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Thread: Good Machine for a beginner?

  1. #1
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    Question Good Machine for a beginner?

    Ok I've searched and there are tons of threads on this, but none of them seem to really come to any conclusion or are old enough that I'm not sure if the information is still relevant. If there is a great thread that I've missed - please point me to this!

    Now - to explain my situation and get your opinions on what might work best for me.

    I'm a newbie to sewing and quilting. I'm still working on piecing my first quilt top, but really enjoying it! I'm currently using a hand me down machine that sometimes has some quirks and doesn't have some features that I really would like to have (a bright light, a 1/4 inch foot or guide, a needle down option). As I get more into the quilting thing I definitely want to try free motion quilting on a home machine. There is no way anytime in the near future that I would be able to purchase a large quilting long arm machine, so a domestic machine will have to work for me. So, with that in mind, I'm thinking possibly I should invest in a machine that already has a longer than normal arm so that quilting will be easier?

    Does anyone have any suggestions on a machine that might fit the bill? Yes, it needs to be on the lower end price range. I just can't afford something majorly expensive. If I can buy it second hand and have it work well, that would be fine as well. Mostly, I just don't even know how to being narrowing down the field.

    Here are two machines I have been looking at and considering, any thoughts on these?

    http://www.brother-usa.com/homesewin...i#.UGeTeU3A-5Q

    http://www.joann.com/singer-confiden...ne/xprd687328/

    Thank you for any help and suggestions!

  2. #2
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    The brother is a popular model and gets good ratings. The SQ-9050 comes with some nice features and has all the quilting feet the other model you listed my bil girlfriend got and didn't have the 1/4 inch foot. I think the singer would be comparable but have never had one so can't speak on their reliability. The brothers have always been very solid for me

  3. #3
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    What most people will tell you is to go to a dealer and look around! Don't discount a nice, used machine as a dealer will often extend you some kind of store warranty. Avoid big box store junk and if you can't afford an expensive machine you can also look into a nice, sturdy, vintage machine.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for your suggestions and information. I'm not sure I'm mechanically inclined enough to go vintage. But I do love how they look.

  5. #5
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    A machine with a wider throat area is definitely nice for free motion quilting, but you can be successful at FMQ with a standard machine. I wouldn't be opposed to a used machine - my daughter just got a great deal on a Brother machine which she found on Craig's List. You don't really need a bunch of extras to make quilts. If you want to do your own quilting on your home machine, make sure whatever you buy has a good free motion foot and the ability to raise and lower the feed dogs.
    -Chris-
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    It does not do well, Harry, to dwell on the dreams....and forget to live. - Albus Dumbledore

  6. #6
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    I have a Viking Sapphire with a 10 in throat. Bought new years ago so used it should be alot cheaper now.
    It is a great machine and has alot of good quilting applications like needle down and a pop up foot when you stop sewing. This is great for chain pieceing and applique.
    Has tons of stitchs that I will never use.
    Has a 1/4 in setting but to big a seam for me.
    No repairs so far.

  7. #7
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    The Jem Platinum has the needle down function, a 1/4" seam bar on the foot and a way to set for a scant 1/4" seam allowance. Comes with a carrying case. My LQS threw in the walking foot too.
    It's made by Janome and costs somewhere around $400.

    It's become my sewing-room everyday machine, replacing my Bernina 1030, which I've loved too for close to 20 years.

    I could not recommend a machine more highly.
    I'm not new to quilting, began in the 70s, but I do not sew, cannot make anything, just quilt tops.
    Last edited by gollytwo; 09-30-2012 at 05:39 AM.

  8. #8
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    My DD has the Brother you mention. She makes quilts and has also sewn thru multi-layers of decorator fabric with no issues. i've sewn quilts on it too and really like it. yes it is from WM, she has had it several years now and it is still going strong. comes with a warrenty. I haven't used the Singer, but my good friend has one and liked it so well she bought one for her DD. they are both quilters with a bit of home dec. sewing thrown in . Theirs came from Joann's.
    Personally, I would put my money toward a new machine over a used one any day.

  9. #9
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    The reasons you don't see any conclusions because its an individual choice. You have to find out what's right for you. Go to the different quilt stores and see what's out there in your price range. Once you start checking them out you'll see the different features they each have and what you really want. Make sure you get good support from a quilt store. I started off for yrs with a Singer which my daughter now has then a few yrs ago when I was getting back into quilting I got a Kenmore made by Janome and it's a good machine with lots of features and what I could afford. I then bought a Viking Mega quilter and a Ruby machine w/embroidery. I love my Vikings just as others love their Janomes, Brothers, etc but you'll have to try them out and see what is a good fit for you. Good luck on chosing.
    Judy

  10. #10
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    thanks again for all the suggestions and opinions. I'm going to heave to research the local stores and see about going to them to try some out. I feel a little overwhelmed when I go into them as I'm so new I don't know the right questions to ask and I'm worried I'm going to be labeled "newbie" which in some store terms means "easy to make money off of"! hahahha

  11. #11
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    Before you go into a dealership have a firm $$$ in mind and stand your ground. They should be able to find something in your price range. That' s how I bought my Viking.

