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Thread: Machine woes

  1. #1
    Junior Member bisbetica's Avatar
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    Machine woes

    I have had a rather inexpensive Brother machine for 2-3 years ans I loved it. However, it started to misbehave - too much presser foot pressure cause it to not feed fabric properly, hardly feeding at all. As it has no way to adjust the pressure, I took it in to be fixed and they said it would cost as much as I paid for it to fix it. So, I figured that it's time for a new machine.

    I am torn. My husband feels that the machine should have lasted longer than this, and I tend to agree. But I also feel that given the amount of sewing I have done and the amount of traveling the machine went through, I got what I paid for.

    I am not looking to spend a lot of cash, but want a reliable, well built machine with only a few more beeps and whistles. I am looking at a Brother PC-420 Project Runway or a Janome DC1050. Never had a Janome but I hear good things. This is about the amount of money I wish to spend and they both have a larger harp area and the features I am looking for.

    HELP!!!
    Denise
    It's not a stash, it's a fabricology research center

  2. #2
    Super Member AshleyR's Avatar
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    I have had very good luck buying used machines. I have purchased them off Craigslist, thrift stores, antique stores and (believe it or not) pawn shops. The one I'm using now is a Janome 3022 and cost me $40. I had a "used but practically brand new" Juki 98e that I got for half the price of new, and sold it for a little less on this board. I think I got a good deal and I think she got a good deal too! Other than that, I haven't spent more than $50 on a machine. And all of them have worked perfectly after some basic TLC.
    You can have any design you want. As long as it's loops!

  3. #3
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    I have Janomes and like them but the Brother is a great machine and has more to offer over the 1050. It gets great reviews. The 1050 I believe is a light-weight machine w/ a very small harp. The Brother is larger, heavier and for that reason, probably more stable for quilting purposes. I don't know if it has adjustable presser foot pressure but the Janome does not. I believe the Brother also has a bit heavier motor. Is there a way for you to test-drive both machines to see which one you like best??
    mea

  4. #4
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bisbetica View Post
    I have had a rather inexpensive Brother machine for 2-3 years ans I loved it. However, it started to misbehave - too much presser foot pressure cause it to not feed fabric properly, hardly feeding at all. As it has no way to adjust the pressure, I took it in to be fixed and they said it would cost as much as I paid for it to fix it. So, I figured that it's time for a new machine.

    I am torn. My husband feels that the machine should have lasted longer than this, and I tend to agree. But I also feel that given the amount of sewing I have done and the amount of traveling the machine went through, I got what I paid for.

    I am not looking to spend a lot of cash, but want a reliable, well built machine with only a few more beeps and whistles. I am looking at a Brother PC-420 Project Runway or a Janome DC1050. Never had a Janome but I hear good things. This is about the amount of money I wish to spend and they both have a larger harp area and the features I am looking for.

    HELP!!!
    If you have an inexpensive Brother machine, I'm guessing in the $200 or under range, then 3 years of hard use is probably more than it should have lived for. I would go with a Janome. I have a 9000 and have loved it, and used it hard for 13 years.

  5. #5
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    I have the Brother SQ 900 for quilting and sewing, it comes with the walking foot and all the extras you need for quilting. It is one I got at Wall Mart and has been a good machine so far. I bought the project runway first and when they came out with the quilting one I gave the first one to my DD and got the quilter for myself. They both have a lot of pretty stitches.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Grambi's Avatar
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    I've heard that the machines that are made for the big box stores frequently have short lives. I think that I would look for a pre-owned older machine that was made well. A friend of mine bought a pre-owned Janome that she loves--it has no electronic features, several stitch choices and is a work-horse.
    Bambi

  7. #7
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    The machines sold in craft store aisles are made for craft sewing not heavy use quilt sewing. Many of them hold up past a couple of years of steady sewing shows they aren't as bad as many think. I would suggest the new Janome Jem line, it's portable and has lots of added features. My Jem is years old and has never given me one bit of trouble. The new ones are loaded with features. Take you DH to a sewing machine dealer and he will leave thinking whatever you like under $500 is a bargain. Remember the machines sold at craft stores are made for craft sewing, not heavy use.
    Got fabric?

