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$600 budget - what machine should I get?

$600 budget - what machine should I get?

Old 06-10-2012, 07:08 PM
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Default $600 budget - what machine should I get?

I'm toying with the idea of getting a new sewing machine. The one I have is the cheapest one I could find about 3-4 years ago, when I wasn't sure that I was going to like quilting. Turns out, I do like it... but I don't particularly like my cheap machine. I don't intend to ever make clothes, and I'll probably never embroider. I just want a good, solid, quality machine that will work great for piecing and for machine quilting. Can I get such a thing for around $600, or is that asking the impossible? And if I can, what machine would you recommend, and what do you love about it?
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:41 PM
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Are you willing to look at used machines? You can find some real steals when you buy a used machine. For example, the Bernina Artista 180 sells for about that amount (without the embroidery module). It's a faaaabulous machine for quilting. It has a knee lift for the presser foot, and about 200 decorative stitches. The stitch width can go up to 9mm, which is nice if you'll be using decorative stitches in your quilting. The average machine has only a 5mm stitch width.

Bernina machines are simply the best out there, IMHO. Make sure the manual comes with the machine, and all the presser feet, etc. The 180 has an extra table that slides on, which gives you a little more bed space for quilting.

The Artista 180 came out about 7-8 years ago if I remember correctly. They were $3000 new (without the embroidery module, $4000 with the embroidery module). I helped a friend buy a used one on Friday, at our local dealer.

Last edited by Christine-; 06-10-2012 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 06-10-2012, 09:03 PM
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Looking for a used machine is a really good idea. But be careful that it really works and you have that type of dealer close to you for any repairs. I'm a Viking person and I just got a 183 as a backup machine for my Designer 1. It is great for piecing and have quilted a lap size on it with no problem. I would check with your local dealer and see what they have in used machines, they sully get some great well cared for used machines as trade in and my dealer makes sure it sewing great.
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Old 06-10-2012, 11:07 PM
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I was also going to suggested that you check out used machines. Often you can find a great deal for a really good quality machine that you aren't going to find in that price range, new.
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Old 06-11-2012, 02:12 AM
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The new models usually come out in August (check with the dealers and they will tell you when) and they will sometimes have some really nice used machines that folks trade-in when they upgrade. The dealers around my area clean, test, etc the machines and most of the time they come with some sort of warranty.

A few years ago I really wanted a particular machine and it was way more than I wanted to spend. The dealer called and said she had a used one so I went and bought it for less than half of what a new one would have been. Someone hadn't had it too long but wanted to upgrade when they saw the new fancier models. They gave me lessons along with a warranty.
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Old 06-11-2012, 02:17 AM
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http://tinyurl.com/7l8ntca is a straight stitch only machine. I ordered one last week and should get it today. I am so so so excited about it. I have 2 other machines (one that does a lot of stitches and one that does straight and zigzag) so this brother will be my quilting machine. I did a lot of research to make sure that this machine isn't just a cheap version of http://tinyurl.com/7tbhdan

I have also looked for a used machine with a nice harp size and haven't had any luck finding something in that budget. One of my machines is about 30 years old and it is 7.5 inches from the needle to the arm, so don't discount an older machine. She was a well-loved Pfaff that we found at an estate sale for $50. My other machine is a newer Janome and she is a great sewing machine, but doesn't like to FMQ at all. But she's the one I always go to to repair my son's pants (weekly event!) or do any kind of non-quilting sewing on. I got her at a pawn shop.

Every once in a while, someone will sell one on this board. And I check Craigslist daily, but haven't seen anything that fits my needs and/or budget except industrial machines, and I don't think I'm experienced enough to handle one!! I also toyed with the idea of saving up for a Bailey or WOW or one of those larger sit-down machines, but really couldn't justify the extra money at this time.

Being the kind of person I am, I have a hard time spending money on something for me, so I decided to just go for it and ordered the Brother. It's not the biggest out there, but for the money, I think it was the best deal for me now. I may still save up and buy something bigger (I want a Sweet 16 so bad!!!) or this might satisfy my itch!!
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Old 06-11-2012, 02:34 AM
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You can buy a used Pfaff for about $400, depending on which machine you get. They are great machines because they have dual feed dogs (one for top fabric, too) built in, which helps the top fabric to move at the same rate as the bottom fabric. This helps you match your points easier because fabrics which start out the same size end up the same size at the end of the seam. It acts like a built in walking foot, one which can be used with many specialty feet, as well as the piecing feet. Watch your local Craigslist and ebay. I would also suggest contacting local quilt guilds. Often times members may have an unused machine to sell. Be aware that some of the really older Pfaffs don't have dual feed dogs---they are usually called IDT, so make sure the machines you consider have them. If there are pictures, it looks like a slender black angled piece directly behind the presser foot, and it fits into a groove underneath the presser feet. Good luck, and have fun shopping!
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Old 06-11-2012, 02:38 AM
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I would look into a Janome at a dealer's shop if you have one near you. I love my 3050. I think it sells for about $425. They've come out with another one that is lighter with a nice extension table, too, that one of my sewing friends raves about. This one is around $500 in my area. I did get a straight stitch plate for my 3050 and it seems to have helped the quality of my stitches. (Just have to remember to switch it before I try to zig zag). I wouldn't discount getting a machine with some fancy stitches. I just recently started to use mine and I've had my machine for about 7 years. My quilt guild members are all Janome lovers, just about, but we have a fabulous dealer that treats us right.
Good luck!
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:00 AM
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Thank you, Christine! I wouldn't object to a quality used machine. I appreciate your recommendation and especially the explanation of what you love about it. I'm a relative newbie, so I don't know what I should be looking for. I want something that's going to make me squeal inside.
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:02 AM
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That's a great idea, Sally, to get a used machine through the dealer. I bet they take in some nice trade-ins. Thanks!
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