Welcome to the Quilting Board!

Already a member? Login above
loginabove
OR
To post questions, help other quilters and reduce advertising (like the one on your left), join our quilting community. It's free!

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 45

Thread: Help for a Newbie

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    23

    Help for a Newbie

    I'm not sure that I am posting this in the right place. I'm new here.

    I'm new to quilting and I have an older, inexpensive model Singer sewing machine, that I just don't think is cutting it. I have major problems getting accurate seam allowances because of pulling. Plus my foot pedal has no finesse. It's either all or nothing. Could anyone recommend a good beginner sewing machine I can use for accurate piecing, ditch quilting, and possibly some free motion quilting in the future? I really appreciate it!

  2. #2
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Wine Country-Southern California
    Posts
    1,455
    First question...How old is your machine ....depending on their age, they are worth their weight in gold.
    Have you had it serviced, your pedal could just need servicing or possible replacement. I know the 'new' machine look so nice and shiny and new....but the lower end ones (IMHO) are made to be disposable. Find a Sewing Machine service center, take your machine in ask questions, ask questions, ask questions....How much for a simple service, repair of pedal or replacement ( I just replaced mine on my Brother for $50) but I am guessing it just needs to be taken apart and cleaned. You can go on the Singer website and age date your machine, so you have some accurate
    information in your head.
    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

  3. #3
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    29,663
    It will help if you post a price range to narrow down the choices. You could get a beginner machine at Walmart and try it out? Each of the major brands have lower end machines Janome, Pfaff, Bernina, Brother etc but they are more than money than a basic machine.

  4. #4
    Super Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southeast Wisconsin
    Posts
    1,067
    You will get as many opinions as there are people on this board.

    The firs thing is to establish your budget. Do you want new or would you be okay with used? etc. etc. etc.

    If you search this board for "new machines" or "beginner machines" you will see the many, many discussions on this topic.

  5. #5
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Western Wisconsin
    Posts
    11,883
    Blog Entries
    1
    Personally, I would buy a new machine. The old one can be fixed up as a backup.

    When shopping for a machine, the very first thing you need to do is decide on a price range. If you are limited to $300 or less, then I would check out machine dealerships near you. Often a good used machine will give you more bang for your buck in terms of quality of machine. Deciding on a price range *first* will narrow down the choices to a manageable size.

    In my opinion, you ***really*** want a needle-down option and at least a standard harp size (area underneath the arm where you need to squish a quilt for machine quilting). Judging by your post, you also want either a sensitive foot controller or a speed control on the machine. Another ***must*** on my list is the ability to adjust stitch length and stitch width yourself; do not get a machine with only pre-set stitches, as it is too limiting. Stick to brands such as Janome, Pfaff, Bernina, Babylock, Brother. (I personally would skip Elna, Bernette, Singer.) An advantage of going to a dealership is that you can sit down with your own fabrics and try out the machines before purchasing. (Do not use only the dealership's fabrics; they are different than quilting fabrics and do not always show up tension problems.) Be sure you understand the dealership's return policy before buying. I don't know about used machines, but usually dealerships will *not* take a return on a new machine unless you upgrade.

    If you can't find something you like used at a dealership, then many people are happy with basic machines sold at Walmart. Just be aware that sometimes the harp size is small, and typically these machines do not have quite as strong a motor for machine quilting. Also be sure to understand the return policy if you try the machine and are not satisfied.

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    23
    I have a Model 384.13012000 Singer a Sears exclusive model. I don't know how old it is. I did a google search and didn't find much information. The Singer website isn't much help, because technically it's a Sears-Roebuck. I do know that I have had it for about 10 years. I bought off of ebay for around $80 then. It really wasn't used for much until recently. I have not had it serviced yet. The closest service center is 40 miles away and they told me it was a minimum of $100 to look at it. Since I didn't know how much it would eventually cost I didn't think the machine was worth that much.

    I would be fine with a used machine. My budget would be about $400, including all the feet, seam guide, etc. that I would need for quilting. The only dealerships near me are Singer, Janome and Bernina. I'm pretty sure a new Bernina is out of my price range at this moment. I have not read good things about new Singers. I don't really know much about Janomes except that they all have drop-in bobbins, and I think I read that isn't a good thing. Of course, that's why I'm asking you guys advice. Thanks for any help you can give me.

  7. #7
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Wine Country-Southern California
    Posts
    1,455
    OK...so let us rethink this....I agree with that added information it is not worth getting serviced, for the price you paid and the cost of service (outrageous !) you would be behind.....

    I agree a new Singer would not be the best of choices, not like the oldies but goodies.

