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Thread: Debating a New Machine

  1. #1
    Senior Member Jennalyn's Avatar
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    Debating a New Machine

    I'm giving myself a few more weeks to save up and then I'm planning on buying myself a new machine. I think I might know which model to get based on my needs and budget, but I'd appreciate the input of all the wonderful people on this board before I go and drop the money.

    My current machine situation: I have two machines (technically three, but Nanna's old baby stopped working and there are no replacement motors - somewhat specialized). One is my beautiful little Featherweight I use all the time. I've brought her into my office at work and I piece during breaks and lunch. Couldn't ask for a more beautiful stitch, but she does have her limitations. The other is a plastic singer POS that Dad got for Mom a few years ago at Joann's. It's functional... enough, and I primarily use it if I need a zigzag stitch and for sewing pet hammocks. Its tension is the biggest pain in the butt and it's very temperamental.

    My needs: I'd really like to start teaching myself FMQ. Neither of the machines I have right now are suited for the task. I'd also like a longer machine base to give myself more room. Buying a table to recess the machine into just isn't an option right now with the cramped quarters at home, so I have to use one of several available spaces. I don't do embroidery or general sewing, so I have zero need for fancy stitches or anything like that. I'd like something that's going to last me a good number of years without giving up or wearing out. I don't sew heavily, but I want something reliable for the scraps of time I do manage to steal.

    My budget: I'm willing to invest somewhere in the ballpark of $700 in a new machine. I won't have the money for much more than that.

    Soooo, with all of that being said, I'm thinking the Brother PQ1500S might be the machine for me. Does anyone have opinions/reviews on this machine? Other suggestions? I'd be grateful!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Jennalyn's Avatar
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    Buuuuut. There's also this machine I saw posted on Craigslist this morning, which I believe is a comparable (and more expensive) machine to the PQ1500S.

    "Juki TL98QE Long Arm Sewing & Quilting Machine"
    Ad:
    http://delaware.craigslist.org/art/3002626643.html

    Would you say this was a better machine? And if so, why?

    ARGH. And then there's also THIS ad for a Brother 1500 PLUS Gracie setup (which I don't currently have space for, but someday...) for a little more than I wanted to spend... but so reasonable...

    http://easternshore.craigslist.org/art/2965897198.html

    What say you, oh wise QuiltingBoard members?

  3. #3
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    I think before you buy anything, you need to know if there is a reputable dealer/repairman close by. Having to drive hours, or even having to ship your machine for repairs is not an option for me. My dealer/repairman is about 25 miles away and I love it. They also might have good used machines that have been traded in when someone upgraded. I have a Janome 6600, bought used from a dealer. She came with all the free instructional classes I wanted. I am not plugging my machine, as I know she is probably out of your budget. Actually, I don't want to give you a recommendation as sewing machines are as personal as cars and there are just about as many different brands! Do your research for each kind, discover what problems you might expect, and what are the strengths. Have fun shopping!

  4. #4
    Super Member SuzyQ's Avatar
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    See which features the Juki has the Brother doesn't and vice versa. I've read on another group that the Juki has a needle up/down that the Brother doesn't (at least this is what I remember) and I personally love that feature. I personally wouldn't buy a frame if I couldn't set it up right away. I say this only because I was given an original Grace frame that they have since discontinued and replacement parts/upgrades are not available and they are constantly coming out with new frames so I'd want one that is a current model. Also take a look at the Janome 1600 which also has a 9" throat. I have none of these machines but have researched all of them for someday.

    Suzy

  5. #5
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    I believe that Juki is set up for short arm quilting on that frame. If I'm not mistaken, I think that machine can also be used for piecing. I don't know about the other machines, but I think that's a steal for that Juki, and if you have the space for it, I think that'd be the machine to get. You can always buy an inexpensive machine later to dedicate to piecing if you want something other than what you are already using.

  6. #6
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    The juki is a short arm machine. Great for piecing and free motion!!!! That is a pretty good price.

  7. #7
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure the Juki only does straight stitching. If I were you, I'd look for a used Janome 6500P. Many quilters love this machine, and it has a bigger harp than normal which makes machine quilting easier. The only thing it doesn't have is a free arm (but your newer Singer would have that).

