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Thread: Overwhelmed by machine choices

  1. #1
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    Overwhelmed by machine choices

    Hi everyone,

    I found the Quilting Board yesterday as I was doing some research to replace my 20+ year old Singer. I am totally overwhelmed by the numbers of machines to choose from. I am hoping that I might gain some insight from those of you who have much more wisdom than me on all the machines. I used my old machine for making clothes, window treatments, home deco stuff, and machine piecing and quilting (no free motion). Pretty basic stuff. In looking at the new machines many seem to have smaller throats which concerns me a bit for machine quilting. The local shop wants to steer me towards the expensive eletronic machines which I'm not convinced is what I need. Not to mention they are way over my budget. My budget is up to $700. I did notice on Amazon that many of the machines are pretty heavily discounted. I appreciate and look forward to any advice that you may have to offer.

    Blessings,
    Jan

  2. #2
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    Within the past two years I have bought two excellent new machines for around $700. It is quite doable.
    For the first, I knew the store sold Vikings and I told him what I had to spend and told him I was quite firm on that price and he was able to steer me to a fine machine. (I really wanted to support a local business.) The other was a Pfaff that I researched and bought at a Quilt Expo for the show price.

    If your dealer can't listen to you, pass him by. You can read reviews of many machines online but I would reccommend you try before you buy. And don't get talked into something you do not need!

  3. #3
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Another place to look at machines is allbrands.com. They always have machines on sale. For now one of the best things you can do is go to a machine dealer and sit down and play with whatever machines they have. They may even have some great used machines that were traded in.

  4. #4
    Super Member Jo M's Avatar
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    I'll be watching this thread. I'm in the market for a new machine too.
    Jo

  5. #5
    Senior Member Michellesews's Avatar
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    I purchased a Janome 6500 from SewingMachinesPlus.com and they had free shipping...this was 2 years ago and I paid $900., I am sure they are less now. It is one workhorse of a machine....it never fails and sews like crazy. I have several very high end machines that embroider etc., but this is my go-to machine for heavy duty items...and it will wind any kind of bobbin...I wind class 15 bobbins on it for the necklaces my husband makes, although that is not the bobbin it uses. I am telling you, this machine is amazing...my personal opinion from one who has had just about every kind of machine out there!
    Michelle Guadarrama

  6. #6
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Howdy and welcome, from Texas!

    I recently replaced my 35 year old Kenmore, with a Janome. Like you, I was a bit overwhelmed by the multitude of machines, so I did lots and lots of research. Since you're working within a set budget, you may have better luck looking at gently used machines, from which people have "traded-up." If you buy one of these, get it from a dealer and make sure you get some sort of warranty with it.
    Neesie


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  7. #7
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    Regardless of what machine you buy or where you buy it from, I have learned the hard way that having a local repair shop that is factory authorized for you machine will save a lot of headaches. My go to machine is a Bernina 150 QE.

  8. #8
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
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    Local repair shop is a must, because sooner or latter you ARE going to need.....I have had to travel 100 miles for factory service, not my favorate thing to do.........so look for local Factory Authorized Repair Shops, first !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Nothing wrong with a used machine
    Yes that is a real picture of my hometown Temecula, California. We feature premiere Wineries, World Class Golf Courses, Pechanga Indian Casino and Hot Air Balloons

  9. #9
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Make a list of the much have features and then a list of would like to have features and go from there. Amazon is a great online shop. Amazon will stand behind all products bought through them and easy returns if needed.
    Got fabric?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sewmary View Post
    Within the past two years I have bought two excellent new machines for around $700. It is quite doable.
    For the first, I knew the store sold Vikings and I told him what I had to spend and told him I was quite firm on that price and he was able to steer me to a fine machine. (I really wanted to support a local business.) The other was a Pfaff that I researched and bought at a Quilt Expo for the show price.

    If your dealer can't listen to you, pass him by. You can read reviews of many machines online but I would reccommend you try before you buy. And don't get talked into something you do not need!
    I totally agree. You need support from where you buy it; someone who'll answer your questions without only seeing the $$$ signs and you really need to try several different ones in your price range. It really doesn't matter what others are saying about how they like a machine; you have to like it and not all machines fit everyone. Good luck and you should be able to find some with a larger size harp in your price range. You might also check the gently used ones at a LQS too because they'll have a warranty and you'll get more for your money.
    Judy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen View Post
    Another place to look at machines is allbrands.com. They always have machines on sale. For now one of the best things you can do is go to a machine dealer and sit down and play with whatever machines they have. They may even have some great used machines that were traded in.
    I agree. I have purchased two machines from allbrands.com. The most recent a serger that was marked down over $500.00 (according to their website). Try not to get too stressed looking for your machine.

