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Thread: Help choosing a sewing machine for quilting...newbie

  1. #1

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    My wife is planning to do some quilting. She has done a couple of quilts many years ago and has some wonderful ideas about a quilt for our grown daughter. She asked if I would help her pick a sewing machine that would be good for quilting and I know absolutely nothing about the topic so I was hoping that someone here might help out in picking a machine. I really want to be sure that she gets a machine that will help her do what she wants to do. Budget is between $200-300 though if more is needed we could extend that a bit. She has some experience with sewing machines years ago but is not a pro by a long shot.

    What would you suggest?

    Many thanks.

    mr tom

  2. #2

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    Can I ask a question? Is she going to to using it for piecing a quilt top then hand quilting it? Or is she going to use it for piecing the quilt top and then machine quilting with the new sewing machine?

    If it is just for piecing you can get some nice machines in your price range. One that comes to mind is the Janome Magnolia. Just do a google search. If she is also going to quilt with it maybe someone here on the board can suggest one for you. Most of all, your wife should go and test drive the machine before purchasing.

    Kanoelani

  3. #3
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    Hi Thomas - you picked a great place to ask your question! welcome!

    several years ago i paid about $350 for a mid-range Janome and it really has been a great machine. i've progressed into machine quilting with it and i'm still really thrilled to have it. i got it at sears. it has lots of stitches and the snap-on foot, which is very versatile if she'll want to add presser feet to her collection down the road. i don't think they (sears) carry janome anymore, but you might see what they do have. they have pretty good sales (my machine was a $500 machine, on sale for the $350). i also have a 25+ year old Kenmore that i just love!

    you do want to try to find something for her that has an even feed foot (for straight-line quilting). machines that are classified as 'quilting' machines have them.

    have fun! one word of advice - get her more than she thinks she'll use 'cause she'll love it so much she'll expand her skills!

  4. #4
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    I bought my Kenmore a year ago in December, and it's a Janome, with 50 stitches (they count as 100 because it has double needle ability). It was advertised as an all purpose machine for quilting, heirloom sewing, and clothing construction. I got a good sale price, then paid extra for quilting accessories, and came home with under $250 spent, and a gift card they gave me because I had to wait more than 15 minutes in the pickup area.

    Be sure to ask if you can get a refund if it goes on sale within 90 days, since Nov-Dec is when the sales run. If you go for a real jazzy machine, like an embroiderer, you may want to ask about free lessons. I imagine with the economy like it is, you can negotiate a lot.

    When you compare prices, also compare attachments, as the ones that are included vary with brands and models. As well as the even-feed walking foot already mentioned, a 1/4" foot and ditch quilting foot are desirable. Additional table extenders are nice, but a bit out of my price range, so someone else can vouch for them.

    Happy shopping!

  5. #5
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    I agree with Moonpi, I have a Janome and it is wonderful.
    And I too learned that Kenmores are made by Janome at a much better price, so that sounds like the ticket to me..

    And the 1/4 inch foot and walking foot are essential.


  6. #6
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    You can get a nice Elna in that price range, it won't be top of the line but they are good machines.

  7. #7
    Super Member quiltwoman's Avatar
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    Definately negotiate this time of year--if you aren't opposed to used machines, many stores offer great deals on machines people "thought" they wanted but never used or learned how to use. A quilt store that also deals in machines can really be helpful and guide you to the right machine for the RIGHT price. Some now cost more than my first car!!! and I'm only 40. :shock:

    For quilting, I agree w/ the 1/4 foot, walking foot, open toe foot--all necessary.

    How serious is your wife? If she's not really sure, I would not invest a great deal in a new machine until she has a few "under her belt" and makes sure it's something she really wants to do. Then, the sky's the limit with what you want.

  8. #8
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    I would suggest Janome machine too, However, service is also an important part of this. Go to a reputable dealer who knows about there machines. If you buy at a dept store such as Sears or Walmart or any of those you are not going to get personnel service as many of those people know nothing about machines. Dealers also have display models that have been used in the store for sale. That way you can get a better machine at a lower price. Good luck in your search. Definitely need an even feed foot also called a walking foot. but try them out at the store. You can even take fabric with you to see how it sews.

  9. #9
    Super Member Harmony's Avatar
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    You might want to include a few embroidery stitches too, even if she thinks she won't use them. You just never know--as her skills grow, she'll want to do more!

  10. #10
    Super Member mary quite contrary's Avatar
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    One thing that was important to me when I got mine is the classes that go along with it. They do so many things now I really wanted to know how to use them.

  11. #11

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    kanoelani - Thanks for your response. I think she is hoping to use the machine for both the pieces and in what you call "machine quilting" which I assume means stitching the pieces together into a quilt.. Are there machines in that price range that can do that?

  12. #12
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    Machine quilting is where you sew the 3 layers together.
    I have two singers, and both handle the quilt layers well. I'd look at the reviews, or have your wife look at reviews of products. Go to www.patternreview.com and you might be able to get a better idea.

  13. #13
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    I have a Kenmore and love it. My DH bought me all the presser feet that go with my machine. When I got mine, it was advertised as a great quilting machine. My "dream" is to get a Babylock or a Pfaff!! :mrgreen:

  14. #14
    Super Member gcathie's Avatar
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    That big of a surpise ....I would take her to the place you are getting your machine and let her pick it out....after all she is the one who will use it.....just my thought...good luck

  15. #15

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    Many thanks to everyone for your great responses.

    fabricluvr, Moonpi, jstitch, mic-pa - Thanks for the Janome recommendation. It seems that the Kenwood (Sears) are made by Janome. Would you recommend getting the Kenwood or would the Janome be a better bet?

    pocoellie - Thanks for the idea of the Elna. That gives me one more name to have a look into.

    quiltwoman - I loved your idea of a quilt store and hadn't even thought of that. I searched and it seems there is one that is not far from where we live. Here is the url. any thoughts on how this store looks? Might it be a good place for me to go and visit? Me in a quilt store? lol http://www.capitalquilts.com/

    I can't thank you all enough for your willingness to help me out!

