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Thread: Most useful features of a sewing machine to U?

  1. #1
    koipuddle's Avatar
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    Hi,
    What automatic features of a sewing machine do you find most useful when piecing and quilting, auto tie off, auto thread scissors, etc? This will help me decide which machine to purchase, since I cannot afford one with ALL the bells and whistles. Thank you,
    Jack

  2. #2
    iluvquilts's Avatar
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    Great question - that will help me also. Right now - the #1 priority for me is a machine that will have the "up/down" needle option.

    Cindy

  3. #3
    koipuddle's Avatar
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    The machines I am looking at either have the auto cut, or the auto tie off, but not both. So thought 'What other of the features do others use the most and find the most useful?' All opinions are appreciated, as this will help me make up my mind when I go check out the machines Monday.
    Jack

  4. #4
    Senior Member cindyg's Avatar
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    Needle up/down, automatic thread cutter, several needle positions, 1/4" presser foot, add'l. face plate with that one little hole in it so the macine doesn't eat your fabric. The face plate on my machine closes up that hole to make it a little one automatically when I tell it that I'm going to do a straight stitch. I love that feature. I have a Janome

  5. #5
    Kas
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    Quote Originally Posted by iluvquilts
    Great question - that will help me also. Right now - the #1 priority for me is a machine that will have the "up/down" needle option.

    Cindy
    Yep. And I love my knee bar to raise and lower the presser foot.

  6. #6
    Senior Member retired2pa's Avatar
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    I have a Brother Nouvelle 1500S that I just bought about a month ago for strictly straight stitching for quilting but I've found that this machine is great for piecing too. This is not a computerized machine (which I didn't want because I have 2 other ones that are) but I don't miss any of the "modern" bells and whistles like the up/down needle or auto thread cutter on my other machines. What I really love is the fabric guide attachment. My 1/4" seams are so much better than they use to be. Whatever machine you decide on, be sure to get one of these attachments :) Such a simple thing really but it makes sewing those 1/4" seams less stressful.

  7. #7
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Needle up/down, the auto thread cutter is not as important to me as the auto tie off feature.
    I also wanted a variety of decorative stitches for machine applique and for other decorative uses.
    A good walking foot available or a built in one.
    Needle threader that works easily.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Char's Avatar
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    I like most of the features already mentioned, but my favorite is the needle threader on my Bernina 440QE

  9. #9
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    Amma what machine do you have?

  10. #10
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    1/4" foot, straight-stitch plate (narrow hole so your needle must be in straight stitch position), extended throat plate so you can get more material to the right of the needle (on a Bernina it's the Patchwork Edition (PE) version), adjustable speed while using the foot pedal.

  11. #11
    koipuddle's Avatar
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    Sunday nite I'll have to print this whole post and highlight everything and then check when I am sitting in front of the machines instead of trying to remember everything. Some of the things mentioned are greek to me :-)

  12. #12
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Call me old fashioned but I love the good old knee control for speed. Too bad they do not make these anymore. I guess when the companies got away from putting machines into the cabinets whenthey sold them , that is when they dropped the knee speed control. And by the way I also miss buying the cabinet with the machine.
    New options are :more in the feet , Free motion, 1/4 inch, walkingfoot, open toe applique, piping, cording, you just can not have enough feet.
    A cabinet ( so the machine base is recessed) with a really nice big surface area around it would be a great. I would accept less options on a machine to get a great base cabinet. I would forgo a needle up or down for a great cabinet( but most machines have this as a standard unless a really inexpensive machine) . The surface area you have is so important. After that the biggest opening for rolling up quilts to do the quilting.

  13. #13
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    As long as the needle thread catches the bobbin thread with no big loops or tight pulls I'm good to go. All those other things are nice but they don't really matter. I love sewing on my vintage Singer and all it does is forward and reverse. If there's a problem I can usually fix it. The other day the set screw in the small belt wheel broke and fell out. A small piece of wooden skewer later and I was stitchin' up a storm!

