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

  1. #1
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    High end machines? Are they Worth the $$?

    Hi-

    Quick question for everyone..for those that have machines that are $3k or more, do you really think they are worth the $$? I'm just asking because I am in the market for a new sewing machine and its been years since I've looked and between all the new bells and whistles, its mind boggling.

    When I say $5k, I am talking about SEWING machines only..not the embroidery combos. Thoughts??!

  2. #2
    Super Member eparys's Avatar
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    Generally the more it costs - the more options it has. I would base my decision on which options you want/need. Make a list and start checking it off. For me it was # needle positions, automatic presser foot, a handful of must have stitches - the extras were just icing on the cake so to speak, sewing area, extended table availability (now you can order aftermarket ones that fit) and dual feed (which at that time narrowed it down to one brand - Pfaff - now others have it). I, being somewhat "frugal" lol , purchased a used Pfaff Performance 2048 that had been upgraded be a dealer to a 2054.

    I have said this many times - but will also say it here - which ever one you decide on - you would be happier if a dealer was nearby for service. Many of the smaller repair centers are not trained to work and service on these newer computer driven machines.
    Betty

    A quilt will warm your body and comfort your soul.

    http://notesfrommoosehaven.blogspot.com

  3. #3
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    After I retired, I bought a new Singer for around $300. At that time that was the most I ever spent on a machine. Boy did I come to hate it. It was impossible to get the tension right. Next came a Bernette 65 for $250. Did not like that one either. Then I was given an old computerized machine that had auto tension and needle down. It was like driving a Cadillac after driving an economy car. Smooth going. But, it was made for sewing and not quilting so it had a small throat space and the presser foot lever and the thread would get caught up in the bulk of the quilt. Then bought a Babylock classroom machine that was originally $3400 and got it for $1700. Sure is nice to have all those decorative stitches, auto tension, needle threader, thread cutter, and nice large throat space (9") and the pressor foot and the thread are out of the way of the throat space. Nice.

    But, the bad thing is that the local dealer has to send the machines to the next state over to get a certified repairman to service it. Which means being without my machine for atleast two weeks.

    Figure out what you can afford - most dealers offer interest free for a set amount of months. Also, ask them about trade-ins. You might be able to get a more expensive machine that way. Some people treat their machine like cars and upgrade/trade-in every couple of years.

  4. #4
    Super Member deedum's Avatar
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    I bought one for $1500 several yrs ago, Janome. I pretty much use my old singers. I find more value there. Depends I guess on what you want from them.

  5. #5
    Super Member nabobw's Avatar
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    I have a Janome 7700 and a Diamond both are high dollar and I love them both. Both do and act much nicer much much better then any of the cheaper machines I have had. At the same time some of the cheaper machines are very good just do not have the options mine have, and one important options on both is the larger throat area.

  6. #6
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    My babylock espire was 1800, my dreamweaver was 6400 with trade in on the espire, loved them both for various reasons and do think they are woth the money, that being said I used my cheapos for 10 years with no problems, so are they necessary no, are the wonderful if you can afford them yes, do i still use my cheapo, all the time, but when i do i very much miss the features on my TOL. IMHO they are worth the money if you can afford them why not have something nice for yourself, you work hard, you've earned it
    Brother XL-3500i, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D, Juki MO-2000QVP

  7. #7
    Super Member QuiltingKrazy's Avatar
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    Test Drive an inexpensive machine ($200-$300) then test drive a mid range ($1000-$1500) then test drive the
    expensive babies! You can feel a difference in each one. BUT.... The high end to have many more bells and whistle of which you may not use often. BUT they also have features such as a larger throat area compared to the $300 ones that normally only have about 6" or so. I have a "Mid range" and love it! It has more stitches than I need but nice to have when you do want to do something more. Best advise I can offer is to write down the features you would really like to have, then go try out machines. Good Luck!
    Lisa B in NC
    Quilting is my Happy Thought!
    http://www.quiltingkrazy.blogspot.com

  8. #8
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    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.

  9. #9
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    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.
    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.