  8. #8
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    I would suggest a used Bernina...I have a 1008 (bought it new) which is 13 years old and just had it's first visit to the dealer hospital. And believe me, it's been put through it! I have made over 500 quilts on it, and it hasn't stuttered until this little mishap it just had...and then it only cost me $75 to get it fixed and serviced. I think I paid $12-1300 for it back then...don't have a clue how much they are now but I DO know that there are good used ones out there. So maybe that could be a consideration for you as well. Good luck!
    If you feel like you're special...it's 'cause you are!
    Momto5

  9. #9
    Power Poster RedGarnet222's Avatar
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    I have bernina's but, at one time, hubbby bought me a janome memorycraft on line at home shopping network. It was a great little machine and I bought all of the feet at my local quilt store for a fraction of what the bernina feet go for. The janome worked great. I would not hesitate to have another if need be.
    RedGarnet222

    "Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern ... It will come out a rose by and by. Life is like that ...one stitch at a time, taken patiently."
    *Oliver Wendell Holms

  10. #10
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    Be sure to check with any machine dealer local to you and also repair shops....both will have good used machines.....I bought a used Janome and couldn't be happier with the machine and the dealer!

  11. #11
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grambi View Post
    I've heard that the machines that are made for the big box stores frequently have short lives. I think that I would look for a pre-owned older machine that was made well. A friend of mine bought a pre-owned Janome that she loves--it has no electronic features, several stitch choices and is a work-horse.
    this is not always the case. I am using a big box cheap Brother for over 8 years and it is my "go to" machine even though I have a featherweight, treadle and singer 66. Others on the board have chimed in to say their big box Brothers have served them well for long periods of time too. So, I guess I'm saying don't discount the lower end Brothers just because.

  12. #12
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    Did you take the plate off of the sewing machine and thoroughly clean out the dust below it? My el-cheapo Brother machine stopped feeding thread a couple of years ago. It was in desperate need of a cleaning - the dust was packed in so tight it came out looking like a piece of felt! Once cleaned, it worked (and still works) just fine.

    I bought it at Walmart about 6 years ago - $89. Great little machine for the money and it has lasted longer than I thought it would.

    I've also had several 70's/80's vintage sewing machines come my way since people have learned that I sew. A couple haven't worked, but after cleaning and oiling, work fine.
    Last edited by cathyvv; 03-09-2012 at 07:00 PM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member krysti's Avatar
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    I recently purchased a new Brother SQ9050 from the big box store because my older brother stopped feeding and was jamming and was giving me tension problems. Since I am new to quilting I didn't want to spend alot of money on a new and fancy machine; but wanted something that would not frustrate me every time I tried to use it. I chose this brother because it had a quilting package included (all the quilting feet, and a small extension quilting table). It also had the drop down feed dog feature, auto needle down position, auto needle threader (a must!), drop in bobbin (which is cool because I can see when the bobbin is almost empty). These were just some of the basic features that I wanted, and this machine had them. It was also only around $200. So far at least, I am EXTREMELY pleased with it
    Hope you find what you are looking for. Let us know what you end up with, and have fun with it!

  14. #14
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    I agree with Stitchnripper, I have bought 3 brothers over the last 12 years and they all have been rode hard and all still work. They do take a beating, even though they are all from Wal-Mart and ranged from $70 - $200 each. I am very pleased with my experience with "low-end" machines and wouldn't pay for something more expensive when these work fine. I do buy a newer one when I see a feature I want to have, but still use the piddly "cheap-o" one to this day. I have a hole cut in my table that fits all 3 so it's easy to just swap one out for a different one. My newest one is the SQ-9000 and I wouldn't trade it for the world! I did have to do major cleaning on it tonight as it started acting wonky but that was due to an operator error... not cleaning it out sooner. Oops!

  15. #15
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    For heavy duty sewing you need to buy a higher end machine from a reputable dealer, the cheaper machines are not meant for such use. The higher end machines have more metal. If you love your brother, I would go with the brother, they are just as good as the janomes and you are already comfortable with the brand, any lower end machines of any brand will give you the same amount of lasting time because of the plastic parts, which is what makes them so lightweight and great for classes and occasional use. Most low end machines are made of more plastic than even 20 years ago. A few weeks ago I used my first machine ever at my MIL which I got almost 20 years ago, which is also a brother and it was incredibly heavy compared to my 2 brothers now. Granted I like my machines a lot more, its no doubt in my mind that my 20 year old brother will outlast both of them.

  16. #16
    Super Member justflyingin's Avatar
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    I was going to chime in here to find a good used machine. Plenty of people upgrade and have a perfectly good, but unused machine due to the fact that they have another 1 (or more) sitting at their house.

  17. #17
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    I agree with the others to get a good solid used machine. That's what I have decided to do in my quest for a new machine! I feel like you can get a lot better quality for your money by going with a used Viking or Bernina (just as examples). I think of it like buying a car... I can't afford a new Toyota but I'd rather have a good used one for $10,000 over something that costs $10,000 new. That being said, I have not owned a Brother from a big-box store but it does seem that people have great luck with those! Perhaps another one might be worth a shot. Good luck and let us know what you decide on!