    There is Phaff (?) Janome, Bernina, Brother and Viking, and I could no more afford to buy a new machine either. But these dealerships should have fully serviced good working trade-ins for sale....I agree with your thought of a drop in bobbin. I have one machine of each and when I am quilting and my bobbin runs out on my Bernina, all I have to do is reach under everything and change it. On the Brother with the drop in you have to take every thing off the surface to replace the bobbin, if you are just doing general sewing or piecing not a big issue. I do like the option of needle down in both my machines, that really helps when pivoting a corner or just straightening out your fabric. I personally don't think you 'need' any type of stitch regulator, just another thing to go wrong. Something that are 'nice to have' but not necessary is a needle threader and a thread cutter, especially if you do a lot of sewing, that darn needle eye gets smaller as the day gets longer.....and yes you do need feet, a general foot, 1/4", and a free motion foot....after that they are all special like for ruffles, piping, pintucks, picot edges, zippers etc.

    I hope this helps a little
    Last edited by Deborahlees; 10-05-2012 at 10:53 AM.
    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

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    23
    The Bernina dealer does not have any used in my price range. What are your thoughts on buying a used one from Ebay?

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    23
    They do have a new machine that is under $400... a Bernette 15. Does anyone know anything about it?

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Chapel Hill NC
    Posts
    322
    I just got a Janome hd 1000. It does not have a drop in bobbin and the snap on feet from my Singer fit, even the walking foot. I really like it, it was $299 on Amazon. It's a workhorse and the body is metal. I'm a newbie too...less than a year quilting and it really meets my needs.

  11. #11
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    2,889
    I agree with Deborahlees. Do look at used machines at your local dealers. Also let it be known you are looking when you go to your quilting groups/classes.

    I found my Featherweight in an estate sale, so I encourage you look at garage/estate sales, taking some thread and material with you to check out the machines.

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

  12. #12
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Long Island
    Posts
    798
    I am watching a few Singer model 15, Singer featherweight, and it's bigger sister 301 on line (eBay). I will not buy them all but they are all very good machines and all are currently waaaay below your budget. I had singers my whole life(I still have all of them) and they never let me down. The new ones are junk. They are cheap, plastic and disposable. You can not go wrong with oldie but goodie. One day when you budget is higher you can always get another machine, the modern type. Market for old Singers will always be there if you decide to sell it. This time though, I would buy a real Singer. The old ones that I have came with many attachments and with my luck they are interchangeable. Happy hunting!

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    23
    Quote Originally Posted by Jo C View Post
    I just got a Janome hd 1000. It does not have a drop in bobbin and the snap on feet from my Singer fit, even the walking foot. I really like it, it was $299 on Amazon. It's a workhorse and the body is metal. I'm a newbie too...less than a year quilting and it really meets my needs.
    That sounds very reasonable. I will check that one out. Thanks!

  14. #14
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Wine Country-Southern California
    Posts
    1,455
    Quote Originally Posted by pinkyrue01 View Post
    The Bernina dealer does not have any used in my price range. What are your thoughts on buying a used one from Ebay?
    I would not recommend buying a used sewing machine on ebay, unless the seller lived down the street, backed the machine with a return policy.....
    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

  15. #15
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    5,045
    My machine has a drop in bobbin, and I don't mind it at all. In fact, I like loading it better than my older machine, as there is only one way the bobbin will fit. I was always getting that bobbin in backwards before! Anyway, just letting you know that not all of us hate a drop in bobbin.

    Dina

  16. #16
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Western Wisconsin
    Posts
    11,883
    Blog Entries
    1
    I would recommend against a Bernette. I'd buy a Walmart machine before I'd buy a Bernette (and I *love* my aging Bernina 1230!).

  17. #17
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,688
    These are brothers only higher end offered online in your price range, and it gets awesome ratings, I have had only brother/babylock for the past 20 years, Had 3 that were cheaper than this and they served me well, this one has less plastic and is more durable
    http://www.amazon.com/Brother-Limite...sewing+machine

    if not this one I would look at juki's

  18. #18
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Wine Country-Southern California
    Posts
    1,455
    Quote Originally Posted by Dolphyngyrl View Post
    These are brothers only higher end offered online in your price range, and it gets awesome ratings, I have had only brother/babylock for the past 20 years, Had 3 that were cheaper than this and they served me well, this one has less plastic and is more durable
    http://www.amazon.com/Brother-Limite...sewing+machine

    if not this one I would look at juki's
    I could not agree more....I did some extensive research yesterday and this is the exact model I came up with. Free shipping from Amazon.....I think you will be very happy with this machine. I have owned 2 Brother machines, they are simple to use and understand, very straight forward. You can order parts either on ebay, amazon or direct from Brother. Brother is great with customer service on the phone or interent.
    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

  19. #19
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    23
    Quote Originally Posted by Dolphyngyrl View Post
    These are brothers only higher end offered online in your price range, and it gets awesome ratings, I have had only brother/babylock for the past 20 years, Had 3 that were cheaper than this and they served me well, this one has less plastic and is more durable
    http://www.amazon.com/Brother-Limite...sewing+machine

    if not this one I would look at juki's

    Thank You! I will check it out!

