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Thread: High end machines? Are they Worth the $$?

  1. #51
    Power Poster sewnsewer2's Avatar
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    Speaking because I own a bernina and brother (but mine are combos) I say yes, they are worth it IF you are doing a lot of sewing.
    Grandma of 5 beautiful grand kids, 4 crazy cats & 1 dog!

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpspeedy2 View Post
    I learned to sew on my mother's Featherweight which she purchased in 1935. I worked for a Bernina dealer some 20+ years ago and fell in love. Over the years I have done thousands of hours of sewing in one form or another. I was able to purchase my first Bernina sewing machine at the dealer's discount, which at the time made it $1800. I probably had the equivilent of ten years worth of sewing hours on it when I traded it in on a newer but used model Bernina last year. I also purchased one of their basic lower end models for workshops etc. because it probably weighs 20lb or more less than my everyday machine. I also own a Bernina serger and a stand alone embroidery machine. Both of them are well used. The most unique thing a Bernina has is a knee lift. Until you have sewn with one you have no idea how wonderful it is. I only do basic machine quilting on Linus quilts but I don't know how I would do it without the knee lift. It is like having a third hand at all times.
    What does the knee lift do?

  3. #53
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    I have both what is considered high end and basic-older sewing machines. I have to confess, I purchased the high end one thinking I would "use" all that stuff.....well, you got it, I do not....oh, once in a while, but really not to justify the cost of the equipment. Like all have said, you have to know what you are really going to use it for and that will define your decision. Also, some of that built-in convenience costs a fortune to repair..........

    Are automobiles worth the price on the windshield...sometimes I wonder..........need a bushel of bucks to buy some things sometimes!!!!!

  4. #54
    Senior Member madamepurl's Avatar
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    I had a Pfaff Varimatic that fell off a UPS truck on it's way for servicing and was totally smashed. The folks at SVP said that they didn't make parts any longer, so that was that. Once I got my insurance check from UPS, I bought a Viking Emerald. I was only used to a manual machine and I only sewed a little at that point. Then I started quilting and the Viking got traded in for a Janome Horizon 7700. I love the machine, but I use only a few stitches.

    Then I found I needed a second machine and I bought the Janome 3160. It sews nearly identical to my 7700. It's a great little machine. Then I thought I wanted to get a frame and bought a Brother PQ-1500s straight stitch machine. That was around $600 and is a workhorse, but you know what I loved it for piecing (made a perfect scant 1/4") and FMQ. It makes a beautiful stitch. So, now I work on my 7700 a little and my Brother a little and my 3160 a little. I think I'm good on machines for awhile.

    The problem was I took a long arm class and decided the stand up wasn't for me, but I wanted the sit-down and drooled over it. My b-day is at Thanksgiving, so for b-day and Christmas last year my husband bought me a HandiQuilter Sweet Sixteen. I absolutely adore that machine. My friend just bought the new big Brother NX-3000 and I looked at it and went well... I don't think so, because now my needs are different. I think if I need a new machine, which I don't think will be for awhile, it will just be mid-range for piecing since all my quilting is on my SS now.

  5. #55
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    I'm like many of you, I drool over all the bells and whistles, but can't justify the expense. My Featherweight does a perfect straight stitch, is virtually maintenance free (ie unless its an electrical problem I can do it myself) and so far I have been able to do nearly everything I want to do on it. It actually has a larger throat space than some of the newer larger machines!
    Will keep my eye out for other machines, but most likely will stick with a vintage machine, just one with more throat space and maybe one with zigzag and possibly a few decorative stitches - don't need a bazillion.