    As to questions: an "oldie" will ask the same questions as a "newbie". If they make you feel bad turn and walk out - they do not deserve your money or time.

  12. #12
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
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    My last two machines were Brothers....and I love them....
    DO NOT BE INTIMINATED by your local sewing center, a 'Good one' will make you feel comfortable, if they don't then it is their lose and walk away......You can find a nice, good well priced trade-in at a decent sewing center. Its kinda like a used car where all the bugs have been worked out....I think perhaps the most important thing to you should be if they (sewing center) will include sewing lessons with the price and the service they will provide in the future for that machine.
    Yes that is a real picture of my hometown Temecula, California. We feature premiere Wineries, World Class Golf Courses, Pechanga Indian Casino and Hot Air Balloons

  13. #13
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
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    I have the same machine that I bought about 8 years ago. It is inexpensive Singer 5050. It does not have needle down but you can always turn the hand wheel and put it down. It has many stitches of which I use two. It has a bobbin winderer and takes many singer model bobbins without any issue. It gulps any thread I throw at it and is compatible with Japanese made no-name feet sold by Joann's which are about half price than original Singer. It is mindnumbingly easy to clean and maintain by yourself. The motor is in metal housing. They are still sold today and they are workhorses. I quilt queen size quilts on it, but that is maximum. I do lots of Fmq and I also make clothing. If I were you I would not worry about 1/4" seam just yet but I would work on the consistency of the seam width. For example, the width of the regular Singer sewing foot is a smidgen bigger than 1/4". Most of my quilts are my design so I pretty much ignore the 1/4" rule but I am very consistent with the seam width. When I need to work off a pattern I mark my 1/4 inch with a stack of post it's or similar and off I go. I can recommend you Singer 5050 because it will give you lots of bang for your buck. I believe this model is still about $200. Good luck!
    Last edited by Tashana; 09-30-2012 at 09:09 AM.

  14. #14
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    I have owned the Singer Confidence for 3 years and I love it for FMQ.

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    Super Member patski's Avatar
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    I would go with the brother. You don't need to spend tons of money!! Also check out your local repair store, I bought a refurbished brother for $40.00. Works great and I carry it to classes
    Patski
    always learning

  16. #16
    Super Member raedar63's Avatar
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    I too would love those options , I still sew on my 30 some year old kenmore and my antique 15-91 singer . I do like the machines I see Elanor Burns use , Baby lock brand . If I ever had the money for a new machine I would check them out but probably still wouldn't spend as much as they are asking lol.

  17. #17
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    I too am a newbie and after much consideration and research I ended up buying the Singer Confidence. I just started quilting in March on my old Kenmore which was good, but I wanted to get something with a few more features so I could FMQ at home (would really love to be able to afford a long arm!). Anyway I got it in June and have sewn about 6 toppers with it, haven't actually tried fmq, but an planning on experimenting this weekend to catch myself up. While I have only had it a few months, it has been very good to me!

  18. #18
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    I have that exact Brother machine and love love, did I say love it. I have had the opprotunity to sew on some of my friends Berninas, Janomes, and a Pfaff. Yes, they make you giddy since they are some of the upper end machines. Even after trying those out I still prefer the CS 6000i. The only problems I have had with her has been due to my own error and not the machines. They are great. I too was a newbie and looking for a resonable priced machine to start off with. Now that I have this one I dont think I will upgrade as I initially thought. This machine does everything I want for quilting except embroidery but that is a different story. So with that said get what youre comfortable with and dont worry about it.

  19. #19
    Senior Member ploverwi2's Avatar
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    The reviews for the Singer are not positive, lots of complaints. The reviews for the brother are good. People seem quite happy with that machine. I always check many reviews, before I buy anything that will cost quite a bit.
    Karen from Appleton, Wisconsin

  20. #20
    Senior Member ploverwi2's Avatar
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    Take someone with you and make a day of it. Other people always catch things that I don't, when I go shopping for something expensive. I love my Janome 6600, but it is a lot more expensive than you are looking for. I would still go with the Brother, not the Singer.
    Karen from Appleton, Wisconsin

  21. #21
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I second the Janome Gem line of machines. They are wonderful and will give you years of service. They are inexpensive so you can save your money for a top of the line machine. As you advance in your quilting you will know more what you are looking for in a machine and have time to test run different brands.
    Last edited by BellaBoo; 10-04-2012 at 10:01 AM.
    Got fabric?

