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Thread: Considering Machine Purchase ***PLEASE ADVISE ***

  1. #1

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    Hi All,
    I have a Brother cs6000 and a faithful old Kenmore. I have just started quilting. : * )
    Just joined this board. I love the info that I find here and am a daily reader.
    I am considering the purchase of a Bernina. I just retired and as most do when they retire, I am watching my funds. I can only purchase one machine and it will have to last. PLEASE give me input! I sew reasonably well and want a machine that I will not "out grow" but do not want to purchase more than I will use/need. I am into crafts, dog clothes, costumes and of course quilting.
    MUCH thanks to all of you that will respond and give me some help!

  2. #2
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    If you have enough LQS's nearby then try them all. See which ones you and bond with and feel you would use the most.

    Set your budget. Make a 'wish list' of features you need and those you want. [Personally lots of fancy stitches doesn't do it for me as I only use about 10 of them anyway. Oh well.]

    Is there going to be a quilt show or expo near you? Can you go to Houston? Dealers will discount their machines in order not to have to pack them up and take them home afterwards.

    Are you willing to buy a used machine. You might find one by asking at LQS's, watching CL, checking the sale adds, and going online. As newer models come out some quilters/sewers do trade their machines in for newer models. A few more often than most.

    Good luck.

    ali

  3. #3
    Junior Member OCQuilts's Avatar
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    Well....Bernina offers a 20 year mechanical Guarantee. Your most efficient purchase would be a 440 (discontinued) a 640 (Discontinued) or the new 5 series. The 440 offers the stitch regulator and has embroidery capability ( must use laptop ) The 640 offers a wider stitch plate (9mm) and allows embroidery as a stand alone unit. The 5 series is more specialized. Any of these choices would offer you the most flexibility and growth with the safety net of a long warranty. Good Luck!

  4. #4
    Super Member Sheila_H's Avatar
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    Hi Welcome to the Group glad to have you here you'll find everyone is very helpful on here.

    I guess first thing to consider is how much do you want to spend on the machine, the Bernina's get pretty pricey. The 440 has been replaced by the 550QE that's what I have and it came with every foot pedal they've got and I paid $3500 I new to quilting I've been doing it about 2 yrs and I love this machine.

    Sometimes you can find them on Craigslist or eBay on sale, also check your LQS and see if they've got any class machines on sale. I know ours puts them on every 6 months. I've seen some of the 350s on sale for $1200 it just depends on what your needs will be, how much you'll be quilting. Hope that helps some what answer your question.

  5. #5
    Super Member Murphy's Avatar
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    Hi and welcome to the board from Iowa.

  6. #6
    Super Member athomenow's Avatar
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    I would consider buying a used machine from a reputable dealer after you go check out brands and find something you like. Most times people will buy a machine and then upgrade when the newer ones come out. They are checked out and most times are like new but at a deeply discounted price. I personally don't buy brand new anything if I can help it. Let someone else take the depreciation hit. Having a dealer or LQS that can help you when you have problems or questions is really important. Don't be afraid to take some little project and just go sew for an hour or so. Most people just want to sell you a machine and won't care how much you check them out.

  7. #7
    Super Member Sheila_H's Avatar
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    AliKat I love your avatar!

  8. #8
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    I would recommend the 430. It is much less expensive than the 440, as it does not come with the BSR or the walking foot, or a few of the stitches (do you really need all of them?)

    I got one recently, and the dealer was offering free embroidery or serger with an Aurora purchase, so I got embroidery. I also got a great trade in (on a mass market machine, that they donate to youth sewing programs, they can't resell what I had). I paid $2099 pretax, the 440 was over $1000 more, they offered me the 430 with BSR for $2800.

    I did buy the walking foot, but am happy with my decision to not get the BSR. What I need is practice, not stitch regulation... already with the Bernina my FMQ is so much better than on my Kenmore 16221.

    The harp is also not huge but it is bigger than what I had, so I am very happy with the extra space.

    The 440 definetly has some more bells and whistles, but I have bells and whistles enough on the 430.

    (I think both the 430 and 440 are retired based on what the internet says, but our dealer is still selling them and hasn't said a word of discontinued... I got my 430 only a few months ago.)

