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Thread: New machine suggestions/advice?

  1. #1
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    Question New machine suggestions/advice?

    I'm pretty new to this board, but am loving all that I'm learning from reading through the posts. Thanks to everyone who takes the time to share. I have been sewing for 28 years, quilting for the last 10 or so. (For some reason, I'm not able to "enter" down to a new paragraph - sorry if this looks like a giant run on!) I was given a great Kenmore 17 years ago, which has served me very well. I've never had one problem with the machine, sews like a dream and can handle everything I've thrown at it. BUT - I'd like to upgrade! I'd like a machine that has better lighting than the one I currently own, and I'd also like a machine that I can adjust the needle position. As well, I'd like the addition of a quilters extension attachment. I don't need much more than a straight stitch & a zigzag - so a machine with a million stitch functions is wasted on me. I'd also like to stay under $400 - that's about all I can afford right now. Where I live, there is no local sewing shop that carries machines, but I've been looking on line. Costco, Walmart, etc. I'm a little overwhelmed by all the different brands, ones that I thought were good, I'm reading reviews saying the machines are actually not good after all. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    I have a Singer and a Janome that I both like. They aren't expensive machines, but the throats on them are about the same size. The next time I purchase one, I am going to base it on throat size.

  3. #3
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Howdy and welcome, from TX! I'll let some of the more machine-knowledgeable members answer your question; I just wanted to welcome you, to the board.
    Neesie


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  4. #4
    Super Member Thumbelina's Avatar
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    Welcome from NE Ohio.

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    All I know about is what I have! I have a Husqvarna Viking Emerald 116 that I purchased new, when it was 50% off which made it under $400, about 6 years ago (maybe). This machine replaced a fairly expensive basic Brother, that was only about 6/10 years old, the Brother had been heavily used unfortunately, it needed repair. The Emerald has been a wonderful machine, used frequently, and has not caused me any problems. I also have 2 used Singers, and a used Necchi that work well (2 were free, one was $25), of course they don't have speed control, self threaders, and needle up/down, but for the price they are great. If I were looking at a new machine, I would first look at the Husqvarna's simply because my machine has done so well. Options I would want in a new machine, speed control, needle up/down, and a larger throat/harp (?) anyway, the area from the right of the needle to the side of the machine. I can quilt baby and lap quilts, but I have lots of trouble attempting to quilt anything larger; so I'm learning QAYG. I would have purchased a Janome...however the dealer I called lied over the phone to get me into the store...that didn't really work out too well for them. The Emerald was purchased at a Joanns.

  6. #6
    Super Member wolph33's Avatar
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    http://www.allbrands.com/categories/67 with no local stores you could look here-great place
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/Upnorthcrafter

  7. #7
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    Hello and welcome. My sewing machine dealer in Houston has started selling used machines, with a decent warranty online. Maybe there's a dealer near you who does the same. BTW, you can never go wrong with a Janome. I love all mine

  8. #8
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    First off welcome to the board and I can't do the "enter" to a new paragraph, so yes it looks like rambling but that's ok. See how long my first sentence is? I've been looking also and under $400 is the way I'd like to keep it also. Just keep checking the reviews and go from there. Good luck!

  9. #9
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    Hancock Fabrics carries a Brother 9500 that is a good machine in your price range. In addition to being able to change the needle position it has variable speed, needle down, and built in monogram. Lots of stitches including stretch stitches. I love all my Brothers and this one looks very good.

  10. #10
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    Welcome to this wonderful board. You will love it here.
    I only use two straight stitch machines, all I do. Good luck in your search.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  11. #11
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board.
    The issue with the return key not advancing is a problem with your browser.
    If you are using MS Internet Explorer, try switching to the Compatibility View:
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    Might need to close and reopen Internet Explorer to make the change take effect.
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  12. #12
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    Welcome from S CA! Check out sewing machines plus web site. Good luck with what ever machine you choose!!!!!!

