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Thread: Advice sought on sewing machine

  1. #1
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    Advice sought on sewing machine

    I am new to quilting but have just realised that I will have to get another sewing machine. I have a Bernina Nova 900 which is about 30 years old - all metal parts, runs like a dream and is still going strong. Earlier this year I made my first quilt - all hand done though I will have to send it away to get finished off by a professional quilter. Now I'm hooked and can see so much scope for making wall hangings, runners, quilts and so forth.
    I found an amazing book by Michele Hill called "William Morris in Appliqué and I want to do some appliqué by machine using blanket stitch - but - shock horror! - my trusty Bernina doesn't do blanket stitch! Where I live, it seems that the big brands are Pfaff, Bernina, Janome and Brother. I don't know enough to work out the features I need - but if I want to do appliqué and get into quilting in a bigger way (short of buying a long arm quilter - which to me, is for the professionals - which I will never be!!) then I would love to hear any suggestions as to what machine would be good for me. What brand is best - or what model? I know that machines are expensive so I could look for a second hand one from someone who is upgrading....
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    I own 2 machines. One is a Pfaff Creative Vision, which is top of the line with embroidery and all that. You don't need that now. I also have a Janome Gem Platinum 760. It has 60 stitches including the blanket stitch. It also is small and light weight to carry to classes. You should visit all the dealers in your area, and see what they have. See what extras they offer, and if you like the people in the store. You will be dealing with them for a long time. All the brands you mentioned are good machines. When you buy, get one with a few more features than you think are necessary. Otherwise you will be sorry! I suggest needle down as necessary! This is a good time to buy a machine. Christmas specials and good trade ins are available.
    Last edited by Navy Wife; 11-17-2012 at 04:29 PM.

  3. #3
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    you can do applique with a small zig-zag- you do not have to do it with blanket stitch- some people use different decorative stitches---if your machine sews like a dream i see no reason for the need to buy a new machine---unless you simply want something different. i applique ALOT...I have a blanket stitch on my machine but i don't believe in the 7 years i've had it i've ever used that stitch. i blanket stitch by hand if i'm doing machine applique i use a zig-zag- or some other stitch that suits my fancy- or seems right for the project.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

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    Thanks Navy Wife! Thats a very practical suggestion. I have found a fabulous quilting shop with an amazing range of fabrics - and they tend to sell Brother machines. I guess my hesitation in asking people in shops is that they will want to promote their brand which may not be the best machine for what I want so I was hoping to get some advice from forum members so I could be well armed and pointed in the right direction.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckcowl View Post
    you can do applique with a small zig-zag- you do not have to do it with blanket stitch......
    ckcowl: what is the big difference between using blanket stitch and zig zag in applique then?

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    Yep, i use zig zag.

  7. #7
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    If you do look at buying a new machine in order to do machine applique using a blind-hem stitch, blanket stitch, or even a zigzag stitch -- make sure that the machine has adjustable stitch length and stitch width. You really want those features so you can adjust the stitch to your liking. Many of the less expensive new machines (in many of the major brands) have all "built-in" stitches, and no manual adjustments to their length and width, making them much less desirable for machine applique work.

  8. #8
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ennoh View Post
    ckcowl: what is the big difference between using blanket stitch and zig zag in applique then?
    It's the 'look' of the finished applique. Either one will secure the applique to the background. A blanket stitch looks a bit more like a hand stitch. If you match your thread color to the applique, either one will do. I took an applique class recently and that instructor used a small zigzag and monofilament (clear) thread. I would do a small sample with a zigzag and see if you like the look.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  9. #9
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    I have used my brother's just fine for applique, it has several blanket stitches and does satin stitching really nice, got my cheap one SQ-9050 at walmart and it goes to all my classes and I keep it at my inlaws for when I want to sew there on my day off when my baby has something at school
    Brother (XL-3500i, CV3550, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D), Juki MO-2000QVP, Handiquilter Avante

  10. #10
    Super Member jemma's Avatar
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    needle down --adjustable blanket stitch---a good tight satin stitch--
    super helpful is--auto thread cutting----start+stop auto thread tie off
    walking foot [pfaff has I D T built in]
    check the machine will sew a quilt thickness
    michele is a member of my guild[ how lucky am i ] she is a most delightful lady as well as very talented

  11. #11
    Super Member patchsamkim's Avatar
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    20+ years ago I bought my Bernina so I could do applique blanket stitch ( I have a 1230)...I have used the stitch so much, I am always afraid someday it will decide not to do the stitch anymore I use most of the rest of the stitches on the machine also. Most important to me when buying the machine was that I could control the width and length of the stitches, and also the needle down option. I also wanted to have the knee lift which is so wonderful to use when doing applique.
    Whichever type of machine you decide to buy, be sure to TRY out the machine for what you want to use it for...try the blanket stitch on the machine if that is what you will be wanting to use it for. The stitch is different from machine, and you want to be sure it is easy to maneuver around corners, curves.

    Happy sewing machine shopping...I hope you find just what you are wanting!

  12. #12
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    Your blanket stitch may be called a blind hem stitch on an older machine. It is on my Elna. I'll have to check the Montgomery Wards. I recently did a quilt with both blanket stitches and satin stitches. I still prefer the looks and the security of the satin stitch. I keep asking my daughter if the blanket stitched flowers have become fuzzy edged yet.

  13. #13
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    I just had another look at my machine - and I think it does actually have blanket stitch..... to ensure that there is no fraying - surely I should just be using a zigzag on a fine setting.... Is this right?

  14. #14
    Super Member AZ Jane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ennoh View Post
    ckcowl: what is the big difference between using blanket stitch and zig zag in applique then?

    Just a different look.
    Better to do something imperfectly, than nothing perfectly.
    Done is better than perfect.

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    If you have sewn on a Bernina for a long time, you will not be happy with any other machine, and I say that for one reason, the tension. I don't know what your budget is, but I sewed on a 930 for years, and became very spoiled. I made all my children's clothes and never adjusted the tension, not even once. I have a Bernina 440, and love it for applique.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ennoh View Post
    ckcowl: what is the big difference between using blanket stitch and zig zag in applique then?
    It depends on the look you are going for. I've done both and they both hold up just as well. If you only have zig zag then do that. Check your machine though, the blanket stitch has also been called other things in the past. If your machine does well keep on using it and then just adapt it to what you are making. There is no one way to do things. I figure it's my project so I'll do what I want.
    Judy

  17. #17
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    I agree with romanojg about Berninas. You have one of the best sewing machines ever made with the 930. You might be happy with another brand, but I would be amazed if you didn't fall in love with another Bernina. I have a 1031 and a 440, and I love them both. I recently gave the 1031 to my DDIL, so I know it is still in use. It's true, nothing sews like a Bernina. Doesn't mean other brands are not very, very good, but they won't have that Bernina feel you are used to.

    Pam

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