  12. #12
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    I agree with BellaBoo. Start by making a list of your 'needs'; 'wants'; 'dreams'. Then let your fingers do alot of walking on your keyboard. I use a spreadsheet for this type of effort. A list of features down the side and then the various machines across the top. Color code your categories if that helps. Then just put checks, x's or whatever in each spot that the machines you select in the appropriate boxes. Put the price on the bottom. Then see which machines fit your needs and your budget. And certainly consider the dealer(s) you have local to you. Test drive the machines that best fit your needs and see how you get along with the dealer and all of their staff. Talk to the person who actually does the service and repairs on the machines. Talk to a couple different repair folks if you can. See if you can determine if they are 'brand loyal' to the dealer they are working for or if they give you an honest opinion regardless of brand. And don't be afraid to consider a used machine. I know there are a few older high end machines on CL in my general vicinity for some really good prices. As long as I could make arrangements with the seller to have it ok'd by the service person of my choice, I wouldn't hesitate. It really shouldn't be any different than buying a used car from that perspective. All that said, I bought a new Viking Platinum when I was in the market a number of years ago now. I do all the same type sewing that you mentioned and have never had an issue with it. More $$ then than your current budget but wouldn't hesitate to recommend the brand.

  13. #13
    Super Member nygal's Avatar
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    I have three machines and I purchased them all from www.allbrands.com. They have super FREE and fast delivery. They sell a nice variety of brand names in sewing and embroidery machines. Check them out!!
    When it seems like the world is falling to pieces remember that the pieces are falling into place. We are nearing closer to the End Times.

  14. #14
    Senior Member ThreadHead's Avatar
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    The next machine I buy will have a LARGE throat. I will try it out before buying. It will also have duel feed. It will run smooth, no clicking or clanging. LOL
    The pfaff I had for 30 years was a workhorse. I'm so sorry I sold it, thinking it was time to upgrade. What a mistake.
    My other machine, a Kenmore, I paid 350 for way back when, was also a workhorse, but couldn't compare to the Pfaff.
    My Esante ESe2 is an embroidery machine, which is ok, but not the best. It is noisy. The Viking sound smoother. I don't have the money to buy another machine right now, but I know I will be sitting down and testing each machine and test it from shear materials to thick layers.
    Always ask the sales person, when is the next model coming out? What will the new model have that the old one doesn't have. I think the machines are over priced anyway. Just take a day off and go out testing.
    Good Luck
    Syl
    Syl

  15. #15
    Member hodgesquilter's Avatar
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    I have a viking . LOVE it. Cost about $700.00

  16. #16
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deborahlees View Post
    Local repair shop is a must, because sooner or latter you ARE going to need.....I have had to travel 100 miles for factory service, not my favorate thing to do.........so look for local Factory Authorized Repair Shops, first !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Nothing wrong with a used machine
    Totally agree..

  17. #17
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    Hello, and welcome to this awesome board! I actually bought my last 2 machines on-line, and they have been terrific! I have a Brother PC-420 that I use for regular sewing, and it has lots of stitches. Purchased from Amazon, and actually the 1st one I received dropping the feed dogs seemed "off" to me. I contacted Amazon about it and they overnighted me a new machine and paid for me to send the 1st one back, now that amazed me! I have nothing but great things to say about the machine and the customer service I received! I also purchased a Brother PQ-1500 from Allbrands.com, and have nothing but good things to say about the machine and the customer service from there, too. The 1500 is considered an "industrial" machine, it has a 9" throat plate, is a straight stitch machine only..I bought it mainly for my fmq; as my PC-420 does do fmq, and actually does a nice job of it, but I worried that I would burn it up or something if I used it too much for that (which is probably a needless worry...lol) So I purchased the more heavy duty 1500...Besides anyway, can't hurt to have 2 machines, eh??... I recently purchased a Grace machine quilting frame, but haven't tried my PQ-1500 on it yet. The PQ-1500 also has Pin-feed system which makes is awesome when I am piecing my quilts, especially chain piecing. Both machines have the knee lever and auto thread cut, which is something I really wanted. I know it really is just a matter of preference, and I also know that some say buy local to get the best customer service...After I weighed pros and cons I just couldn't see paying up to $500.00 more for the same machine to buy it locally...for that I could really almost buy another machine! .. Here are links to the 2 machines I have, in case you want to check them out more in depth, and feel free to pm me if you have any other questions..
    http://www.amazon.com/Brother-Limite...her+pc-420+prw
    http://www.allbrands.com/products/15...ine-599-dollar
    Lastly I will say prior to buying these machines I had only had Singers...but the last Singer I purchased just didn't work nearly as well as the "old" ones I had used...Just my opinion, which we know what is said about that...lol...
    Regards,
    Kif
    PS I do have an antique Singer 66 in its original cabinet that I inherited from my grandma, it was her mother's...my dear hubby is in the midst of "restoring" it for me..
    Last edited by kiffie2413; 08-28-2012 at 02:56 PM.
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  18. #18
    Super Member Weezy Rider's Avatar
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    Take your own fabric samples, and samples of what you do or would like to do. Go to a dealer and give the machine a good workout. Check out all the feet and extras. If that dealer won't let you do hands on with supervision, I'd find another dealer. You are the one that has to "feel" the machine to know if you can live with it. Most machines are very good. That said, they all have quirks and will even have a quirk between two machines of the same type. You are the one who will be using it, so make sure it is one you will be comfortable with.