    Have you checked for used machines at the dealerships in your area? You can typically get a much better machine for your money by purchasing used from a dealer, as many people trade in perfectly good machines for a newer model.

    Edit: Sorry, the Janome 6500 might be out of your price range, although maybe not if you can find a used one.

  8. #8
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    How do you feel about used machines? If you have a reputable sewing machine dealer nearby you might get a real 'deal' and what you want.

    Whatever you do make sure:
    - you can bond with the machine, otherwise you won't use it.
    - there is local support: beginning instruction, help for later on, and reasonably priced service.

    ali
    Have fun quilting! If it isn't fun, you will miss a lot.
    ali

  9. #9
    Senior Member Connie M.'s Avatar
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    I have a Juki Q98 and I absolutely love it. It does only sew straight stitch, but it does so perfectly. The thread cutting feature is awesome. I paid $799. for mine brand new on e-bay. If you could still find a new one for that on ebay, I'd jump at it. The Q200 replaced the Q98, so they went up in price for basically the same machine. Good luck in whatever you decide.

  10. #10
    Super Member knlsmith's Avatar
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    FYI. Juki's are not longarms. Neither is a brother 1500, or a janome 1600(which i have and love) they all have approx. 9 inch harps so they are actually midarms. I am partial to Janome, but the other 2 are good machines from what I've heard and read.

    Good luck and happy sewing. I love getting new toys.

  11. #11
    Super Member rusty quilter's Avatar
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    I would go to the nearest Sewing Machine dealer and see what they have that is used. It is a very big deal to have someone close to you who can do minor repairs, adjustments, etc. They will show you what the machine will do--and to me that is a big deal. We often only use about 10% of our machine's capability. $700 is a pretty good starting point for a needle down machine

  12. #12
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I have a Juki TL98QE, it doesn't have all the features of the one on ebay, no extension table. The Brother has an extension table, both are great machines, straight stitch only. I use the Juki and a Babylock Jane, straight stitch only and has an extension table. I use one or the other all the time, and I have made lots and lots of quilts and I quilt them on these also. My Daughter has the Brother and really likes it. I think AllBrands has new one for less than $700.00. Free shipping also. Anyone of these would be a great machine.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  13. #13
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    Jennalyn,
    I am in a bit of rush so I didn't read the entire thread, but your needs sounds like mine.

    I just recently purchased a Babylock Jane as my primary machine. I didn't want all those buttons and gadgets, for I am mainly piecing and want to be able to quilt on the machine (at least stitch in the ditch). Here is what I found out about the BabyJane that propelled me to purchase it:
    * It has a deep and wide throat- great for rolling up quilts when FMQ
    * It comes with an extension table
    * It can be put onto rails to be used for FMQ also (for pieces that are way to big to fit in the throat
    * Easy to use -5 buttons total (only one type of stitch- straight)
    * come with alot of various feet (1/4", zipper, free motion... I haven't opened the bag yet so I'm sure there is more).
    * It does have "automatic scissors
    * you have the ability to leave the needle down as you move the feeddogs to move fabric. I know I typed this wrong
    *there is a "knee lift" attachment- haven't used it- I sit mine on a table so I don't think it would work, but i haven't tried out.
    * very simple machine (I love simplicity) that you really don't need to read the manual- but it is always good to do so
    * I haven't got to this point, but it does do 1500 stitches a minute and so far I do like the side loading bobbin.

    the price was $800 (I'm in PA) and from going 2 Babylock dealers- you can haggle the pricing a bit. Now, it is heavier than what you have but it can be lifted. I do hear this is similar to the Juki. I feel this is a good quality machine that I will have a long time.

    best wishes on your search,
    Deb
    Last edited by callie8799; 05-09-2012 at 02:16 PM. Reason: computer went wonky & submitted post b4 I was done

  14. #14
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    The juki and brother are pretty much almost the same machine, I wouldn't pay the extra dollars personally

  15. #15
    Super Member happynana's Avatar
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    My hubby just bought me the Juki tl98q last month and I love it! Yes it only does straight stitching but also has a quilting foot-have taught myself fmq with it. i love it, the thread cutting feature is wonderful-no loose threads to cut anymore. Got mine for around $800 too.