  22. #22
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    You have gotten alot of good feed back. However, take a list with you of the features you are wanting, that way you will be sure to get what you want and not be overwhelmed by a sales person.
    Carolyn

  23. #23
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    About needing a machine on the lower end of the budget...

    Know that feeling really well. I got suckered into buying an entry level Babylock at a LQS because I wanted a machine I could take to a group quilting meeting. I have a nice embroidery machine but did not want to haul it over the river & the railroad and through the woods and the potholes on the highway. The BL9 is a good machine for what it is, but not for quilting. I didn't know & relied on the dealer who said it would be great for quilting. Yeah, not so much. Oh well.

    I did some further research and ran across the Juki 2010Q. Have had it about a year and love it. All metal, not a lot of bells and whistles (other Juki models do have them, tho), but not suitable to take to class since it weighs nearly 38 lbs. Sews like a dream, auto thread cutter, knee lift, larger throat, quiet. I got it from icanhelpsew.com located in Meridian, MS. I also managed to get it with 6 months no interest financing. I later bought a Juki serger from an online dealer in San Marcos, CA which came with 12 months no interest financing. Being on a fixed income and with not a lot of "play" money, it was a major help to me and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

    That said, for someone with limited sewing experience, assuming you have one, a local dealer is super and worth the difference between online $ and local $. I do not have such an animal. My closest Juki dealer is 125+ miles one way. If I want Husqvarna, Pfaff, Janome, Brother or Babylock from a reliable dealer, it's at least 115 miles, one way. I do have a Singer dealer about 60 miles away, but he has all the personality of a wet mop after a hard day's scrubbing. The Bernina dealer charges 20% more because the machine came from her. Bernina is out of my price range, anyway.

    Even Joann or Hancock are 60 miles from me so online was the best option for me. However, if you would be going to a city when they are having a sewing expo (http://www.sewingexpo.com/) they have all kinds of machines for you to try out, some super deals on a lot of them and some have no interest financing to boot. If you're feeling lucky, they usually give away 2 sewing machines each day at the expo, too.

    BTW, if you go to buy a machine and the dealer says "This is a 1/4 inch foot", make him/her put it on the machine, sew with it & PROVE it is a true quarter inch. My BL9 has 3 such feet (and two made by BL) and none of them sew the right size seam. Can't move the needle, either, so I have to wing it. Ditto for the free motion foot. Make 'em put it on & show you it will do it. Same goes for the walking foot. Try it out and sew several lines of crossing or intersecting quilting lines to make sure the pressure on the presser foot is not too high & will not give you ridges of fabric on the back where the lines cross. Learned those tips the hard way.

  24. #24
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    If I were you I would go into a sewing machine store and see what they have to offer in a used machine with the stiff you want then think about how much you want to spend and go with what you can afford. But don't buy something that you will have to replace because you have grown out of it. try to buy something that has more in your price range so you can grow into it. Buy something better than an entry level you will outgrow it fast if you really like quilting.
    Last edited by debquilts2; 10-04-2012 at 11:34 AM.

  25. #25
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhapsdy View Post
    Ok I've searched and there are tons of threads on this, but none of them seem to really come to any conclusion or are old enough that I'm not sure if the information is still relevant. If there is a great thread that I've missed - please point me to this!

    Now - to explain my situation and get your opinions on what might work best for me.

    I'm a newbie to sewing and quilting. I'm still working on piecing my first quilt top, but really enjoying it! I'm currently using a hand me down machine that sometimes has some quirks and doesn't have some features that I really would like to have (a bright light, a 1/4 inch foot or guide, a needle down option). As I get more into the quilting thing I definitely want to try free motion quilting on a home machine. There is no way anytime in the near future that I would be able to purchase a large quilting long arm machine, so a domestic machine will have to work for me. So, with that in mind, I'm thinking possibly I should invest in a machine that already has a longer than normal arm so that quilting will be easier?

    Does anyone have any suggestions on a machine that might fit the bill? Yes, it needs to be on the lower end price range. I just can't afford something majorly expensive. If I can buy it second hand and have it work well, that would be fine as well. Mostly, I just don't even know how to being narrowing down the field.

    Here are two machines I have been looking at and considering, any thoughts on these?

    http://www.brother-usa.com/homesewin...i#.UGeTeU3A-5Q

    http://www.joann.com/singer-confiden...ne/xprd687328/

    Thank you for any help and suggestions!
    Earlier this year, I bought that same Brother (CS 6000i), for teaching my DD and DGD to sew (when they're comfortable enough on their own, I'll send the machine home with them). I've also used it and it's a wonderful machine! The only drawback is it has a "regular" sized harp/throat. This is really only a problem, if you plan to quilt large quilts. However, for the price, you really can't beat it! The accessories are relatively inexpensive, which is a huge plus!
    Neesie


    By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.
    ~Richard Dawkins

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