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Thread: I want a new sewing machine...

  1. #1
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    I want a new sewing machine...

    First off, I just want to apologize for the length of this post!

    When will this obsession end!? LOL Before I really started quilting, I got a cheapy Singer sewing machine on a Black Friday deal not even 6 months ago. It was $60! My thought process was "I may not even like sewing / quilting so why spend a lot on a machine." Plus, I had NO idea that machines could be so outrageously expensive! Okay, fast forward to today and I am just obsessed with getting a better machine. My problem is that I don't really have a lot of cash. I'm supposed to get a tax refund next week (good Lord willing and the creek don't rise)... and I have set aside up to $500 for a machine.

    Here are some of my initial thoughts...

    I have a Singer... it is cheap but I feel like it sews okay. However, the thread breaks a lot, the underside stitches get gnarled up and black looking at times, and I have a really hard time threading the needle. Not sure how it will do long term and I know I can't do FMQ on it.

    My aunt has a Janome. Not sure of the model but she said she paid $129 for it new from Hancock Fabrics. She seems to always have trouble with the thread breaking and it getting 'locked up'. It could just be the cheaper thread she uses though.

    Some things I'd like a new machine to have:

    Ability to SITD and FMQ and of course do piecing
    Automatic Needle Threader is a must! I spend several minutes trying to thread the needle sometimes!
    Drop Feed Dogs
    Comes with feet needed to do FMQ and SITD and a 1/4 inch foot.
    Decently large harp
    Drop In Bobbin
    Thread Cutter

    Some more thoughts.... I know some recommend a Vintage machine. I guess I'm just not "there" yet in my quilting evolution. I want something new or almost new. I am drawn to the Baby Lock machines but not sure why. LOL Also, I know some don't think highly of the Bernina Bernette, but they have a model 92C at Hancock for $300. It seems like a good deal for what you get, but I don't want a machine that I'm always having to take to the shop. Lastly... I live in a rather small city. We DO have a Viking dealer here and Hancock's is the only other place that sells and services machines. Do they even MAKE a Viking under $500? LOL To try out other brands, I would have to drive 60-80 miles. Just not sure I want to have to drive that far to take a machine to be serviced / repaired, etc.
    I feel like picking a sewing machine is a lot like picking out a car. I got a used Toyota Camry Base Model. It's a great car.... very utilitarian, but it gets me from point A to point B without fail, every time. I never have to worry when I get in the car if it's going to get me there. THat's sort of what I want in a machine. LOL

    THANKS so much for reading!! I will take any and all suggestions to heart.

    Candace

  2. #2
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    Have you considered Craigslist? I got my Brother 1300 for $150 and love it. It is a straight stitch only machine, but it fits all of your requirements. Right now, in my area, there is a Janome 6600 for $750. I wish I had the $$$ to go after it. You never know what you will eventually find there.

  3. #3
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    Thanks! I've been looking at Craigslist.... right now all I'm finding are vintage machines. I will keep looking though. i have also been watching ebay... just don't know what is considered a "good machine for the price."

  4. #4
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    I would recommend Craigslist as well. I just saw 3 computerized Pfaff's not too far from me for between $500-$1000. I realize that is more than you want to spend but just a 'for instance'. I have a Viking Platinum. Love it but it was about $1200 new. You may be correct that Viking might not have a new machine in your price range but you won't know unless you ask. A word of advice about needle threaders...not sure how they work on other, higher end machines than mine, but I don't even bother using it on my machine. Never have been able to get the hang of it. I just use a typical needle threader that I bent the wires on. Works like a charm. Be sure to test that function when you are looking at machines if it is important to you. You might have to wheel & deal a bit to get all the feet you've mentioned in any package as well. If you can get the machine at the price you want, don't throw away the deal because the feet aren't included. There are many online sources at probably lower prices than any local dealer will sell them for. My Viking also has a setting for the 1/4 in. seam so a separate foot for that was not a requirement for me.

    It might well be worth the drive for you to test out machines, if nothing else. I've yet to need my machine to be serviced/repaired so you might not have to make that trip too frequently and might be worth it if you can get the machine you want there. See what they might show online and make some phone calls first.

    Good luck with your search.

  5. #5
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    Hmmm... I went to the Viking website, and since it's "National Quilting Month" they are running a special on the Viking H-Class 100Q for $399! What do y'all think? I don't need a lot of fancy stitches etc... I just want it to quilt good. LOL Maybe I should call the Viking dealer here in town and see if they have one I could try out.

