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Thread: Need Help Choosing A Machine....Please

  1. #1
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    Smile Need Help Choosing A Machine....Please

    Hey everyone! I'm new here and hope I've posted this in the correct forum. I've sewn very little in the past. I currently have a Kenmore from the early 90's. I've always said it was the best gift my husband has ever given me although I don't have a clue why. I had never even hinted about wanting a machine and didn't know the first thing about it. Anyway, I've made only a few things in all these years....just never had the interest, until now. I'm now loving the look of all the new computerized machines and have narrowed it down to 2. I actually bought the Brother SQ9050 but haven't opened it yet because I want to be absolutely sure that this one is the one I want. The other machine is the Brother Project Runway PC420. There's a $200 difference between the two. Does the PC420 offer enough extras to justify the $200 difference? I'm interested in making things like the quilted purses, maybe a throw, skirts....nothing huge. I'm still a beginner but I want something that I'm not going to outgrow as, hopefully, my sewing skills improve. Also, I can either order it from Wal-Mart or Amazon. Amazon doesn't offer the option for the extra 3 year extended warranty. Does anyone ever purchase this and do you think it's necessary? I do have a local Brother dealer. Thanks so much for any help you all are willing to give me

  2. #2
    Super Member patski's Avatar
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    I don't have a brother but I can tell you unless you are sure you are going to use the extras they are usually not worth it. My machine has tons of fancy stitches that I used only when I got the machine and checked them out! Whatever you do, enjoy the process. Check the warranty carefully, usually they cover all the things that never break!
    Patski
    always learning

  3. #3
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I have two straight stitch only machines, with 9" throats. They are perfect for all of my quilt making. You will have to decide what you will want to do and make.

    Welcome to this wonderful board. You will love it here.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  4. #4
    Super Member DonnaC's Avatar
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    I have read lots of good feedback for both of those machines on this Board. Although I do not own either of those particular machines, I do have two Brothers and they are both great; never had a bit of trouble with them.

    By the way, do you know you can search the Board for posts on these machines? Just put the name of the machine in the search box on the front page and you will be shown all the threads that mention the machine. That way you can see lots of opinions!

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    Thanks ladies! I'm really enjoying this board. I did do the search as you mentioned. Over and over again....lol I've tried to find everything I possibly could on here. I have seen the throat sizes being mentioned here also. I just figure for what I want it for right now, that I don't necessarily need one with a bigger throat but understand that if I wanted to do bigger quilts that that would be a huge plus. My Kenmore still works fine. I guess I'm just more enticed by all the fancy stitches and such.

  6. #6
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    I have the 420 but I use the 1500 more. It straight stitches only but has the 9" throat. Unless you have used the 9" you don't know how GOOD it is both for piecing and quilting. Since most quilting is just straight stitching you can get a lot of use with it. I only have done lap size but it helps with the center out to have the larger size. I got both of mine from All Brands around $599. It has the needle up down and thread cutter.

  7. #7
    Junior Member trennag's Avatar
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    I have the brother sq9000 the machine before the sq9050 and I love it! I have made bags, quilts clothes for my kids. It has been a great machine! I think you will be happy either way and I don't know what extras are on the 420 to make it so much more but the sq9000 had everything I ever needed.
    Brother SQ9000, Baby Lock Crescendo

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



  8. #8
    Super Member cathylynn's Avatar
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    I absolutely love my Brother PC420! it sews like a dream. and the feet from my other 2 Brother machines also work with it. So, so glad I bought it.

  9. #9
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    I've not personally checked out either of the machines you mentioned.
    However I was very happy with the basic "cheapie" Brother that I had for several years before passing it on to a friend who did not have a machine. I had started using my Featherweight almost exclusively by then. And I got my DD essentially the same machine for Christmas last year. I know she has no use for the bells and whistles of a more expensive machine.

    What features of the more expensive machine are important to you? Will you actually use them often enough to justify the expense?

    I was considering buying a very fancy embroidery machine, but decided that even though all those special features were really, really nice, I wasn't likely to use it enough for it to be worth it for me.

  10. #10
    Super Member Knitette's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board!

    I'm a newish quilter who couldn't thread a machine until three years ago. I was surprised by how quickly I 'outgrew' the first machine I bought and quickly moved on to one with more features.

    I think it depends on what you're planning to do with your machine. For some people a straight stitch is all they'll ever need or want.

