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Thread: Recommendations for Brother (or Babylock?) machine for classes

  1. #1
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    Recommendations for Brother (or Babylock?) machine for classes

    I have the Brother VQ3000 and love it, but it’s soooo big and heavy that I hesitate to drag it to a class or retreat. Now that we’ve moved to WI there actually ARE classes/retreats I might want to go to!

    Since I have a fair amount invested in feet for my VQ3000, if I get a portable machine I’d like to be able to use them on it. Thus my question—anyone have and love their reasonably portable smaller Brother/Babylock machine? If so, which one and why?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Super Member juliasb's Avatar
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    I have a small brothers SE-350 that I bought at Walmart years ago that I use to go out to quilty things with. Once a month I go to our Sit & Sew and if I need to bring it to a Guild meeting or to teach my DGD a sewing lesson it goes with me. It fits easily into my travel bag and did not cost a great deal either. I know the models have changed over the years but I figured I did not want to invest to much in a machine that little hands would be using. I don't take the embroidery attachment with me when I go out unless I have a specific plan for it. It travels lightly too.

  3. #3
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    I am a big fan of the lower end Brother machines. I have several of them and they are not fussy with thread and have a nice stitch. Mine have worked for me straight out of the box.
    Alyce

  4. #4
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    I'm another fan of the cheap Brothers for classes. One of the nice thing about (most) Brothers is the feet are interchangeable. They are basic and easy to use, even low end ones have threading assists.

    My first one lasted for around 7 years of pretty heavy use and hard treatment. Started having issues with the bobbin casing. It was the Costco machine from that time, here's the current offer from them:
    https://www.costco.com/Brother-XR334...100421876.html

    My current portable Brother is super low end, got it at the thrift store for something like $20. It is a Brother 2230 and it is just fine for classes, does everything I want. Happens this machine (maybe why it was in the thrift store) had issues with the bobbin winder, so I bought a portable one and everything is just fine.

    The downside of the 2230 is it does not have an integrated case, I carry it in the box. The previous one had an integrated case that fit over the machine with a hand opening, that was better than nothing but if I was going to go to a lot of classes, I'd be looking for a case with some sort of locking/shutting function.

  5. #5
    Super Member juliasb's Avatar
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    I agree with this. I have had lower end and something in the higher end and the lower end machines are work hogs! I have worn out 2 of them and even traded a quilt one time for a new machine! Perfect for travel as I said before.

  6. #6
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    I have one of the Walmart brothers with all the feet for quilting and I love it. I bought it as a back up machine but now use it for almost everything.

  7. #7
    JBG
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    I have a Brother SQ9285, from Wal Mart, that I pack up and use,and I think it is a very good machine. It came with all the feet, plus fmq and walking foot.

  8. #8
    Super Member Krisb's Avatar
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    I have a Brother CS6000i at our winter home. Nice little machine. Available on Amazon for $150. It has done all I need, although I can’t master the autothreader.
    I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it difficult to plan the day.

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  9. #9
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    I bought a Brother Project Runway (forget which model number, but computerized) for $75 for my DIL a few years ago--brand new in box, yard sale deal. She loves it and has made a few baby quilts.

    I also bought a $20 Brother (mechanical) at a thrift store and it's dandy. I ended up with too many machines at home, so I took this one to my sister's house in KY. When I'm there, I have pulled it out to work on quilts and I made curtains for her. I'd say for classes get one that's light enough to carry and easy on your wallet.

  10. #10
    Super Member Cindy60545's Avatar
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    I have a Babylock Anna for traveling. It's able to do anything I need within reason & any of the Babylock or Brother feet fit it. I used to drive an 18-wheeler & took my machine on the road with me & sewed at the local quilt shop on my regular route, so it traveled well.

  11. #11
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    I too am a big fan of Brother machines to take to classes or sewing days at church. I have the HC1850, I think I paid about $175. on Amazon. Overstock also sells Brother sewing machines. I have purchased several feet for mine on Amazon and at sewingpartsonline.com.

  12. #12
    Super Member Pam S's Avatar
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    I have the Brother CS6000i that I bought for about $150 from Target online (was actually cheaper than Amazon at the time). I got it so the feet would be interchangeable with my larger Brother. The feet are, but the bobbins are not. My large machine is from 2002 so that could be why. The CS6000i has been a great machine for taking to classes. The only thing I miss from the larger machine is the auto-threadcutter.
    People will see your quilts long after you're gone - NOT your housework!

  13. #13
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crafty pat View Post
    I have one of the Walmart brothers with all the feet for quilting and I love it. I bought it as a back up machine but now use it for almost everything.
    Me too and I have the 6200D but use my Walmart brother way more since I sew a lot at my in laws before work
    Brother (XL-3500i, CV3550, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D), Juki MO-2000QVP, Handiquilter Avante

  14. #14
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    The best class and travel machine I have found is the Eversewn Sparrow 30. Every feature I want on this machine plus extension table for about $350. There was on special sale at a local Bernina shop for $300 and all sold out in less then two hours.

  15. #15
    Senior Member janjanq's Avatar
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    I have a Babylock Sofia that I purchased for about $400 about 6 years ago. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of my $5000.00 Babylock Elegante, but it's a good machine. It also does embroidery, and does as good a job as my big machine. The Sofia is lightweight and easy to carry, but has a a lot of built in stitches, needle down, and auto thread cutter as well as other features.

  16. #16
    Senior Member janjanq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krisb View Post
    I have a Brother CS6000i at our winter home. Nice little machine. Available on Amazon for $150. It has done all I need, although I can’t master the autothreader.
    . I think i know what you mean about the auto-threader. I can't seem to master mine either. I just do it the old fashioned way. My machine is a Babylock Sofia, and the auto-threader is the only problem i have with it.

  17. #17
    Super Member Aurora's Avatar
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    My backup machine is a 301A. It is dependable, has a carry handle, drop-down long bed and only weighs 16 pounds. This was my very first machine when I started quilting classes. It is over 60 years old and has stood the test of time. And, I only paid $75 for it.
    Last edited by Aurora; 09-11-2019 at 02:55 AM.
    Aurora

    "A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot." -Robert A. Heinlein

  18. #18
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aurora View Post
    My backup machine is a 301A. It is dependable, has a carry handle, drop-down long bed and only weighs 16 pounds. This was my very first machine when I started quilting classes. It is over 60 years old and has stood the test of time. And, I only paid $75 for it.
    i too love a vintage machine. I have collected a lot of them over the years. I have a 201,301, 401, two featherweights etc. But it took me a long time to come upon them when I was collecting. I didn’t need a machine at that time. It is just so hit or miss and a lot of looking at estate sales, garage sales, and flea markets to find a vintage machine that doesn’t need a lot of work, at a reasonable price, near enough to be able to look at it.
    Alyce

  19. #19
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    I would also take a look at the Janomes. Whatever feet you would need in a class would come with the machine. I keep all of the feet for my machines, with that machine...no mixing. I do purchase specialty feet for my machines, but those too, stay with that machine. The only thing I share among the machines are the bobbins. Janome 3160 and 4120 are great for class. Since piecing is normally what we do in class, up/down needle feature and thread cutter are a must for me. There are some specials out there for the 3160Q with the quilt "bundle", that includes a walking foot and other quilting feet and accessories.

  20. #20
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    Thanks, everyone! Good to know that the low end Brothers are good class machines.

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