  10. #10
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    Go test drive some machines. I think that is the only way to know what you like. Mine is a Pfaff expression 2., and I love it, but it has about 120 stitches I don't use. Doesn't matter, I hadn't expected to use them when I got it. I fell for the "built in walking foot"..(I can't recall it's real name) and the wide throat. It was also quieter than most other machines I tried out. Mine cost $1500 from a local dealer. I don't think I got a "deal" but I do have service in town, lessons...even after 3 years if I want them...and free cleaning for 5 years.

    But, go test drive. Take your own fabric so you can "feel" the machine better. Have fun. I let it get frustrating, but the hunt should be fun.

    Dina

  11. #11
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I have sewn on most all the high end machines. The all sew a nice. All the features and options give me a headache though. I'm just not sold on spending thousands for a machine I will use 99% of the time to sew a straight seam. I bought an older Bernina that has the features I knew I would use.
    Got fabric?

  12. #12
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    I had an older Bernina that I traded for a Janome. I now have a Janome Magnolia 7330 computerized machine, that I love, love, love! That one sells for around $400. I think it depends on how much money you want to spend...there are many lower priced machines that will do the job.

  13. #13
    Senior Member sew4nin's Avatar
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    I bought a top of the line Pfaff probably 15 years ago. I have never been sorry. The high end machines have features you just can't get on the cheaper stuff - needle down, dual feed, needle threader (only started using that recently), etc...
    That being said, I still use my old faithful 401a when the Pfaff is in the shop. Even if there isn't a problem, the newer ones need to have maintenance work to keep them running well. I do all the maintenance on my old Singer and she has not spent a single day in the shop in the 30 years I have had her!

  14. #14
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    I really love my Janome 7700. I just went for it. I have a computerized Brother ES6000. It was free and you can't beat free, but I wanted a bigger throat. I'm 70 years old and just started Quilting in December of 2012 so I think I deserved a really good machine. It has way more stitches than I will ever use, but I don't care. I have yet to install the knee lifter, but after reading the post from above, I think I will try it. Just do it!

  15. #15
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    I'm retiring TODAY! ( happy dance!). DH said to go upgrade my current 7700 Janome! I traded it and a second machine in,and took advantage of the sale they had ,and came home with an 8900! It came out at a price I. Could afford. This machine is very smooth and quiet( important since I sew inLiving Room,right behind DH's chair and he fusses if I sew fast and make too much noise). It has great lighting,an 11 inch bed and sews like a quiet dream. It'll be my work horse for years to come,I hope. I test drove a lot of machines before I made my decision.
    Life may not be the party we planned for,but while we are here we should dance!

  16. #16
    Super Member Shelbie's Avatar
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    The most expensive machine I ever purchased was my Janome 6500 and it has been the worst machine that I have ever had. I don't think you can judge a machine just by the dollars. My newest machine is a slightly used Juki-TL98Q (which I bought for $600) and I absolutely love it because it is capable of handling what I do. I do a lot of piecing, walking foot and FM quilting which this machine was designed to handle as it is sturdy, fast and has a larger throat. There is no point spending many extra dollars to buy a machine with 250 stitches if you just want to machine quilt. You need to figure out what you want your machine to do and what features you really need and shop for a machine based on your list. I haven't been able to find a machine that does exactly what I need so my solution has been to have two machines. My Husqvarna #1Plus was also purchased slightly used (many components still in the box) for $200 and will stitch multiple stitches, buttonholes, embroider etc. For $800 I now have machines that will do everything that I need to do.
    Shelbie from the High County in Southern Ontario

  17. #17
    Super Member pumpkinpatchquilter's Avatar
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    Yes and no. It depends on what you want your machine to do. You can do amazing things with a very simple machine. BUT, that being said, some of the bells and whistles are really nice to have. Also, if you don't want to drop that kind of cash but want a high end machine, you could consider buying used. My Mom bought a used Pfaff at a local sewing machine dealer...she spent $1000 on it, new it was twice that. She's used it for ten years now and the only thing that has gone on it is the bobbin thread sensor...and she just doesn't want to pay to fix it.
    Valerie Smith - pumpkinpatchquilter
    Obsessed Quilter and APQS Long Arm Machine Quilter
    www.pumpkinpatchquilter.com

  18. #18
    Senior Member sew4nin's Avatar
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    I would not recommend spending the extra money on a high end machine just for the fancy stitches. I would buy a higher priced machine for the features such as needle down, dual feed, etc.. Most of the time you can get a used machine with all the great features. I agree with Shelbie - who needs 250 different stitches??