  13. #13
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    for those who cannot 'enter' for paragraphs, go to settings, general settings, and scroll way down. choose WYSIWYG and be sure to save your settings. this will also ensure that you have the tree icon above the reply box.
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  14. #14
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    Welcome to the group. I have two Berninas, neither of which was below $400, but there are many good machines out there. Look at Bernina, Baby Lock, Brother, and Janome. Be sure to read the reviews to see what kind and how many problems others have with the machines. Amazon.com and Overstock.com sell new and "reconditioned" machines. It's a shame there are no dealers in your area, because there's nothing like going from machine to machine to machine and trying out all the bells and whistles.

    Hope you find what you need in your price range! Happy hunting.

  15. #15
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board!!

    Instead of checking out "boxed" machines at box stores, go to a dealer and test drive a few. Try as many dealers as you can find in your neighborhood.

    Be sure to ask about USED machines. Dealers take in old machines as trade-ins when folks upgrade. The dealer will have their tech give the old machine a good going over, cleaning, and do any needed repairs. By doing this you can afford more machine for your money. Make sure you get at the very least a 30 day warranty with the machine, but try to get closer to 90 days. If the dealer trusts their repair guy they should have no problem extending a warranty to 90 days.

    I highly recommend this method, especially for folks on limited budgets who want either more bells/whistles, or a higher quality machine (quality components, ie metal gears instead of plastic). I purchased a used Janome 6600 for a very good price and have not regretted it for a second.

    Also ... since you are only looking for straight stitch and zig zag, plus better lighting ... you might want to consider a vintage machine and add your own lighting. Some of them are almost bullet proof, easy to repair & clean yourself, and simple to operate.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  16. #16
    Super Member nhweaver's Avatar
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    I would buy one with the largest throat size. Also, check out craigslist and the "for sale" ads in your local papers. Why are you upgrading your machine? those kenmores are work horses.
    If life gives you lemons, make a margarita.

  17. #17
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    I would look at the brother PC-420 it is in the 400 range and has very nice features for the cost, very popular, good reviews off amazon. I have a cheaper brother and a TOL and love all 3 of my machines, very easy to use.
    Brother XL-3500i, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D, Juki MO-2000QVP

  18. #18
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    I also have had a Kenmore for more than 17 years that's served me well and still going strong. From the research I've done, Kenmore may have made by Janome for a stretch of time (back in the 70's if I'm remembering correctly). It has been GREAT. I just purchased a Janome DC 1050 because I wanted to stay under $400 (it was $299 from Mr Sew and MrsVan online). It has all the features I want right now except I'd love a larger harp for when I eventually do bigger quilts. That may be some time in the distant future. I like the needle up/down, speed control, and decorative stitches. I also like how QUIET it is. But honestly, if all you want are basic stitches, you might play around with some vintage machines if you can. They are built so much sturdier than new machines. (Even my Kenmore is sturdier and easy to fix myself than my new Janome.)

  19. #19
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    Thanks for the suggestions for the machine, and the advice on how to be able to "enter" to a new paragraph!

    There is so much to consider when thinking about a new machine - your input has given me some more ideas.

    Thanks again!

  20. #20
    Member Lauray's Avatar
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    I also have an old Kenmore, but when I started quilting (2 years ago) I wanted something more without a big investment. The Singer Quilter's Confidence #7469 fell into my lap as a friend was upgrading. I love it for the basics. I'm not able to embroider or do tons of fancy stitches or quilt 'big' quilts, but I love it. It has the needle down and extendable bed you mentioned and a couple features my old Kenmore doesn't. I've seen this Singer in JoAnns flyers frequently for $100 off which puts the price around $300. Not sure if they allow coupons on machines, but worth checking out. Decisions are tough - good luck!

  21. #21
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    I have a singer Quilter that does Zigzag if I want to use it. The price was $300 at joanns and it also does a nice job of straight stitching/piecing. I really have no complaints about it. I also have a Brothers 1500s which is straight stitch only and that is the machine I use all the time.($600 from Amazon) it also has a larger throat for machine quilting. All that said- It it almost impossible to get a machine with out all the fancy stitches. Most are stitches that you may nover use. I would sugest that you check Craig list to see if you can find a reasonable used machine. Many sewers want to upgrade and so sell their old machines. Check amazon for machine. They have free shipping and it is easy to return machine thru them and they pay the return shipping if you do not like it. I would keep your Kenmore for everyday sewing/quilting and get a cheaper model for moving needle and zigzag. I like my simple singer.
    "In the crazy quilt of life, I'm glad you are in my block of friends."