    Just my two cents...
    Candace

  18. #18
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    Another factor might be the cost of the various feet that you have already purchased for your Brother machine. If you junk that machine and change to a different brand, will you be able to use the feet or need to outlay another $150-200 to replace them for the new brand?

  19. #19
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    Look for a pfaff, kenmore, singer, viking or bernina in a repair shop....ask the repair person...they take them in on trade and ANY machine, 30-50 yrs old is better quality and will last a lifetime...they are usually traded in when someone gets an itch, but the older machines are really better and the repair people fix them up and know which is good and which got a lot of wear.... all better than any new inexpensive machine and often they are in the same price range....

  20. #20
    Senior Member Kath12's Avatar
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    I have a Brother SE-350 and I too had the same problem with the feed dogs. I bought this machine around 7 years ago and use it about every day. I took it to a Viking repair shop and they said they couldn't fix it. I love this machine so I looked online for a Brother tech. I located one less than 75 miles from me and he had cleaned it and fixed the problem for around $150. Well a year and a half later, it happened again so I took it back to the Brother tech and he fixed that problem plus replaced the needle threader (it occasionally acted up), replaced the auto thread cutter blade, replaced the take up spring (it was catching sending a rethread upper thread message, and cleaned it. Total cost was $130. So I am a happy camper to have my favorite machine back.
    Last edited by Kath12; 03-11-2012 at 05:42 AM.
    Kathy Stewart from IA
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  21. #21
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    My first inclination would be to remove the throat plate and see if there is a mess of packed lint in there. This happens because the materials that we work with are cotton and, therefore, linty. This is a easy fix and I hope it works for you.

  22. #22
    Power Poster solstice3's Avatar
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    I love my Bernina for something with the extra bells and whistles. My FeatherWeight for just straight stitch.

  23. #23
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    I just went through this same scenario a couple of months ago. My Janome had to go to the hospital and I sew EVERY chance I get, but had no back-up machine. Called my dealer, the least inexpensive machine that she had at the time was $400.00. That was more than the mental slush fund balance in my checking account, so I took off to WalMart to purchase a machine for just under $200, despite all the chatter that I keep hearing about the box store machines being made cheaply, etc.

    The Brother doesn't have the straightest stitch in the world. It kicks one stitch sideways about every fifth stitch. It is just a little bobble, but a bobble none-the-less. And I HATE the 1/4-inch foot. Just a matter of getting used to it, I'm sure.

    The Brother does a good job of applique stitching. But the real kicker is that I have discovered that this machine is a HOSS at free-motion quilting. Maybe it is just beginner's luck or I haven't set something up quite correctly and had a serendipitious accident, but WOW! I can Stipple now!

    When my Janome came back home, it was pure pleasure to sew on her again - it's amazing how quickly we forget how quietly and smoothly a machine runs if we aren't using it.

    So I guess that if I had to go through this process again, I would buy a back-up machine with very similar qualities as my go-to machine rather than buying based on price, even though there are some things that this little Brother does quite well. As much as we love the finished products that are produced from our sewing, it's the process itself that we really enjoy. So do it on a machine that you truly enjoy using!
    Last edited by beadywoman; 03-11-2012 at 07:01 AM.

  24. #24
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    Have you oiled your machine? Get out your manual and oil(sewing machine oil) and oil it
    If it moves and is not an electric wire oil it. My friends froze up and I oiled it twice and is now purring like a kitten.
    Take the bottom off and get the dust bunnies out. Oil, Oil, Oil Make sure your bobbin winder is not stuck 1/2 way...it won't show but messes up your machine. Read your manual ... look for adjustments.... check settings If you don't have a manual look for it on line...Oh, did I say to oil it.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Elaine433's Avatar
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    I paid about $3,000. for my machine about 17 years ago. It works like new. I recently was looking for a sewing machine for my daughter. The machines sold at Wal-mart & JoAnns were just too lightweight to work for anything. The only way a machine can be that lightweight is if everything inside is made of plastic. I shopped around and settled on a Janome.
    I wound up buying her a brand new Janome Sew Precise on eBay. The machine had been sitting on a shelf and the store had closed up. The retail price of the machine is around $600. I paid $145. including shipping. When the machine came, I put it through the paces and it sewed beautifully. We gave it to her this past Christmas and she loves it.
    I had checked with my local vac/sewing repair place but he did not have anything worth while then. I called several places locally and there were some that were good machines but way higher than I could afford.
    You just have to look around. Don't settle for the easy way of Wal-Mart or JoAnns. Check your local Craigslist, check
    ebay and call up every sewing machine repair shop for as far as you would travel. You will find something much better than the machine you just had.
    I wish you all the luck in finding your new machine.

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