    For others, certain features are a necessity - needle down, thread cutter, auto tie-off, etc. (For me it's the auto-pivot as I do a lot of applique). I use quite a few fancy stitches on bindings, gifts and Christmas.

    I've read quite a few posts asking similar questions on what machine to buy and the consensus seems to be, "Buy the best you can afford" - you just have to figure out what's best for you, lol. Good luck!
    Lang may yer lum reek. (I'm a knitter - hence - 'Knit-ette'. Confuses a lot of people!)

  11. #11
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    if the Kenmore works fine- and you just want to do some 'basic' sewing and some quilting I would save the money for a new machine & spend it on quilting tools (mats, cutters, rulers) add up fast! and fabric/patterns to get started- you do not need a fancy machine to be a wonderful quilter! many of us do a lot of our quilting on very old straight stitch singers. if you find you start doing a lot of sewing- start getting into fancy couture (fashion) sewing you may at some point have a need for a machine with more bells & whistles- my daughter (age 37) has been sewing for her daughter's and making occasional quilts/baby blankets for years now- is still using the Kenmore that belonged to my grandmother (who's been gone for 20 years) I think it's older than my daughter- has held up very well- over the years she has purchased a couple *fancier* machines- only to not like them & return them- and pull out the old machine again.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  12. #12
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    I have the SQ9050. It comes with 8 feet including a walking, free motion and 1/4". It has an auto threader, needle stays down so you can pivot, the feed dogs can be up or down and on the machine speed control as well as foot control. I've used it to piece blocks, I've quilted 3 quilts and made a runner. One of the quilts (twin size) had double battling. I've have no issues using the machine nor with the machine. I spent $200 and the machine has more bells and whistles than I know what to do with. Until I need more or it stops doing what I need the machine to do, I'm good. Is it a bernia? No, but it works.

    I don't know what the other machine features are or what would justify the additional $200. I would not need them at this time. You are asking will you need them? Depends on what features you are particularity looking for. From what you listed as making, the SQ9050 will handle all that.

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    I'm sure my Kenmore would work fine for whatever I'm actually wanting to do now. I've always had the mindset of bigger is better. I do know that that's not true though I know the PC420 has a lot more stitches than the SQ9050, a few more buttonholes, custom stitch feature, a few more feet, and a few more lettering styles. Probably nothing I'll ever need.

    So, I thought I had narrowed it down between those 2 but there is another that I had looked at. It's the Brother SE400. I know that this one does embroidery and sewing. After reading through all of the posts I can find on here I do know that it only has a 4x4 hoop which limits the patterns you can get. I've never done embroidery but I would love to be able to do that also. I'm not anticipating needing any huge designs. Is 4x4 good enough for a beginner for the things like jean pockets or embroidery on quilt squares? Wal-Mart and Amazon both have those for $282.49 (regular $359). Is embroidery expensive? I've also seen where people talk about stabilizers and embroidery thread? I thought I could just use regular sewing thread. I won't have tons of money to spend on all the extras to embroidery. I thought I could just embroider directly on whatever material I was going to use without a stabilizer. As you can tell I'm totally lost and I'm sorry for throwing a monkey wrench into the mix but I truly appreciate all of your suggestions and opinions. Thanks so much

  14. #14
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    Yes the PC420 features justify the 200 dollar price difference. They have a nicer easier to use threader, an automatic thread cutter, a metal frame not plastic, the ability to adjust presser foot pressure, a slightly larger harp, and I think there are a couple more features but I can't remember off the top of my head but they are definitely more high end if you are looking for your main machine, however I havve the sq9050 and it is a nice travel machine for classes as well.
    Brother XL-3500i, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D, Juki MO-2000QVP

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    Sewnsew69, I have been reading all the great information the ladies are giving. I personally don't have Brother machines so really can't commit on them. The only suggestion that I have is check out the Brother dealer nearest you and see what they offer. Usually the dealers will offer classes on the machines they sell. They usually call them "owners classes" and you can always get some useful information from them about your machine. All the little "tips & tricks" about your machine. Good luck and welcome to the board. PS: let us know what you decide.

