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Thread: Newbie in Mississauga needs advice on Sewing Machines.

  1. #1
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    Newbie in Mississauga needs advice on Sewing Machines.

    Hi I am new to quilting. At the moment I am using a a basic Singer sewing machine. I would now like to upgrade. What would be a good choice in mid level sewing machines for quilting?

  2. #2
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    Go to a dealer or two or three and try out machines. Ask fellow quilters what there preference is and what you want in a sewing machine. You will get many answers here on the board but you dealer who you can depend on for good service when needed is important. So many variables you need to try them out and see what is available in the price range for you Good luck

  3. #3
    Super Member osewme's Avatar
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    Welcome from Texas. I hope you are enjoying your new found hobby & will make lots of beautiful quilts in the future. I agree with mic-pa that you need to really try out machines before you settle on one. Test drive them and as many as you can. I've been a "singer" gal most of my life until about 10 years ago when my hubby decided he wanted to buy me a new machine. We were in a quilt shop that sold Janome machines & he bought me the Janome Magnolia 7330. I love the machine but now wish I had shopped around before buying it. I love the needle down feature but the throat on the machine is only about 6 1/2" so it makes it very hard to maneuver a large quilt around with that small of a throat. I've heard a lot of good things about Ever Sewn machines but have never tried out out. Good luck in your search but don't be in a hurry. You can still make beautiful quilts on your basic Singer machine.

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    What do you want to do? Do you just piece? Do you want to quilt your own quilts? Do you want to do any other kind of sewing?

    Those questions are important. If you want to quilt your own quilts, the throat space is important. How important is needle up or needle down to you?

    My suggestion is to decide what is most important to you and rate them, then decide on your budget. If the budget is not adequate for your wants, drop the less important wants. An example is: throat space is #1 and embroidery is #5. Drop the embroidery from the list.

    Some of the considerations might be how often it has to be serviced, how long is the warranty, what does the warranty cover, how comfortable is it to operate, how big is the throat, how do other quilters rate it, how many useful decorative stitches does it have, how heavy is it, do you have to take lessons on how to operate it, etc.

    I would look and try different machines just to get your list worked out. Some sewing machine sales people are very persuasive, so you want to avoid making a decision before you are ready. Have a pat answer for why you can't make a decision today. For instance, "I have to ask my husband" is a good way to avoid the "close". Or, "My mother has the final say", or "I want to run it by my friend, Jane, who is a great quilter". Make up your own excuse for why you can't do it now. Maybe it's just, "I really have to sleep on it before I make a decision", but stick to your guns. (I used to have a neighbor who sold sewing machines and he showed me a lot about selling sewing machines.)

    bkay

  5. #5
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    I recently bought a straight stitch Juki machine on the trade in table at the local Brother dealer for $200. It's excellent for machine quilting. Straight stitch only with large throat space. I was there to replace my Brother 1500 that was decades old and a wonderful machine but sadly went haywire. The straight stitch mechanical machines are easy on the budget. For piecing with all the bells and whistles I would suggest the Eversewn Sparrow 30. You could buy both and save money.
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  6. #6
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    Welcome from Ontario, Canada. If you want to machine quilt, get the machine with the biggest throat size you can afford. Also needle down function is really good for machine quilting as it lets you reposition your hands with the needle down to keep the quilt in place. I would find a good shop near you and try some machines out. A good dealer will give you lessons on your machine and be where you take it for service.

  7. #7
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Welcome Shazma Khan, from another Ontarian!!
    ... actually a "neighbour" as I am not far away from you, in the G-GTA-W!

    Some good advice from the others.
    Definitely consider what you want to do with your machine, in making your choices.

    With that, the importance of finding a great dealer, as that can make a huge difference in your overall love of your machine, and ultimately, in your true enjoyment of sewing/quilting. In the end, a difference as to how your skills will develop, and how much you will actually sew. There are a lot of good machines out there, in that it is not a matter of what brand, but who you have there for support aka the dealership. Most brands have an equal in another brand. To me, ideally your dealership should be as close as possible, so that you can get there with ease, whether for support or in case of a problem. I know "close" may be a challenge for you, for as far as I know, there are no dedicated quilt/fabric and/or sewing machine stores in Mississauga!

    What I have learned as I graduated from a basic beginner machine to better machines ... take your time in sourcing machines, and develop "your" shopping list of desired features, then choose the best you can at the time. Too, after a couple of switches that just matched my list, I learned it was best to buy one level above what I thought I needed/wanted .... as when I bought my first really good machine, it was the one that jump-started my real love, and then I soon outgrew it!