  6. #56
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    I never pay the MSRP. There is always room to negotiate with dealers. I have also purchased gently used machines...one of them was two weeks old (Lady decided to trade up) at the dealer. That dealer gave me the warranty and discounted the machine $1000. Since you are on this board, it seems like you would like a good quilting machine. I just got the new Janome 8900. I love this machine. Right out of the box, did FMQ...and I am not good at it...I always had eyelashes on curves on the backside of my quilt....with the 8900, I had no eyelashes at all. I didn't change the needle that was in the machine, I didn't touch the tension, I didn't put in special washers or bobbin case...just right out of the box. I could not believe it. It is a dream. It is now retailing for $2500 and up. For me, it is worth every penny....did I mention it is very quiet....Very nice. Try this machine and others at your dealers and decide. Most Janome dealers have a deal with GE to provide you with no interest plans.

  7. #57
    Super Member Normabeth's Avatar
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    I have a Bernina 440EQ, it's a workhorse, solid machine. You get what you pay for.
    Be kinder than is necessary because everyone you meet is
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  8. #58
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    My new Juki2010Q sells for around $850 and is all I could ever dream of in a quilting machine! No computer, so it's easy to keep it running. Just oil it and go! Huge throat space, and loads of power. And auto needle down and thread cut, which has spoiled me rotten. It quilts like a dream.
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  9. #59
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    Are they worth the $$

    This is how I personally look it...Say, you buy one of the higher end machines and it has all the bells and whistles...then, within a year, the manufacturer comes out with an upgraded machine that makes yours look like it was from the stone age. What I am trying to say, that try out ALL machines. Do you want a straight sewing machine - or one with TONS of stitches, OR one that does embroidery, OR a "stretched" machine for quilting. Top of the line doesn't mean that it will remain next year, or even next week. Good luck

  10. #60
    Super Member IBQUILTIN's Avatar
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    My thought has always been: If it has lots of bells and whistles, the more it can have problems, I got a Viking, and absolutely love it. I went with the middle of the line because it does exactly what I want to do. I don't embroider, so that was a feature that I didn't need. Write down all the things you want your machine to be able to do, and compare your list with those you look at.

  11. #61
    Super Member MaryStoaks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pocoellie View Post
    I would first go to a dealer and see what they have in trade ins. A lot of time, they'll have a high end machine that was traded in for a higher end machine, this is how I got my Elna Quilter's Dream, a year old at the time, for $900.
    I also bought my high end machines second hand. They are so nice to sew with even though I don't use fancy stitches. The feed dogs are different, there are more of them so sewing is smoother and more accurate for me. Plus the needle down and threader are nice too. I don't think I could pay the prices for the new ones. I do still like to sew on my old singers too.
    Mary

  12. #62
    Super Member KyKaren1949's Avatar
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    I agree with everything Betty said. Only buy what you will use and need. And local service, in my opinion, is mandatory! I couldn't survive without my local dealership to help me when it's over my head.
    Karen in Kentucky

  13. #63
    Senior Member Loretta's Avatar
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    I think it depends on how many of those special stitches you would use.
    Hugs
    Loretta

  14. #64
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    As a quilter, I use my straight stitch and zig zag stitch and occasionally a blanket stitch. I have 3 Pfaffs (because we have 2 houses) and have had good luck purchasing them off Ebay but, I knew what I was looking for. I don't have a lot in any of my machines. That said, I have great dealer support in my area and am looking at a low end Janome classroom machine and will probably buy that one new but would jump on a used one if I could find it.

    I am all about going the used route but, it has its risks such as no warranty. My point is that I've had great luck buying used and have saved a lot of money. As/when my machines bite the dust, I'll go the used route again without hesitation.

  15. #65
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    I don't they are worth the extra money for normal everyday sewing. I have read on many quilting and sewing blogs that the stitching on the more expensive machines were better and of course the more expensive machines offer you more stitching choices...
    Kitty

  16. #66
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    I have a few of the top of the line sewing and or embroidery machines, all over a few thousand dollars each. I have never used all the bells and whistles on any of them. They are all lovely machines to use, haven't given me any trouble, but when I quilt I go to my old singers or kenmores and enjoy every minute using them. The old singers and kenmores give such a nice straight stitch. Good luck on whatever you choose, sometimes it is nice to use a few bells and whistles.