  16. #16
    Junior Member Maggieloe's Avatar
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    I have a Viking 870 and a Brother 1500s. Viking, computerized, bells and whistles, needs to be serviced once a year (I do it less than that) at 100$ a pop. Brother is straight stitch only - which means feed dogs are close to the needle giving an excellent straight stitch and much better free motion quilting. Clean and oil yourself for free.
    I got the Brother on recommendations from this board because I was so frustrated with the finickiness of my Viking and have never looked back. A real reliable workhorse, excellent stitch.
    I use the Viking when I need to zig-zag, satin stitch etc. I also have used the decorative stitches for Carol Ann Waugh's "Stupendous Stitching" but the Brother is definitely my go-to machine for piecing, quilting and any straight stitching I do.
    I have an old Kenmore - 45 years old, which has zig-zag, fancy stitches with cams etc. Metal, sturdy, reliable. The only reason I don't use it more is I could not get a freemotion foot for it, and it has a very small throat, relatively speaking. But give me the sturdy, basic, "self-service" machines any day.

    You do want a large throat even though you say you are only doing smaller items. It makes even small size quilts easier, and you don't know where you will be going in the future.

  17. #17
    Super Member Lyncat's Avatar
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    You can have a lot of fun with the SE400.

  18. #18
    Member happy grandma's Avatar
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    I bought a Brother 1250D because it had the embroidery feature. I wasn't sure I would use the embroidery feature but now I am thrilled to have the option. I now include embroidery in many of my quilts. I have read a lot of good things about the SE400. You will love the embroidery feature. Well worth the price difference.

  19. #19
    Super Member feffertim's Avatar
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    I just recently bought the PC420 limited edition from Walmart for $399, but I believe they have it on sale right now. I am quite impressed with this machine, it has many extras that you usually have to buy separately like a walking foot and a FMq foot. It has the best needle threader I have seen, and also a knee lift which is great. It sews beautifully, is quiet and solid. I have two high end machines, a Viking and a Janome and find I use my Brother most of the time now. I bought it because I needed a light machine to take to classes as my other two are very heavy. I think it is a great machine.

  20. #20
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    I have the Brother SQ9000 and am happy with it. But I bought it as a back up machine for when my primary machine (Pfaff QE) is tied up with fmq. I would not want to try fmq on the Brother as the throat is way too small, but it does a wonderful job with dresses for DGD and other non-bulky sewing. Buy the machine you like. If you decide you need something more you can relegate this machine to the back up position. I will never have less than 2 machines again. I sew constantly, so I move between the machines quite often. Happy sewing!

    p.s. I also have the Brother PE770 embroidery only machine, and I love it.
    Last edited by ShirlinAZ; 06-17-2013 at 07:32 AM.
    Shirley in Arizona

  21. #21
    Power Poster solstice3's Avatar
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    I have a featherweight and a Bernina QE with a lot of extras. I hardly ever use the extras... Most of what I use is Zig zag and straight stitch.

  22. #22
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    I have the SQ9000 and it came with everything you need for quilting. It has the quilting foot and the darning foot for FM. It is a Project Runway Brother from Wal Mart and was $169.00. Worth every penny and I sew clothes and all types of craft things on it as well as quilting.

  23. #23
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    You need to think very carefully on what kind of sewing you want to do. I have a Brother s1500 and Singer confidence Quilter. the singer does the fancy stitches if I want and is very nice for peicing. The Borther is straight stitch only . It sews like a dream and hss the 9" throat. The larger throat is REALLY great for FMQ. IT would be worth it if you think you want to do your own FMQ ( now or in the future). Ask your self Do I want to embrodery? FMQ? fancy stitches! want a surger?. Maybe you should wait and think about it some more until after you have done more quilting.
    "In the crazy quilt of life, I'm glad you are in my block of friends."

  24. #24
    Senior Member sewplease's Avatar
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    I had a Kenmore from 1980 which was a great machine. I so wish I still had it. However, in the mid-90s when I got into quilting, I thought I HAD to have a Bernina! Bought one that was near TOL (1530) at the time and was amazed that it didn't result in perfect quilts! :-) It was a great machine and easy to use, but in looking at my quilts you couldn't tell any difference, lol. Sadly, when DH lost his job a few years ago, I had to sell it. Now I sew on a $40 Bernina (1010) that I got off of Ebay as a buy-it-now. I had to buy a foot pedal and bobbin case for it, but I've done my best work with it...the big difference is experience. Good luck with your decision! Sewing machine shopping is SO much fun!
    Laura

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    Make sure whatever you decide to buy that you can get it service.

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