  19. #19
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    Thank you for the advice, I will be going over to the States to purchase my new machine.

  20. #20
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    Thanks so much for the warm welcome. I am heading out in a few to a couple of other stores to try out some machines. Hopefully they will listen to my needs and not try to push me towards machines that are too expensive. I love the idea of making a spreadsheet and taking that with me as well as my own fabric. I appreciate the great advice from everyone!! You have made my search much easier. Thanks so much!!

  21. #21
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    I just got a Singer Quantum 9960 for just over $300 on Amazon. It works wonderfully so far - quiet, fast, and it has a ton of decorative stitches to choose from. If you're not doing any free motion quilting, I think this would work great for all of the other things you do!

  22. #22
    Senior Member pinecone's Avatar
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    whatever you decide, keep your old one for a back-up and remember, today's Singers are not the same as yours.

    piney

  23. #23
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Well, I'm going to weigh in on getting a real nice vintage sewing machine. You can get one very inexpensively in most any city if you are patient. There are so many out there and many run just fine but may need a little cleaning. If you search this site you can find a massive amount of information on cleaning and fixing up a vintage machine. We have a whole section of QB dedicated to vintage machines. Browse that before you spend good money on a new plastic machine which will not last more than about 5 years with out breaking.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  24. #24
    Super Member Sandygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Quilter View Post
    I agree with BellaBoo. Start by making a list of your 'needs'; 'wants'; 'dreams'. Then let your fingers do alot of walking on your keyboard. I use a spreadsheet for this type of effort. A list of features down the side and then the various machines across the top. Color code your categories if that helps. Then just put checks, x's or whatever in each spot that the machines you select in the appropriate boxes. Put the price on the bottom. Then see which machines fit your needs and your budget. And certainly consider the dealer(s) you have local to you. Test drive the machines that best fit your needs and see how you get along with the dealer and all of their staff. Talk to the person who actually does the service and repairs on the machines. Talk to a couple different repair folks if you can. See if you can determine if they are 'brand loyal' to the dealer they are working for or if they give you an honest opinion regardless of brand. And don't be afraid to consider a used machine. I know there are a few older high end machines on CL in my general vicinity for some really good prices. As long as I could make arrangements with the seller to have it ok'd by the service person of my choice, I wouldn't hesitate. It really shouldn't be any different than buying a used car from that perspective. All that said, I bought a new Viking Platinum when I was in the market a number of years ago now. I do all the same type sewing that you mentioned and have never had an issue with it. More $$ then than your current budget but wouldn't hesitate to recommend the brand.
    Excellent info. Get educated first. Price is the budget but all manufacturers have machines in that range.

    Once I figure out what features etc I want, I find myself gravitating to the machines that ffer that and one that that has good ergonomics. If it feels comfortable for me to sit and sew, that helps me make a decision. Dont just watch a dealer demo the machine, tell them that you want to do a test sew. When I was shopping for a machine, the dealer rarely offered to let me sit down and sew on it. I should not have to ask to do so.

    You will be spending hours with the machine...you have to feel comfortable with it. Like buying a car, get familiar with different models you have determined to be in your top 3-4 contenders . Don't rush into your Decision. Once you decide what machine to purchase...."sleep on it". The next day, If you feel that you have made the right one, then start negotiating price with the dealer. They have wiggle room on the price. Don't be shy!

    Oh, check out Pattern Review to read machine reviews of the ones you are considering. And search this board for input.

    Sandy
    Last edited by Sandygirl; 08-30-2012 at 03:13 AM.
    Sandygirl

    Janome 9900 / Janome 9700 / Janome Decor 3050 / Janome 1100D serger
    Singer Centennial model (inherited from my late, fav aunt!)

  25. #25
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    I have a check list, and narrow the choices as to whether the machine meets the check list. My list (for me) is:
    1. Able to lower feed dogs.
    2. Stop/start button as well as foot control
    3. Variable foot pressure
    4. Thread cutter
    5. Good button hole method
    6. Needle up/down function
    7. Twin needle sewing
    8. Good needle threader
    9. Wide harp - 9" or more
    That's about it for me - if it has all of those things it is considered.

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