  20. #20
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    23
    Well, I looked into the Brother PC-420 PRW and the Janome HD1000. I like both but the Brother is at the very top of my budget and I would want a couple of extra accessories to add to it. I really like the Janome, but it does not have an option to change the needle plate to a straight stitch plate. I have read that when straight sewing if you are using a zigzag plate that the wide opening can draw fabric down into this. I was wondering if anyone has any opinions on this.

  21. #21
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Wine Country-Southern California
    Posts
    1,455
    I know that the Brother is at the top of your budget, first of all what additonal accessories do you feel that you need ???

    In all my years of sewing I do not think I have ever changed out my needle plate !!!
    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

  22. #22
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    23
    Quote Originally Posted by Deborahlees View Post
    I know that the Brother is at the top of your budget, first of all what additonal accessories do you feel that you need ???

    In all my years of sewing I do not think I have ever changed out my needle plate !!!
    I don't think that the Brother comes with a 1/4" foot or a seam guide. I know a lot of people may not need the seam guide, but I think being a beginner I'll need the extra help.

  23. #23
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Wine Country-Southern California
    Posts
    1,455
    Quote Originally Posted by pinkyrue01 View Post
    I don't think that the Brother comes with a 1/4" foot or a seam guide. I know a lot of people may not need the seam guide, but I think being a beginner I'll need the extra help.
    OK...you can pick up a 1/4" foot if you feel you need it at Walmart for less than $10, just had one in my hand the other day. You really don't need a seam guide it gets more in the way than helps, the best suggestion I have heard for a good seam guide has been here on the board, measure from your needle over 1/4" and stitch down either a 1/2" stack of the tiny post-its or lay down a strip of command tape. soooooooooooooo much better
    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

  24. #24
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Western Wisconsin
    Posts
    11,883
    Blog Entries
    1
    I make my own seam guides from moleskin. Even better is the Dritz Adhesive Guide Refills (don't use their red ruler as it will make the seam too large). I'm also going to try the 3M Command large mounting strips. All of these provide a physical guide against which you can butt your seams. Makes my sewing much faster and more accurate than if I just eyeballed using a 1/4" foot.

    I can't be sure from the Amazon descriptions, but I think the Janome may not have adjustable stitch length and stitch width capability. It only mentions built-in stitches. In my opinion, you *really* want to have variable stitch length and stitch width alter on for machine applique options (and it also creates more variations in decorative stitch options, as you can alter the look of a single decorative stitch by varying stitch length and width).

    My Bernina has the straight stitch plate, but I ***rarely*** use it. Broke too many needles with it from mindlessly changing to a zigzag stitch without remembering to change the plate. Not all machines draw fabric into the zigzag hole, plus it's fairly simple to avoid this by using leaders and enders (small pieces of scrap fabric used to start and end stitching lines, sometimes used to create scrappy quilts too).

    Personally, I would opt for the Brother. You can add in accessories slowly over time, as you need them. Generic feet are inexpensive and usually do a good job. The one exception might be a walking foot, as sometimes these work better if you buy the walking foot made expressly for your machine. But that's not something you need right away.

  25. #25
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    23
    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99 View Post
    I make my own seam guides from moleskin. Even better is the Dritz Adhesive Guide Refills (don't use their red ruler as it will make the seam too large). I'm also going to try the 3M Command large mounting strips. All of these provide a physical guide against which you can butt your seams. Makes my sewing much faster and more accurate than if I just eyeballed using a 1/4" foot.

    I can't be sure from the Amazon descriptions, but I think the Janome may not have adjustable stitch length and stitch width capability. It only mentions built-in stitches. In my opinion, you *really* want to have variable stitch length and stitch width alter on for machine applique options (and it also creates more variations in decorative stitch options, as you can alter the look of a single decorative stitch by varying stitch length and width).

    My Bernina has the straight stitch plate, but I ***rarely*** use it. Broke too many needles with it from mindlessly changing to a zigzag stitch without remembering to change the plate. Not all machines draw fabric into the zigzag hole, plus it's fairly simple to avoid this by using leaders and enders (small pieces of scrap fabric used to start and end stitching lines, sometimes used to create scrappy quilts too).

    Personally, I would opt for the Brother. You can add in accessories slowly over time, as you need them. Generic feet are inexpensive and usually do a good job. The one exception might be a walking foot, as sometimes these work better if you buy the walking foot made expressly for your machine. But that's not something you need right away.
    The Janome HD1000 has dials that allows you to change the stitch length and width.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.