines have so little room I cannot change the needles - my hands will not fit under there),
visibility interference by the bulbous plastic body,
insufficient weight to keep the machine steady.
Were I to start quilting (and I have) I would look for an older Singer such as the 201 or 15 or 66 ( with back tack ) or 401 or those mentioned above. So far I've built three quilted sewing machine covers and have used two model 66 treadles and my 201. You don't need a new machine for quilting. As my wife just added, "you can buy an older machine with all it's attachments and accessories for a fraction of what a new machine will cost, and they'll last 10 times longer".
Do not waste hundreds or thousands of dollars on a new plastic wannabee machine when you can get a better older metal one.
Just my humble opinion.
No personal experience here (other than playing with the machines) but the one thing SWMBO says she'd miss with the old machines -vs- her Juki 2010 is programmed needle down stopping.
You don't say what kind of budget you have for your new machine, but with a limited budget, I'd go vintage...and I'd go for a model 15 or a 15 clone. You have a large throat/harp space, and the vertical bobbin that lends itself to FMQ, along with feed dogs that will drop. All metal, so you don't have to worry about replacing plastic gears after a year or so of constant sewing, and they just look cool!! ;)
The 201 is a wonderful machine as well, and the dogs drop, but it has the horizontal bobbin that some folks have more trouble with when it comes to FMQ...
Joe, one thing you did not mention is the computer boards in the modern machines. They do fail. The one thing I do like about modern machines is that some have the needle up/needle down function and self threaders. However, my Elna 7200 self threader is non functioning even after a $160.00 maintenance visit. Aaaarg! That is the one thing that sold me on buying an modern machine.
LOL, I thought about the computer / electronic thing after I'd already posted my comment. As for the needle up / down I don't care for them, and needle threaders .... well, that's me. I've been threading other peoples sewing machine needles for decades cos my eyes were better than theirs.
Charlee mentioned the 15 clones. Look at my avatar, you can get a magnifying glass if you want :) , it's a HOTHER, a 15 clone my mom bought maybe 50 years ago. She used it and used it and used it and used it then gave it to my wife when she up graded ( or so she thought ) to a ZZ machine in a cabinet. We've serviced it and are still using it. If I had any kids they'd be using it when I croak. They are THAT good.