  19. #19
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    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.

  20. #20
    Super Member quiltingeileen's Avatar
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    I agree with the above. Go test drive some machines. I made sure I tried not only different price ranges but different brands of machines. I settled on the Janome 7700. It is my 2nd Janome and love them both. Also make sure you have a local dealer who can do repairs, answer questions and hopefully offers free classes to teach you all about using the many features of the machine. Mine gives free lessons for the life of the machine. Good luck.

  21. #21
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    I use my machines hard so I went for a Bernina 440 2 years ago. It was about $3000 then but many are becoming available for about $1500 due to trade ups. That might be an option for you but all of the major brands have good machines so it depends on your budget.

  22. #22
    Junior Member trennag's Avatar
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    I used a walmart brother for years and it did everything I needed... but as I found my self quilting more I wanted more throat space. I started researching and test driving. I ended up deciding on a baby lock symphony. It took me 2 years to save the money and when I got it in November I was so happy!!! Its not a $5k machine... but its has everything I wanted and more so that I can grow into it. I looked at the crescendo when I was in ready to buy the symphony and decided that I didn't need the extra bells and whistles that one had to offer at a higher price point. I love love the needle threader, the stadium lighting, auto foot lift, auto thread cutter, all things that I don't know what I did with out I tell my husband every night as I turn off my machine and clean up my sewing project that my symphony was worth every penny!!!
    Brother SQ9000, Baby Lock Crescendo

    Slowly but surely restoring these lovely machines...
    Singer 66 (1929) Singer 27 treadle (1909) Singer 99 (1925)



  23. #23
    Super Member JudyTheSewer's Avatar
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    I bought a Bernina 440QE once my baby left for college and I took up quilting seriously. I don't remember the cost but it was a couple of thousand dollars 9 years ago - a lot of money for us. But, it had the features I knew I wanted; needle up/down, needle position, able to adjust pressure on presser foot, good free-motion tension, knee controller for presser foot up/down. I tried out all of the major high end brands and I just liked the "feel" and sound of the 440QE. It is a quite, precise, and reliable machine.

    Since that time, I now own 17 more machines (mostly treadles and vintage Singers). I like them and use them most of the time since they do a great job at what I usually do - sew a straight stitch. However, I just mentioned to my cousin this week that as much as I like my vintage machines, if I had to keep only one machine it would be my TOL 440QE. I think that it was well worth the cost since it can "do it all". I am still happy with it and have no desire to trade up.

  24. #24
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    I bought my Creative Vision when I was still working. Yes, I have used it, but as I get older I tend to use it less because I have trouble lifting it to take to a friend's to sew together. I love it for the simplicity of the embroidery.

    I like to stay with the same machine throughout whatever process I am doing: quilting or sewing.
    Have fun quilting! If it isn't fun, you will miss a lot.
    ali

  25. #25
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    In 2003, I was in the market for a really good sewing machine. DH was with me and I had a Bernina in mind, although I had not seriously shopped for one yet. We stopped first at the Baby Lock dealership. I was told that it was every bit as good as the Bernina. Perhaps it is, I don't and may never know. BUT, the issue is that it will do everything except make my morning coffee. It is the Ellageo esg3. Around $5,ooo at the time. It has the knee lift and lots of great features. It has the floppy disc drive for embroidery. I have never, and may never use the embroidery feature. It soon became obsolete, because soon after, they came out with a flash drive instead of the floppy disc. I only do quilting and making dolls and clothes for the great-grands.
    Bottom line is, don't buy more machine than you intend to use.
    ~Skeetersmom

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