  16. #16
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    I purchased a Juki TL2010Q last November and made 2 twin sized quilts and 10 rag quilts for Christmas. I could not have done it without this machine. It is a high speed straight stitch machine. It is awesome! I paid $899 and bought it locally. I plan to learn to FMQ with it. I would highly recommend it!

  17. #17
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    My Baby Lock Jane is the same machine as the Brother 1500.
    It is set up on a long arm table. Do not like it because Im spoiled with my Viking Sapphire with the 10 in throat. It is so easy to use and thread. The Jane has a complicated threading and under the machine bobbin that drives me crazy. You dont know when the bobbin is going to run out. I much prefer the drop in bobbin.
    I bought the Viking 5 yrs ago for $1100 and you could find a second hand one for a reasonable price by now.
    I did buy a Bertha cabinet for it for $550. It takes a bigger cabinet than a regular machine.
    Jane is hooked up to a stitch regulator(another $500) which I like.

  18. #18
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I have the Brother 1500. It's very easy to clean and maintain yourself. I oil it every day if I'm sewing. The fast speed needs a lot of oil. It is straight stitch only and sews a great stitch. I use it for all my machine quilting. I don't see how it cannot last as long as the vintage Singers. It's that well made.
    Got fabric?

  19. #19
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rusty quilter View Post
    I would go to the nearest Sewing Machine dealer and see what they have that is used. It is a very big deal to have someone close to you who can do minor repairs, adjustments, etc. They will show you what the machine will do--and to me that is a big deal. We often only use about 10% of our machine's capability. $700 is a pretty good starting point for a needle down machine
    Agreed. I picked up my slightly experienced Janome 6600 for $700 - included all the feet and the extension table. I've had it for 2 years now and it's perfect. I got mine from a Janome dealer. It was a trade in when someone bought a 7700.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  20. #20
    Senior Member Jennalyn's Avatar
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    You all make really excellent points! I hadn't been thinking about what dealerships were in the area - that rules anything from Juki out, since I'd have to drive a few hours minimum. Unfortunately, the area is saturated with Bernina dealers, which are way out of my price-range.

    Fortunately, I contacted a business about an hour away that sells Janome and they happened to have a perfect condition trade-in 6600 they were willing to sell for $1000 (normally $1599 there). They're closed tomorrow and Monday, so hopefully I can get out of work early on Tuesday to go and have a peek. It's more than I wanted to spend, but I know that a machine like that would be a very good investment from talking to several friends (and reading this forum). Especially for that price!

  21. #21
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    My dream machine is a pfaff ambition for 799. The one without the touch screen. I recently bought a brother pc420 and I loooove it. Great features, easy to use, good for both quilting and craft/clothes/diaper/home dec sewing. I paid 420 on amazon.

  22. #22
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    The Janome Memory Craft 6600 is a great machine, from my test drive and what everyone says about it. I've not heard a single complaint about it. The only drawback to that machine, from what I can see, is that it does not have free arm capability. I don't know if that matters to you or not.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jennalyn View Post
    You all make really excellent points! I hadn't been thinking about what dealerships were in the area - that rules anything from Juki out, since I'd have to drive a few hours minimum. Unfortunately, the area is saturated with Bernina dealers, which are way out of my price-range.

    Fortunately, I contacted a business about an hour away that sells Janome and they happened to have a perfect condition trade-in 6600 they were willing to sell for $1000 (normally $1599 there). They're closed tomorrow and Monday, so hopefully I can get out of work early on Tuesday to go and have a peek. It's more than I wanted to spend, but I know that a machine like that would be a very good investment from talking to several friends (and reading this forum). Especially for that price!

  23. #23
    Senior Member Jennalyn's Avatar
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    I don't do any sort of sewing that requires a free arm, so that feature isn't important to me. I won't miss it. Fingers crossed that all goes well this week!

    Quote Originally Posted by JustAbitCrazy View Post
    The Janome Memory Craft 6600 is a great machine, from my test drive and what everyone says about it. I've not heard a single complaint about it. The only drawback to that machine, from what I can see, is that it does not have free arm capability. I don't know if that matters to you or not.

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