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Thread: Bernina or other brand sewing machine thoughts..

  1. #1
    Super Member aneternalpoet's Avatar
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    Bernina or other brand sewing machine thoughts..

    can anyone tell me what brand of machine you use ( for beginner to semi newish quilter ), and why? I am thinking of getting one for a holiday gift for my daughter, mainly a simple bernina if we can find one here in our small town .. I dont know much about them, other than everyone I have talked to here at the quilt store says they like that brand.. Anyone have any thoughts on one for just regular quilting - nothing like sergers, ect..

  2. #2
    Super Member Mad Mimm's Avatar
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    About five years ago, I was the recipient of just such a gift. My MIL who is an avid quilter, and my husband conspired to buy me a basic sewing machine to get me started quilting. They selected a Viking Emerald 118. There is a 116 that had slightly less features, but my MIL picked the 118 for me because it had the needle down function and she knew I intended to machine quilt with it. So it wasn't quite a basic model, but just above the basic. It has been a great workhorse of a machine, has been easy for me to use, and has been very little trouble. Of the few troubles I had, most were user error and a quick consult of the manual fixed them. I have had no mechanical trouble with it, and have only done basic maintenance (i.e. had her in for a clean and tune up).

    I have to be honest, I have not ever sewed on a Bernina or Janome, which seem to be two of the most popular brands, so I have no comparison to offer. I just know I have a great machine that cost under $400 and has been a perfect machine for me to get my feet dirty with. I have often looked at other, fancier machines, but don't see the need to upgrade any time in the near future. My little Viking does everything I need it to.

    Good luck with your research and what a lucky daughter!!!
    Sheila N.

    When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, he tried over 2000 experiments before he got it to work. A young reporter asked him how it felt to fail so many times. He said, "I never failed once. I invented the light bulb. It just happened to be a 2000 step process."

  3. #3
    Super Member sewmuchmore's Avatar
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    If you can find a singer 301 I think you will be happy with it. Now it is not fancy but it has a nice stitch to it. You should be able to find one for 50.00 to 75.00. I have a Bernina and love it. I also have a 301 and use it as much as the Bernina. I think it is what you can afford. If you want a Bernina Ask here on the board, to see if anyone has one to sell. Or try ebay. Good luck !!!

  4. #4
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    I have never met a sewing teacher that didn't swear by the Berninas. That being said these are usually the most expensive machines and all the accessories are much more expensive. Your gift should reflect her perticular needs. Is she just doing lap size or children's quilts or does she want to make larger items? In that instance she will want a machine with a larer harp. I'd have an extensive talk with her about her needs. I wouldn't surprise her unless the dealer will take it back and exchange it for the one she really wants and neds.

  5. #5
    Super Member aneternalpoet's Avatar
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    She will be doing just regular piecing, and such.. I will look into the brand you have, and see what our store might carry.. Walmart here carries Brothers, but from what I have heard, the basic ones are pieces of junk according to many who have bought them ..
    Quote Originally Posted by Mad Mimm View Post
    About five years ago, I was the recipient of just such a gift. My MIL who is an avid quilter, and my husband conspired to buy me a basic sewing machine to get me started quilting. They selected a Viking Emerald 118. There is a 116 that had slightly less features, but my MIL picked the 118 for me because it had the needle down function and she knew I intended to machine quilt with it. So it wasn't quite a basic model, but just above the basic. It has been a great workhorse of a machine, has been easy for me to use, and has been very little trouble. Of the few troubles I had, most were user error and a quick consult of the manual fixed them. I have had no mechanical trouble with it, and have only done basic maintenance (i.e. had her in for a clean and tune up).

    I have to be honest, I have not ever sewed on a Bernina or Janome, which seem to be two of the most popular brands, so I have no comparison to offer. I just know I have a great machine that cost under $400 and has been a perfect machine for me to get my feet dirty with. I have often looked at other, fancier machines, but don't see the need to upgrade any time in the near future. My little Viking does everything I need it to.

    Good luck with your research and what a lucky daughter!!!

