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How do you decide on a machine?

How do you decide on a machine?

Old 02-28-2015, 04:08 AM
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Default How do you decide on a machine?

This may sound like a naive question coming from someone who has been sewing/quilting for a long time, but how does one decide, out of the many machines out there, which one is best for quilting?

I've never had much money to spend on a machine so I've always stuck with Kenmore/Singer, and they are pretty basic but do the job. If you aren't really interested in embroidery (I'm not), what features and qualities do you look for in a machine? I hear of people spending thousands of $ on a machine and i can't figure out what would be so much better to warrant spending this much.

I would love to hear from you and what it is about your machine you love.


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Old 02-28-2015, 04:35 AM
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Write down what features you want. I wanted needle up/down feature for applique, a nice buttonhole stitch for applique, stop/start button etc. I wanted the Bernina 440 with the Bernina Stitch Regular for FMQ so I did pay big money for my machine but there are a lot of other good machines for less if that isn't in your price range.
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Old 02-28-2015, 05:12 AM
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I am the spreadsheet queen. Whenever I am making a purchase that involves many different makes/models of an item, I make up a spreadsheet and do like Tartan says.

I list the features I want/need; prices; warranties; etc. and use that as my guide. When I purchased my Viking a number of years ago, I got some extra features (some embroidery stitches) that I wasn't interested in but it did have all the other features I wanted. And it was a price I was willing to pay.
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Old 02-28-2015, 05:15 AM
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Other things that many quilters look for is a large harp area, thread cutter, automated tie off, integrated walking foot and auto threader.
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Old 02-28-2015, 05:17 AM
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First of all, decide on the features you must have. I considered needle up down, wide throat space, built in scissors, handy quilting stitches, and ease of use. Then try out machines that have the features you want. I also bought from a local quilt shop where I can get service easily. When you try them out, you will find the one that is the "right fit" for you. I also did a lot of research online before I started looking, so I had narrowed down the search list. Good luck shopping. It is a lot of fun.
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Old 02-28-2015, 06:19 AM
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One thing that influenced me, was metal versus plastic parts and attachments. I also sew every day (retired ) and I also wanted the walking foot and BSR. I went with a Bernina, 7 years ago, and have never been sorry. I love my Bernina!!
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Old 02-28-2015, 07:11 AM
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I researched every brand for over a year & decided on the one that gave me the most quality for my money. I bought the Brother, Laura Ashley special edition, Inno-vis NX-2000 & have not been disappointed! It came with 17 feet including the walking foot & darning foot needed for quilting. It also came with the extension table. I did pay a bit for it, but 2 yrs later I'm still loving it & don't regret spending for it at all! It was listed in the Consumer's Digest that year as #1 for the price as I would have to have spent $6,000.00 for a machine with comparable features which would definitely not have happened for me.
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Old 02-28-2015, 09:33 AM
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I was able to go to a few larger quilt shows and just sat down and test drove numerous DSM. I fell in love with a Bernina and we have been living happily ever after. I believe that buying a DSM is just like shopping for a car. You got to get behind the "wheel" and see what works best for you and your budget.
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Old 02-28-2015, 11:14 AM
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There are so many things I love about my big machine. Until you own one its hard to understand what its all about because you can get by with small machines just fine and they do an excellent job. The feature on a more pricey machine make the job easier and more efficient, and sometimes they will give you less headaches. Yes I can live without my needle threader, thread cutter, pivoting function, dual feed, laser but the thing is it makes sewing so much more enjoyable. I still use my walmart brother all the time and it does an awesome job I just enjoy my big machine, so much better. It is a personal decision to decide wether you feel it is worth the extra money. Some people feel they don't need or want to spend the extra money on bells and whistles and that is perfectly fine, but if you have never tried a machine with these features you don't know what you are missing. I suggest if you are thinking of a nicer machine to just try out as many as you can of different brands. There are so many nice machines in different ranges on the market and everyones preferences are different. I can tell you what I love about my machine but that won't necessarily help you on your machine choice. For quilting to me the must haves are needle down, pivoting, large harp, bobbin sensor with off/on ability, adjustable height and pressure setting. Everything else is just an added bonus. I do love my adjustable dual feed muvit foot but walking feet built in or not can get the job done as it is what makes my machine very expensive as it has its own motor. Some people find the built in dualfeed necessary but I have made quilts for 15 years just fine without it so again its a choice to have it and there are pros and cons to each. A nice sewing machine can run from 500 to 4k for just basic sewing and really you are buying the features on it and most 500 to 1k range with have most of the necessary features for a quilter
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Old 02-28-2015, 11:40 AM
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The members of my guild helped me make the decision. Most all have the newer machines and I can sew on them at guild workshops. I listen to their complaints about the machines and who wishes they never bought the one they have. Bernina has won out for regular sewing and Brother for embroidery. Most all members have the vintage machines too.
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