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Thread: FMQ machine on a budget

  1. #1
    Super Member AshleyR's Avatar
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    FMQ machine on a budget

    And when I say "budget", I mean cheap!

    I don't like vintage machines. I've tried FMQ on a bunch of different machines, and only had luck on one and it broke! I have a good sewing machine, but it skips stitches when I use free-motion. I need a very inexpensive machine - new? - for around $100. Extra throat space is not too important, because I'm used to what I have on my Janome now.

    I'm seriously considering a Project Runway machine. Either the Brother CE5000 ($110) or the Brother LS2300PRW ($50). Does anyone know if they are good at free-motion?? Or have any other suggestions?

  2. #2
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    Not really sure, do the feed dogs drop for quilting?

  3. #3
    Super Member sewbeadit's Avatar
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    The feed dogs don't have to drop for quilting, just set the machine at no stitch or 0 stitch length. What kind of needle are you using in your Janome? Perhaps a different type, as in Universal, or top stitch, or embroidery or something along those lines would work better, sometimes the hole size will make a difference with the stitch so I change the needle on my Janome Kenmore. I use Schmetz and have a variety of needles available.
    Sewbeadit
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  4. #4
    Super Member Helen S's Avatar
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    I recently bought a Brother 80-Stitch Limited Edition Project Runway Computerized Sewing Machine from Walmart. It was priced at $149, but I had a coupon from something else that brought it down to $109. So, if I had to say anything about the machine it would be that it's cheaply built. BUT, for the money, guess I can't complain. I bought it to use for classes, and because my Pfaff was in the shop at that time. I think I'm spoiled by my Pfaff and just had to put it back in the shop for repairs again so am using the Brother PR again. I still am not crazy about it, but it sews, and the feed dog does drop on it. At least I can keep working on my current project. The Brother is very light weight, so moves around slightly when sewing a lot. The thread spool holder can be annoying in that you have to remove the end cap before you can put the holder into the closed position if you want to put the machine in a case. The needle area could be a bit higher...it's difficult to get your fingers in there to change a needle or to grasp the thread when threading the needle. Oh, and let me not forget to mention that it comes with a little...little round "screwdriver"! It's a round disk, about the size of a silver dollar and has a small hole in the middle and one edge is slightly protruding. This is supposed to work as a screwdriver...uh...NOT! Again, the area you need to work in is very tight and the "screwdriver" is difficult to hang on to and keeps slipping out of the screw head. By the time I can get the screw loosened I'm not in a very good mood! lol The feed dog seems a bit "off"...seems to push the fabric to the side. The foot pedal doesn't always engage the machine, but when it catches the machine "takes off"!!! Anyway, I'd have to say it's a very basic bottom of the barrel machine. BUT is a backup if needed. I haven't tried FMQ with it. (haven't tried FMQ with my Pfaff, either! lol) = (
    Being skinny isn't easy, so I gave up and opted for being sexy instead. (aunty acid)

  5. #5
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    If you buy cheap you get cheap. I don't know of any new machine for $100 that will do machine quilting for very long. All new sewing machines for $100 are sold to be craft sewing machines. You may find a vintage 301 for a couple of hundred and that machine is great for machine quilting.
    Got fabric?

  6. #6
    Super Member Sienna's GiGi's Avatar
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    I just brought a LB6800 that I have to send back to Amazon for a replacement. It malfunctioned out of the box and I am so sad because I had time to play with it but couldn't. I hope the replacement works right.
    Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.

  7. #7
    Super Member pumpkinpatchquilter's Avatar
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    I paid $100 for my used Simplicity Quilter's Classic and do lots and lots of free motion on it. You don't need to spend a lot of money to get good results - you need to spend wisely. What needle are you using? Thread/weight? Skipped stitches are more than likely an issue of needle/thread combination, needing a new needle, or a nick on your needle plate.
    Valerie Smith - pumpkinpatchquilter
    Obsessed Quilter and APQS Long Arm Machine Quilter
    www.pumpkinpatchquilter.com

  8. #8
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    I've liked my cheapo brothers, excellent for piecing. Haven't tried quilting, but I know some on here with these machines have. For 100 bucks you are not going to get much. I would say if you are looking for something nice I would at least save up a good 500 will buy you a more durable machine that will last longer.

  9. #9
    Super Member rushdoggie's Avatar
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    I like my cheap Kenmore that was about $179 new 5 years ago and it does a good job FMQing. I understand some Kenmore machines are made by Janome? Maybe find a used Kenmore?
    Beth

  10. #10
    Super Member AshleyR's Avatar
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    I have plenty of used machines, they just aren't working out for quilting. I'm saving up for "the big one" but wanted something I can use NOW. I have too many projects that straight quilting lines aren't going to look good with!

  11. #11
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    I have a Janome and I do have to adjust the tension. Are you using the same thread in top and bobbin. Sometime mines will skip if I don't use same thread. I use mine all the time.

  12. #12
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    I do most of my FMQ on a cheap dinky mechanical Brother, Costco version, which is now about 9 years old. I set the stitch length to zero and don't even bother with the supreme slider anymore. I think I am getting better but that is operator issue not the machine, which I have been very happy with even though it is "cheap" and not "Vintage". I do have three vintage machines but would keep this little Brother first.