  14. #14
    Super Member dvseals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raptureready
    As long as the needle thread catches the bobbin thread with no big loops or tight pulls I'm good to go. All those other things are nice but they don't really matter. I love sewing on my vintage Singer and all it does is forward and reverse. If there's a problem I can usually fix it. The other day the set screw in the small belt wheel broke and fell out. A small piece of wooden skewer later and I was stitchin' up a storm!
    Hehe you sound like me :)
    Yes fancy stitches are pretty and all the bells and whistles look nice but when it comes down to it, I'll take a simple machine that does a gorgeous straight stitch over the bells and whistles any day. :)

  15. #15
    Super Member MinnieKat's Avatar
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    I love the walking foot on my Pfaff.

  16. #16
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    Oh, I have some with a few bells and whistles and I use them too, but there's just something soothing about the sound a vintage machine makes.

  17. #17
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    On the older Pfaff I love the IDT (walking foot), needle up/down, change in needle position, the low bobbin indicator, and the stitch-in-the-ditch foot.

    On the BabyLock I love the tie off feature, needle up/down, huge display, awesome stitches (cleaner stitch than the Pfaff), drop-in bobbin, separate bobbin winding motor. Thread cutter is nice but I still use scissors a lot.

  18. #18
    Super Member oatw13's Avatar
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    I'm a pretty simple girl. I like a machine I can sit down at and sew right away without having to read a manual. The only "fancy" features I really appreciate are the needle threader (but as long as I can still see to thread a needle this isn't a big deal) and the ability to have the machine stop with the needle in the down position (again, another convenience feature as I can certainly turn the wheel to lower the needle.)

    Remember, the more expensive the machine, the more complicated it will be to operate.

  19. #19
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Perfect stitch, perfect bobbin winding tension, and most important a good user manual. The new machine manuals are almost useless. Most will tell you what to do but not how to do it.

  20. #20
    koipuddle's Avatar
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    Mad quilter; a cleaner stitch than a pfaff? Could you explain what to look for please? Not really sure what you mean, so not sure what to look for.
    Thank you,
    Jack

  21. #21
    koipuddle's Avatar
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    retired2pa; a fabric guide, is that different than the 1/4" pressor foot? I've noticed lines with measurements on the face plates below the pressor foot, is that what you are speaking of?
    Thank you,
    Jack

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lori S
    Call me old fashioned but I love the good old knee control for speed. Too bad they do not make these anymore. I guess when the companies got away from putting machines into the cabinets whenthey sold them , that is when they dropped the knee speed control. And by the way I also miss buying the cabinet with the machine.
    New options are :more in the feet , Free motion, 1/4 inch, walkingfoot, open toe applique, piping, cording, you just can not have enough feet.
    A cabinet ( so the machine base is recessed) with a really nice big surface area around it would be a great. I would accept less options on a machine to get a great base cabinet. I would forgo a needle up or down for a great cabinet( but most machines have this as a standard unless a really inexpensive machine) . The surface area you have is so important. After that the biggest opening for rolling up quilts to do the quilting.
    I miss the knee control too. I still have my mother's old White machine in the cabinet. I don't use it currently but I was taught how to sew on this machine and which the knee control would come back. I also like the wide area that you had for sewing. I made many drapes for my house using that machine.

    Thanks for the drive down memory lane. :wink:

    For me, the most important feature is a bright light.

  23. #23
    Cathie_R's Avatar
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    Would hate to live without my needle threader. I also have a Clover needle threader for my hand quilting needles. Great time savers.

  24. #24
    Senior Member AnitaSt's Avatar
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    My favorite thing is a foot...my walking foot. I use it almost all the time and think I'd like to have a built-in walking foot (on my Bernina it's not built in).

    I also miss the knee pedal. Like crafter005 I also learned on my mother's White (1947 vintage) with the knee control. I've had trouble learning to use the free hand system knee thing on my Bernina because I just revert back to moving my knee to make it go!!

  25. #25
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koipuddle
    Mad quilter; a cleaner stitch than a pfaff? Could you explain what to look for please? Not really sure what you mean, so not sure what to look for.
    Thank you,
    Jack
    I tried a few of the fancy stitches and compared them. The Pfaff does a pretty good job on the button-hole (or blanket) stitch, for example, but some of the stitches were off. Not exactly skipped, but looser than the others. My older Brother used to skip stitches, so I know the difference. The Babylock keeps the stitches more consistent.

    OMG - how could I forget the needle threader. The Babylock Espire has one of those "push one button and the needle is threaded" features. It's all still new to me but I lOVE it.

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