  6. #6
    Super Member aneternalpoet's Avatar
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    I will see if the store here sells that brand as well. We are pretty limited here in our valley as we have one quilt store that is pretty much going down the tubes because of bad business practices, and lack of customers anymore.. We live 2 to 3 hours away from any other large town ( Boise, Idaho one direction, or Washington state, the other direction ).. I think buying on ebay would cost the moon in shipping costs wouldnt it? Will keep checking out ideas that I am getting here.. You all are such a God given blessing for those of us who dont know alot about this type of stuff.. thank you!
    Quote Originally Posted by sewmuchmore View Post
    If you can find a singer 301 I think you will be happy with it. Now it is not fancy but it has a nice stitch to it. You should be able to find one for 50.00 to 75.00. I have a Bernina and love it. I also have a 301 and use it as much as the Bernina. I think it is what you can afford. If you want a Bernina Ask here on the board, to see if anyone has one to sell. Or try ebay. Good luck !!!

  7. #7
    Senior Member IAmCatOwned's Avatar
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    I bought a Brother Pacesetter 1000. It was great for piecing, but horrible for quilting. I've known several other people who have said the same about lower cost machines - they piece ok, but quilting messes up the tension.

    When I was searching for a replacement machine (I was tired of putting money into having tension fixed), I had to choose machines that had local dealers. So, while Huskvarna and Pfaff are good machines, they were out. Consumer Reports rates Bernina really well and local quilters really like the Janome line. So, I finally came down to choosing between Bernina and Janome. Bernina won because of a special financing deal, but other than the BSR (Stitch Regulator), I would have probably been just as happy with the Janome. Janome Gem is really popular for machines to take to classes as well.

    Finally, closeness of the dealer may not be an issue for you. I had to see the brother dealer lots of times. I take the Bernina master classes, but I can figure most things on this machine myself, while I couldn't figure out the bobbin case on the brother.

  8. #8
    Super Member sewbeadit's Avatar
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    If you don't have many machines to chose from in your area that would tell me if it is Bernina buy a Bernina. There are a lot of good machines out there that will do the job for you at not a great cost. Have fun shopping.
    Sewbeadit
    W. Washington

  9. #9
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    I have tried quite a few machines, from my mom's old White from the 50's to New Home, Janome, and Juki. I now have two Berninas and a Juki. I found my Janome and every White that I have tried to be finicky about thread. They didn't like you to use fine bobbin threads and use something else on top, particularly when doing free motion quilting. Also, they didn't like to sew over heavy things like top stitching over the bulk of a seam in heavy denim. I had a sear's machine that I got in the 80's (which I was told was made by New home,) that you could do just about anything with. But by far my favorites are my Berninas. I have a 180 and have used it on silks in a wedding dress to just about everything else to include indoor outdoor fabric for patio furniture. I liked my 180 so much and was doing so much free motion quilting and thread work that I bought a 440 with a stitch regulator. The 180 has a different bobbin mechanism than the 440, and has a prettier stitch for top stitching and garment making on a variety of fabrics. I now just keep the 440 set up for free motion thread work. I don't think I would go away from Bernina's at this point since when I am in sewing mode they get an awful lot of use between cleanings and just keep going and going and going.

  10. #10
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    I have a (previously loved) Bernina 430 that was decently priced, a Singer 301 and a FW (and a 66 treadle). I love and use the 3 portables, but if I had to pick just one it would be the Bernina- it is the most flexible of my machines, even if it is the heaviest to lug around.
    Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2
    Singer 221, short bed 301 and 503A
    Bernina 430

  11. #11
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    Babylock and Brother Lover here, won't have anything else

  12. #12
    Dee
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    Brother

    I have 4 Brothers and one of the 299.00 from Walmart and it is a workhorse. I love it. I also have a Viking and Singers.

  13. #13
    Senior Member 1000projects's Avatar
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    The lowest price newmberninas are around $800 and up. A used mechanical bernina might be the way to go. Though the BsR would be nice, i bet it is expensive!!

  14. #14
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    She will love a Bernina, trust me!

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    I have had a Bernina machine(s) for years. The first one was a 150QE and I still use it. Over the years I have purchased and traded up a number of other Bernina's. They are good machines and last. I have a friend who has a 930 from years ago and it still sews like a champ.