  13. #13
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    YOu said you didn't want vintage, but how about used? I would go to a sewing machine dealer and see what they had available in their trade in area. Normally they provide a limited warranty.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  14. #14
    Super Member AshleyR's Avatar
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    Hmm, I do use the same thread in the bobbin as in the top, I have tried a number of needles with it too. I think it *might* be the machine, because I have other issues with it too (the only one I can think of right now is that I can't turn the hand-crank in reverse when the bobbin case is in it). It's a picky old thing.
    I don't mind used at all, as long as it comes with the accessories and feet and stuff. And as long as it doesn't give me issues when I quilt!! Not sure I could find anything at a dealer in my price range, tho. I'll call around today and see what I can find.

  15. #15
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    I bought a Brother at WalMart for $199. Just to use for class. Cause my Janome 9000 and ULT Brother"s are too heavy to carry to classes. Have used it for 2 years now and have had to replace the bobbin case, It skipped stitches and I could tell it was worn some. Did lots better after I installed the new case. I love the stitch quality and have made 6 quilts on it. Use decorative stitches instead of SID and it works great.

  16. #16
    Super Member AshleyR's Avatar
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    That could be the cause of my ills with my Janome, too. I might replace that some day down the road too. I've had to take my Drimel to it more than once to smooth it down, and it just doesn't fit in there the way I think it's supposed to (not because of my filing!)

    Quote Originally Posted by twilight View Post
    I bought a Brother at WalMart for $199. Just to use for class. Cause my Janome 9000 and ULT Brother"s are too heavy to carry to classes. Have used it for 2 years now and have had to replace the bobbin case, It skipped stitches and I could tell it was worn some. Did lots better after I installed the new case. I love the stitch quality and have made 6 quilts on it. Use decorative stitches instead of SID and it works great.

  17. #17
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    Not sure you really need a new machine.

    Do you have a Janome dealer near you? If so then take your machine to them and explain all your different issues with the machine. They should be able to (1) check your machine and (2) instruct you in how to do each of the functions, including FMQ.

    They may even steer you to a class in FMQ. Or you can check with your LQS's for a FMQ class. I think a 'hands on' FMQ class would be best.

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

  18. #18
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    When my beloved Janome was in the hospital, I bought the $149 Brother at Walmart - has a light purple design on it and a little extension table. I don't particularly care to do my piecing on the Brother because I'm spoiled by Janome, but the machine is a Hoss at FM. Now, I know that it's basically what is called a "throw-away", not really built to last, but I can tell you that I ran it for hours and hours doing free-motion and it only broke the thread twice, most likely due to operator error. Now that my Janome is back, the Brother sits on a side table but I break it out every time that I'm ready to do free-motion!

  19. #19
    Super Member Roberta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sienna's GiGi View Post
    I just brought a LB6800 that I have to send back to Amazon for a replacement. It malfunctioned out of the box and I am so sad because I had time to play with it but couldn't. I hope the replacement works right.
    I've had the LB6800 on my wish list and have been waiting for the lottery to be kind to me so I can buy it. Now I'm beginning to rethink the whole machine. Could I ask who the seller was? You can PM me if you like with the info.

  20. #20
    Super Member Latrinka's Avatar
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    I'd probly look for something used. Good Luck on your search!
    If a woman's work is never done....why start?

  21. #21
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    I learned FMQ on my Janome and found that if I used good quality thread it made all the difference. I had bought a Guttemann for the class and it didn't work well at all but when I changed and used a Mettler it worked splendidly!

  22. #22
    Super Member purplefiend's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AshleyR View Post
    I have plenty of used machines, they just aren't working out for quilting. I'm saving up for "the big one" but wanted something I can use NOW. I have too many projects that straight quilting lines aren't going to look good with!
    Ashley,
    Try a vintage machine that doesn't have a drop-in type bobbin, for me FMQ works better on a machine that has a class 15 type bobbin case. Its either in front or on the side of the machine. $100 for a new machine won't be a very good machine, I sell new machines; you need to spend at least $300-500 for a decent machine. A Singer 15-91 is awesome for machine quilting.

  23. #23
    Member Eyelets's Avatar
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    I have an old Pfaff 1222E, a recent ELna 2100 (bottom line) and an inexpensive Janome 8050 from Hancock's. All of these machines will do nice FMQ if you work with the tension - correcting a bit at a time - and if you use good thread. You can't really use the heavier cottons in the bobbin on any of these machines except the Pfaff - it will take even the heavier C&C variegated cottons. I use Masterpiece in the bobbin and King Tut or C&C on top on my Janome 8050 and got the tension to work very very well indeed. Use a topstitch needle - I love size 14, but some use 12, and then if you buy the Janome low tension bobbin case, it is even easier to regulate tension to a lower number on top. I do think almost any machine can do FM with some work and the right combo of threads. I've done lots of small projects between these several machines over a couple of decades before I decided to actually do a whole quilt.

  24. #24
    Super Member AshleyR's Avatar
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    Mm, ok, everyone has talked me out of it. I need to fix my sick machines and get back to quilting. I don't want to fudge with my Janome too much. I have 2 vintage machines in addition to my 2 main ones. I don't like the Singer at all, and the Necchi is locked up. I haven't figured out why, but I haven't spent a lot of time with her either. I think I'd like her, because she's a little bigger, and she takes the same feet I already have. Singer doesn't. The Janome is the only one I have with a drop in bobbin, which is another reason I like to keep her around for sewing, instead of quilting

    Thanks all!

  25. #25
    Senior Member newbiequilter's Avatar
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    Do you have the option of renting time on a long arm? Perhaps a LQS would have that available. Is there a quilting buddy who can loan you a machine to finish your projects?

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