    Suzy

  17. #67
    Super Member oldtnquiltinglady's Avatar
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    Lots of good advice from every angle here for you to consider. Depending on how good you are at a sewing machine and how much you really grasp what the dealer's representative is showing you about the machine (and how desperately she/he needs a sale today)...I have bought one machine "new" in my entire life--an Elna special edition the year I was 50--the best machine that EVER came down the pike. The rest are all used that I have picked up at yard sales and flea markets and I spend my time enjoying fixing them up and giving them to someone I love. But my Elna (TOL at the time) is everything that I love and use, plus quiet. Quiet is very important to me. I did buy a used (on CL) HV Designer I for the embroidery functions about four years ago, and still do not know how to use it. The dealer has given me a couple of lessons on it, and would help me more, if we could get together; she is about 70 miles from here and it means a lot of planning, packing, etc. to go in for a lesson. So I still don't know how to use a machine that probably cost the original owner over $l0,000. So far, just eye candy in my sewing room for me. I keep saying "maybe next week" and next week my husband says "time for us to take a road trip, don'tyathink..."we are both retired, and all the grandkids are in school right now, so when we are freed up from the babysitting, we take off.

    Good luck in your search, and do post for us what you finally come up with.
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    JoAnn

  18. #68
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    I bought a Viking Rose on a good deal in about 2002, and it was still about $2K. I found that the embroidery was mostly more trouble than it was worth, but the machine was otherwise very nice. At the time I couldn't find a self-threading machine, which was the one feature I really wanted.

    Recently, the Rose started acting up and I went shopping to see whether I wanted to get a new machine, or hope to have Rosie fixed. Unfortunately, Viking isn't made in Sweden any more and isn't the machine it used to be. I've never yet found a Bernina dealer that wasn't obnoxious and snooty--sorry if that offends anyone, but it's my experience. Since I decided I really did want more throat space, it finally came down to the Janome 7700 or 8900, or the Brother VQ3000. I went with the Brother and am very happy with it. Though I'll never use all the stitches (actually, a lot are repeats with just different default lengths, widths, etc.) I love the threader, 11" throat, the MuVit foot (it's a belt driven dual feed foot), the knee lever for the presser foot, the automatic pivot feature, the thread cutter, the programmable alphabet stitches, and the laser...I use at least some of them every time I sit down at the machine. It's turning out to be a very nice FMQ machine, something I never really got into with the Rose.

  19. #69
    Senior Member skothing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rose Marie View Post
    My Viking Sapphire was $1100 new over 5 yrs ago. I love this machine with the 10 in throat. It is computerized.
    It does not require lifting and lowering the foot, its automatic. When in needle down mode it will lift the foot just a little when you stop sewing. The only thing it dosnt have is a thread cutter.
    I rarely use the fancy stitches and it has alot of them.

    This was the best machine I ha until 5 years ago. I loved the Sap
    It also has a drop in bobbin which I insist on having on all my machines except one that I hate. The Baby Lock Jane. It is so primitive and has a complicated threading and a bobbin case under the machine. It came with my long arm table that I dont use because of this machine. Just wish I had the money for a long arm machine.
    I bought a Sapphire 850 6 years ago. The dealer ask me to come to come to the new show of the Diamond. I bought the model and can't believe how much I love it. I got it It was 9,999. With the trade in of the sapphire and kick back from it being a floor model it brought it down to 6890. I got zero financing for 5 years. and all the luggage. and insert for my sew-mate cabinet. I love the machine and do use the embroidery allot. My recommendation is buy what you can afford. But buy more than you need. You grow into your machine. Good luck.