    mltquilt

  16. #16
    Super Member mpspeedy's Avatar
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    I have been sewing for more than 40 years and am on my fifth Bernina. I need to explain. I learned to sew on my mother's Singer featherweight. My parents gave me a Capital in a cabinet for a graduation present. About 20 years ago I went to work for a shop that sold Berninas and did custom dressmaking and alterations. After working with a Bernina daily I just had to have one. I was able to purchase my first Bernina, a 1260, at dealer cost so I was able to get just one step down from the top of the line at the time. I just recently traded that model in for a newer used one. The newerer models actually have a mileage feature. My first one didn't or it would have shown at least 100,000 miles or so. It was one of the first computerized models. I also own a Bernina serger and their first embroidery machine. Last year I purchased one of the lower end Berninas for under $800 dollars, ironically it has all of the features of the 1260 plus more decorative stitches. The main reason I wanted it was because it is 10lbs lighter than my older machine which was all metal. I use it for retreats, workshops etc. The only drawback of the lighter weight machine is that when I put the pedal to the metal, as I am inclined to do it vibrates a lot more than the heavier models. My newest purchase was a used trade in Bernina Artista 185 that has even more stitches and of course my favorite features the needle down position and the knee bar which I can not sew without.
    If a person is serious about sewing and quilting a Bernina will make it a pleasure everyday.
    Trying to sew, quilt or read everyday.

  17. #17
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I bought a Bernina 440QE soon after I started quilting. The BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator) makes free motion quilting much easier. The BSR and walking foot are included with the 440.

  18. #18
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    If it is for quilting, try a straight stitcher with a wide throat. The one I use is a Brother Nouvelle 1500s, the Babylock qnd Juki machines are similar and they are also called PQ 1500s. They produce a very nice stitch and are strong enough to sew through thick layers of material without effort.

  19. #19
    Super Member franc36's Avatar
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    To me, nothing sews like a Bernina. I love my Bernina! They are expensive though. I'd also look at dealers. Buy from someone who will give good service, lessons, etc. Buy a machine you would enjoy sewing on.

  20. #20
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    If I had to do it over again I would start with a cheap Brother with the needle down function. Strait stitch machines run around six hundred or you can get a good basic Brother even cheaper but be sure to get needle down. My first machine is a Brother quilting machine that I bought new for $129 but it dosnt have needle down. It is a little workhorse for pieceing.
    Then save up for a embroidery machine that has a large hoop. This way you can use it to quilt the blocks just like an expensive long armer would do. Ive seen the quilts done this way at shops and they are beautiful.
    These machines cost as much as a long arm but dont take up the room needed by a big frame.

  21. #21
    Super Member fabric_fancy's Avatar
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    i sold bernina for 6 years and could buy one with my employee discount and i still prefer and have purchased 2 Juki machines.

    i have the Juki F600 for piecing and the Juki 98Q for Frame Quilting.

    the Juki is an amazing machine and they do not compromise parts to reduce the price like many sewing machines do.

  22. #22
    Super Member quiltsillysandi's Avatar
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    For me, it's Bernina.....My Bernina 1090 is over 20 years old and still sews like a workhorse......
    Have an inspring day!
    Sandi

  23. #23
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    You need to take in considerations a few things. First, how much is she going to use it? Does she already sew a lot or is it something she would like to do? How old is she? Is life going to get busy and she will put quilting on the back burner including an expensive machine? Berninas are the most expensive for a reason, just like luxury vehicles are more expensive. If you were buying her a car would you buy her a toyota or a cadilac? What does she need at this point in her life? Second. the dealer? How much extra do you want to pay for having customer service at her fingertips for support? Costco has brothers on line for a good price. We bought my daughter a brother for HS Grad. from a brother dealer, on a closeout sale, and she is very happy and had that support when things go wrong. I sew on nothing but Bernina but would not buy one for my daughters unless I knew for sure they would always use . Stay in your budget, and take in consideration how much she is going to use it.

  24. #24
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    Make a checklist of functions she wants then compare various machines for these functions. Go sew on the top two to see which one you like better. It is important even for a novice to sew on them to see if one is easier to learn and work. A machine that is easy to use will make some one more likely to sew and enjoy. The quality of the machine does make a difference. The dealers will gladly let you try them. Once you decide, shop around. If you can find a gently used one, go for it!
    Linda

  25. #25
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    I have used a singer, Janome, kenmore, and husqvarna and many others. Before I retired I wanted to buy a new machine, I went to a Bernina Dealer and bought one of theirs. That was 4 years ago and I have never been sorry. Its the best machine I ever had. You get a 20 year warranty on mechanical parts, 2 years on electrical and if you get a computerized machine you a 5 year warranty on the circuit boards. I sew everyday, as I make samples for the quilt shops, plus I am a quilter. Whether your buying a new or used one I dont think you can go wrong with a Bernina. Oh and Im not affiliated with Bernina in any way, just a retired woman who loves to make quilts and so happy I finally have the time to do it

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