    Alternatively, I just found a Viking Emerald 183 on a NY based website for $520 shipped. It's brand new... hmmmmmm LOL
    Last edited by lovequilts722; 03-08-2012 at 06:00 PM. Reason: added info on another machine

  6. #6
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    Check out the dealer. That way you will have someone close to go to if you do have any problems.

    mltquilt

  7. #7
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Think about a used Viking or Bernina , if you get one from a dealer they will support the machine and probably give you some kind of limited warrenty. People upgrade alot and many a perfectly good machine can be had for very reasonable.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Sally J's Avatar
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    I love Vikings and have had 3 and just bought another. None of them have had any problem. I have a D1 that I have had for years, but just bought a new Viking Emerald 183. Love it, needle threader, a 1/4 inch foot included and many stitches that you might use in quilting. It's light enough to take to classes and come with a 10 year warranty. My Viking dealer gives you free classes, that is really important for any machine because no instruction book will really show you how many things the machine can actually do. I'd go to the Viking dealer and see what their best price is. I've seen them on-line for $499 -$520. If your dealer won't go to that price, maybe you could ask how much they would charge for a class. None of my Vikings have ever had to be taken in for problems, just regular cleaning every couple of years. Hope this helps.

  9. #9
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    Thanks all for the input!

    Sally J.... If I could ask a question, how large is the harp area on your Emerald? Have you tried quilting on it? I'm going to the Viking Dealer tomorrow to check them out.

  10. #10
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    I have 7 vikings now and I love them all!!I have been a viking owner since the early 90's and have no complaints!!!

  11. #11
    Super Member lovequilts's Avatar
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    I see lots of replys for vikings but I have a pfaff and love it. It has wonder features. My strong suggestion to you is to check with your local dealer as they have trade ins. You may be able to negotiate if you have cash. and those machine have usually just been serviced. And Craigs list......keep looking, and be patient and you will find a machine.

  12. #12
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    Get a babylock, they are really reliable and you already seem to like them. I love mine. Maybe look for a used one at your dealer. I don't have anything bad to say about mine. Look at the jane if you want it for FMQ or maybe the quilters choice don't know what its called now

  13. #13
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    I know how you feel. I received a Brother LS 2000 three years ago as a christmas gift after having to consistantly borrow my mother in laws machine when I wanted to quilt. They got me this machine to suit my needs then. I truely love this machine as it has sentimentally value and is a great machine. It just doesnt have alot of the features I now would like to have not to mention by the time I but all the different feet and other attachments I desire I would be spending over $100.00. I'm pretty new to the quilting world here on the board and not familiar with alot of the lingo of the quilting world so I'm not sure of the some of the things you're referring to so I'm not sure if this will help hope it does. I recently decided to purchase a new machine and began searching. I also had little cash on hand to so and thought I would never find one. I was looking for one with several different feet like walking, overcast, etc. After alot of searching about a week of constant looking on line I purchases another Brother. This time the CS 6000i. It came with the extension table, 9 different feet including the walking and overcast, along with a other things. It's computerized with 60 stitches has a start/stop button, reverse/reinforce stitch button, a needle up/down button. It has what I would call an automatic threader, along with rapid fill and quick set bobbin. The only foot that I was looking for that it did not include was the 1/4 inch but that was no major biggy since for this particular model they can be found online for under $20.00. All together with the extended 2 years warranty it was only slightly under $200.00. I ordered it from walmart.com. My deciding factor was all the reviews that were posted for this machine. There was close to 700 reviews with over a 90% 4 star or higher rating. I have had it about two weeks now and love it. Hope this helps.
    Last edited by mdall; 03-10-2012 at 04:10 PM.

  14. #14
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    I would try out all the machines in your area, sew on every one of them. Ask if it comes with the attachments you want. My local Bernina dealer (and I don't buy Bernina) had 17 brought in that day for repair. We were making pillowcases that day, the store provided the fabic, and I sewed on one that was used at $850 and I truly hated it. It sounded like a tractor, made out of plastic, and it seemed like I had to push on the foot pedal too much to make it go.
    The main one is a White, maybe 17 yrs. old now, and I use it for everything including slipcovers, lots of cording, many layers. I would try very hard to make your machine work right. Unthread it, use a new bobbin, and make sure the needle is in right. On a scrap of fabric, sew a few inches. The top thread, if loose, means you have a problem with the bobbin area. If the bobbin thread is loose, it is the top tension or you have it threaded wrong. Make sure your needle is in correctly. Get your book out and see if the flat side of the needle is to the back or a side. It makes all the difference in the world. Since I have several machines, I put a note in the little box attached to the machine. You can write it on a piece of tape and attach that. If the threads on your scrap fabric are not meeting in the middle of the fabric, then go back over what I told you.
    w

  15. #15
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    It's me again. I had to close that one, it would not let me finish. Anyway, say the top thread is loose in your sewing, making all kinds of loops. Take your bobbin out, get your book out again and see how to thread your bobbin correctly. Mark that area in the book so you can reference it quickly too or write a note in your box again. Okay, thread the bobbin correctly. Take the thread and try to hold your bobbin by that thread. If it slides down, then your have to adjust the screw that is on the bobbin casing. Turn it only one quarter turn, not a half. Try it again. The thread should hold the bobbin itself. Always adjust that screw by one quarter of a turn. Okay, if the thread is too tight and you can
    hardly pull it out of the bobbin casing, then turn the screw counter-clockwise, again 1/4 turn. A lot of people do not know this and it is a very easy way to get it right. Try your sample fabric again, sew a few inches and see what happens. Remember, your threads, both top and bottom, should meet in the middle of the fabric. You should not see loops on the top or the bottom. Hope this helps you. I keep my old machines because I cannot find one that I like.
    My old one I use at my cottage is about 45 yrs. old and I love it. It came from Penneys. Sears still sell machines and you could find a good one there. I would recommend an older one any day. Make sure, if you buy a new one, that the parts are not plastic, they can break easily. Good luck and have fun sewing. Also, make sure you are getting the right needles for your machine.