    Good Luck!
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  8. #8
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    When I first started quilting, I thought I should upgrade from my old machine. Imagine my surprise, while taking a beginner quilting class, my old machine sewed great 1/4 inch seams immediately and the other students (with fancier machines) were constantly struggling with tension, feet, and their 1/4 inch seams. I realized my old machine was a good machine!

    I'm still happy with my old machine. Maybe in the future, I will get a fancier machine but right at the moment my old machine is still working for me. Unless your current machine is not running well, take your time with an upgrade decision. You will have a better idea of what you want, which features you would use, and which features you wouldn't.

  9. #9
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    Welcome from western NY and happy quilting
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  10. #10
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    Welcome from SC Texas. I use my sixty year old Singer 401A a lot but really like my newer Brother as it does so much more. Brother and Baby Lock are made by the same company and there are a lot of different machines to choose from so as others have said try them out before you buy to make sure it is the best for you.

  11. #11
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    Hi and welcome from North Carolina!

    I wanted to step up from my little simple sewing machine several years ago and got one of those fancy computerized Vikings for pretty big $$$$. I was so sorely disappointed. It had all kinds of fancy buttons and switches, but it didn't last long and couldn't be repaired. The service guys said that it wasn't worth fixing. I went to Walmart and got a "Heavy Duty Singer." No bells or whistles, but it does everything I ask of it.

    Don't be so quick to toss your old Singer. It could be all you need.

  12. #12
    Power Poster Mousie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mic-pa View Post
    Go to a dealer or two or three and try out machines. Ask fellow quilters what there preference is and what you want in a sewing machine. You will get many answers here on the board but you dealer who you can depend on for good service when needed is important. So many variables you need to try them out and see what is available in the price range for you Good luck
    this is such an excellent answer!
    The last time I upgraded this is what I did and now asking someone
    else to pick a machine for me is like sending them to buy my clothes
    or shoes. I'm being funny but you have your own unique likes and
    dislikes and need to find out what they are.
    This thread may give you accessories/options to consider though.
    Also, when you narrow down the brand, googling reviews on prices
    might not be a bad idea.
    Some dealers will sock it to ya and others are much more fair.
    I'm not above buying gently used things either depending on what it is.
    It is a blessing, to be a blessing !
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    I think that you have to be aware of the features "available" in the price range you can afford in narrowing down what machine to get. Before I purchased my Babylock, the only feature I was aware of that I knew I wanted was an automatic threader. As I only had a simple mechanical sewing machine before, I was not aware of what kind of features were available, as until I had an opportunity of using them, I did not know I wanted those features.

    I think this is the basis for a new informative thread we should all contribute to. This could help many new quilters as to what is available on different price range machines, and what you find most useful on yours. Price vs. features is a important component of this. Comparing features available on a $300 machine with a $10,000 is of no help.

    I think that the poster needs to post their budget that they are working with, so more people could make some suggestions to help them out. What is mid level to one person, may mean a budget of not more than $500, where to another it is $3,000.

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    I would suggest going to the websites of the major brands and see what they offer. Do a google search to find the manufacturers website.....Babylock, Bernina, Janome, Viking, Singer, etc. Nearly all of them list their machines, the features of that machine, the costs, where you can find a dealer, etc. They also generally have a way to compare the machines. Or go to the websites of the machines that are available from dealers near you. I suggest doing this before you go to a dealer so you are better prepared to try out the machine you are interested in.
    Welcome to the board but your question is extremely broad and difficult to answer without more information,as Schill93 has kindly pointed out.
    Good luck in your search......I think you may be awestruck at the machines available in the market today! Your pocketbook may be shocked as well!

  15. #15
    Super Member jmoore's Avatar
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    There are a lot of machine choices nowadays....I just want to say Welcome to the QB. Please share back with us when and if you decide on a new machine.
    attitude is everything...the rest will fall into place.

  16. #16
    Member craftdiva's Avatar
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    From another neighbour- North York.
    Take your time. Actually take something you are working on and use it as you try out the machines. There are so many little features that you may think you don’t need but suddenly realize that they’re handy. My machine has a knee lift which I can’t quilt without. It’s like a third hand when manoeuvring a big quilt. It’s the little things that become important.
    Check out Guelph for a sewing machine place with a good variety of machines. Can’t remember the name right now but several friends have used them. Purchasing, classes, etc.