  22. #22
    Senior Member Scraplady's Avatar
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    I would also recommend checking out used machines, but if you don't have a local dealer, that could be difficult. Sewing machines are like cars, they depreciate a lot as soon as you take them home and take them out of the box. You could a lot more bang for your buck buying a good used machine from a reputable dealer.

    Also you can order a custom extension table for just about any machine. I ordered one for my Baby Lock because the one that came with it was not as large as I wanted. There are a number of sources online where you can just give them the model of your machine and you can usually choose the size for the extension.

    Welcome and good luck!
    www.makeminepatchwork.etsy.com
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    "Piecin' a quilt's like livin' a life...The Lord sends us the pieces, but we can cut 'em out and put 'em together pretty much to suit ourselves, and there's a heap more in the cuttin' and the sewin' than there is in the caliker...I've had a heap of comfort all my life making quilts, and now in my old age I wouldn't take a fortune for them." (Eliza Calvert Hall, Aunt Jane of Kentucky)

  23. #23
    Super Member Debbie B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KwiltyKahy View Post
    Hancock Fabrics carries a Brother 9500 that is a good machine in your price range. In addition to being able to change the needle position it has variable speed, needle down, and built in monogram. Lots of stitches including stretch stitches. I love all my Brothers and this one looks very good.
    I bought a refurbished Brother XR9500 (for a bit over $200) from the Internet 3 years ago after I decided I wanted to really learn to quilt. I recently upgraded to get a larger throat space, but this Brother has been a workhorse, and I sew 4-5 days a week. It's simple to use and has quite a few "fancy stitches" & you can lower the feed dogs for FMQ. It has never given me a minute's worth of problems. If I could have stretched the throat I would still be sewing with it.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Judi in Ohio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frozenmama View Post
    I'm pretty new to this board, but am loving all that I'm learning from reading through the posts. Thanks to everyone who takes the time to share. I have been sewing for 28 years, quilting for the last 10 or so. (For some reason, I'm not able to "enter" down to a new paragraph - sorry if this looks like a giant run on!) I was given a great Kenmore 17 years ago, which has served me very well. I've never had one problem with the machine, sews like a dream and can handle everything I've thrown at it. BUT - I'd like to upgrade! I'd like a machine that has better lighting than the one I currently own, and I'd also like a machine that I can adjust the needle position. As well, I'd like the addition of a quilters extension attachment. I don't need much more than a straight stitch & a zigzag - so a machine with a million stitch functions is wasted on me. I'd also like to stay under $400 - that's about all I can afford right now. Where I live, there is no local sewing shop that carries machines, but I've been looking on line. Costco, Walmart, etc. I'm a little overwhelmed by all the different brands, ones that I thought were good, I'm reading reviews saying the machines are actually not good after all. Any suggestions?
    $400 is really not enough $$$ to get a good reliable machine that I know of - your lighting requirements take you out of vintage, which is actually a good choice if you don't have a bundle to spend. My choice would be the Juki F series. I have the 600 and it is a marvelous machine - $900 and it has the bells and whistles of a $2500 Janome, Viking, Pfaff. The F-300 has less than the 600 and maybe cheaper to buy. The Juki has the strongest motor of all the machines - except vintage. None of this problem over thick seams, it just goes. Love, love, love my Juki's.
    Judi in Ohio

  25. #25
    Super Member lovelyl's Avatar
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    I just purchased a great Janome 2012 for $449 last spring. It was a floor model, but has been a wonderful machine. I am like you and have no need for all the fancy stitches. As far as lighting, my vintage Singers have much better lighting than many of the modern machines I have seen!
    Welcome to the board!
    Linda
    There may be times we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. - Elie Wiesel

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