  16. #16
    Super Member Quilt4u's Avatar
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    Hi Thomas
    There are many good machines out there.The best thing to do is have your DW go try some so she can pick out the one she likes. She will be sewing with it. I have a Viking Freesia that I got around that price range.

  17. #17

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    When I really started quilting, I didn't want a huge investment until I understood exactly what I would want later from the actual experience. So, I went to Hancock fabrics not far from me,and they were about to close this store. Found a Janome 3200 for $399 and talked it down another 100. I about cried all the way home for I thought this seemed like such a big amount of money for something to just have fun on:)) I not only pieced but quilted on this machine. It still is my work horse. It doesn't have all that fancy stuff but, I did a huge and heavy quilt on it quilting...after that I decided I needed something with more throat space I have purchased the Janome 6600. It sews like butter!:))You can go direct to the Janome site and check out all the different machines and options. I don't regret starting out on a simple start at all...I still use it to piece, loan out and/or take to class. I hug my 6600 almost everyday:))Good luck and keep us posted on your decision. There are many choices! Tour her to other shops and let her sew on demos if she doesnt know what she wants...:))Skeat

  18. #18
    Senior Member Kara's Avatar
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    I bought a Pfaff. My favorite feature, the integrated dual feel (IDT). It acts like an even-feed foot that I can use all the time (perfect for piecing and machine quilting that isn't free-motion and sewing binding on). At last check, the cheapest ones with this feature were in the $500 range.

    I bought a higher end model and the thing is an absolute work horse. It has gone through layers of seat belt strapping (sewed a messenger bag for my cousin out of high end fabric that were water-resistent and seat belt strapping was used for the shoulder strap).

    Love this machine!!

  19. #19
    Super Member quiltwoman's Avatar
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    Thomas,
    Did you check out the Class Pass your quilting store is offering?? For $100, you can take as many classes as you'd like in the quarter. You, of course, have to supply the fabrics, etc but the instructor fee is waived. Might be a nice gift?? :wink:

    Be prepared to spend a long time at the store and really take your/her time sewing on all the machines. Don't forget used too if sticker shock hits you.

    The store in your area carries Pfaff--I have a Bernina and 2 Brother machines so I"m not a good person to comment on those machines. I'd go and see what you can find. Perhaps someone here has a Pfaff??

  20. #20
    Super Member Barbm's Avatar
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    I think some of those classes would be fantastic for her to dabble in quilting.

    See some I'd love to take!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasR

    fabricluvr, Moonpi, jstitch, mic-pa - Thanks for the Janome recommendation. It seems that the Kenwood (Sears) are made by Janome. Would you recommend getting the Kenwood or would the Janome be a better bet?
    Thomas, you might want to take a peek at the Sears website. most of the machines there have ratings. more than likely they'll have some of the same machines in the store. i see five star ratings on several of their machines. i would love to have the Kenmore computerized with 215 stitch functions! it has 49 ratings with an overall of 5 stars! i'm getting ready to make a crazy quilt and i'll be limited on the number of decorative stitches i have, even with two different sewing machines.

    i suspected Kenmore was made by Janome but i wasn't certain until reading it here. while mine isn't a Kenmore, the price i paid for it at Sears was WAAAYYYY less than the sewing machine store down the street for equivalent features (my neighbor bought one similar and paid $200 more for it). they are willing to service it for me, even though their nose gets a little out of joint when they see it is a model from Sears. a long-winded way to answer your question about Kenmore vs. Janome. :D

    http://www.sears.com/shc/s/search_10...&gobutton=find

  22. #22

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    Thank you all again.

    The latest chapter in this saga is that I called the quilt store and was told that $600-700 was the lowest price they would recommend for a basic machine. It went up from there, and I do mean UP! :mrgreen: I was a little dissappointed since I felt the quilt store would have offered a brick and mortar address that might be helpful with the zillion questions that are likely to come up.

    From what I have read here I am tempted to go back to Sears and buy the Kenwood (Janome?) machine that is on sale for $199

    Link to sears site

    My wife has been reading your responses with me and feels a pull towards the Janome Magnolia. There seems to be different models of he magnolia and a large price spread. I think she would also seem happy with the idea of the machine linked above.

    Any feedback will be very much appreciated. Thank you all.

  23. #23
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    i still really believe in kenmore. one huge difference i see between the one you've chosen (on sale for $199) and the $254.99 one is 9 month full vs. 25 year limited warranty. granted, the $254.99 machine is computerized.

    i did notice that neither of them include the even feed (walking) foot for quilting. but you can purchase that separately ($19.99). your wife will want that for even the basic straight-line quilting.

    looks like the throat on the $254.99 one may be a little larger (could make a difference when she really gets going with quilting when trying to maneuver a piece through).

    just to stir the pot! have fun!

  24. #24
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    Mine is Sears model# 19110 and it has done everything I could ask, quietly, efficiently, and without complaint. I do notice that all the machines in their line had gone up by $50 this year - guess I bought at the right time. Good luck with it!

  25. #25
    Super Member Janstar's Avatar
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    My first machine was a Kenmore that I paid around $200 for 8 years ago. It had a presser foot that could be adjusted for extra thickness which is great for quilting. Then my DH got me a Viking Designer 2 with the all the bells and whistles, embrodery etc. Wonderful machine and probably cost as much as a small car. I still use my Kenmore alot too, great little work horse. Just letting you know what you are in for when she gets more experience! Ha! Good luck, I think you are on the right trail.

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