  9. #9
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    I have 5 Berninas, two old and three modern. I've become spoiled on Bernina quality, power, and precision. Yes, make your list of needed and wanted features, set your budget, assemble samples of your customary fabrics and tasks, and test drive the models that fit your budget and needs. Don't rule out used, especially from a dealer with a dealer warranty. My first Bernina was a used 930 I bought from a QB member (a really lovely gal ), then I got a used 440 from a dealer. Then I was hooked :) All pleasure and performance, no hassles or limitations. Totally worth my hard-earned $$$, and I do earn every penny of it. I have a 240, 440, 820, 930, and 731 (a gift from a QB angel, I use it to teach basic sewing). All with different capabilites and features, but each a rock solid workhorse.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Helovesme's Avatar
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    I've had my Bernina 440QE for almost a year. My husband secretly bought this machine for me, so I had nothing to do with buying it. It came with the BSR and the walking foot and several other feet. Free classes on how to use it at the LQS he bought it at. Price tag: $3200.00. I really like the machine. I like the needle down option, the walking foot is a dream, and because I am new to this quilting thing, the throat is big enough for me....for now! The 440 has been discontinued and replaced with the 550, so I don't know what that means for me down the road. I'm not into the fancy stitches so much and the BSR is cool, but I think I like using the plain old darning foot for FMQ practice. The Bernina warranty is very good and overall, they've been around for a LONG time and they sell a great product. Hope this opinion helps in your decision.

    Edited to add: I still love my old faithful Kenmore, too!

  11. #11
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    Not sure where you are in Texas, but I purchased my Berninas from a dealer in Dallas. You can research their current machines on the Bernina website at berninausa.com to get an idea of the various options available by machine. Newest line is Bernina 500 series and comes in 3 different levels. Other dealers also have websites where you can research the various whistles and bells they offer.

    mltquilt

  12. #12
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I bought a 440QE soon after I started quilting, and I love it. I do think the stitch regulator is worth its weight in gold.

  13. #13
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    You really can't go wrong with any Bernina, so good luck with picking a model:> And have fun.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helovesme
    Free classes on how to use it at the LQS he bought it at.
    I've found the free classes to be really expensive when it comes to materials... but definetly useful to get to know the machine!

  15. #15
    Senior Member tsnana2000's Avatar
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    I have a Bernina 440QE. Love it. I also have an old Bernina 730 Record. Love it too. Like everyone has stated try them out and see which you like best and has most or all of the features you are looking for.

  16. #16
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AliKat
    If you have enough LQS's nearby then try them all. See which ones you and bond with and feel you would use the most.

    Set your budget. Make a 'wish list' of features you need and those you want. [Personally lots of fancy stitches doesn't do it for me as I only use about 10 of them anyway. Oh well.]

    Is there going to be a quilt show or expo near you? Can you go to Houston? Dealers will discount their machines in order not to have to pack them up and take them home afterwards.

    Are you willing to buy a used machine. You might find one by asking at LQS's, watching CL, checking the sale adds, and going online. As newer models come out some quilters/sewers do trade their machines in for newer models. A few more often than most.

    Good luck.

    ali
    all great suggestions. my experience is that there is no one perfect machine. i wish there was a way to order the features you want :)

  17. #17
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    is there something wrong with the machines you own?
    if funds are tight and the machines you own are good machines- why spend on a different one?
    just me asking---
    if the two you already own don't work so well-maybe having them serviced would be less expensive-
    if you just want a new machine to have a new machine maybe you could sell one of the others (always keep a back up) to help off set the cost.

    many very accomplished quilters make their fabulous masterpieces on very old basic machines-
    start to finish....don't decide you need something new and expensive to improve your skills- only practice will improve skills not spending money

  18. #18
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    One of the machines she said she owns was the Brother CS6000. At least around here, it would be about the same price to buy a new one of those than to have it serviced, even for just a basic cleaning.

    I know my second new machine came when I got a $100 cleaning quote, with a "any maintance would be extra" on a $130 machine...

  19. #19
    Super Member scowlkat's Avatar
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    Not only are the Bernina machines pricey but any accessories you need cast an arm and a leg. I personally would look at a Janome or Babylock.

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