  20. #70
    Super Member callen's Avatar
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    I have a TOL Bernina, a cheapee Singer & my workhorse Juki 98TL. I have to say, when I use my "cheaper" machines I really notice the difference between them & my Bernina. As much as I love my "cheapee" machines, there is no comparison between them & my Bernina. Having said that, I did not start with a Bernina. I bought one for my 65th birthday as my gift to me & in Canada it ran almost $8,000. after taxes (of course). I sewed for years on Singers & gradually upgraded over the years & having Singers TOL machine, it doesn't hold a candle to my Bernina. Unfortunately, a lot of the companies that make different price points in machines have switched to having them made in China & the quality is just not there anymore. One important point when looking at machines is having a local retailer who will support you AFTER the sale & looking at used machines from dealers who have taken them in as trade ins. Buy what you can afford & when you upgrade to a better machine you will see the difference yourself. Test drive, test drive, test drive & do lots & lots of research.
    Dance like no one is watching

  21. #71
    Super Member purplefiend's Avatar
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    In my opinion, one doesn't need an expensive machine; but rather a well made machine. Many of the machines made today aren't worth what the asking price it. If you want a good new machine be prepared to spend at least $400.
    20 years ago I bought a Bernina 1031 for $1500. Its mechanical and still sews like the day I bought it. I also have a Viking Sapphire 875 that I use for quilting and sometimes piecing. Both are nice machines, I find myself using one of my old Singer Featherweights or a treadle. Most of my sewing is for quilts and don't need much more than a straight stitch machine. I like the quality of the vintage/antique machines. The vast majority of sewing machines from the 1960s and older are very good machines from my experience.
    Sharon
    Last edited by purplefiend; 03-29-2013 at 05:49 PM. Reason: added text

  22. #72
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    I have 4 Janomes and, yes, they are definitely worth what they cost. It's the difference between driving a Yugo and a Caddy. I would go try out both cheapies and expensive machines. You will be able to figure out what your must-haves are and what you definitely don't want. Get the best machine you can afford. Think of all the time you will spend together. You wouldn't want some old throw-away cheapo husband, now would you?

  23. #73
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    I find that as I sew more and more, my machine needs grow. Having moved from a garment maker only into quilting, I keep stretching both my capabilities and those of my machine! There is something to be said for bells and whistles - how disappointing to be drawn to a particular technique only to discover your machine isn't up to the task! I like the option of creating almost anything that my mind can dream up or that I find on the net. Haven't purchased TOL, but have gotten pretty close.

    When you are looking at machines, ask yourself if there is room to grow with a particular machine. What doesn't interest you today may just be something you want to learn next year!

    I have a Janomme Marie Osmond's Quilter's Companion - a mid-range machine and absolutely love it for ALL of its features, decorative stitches included. Do I use all those features a lot? No, but WHEN I want to do something more than a straight stitch, I can. As I have grown in my sewing interests, my machine needs also grow, to hubby's dismay! LOL! Just purchased the Janome 9900 and can't wait till it gets here!

  24. #74
    Super Member Weezy Rider's Avatar
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    It depends on the function you want. I loved my Pfaff 1471. I could design and program my own stitches! You could do quite a bit with the built in stitches, too. Wanted that in a new machine, and mostly only TOL had it. A lot bought the machine for the hoop size (12x12). I've always been impressed by the European machines' feet. Bernina, Pfaff, Viking, even Elna when it was Swiss, had a foot for almost everything. A lot of the feet were handy for other than recommended usage. I've done heirloom on the Babylock Ellegante when it was TOL, and it wasn't as straightforward as the European machines. It had that auto threader that made a wing or twin needles a pain.

  25. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grandma Nancy View Post
    What does the knee lift do?
    I read all the posts since this one, and no one else has answered it. A knee lift is a piece of very heavy wire that connects to your machine on the right side, then leads down to where your knee is when you sit at your machine. When you have both hands holding a very difficult maneuver that you don't want to let go of to get it under the needle, you use your knee to push on the knee lift. The presser foot lifts up and you can get your project under the foot without letting go of anything. Release pressure on the knee lift, and the presser foot lowers itself right to where you want it. It's like having a third hand.
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

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