  16. #16
    Member xxmbbxx's Avatar
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    I got my Brother XL-3750 for about $200 and according to my repair dude, its one of the better quality Brothers. I have had mine for 4 years and just took it the the shop for the very first time to be oiled etc (it seized up because I didn't oil it even though I knew it was time). I can do a lot on this machine. Maybe the Brother website is still selling them? I don't recommend a new Singer...they are being made really awful. Jenome if you can afford it, for sure. I'm saving up for one, but the one I want is an easy $3000.
    Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential. - Winston Churchill

  17. #17
    Super Member AshleyR's Avatar
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    I like used machines because......

    I am very close to "sisters" to you on your story. I had the "walmart" singer at first, then I caught the bug in October!
    I will ONLY buy used machines, and am very very very satisfied with my pawn shop Janome.
    I have also had (in no particular order) the following machines since October: 1972 Elna, 1964 Kenmore 48 (lavender! so cute!), 1954 Singer 99k, Juki 98e, Janome l-392, (2) Singer Simples and another Kenmore that I can't remember what it is!! I am also waiting on a part for my Singer 7422. It is certainly not vintage! Oh, I see you are in Middle TN, would you like to buy a Singer 7422?
    In my many months of looking, I've never seen a used BabyLock, though, so that might be a sign that once you have one, you never get rid of it!
    I am so tight that I squeak when I walk, so I have a hard time parting with $20 for a sewing machine, much less $500 for one. My husband bought me the Juki with a frame set-up for $750 and the whole time it was in my house, I felt guilty and didn't want to use it at all. I finished one quilt on the machine (off-frame, never did get the hang of it) and sold it and felt much less stress.
    Also, I have learned to take the tupperware off the machine, clean it, oil it, tinker with it and put it back together. I would NEVER attempt this with a machine I had a huge investment in. Yes, I realize if I spent $400 at the dealer, I could take it to them and drop it off and wait a week or a month for them to do it for me. But I don't have time for that anyway. I live in the middle of nowhere and I quilt like other people (normal?!) watch TV. I love my machines because I don't have to worry about them or baby them.

    I have compared buying a sewing machine to buying a car too (I have a Camry too and it's barely broken in with 225k miles!!) and it's almost exactly like buying a motorcycle. When we started riding, we started with small bikes and traded until we got exactly what fit us personally. I've done the same with sewing machines. I started small and found out that I liked playing with fabric. I got a small starter machine then tried different ones that I acquired. I know it sounds like I've spent more than $500 on these machines, but I've kept a very careful record and the bottom line on what I've bought and sold is $210. I still have four machines, and I need to part with three of them, so I anticipate "sewing for free" soon! I am going to try to attach what I have left.
    It is a totally personal choice, but I am the type of person that tries to buy *everything* used for my personal economy and for the environment. I also enjoy the thrill of the hunt and the anticipation of the sale, which isn't for everybody! My husband and I both love going to estate sales (bad place to buy machines!) and antique stores, pawn shops, thrift stores (another bad place!), etc and I cruise Craigslist daily. He has his "collections" and I have mine! For us, it's a no-brainer. Our hobbies are self-sufficient at this time, and as long as it continues to be, I don't have to wait for a windfall for my dream machine! I just have to be at the right place at the right time!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    You can have any design you want. As long as it's loops!

  18. #18
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    For the Viking; yes the do have machines for under 500. They are really good machines and work horses. If you go to a LQS you should be able to try it out. I have a Viking #1 w/embroidery, it was my first and as soon as I have time to test it since it just came back from servicing I'm putting it on sale since a few months ago I bought a Viking Ruby; I love it, it's easy to use and set up and has so many bells and whistles. Will take me a while to learn them all but that's life. I also have a Viking Mega quilter; a great machine. I have had only luck with Vikings. The thing about the Bernette; it's not made nor supported by Bernina; so beware on that one. My other machine that I have is a Kenmore made by Janome that I got at Sears a few years ago and it's my backup when my embroidery is in motion or I have a class that I don't need to have the Ruby at. I got the warranty package from Sears and that was good. You are right about the thread. My machines so far aren't finicky with what thread I use but I've read on here where other machines are. Rather they are expensive machines or cheap ones and rather it's cheap thread or expensive thread; you can have issues. If you can go into a store and test drive some machines to see what they have you'll be happier with your purchase. If possible; I'd stear away from buying from Walmarts or something like that. The machines made for them aren't like the ones sold in fabric stores. Good luck on your search.
    Judy

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