  17. #17
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    Please don't discount an older/vintage machine. Good luck and happy quilting with whatever you get.

  18. #18
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    All of the above are great input. When you have narrowed it down take some of your own fabric to try the machine out--two pieces like you are making a block and if you want to quilt try it with 2 fabrics and a batting to see how that works. A lot of the stores use a stiffer piece of fabric that will indeed sew differently that your fabrics. Quilting and pieceing really are 2 different sewings. Hope you find your machine

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    Yes I lived in and purchased my very first pfaff over 40 years ago from a sewing machine business in our home town of Guelph! I still have it and it works fine. I have upgraded a few times as my life changed and we moved around but still can't bring myself to sell sell it!
    I think that same business still exists. You might consider a phone call and get some suggestions on a reliable machine that meets your price point! Good luck!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shazma Khan View Post
    Hi I am new to quilting. At the moment I am using a a basic Singer sewing machine. I would now like to upgrade. What would be a good choice in mid level sewing machines for quilting?
    A question that comes to mind to me is: "Why do you want to upgrade"? Once you answer that question, you'll be well on your way to finding your new machine.

    Also, knowing exactly what "basic Singer" you have would help folks.

  21. #21
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    My best recommendation would be to "test drive" the machine.

  22. #22
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    Welcome from Maryland ! I love my Janome 8200. I upgraded to it from a smaller Janome because I wanted 1) 11” throat space. 2) auto thread cutter and 3) a machine In my price range with affordable accessories 4)a local dealer I trusted. 5) quiet machine . 6) free arm so I could hem pants and cuffs .

    I found all of these with a “rebox” machine (someone had opened it and returned it with very little use) . My price was $1200 (this was 4 yrs ago).

    I concur with the others — test drive different ones till you find a favorite, stick to your priorities, negotiate (best thing to negotiate is what features you don’t need and aren’t willing to pay for) and don’t rush your decision. Have a peace and joy before you hand over the money.

  23. #23
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Don't be afraid to consider used machines. Check your local dealers and ask around at your guild and quilt shops for machines others have traded in or are looking to sell privately. This is how I got what I consider to be the perfect machine, my Brother 1500. Knee lift, auto threader, cutter, 9 inch harp, needle down, mechanical not computerized, extension table, 1500 stitches per minute.

    Now, having said that, you may want a machine that is lightweight so you can take it to classes, and this machine is not lightweight. You may want a machine that does a buttonhole stitch (for applique) and this machine is a straight-stitch only. So you need to know what you want in a machine.

  24. #24
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    I was a new quilter and I went to my local sewing machine dealer who carried Janome, Brother, Juki and maybe another brand. They showed me high $ machines and reasonably priced machines ($500 & under). I didn't bother trying a machine that was thousands of $'s because I wasn't comfortable spending that much. Although my original budget was $500-$800, I ended up buying a Juki F600 $1,049 because it had a larger throat and other features I had never had on my other machine (needle up/down, auto thread feeder, auto thread cutter, knee lift for presser foot). It does have lots of decorative stitches, but I rarely use them). Also wanted a machine that was quiet and a dealer nearby.

    Test drive different machines before buying. Don't let a saleperson talk you into a machine you do not want or can't afford. Compare the different feet that come with different machines. By all means, ask the dealer if they will throw in something extra for free (maybe a foot that isn't included but one you feel you would use). I just bought an embroidery machine and ask them to throw in another size hoop and they did.

    If you can't decide between machines, make a spreadsheet to compare features ... but definitely go with the machine that feels good when you sew on it. Good luck!

  25. #25
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by craftdiva View Post
    .....Check out Guelph for a sewing machine place with a good variety of machines. Can’t remember the name right now but several friends have used them. Purchasing, classes, etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by suspendedglass View Post
    Yes I lived in and purchased my very first pfaff over 40 years ago from a sewing machine business in our home town of Guelph! I still have it and it works fine......
    CraftDiva and SuspendedGlass that would be Triangle Sewing ....
    https://www.trianglesewing.com/
    I've dealt with them for over 20 yrs now, and have been more than happy.
    Lucky for me that they truly are "local", and I can easily get there if in urgent need.
    Reza their full-time and on-site machine tech is amazing.
    Along with a full range of machine brands, they have a large notions and batiks offerings with
    a few other select fabrics. Add to that all many batting options and supplies for embroidery machines.
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