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Thread: Sewing Machine Advice, I can't decide!

  1. #1
    Member georgiagirlquilting's Avatar
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    Sewing Machine Advice, I can't decide!

    I have had several mid-range machines over the years and I am tired of paying $700 for machines and they just don't last. I have had Bernina and Singer, both computerized and expensive. The Bernina I had tuned up as part of the service when I bought it. It NEVER sewed the same after. It is awful and the store said there was nothing wrong with the stitches. Hello? Do you see the bird's nest on the back every few inches? So, since I couldn't get it fixed I bought the Singer. It is having issues now.
    So, I am wondering, which machines should I consider? I sew a few days a week, but when I start piecing a top, I might spend hours on the machine.
    I have looked at Janome, Hancock's has a nice one for $350 but they won't let me try it without buying it first. Babylock Grace and Elizabeth (pricey) but seem to be nice machines. And then if they don't last long, why spend the big bucks and just go for the $200 Brother at Wal-Mart. Looking for any suggestions since my budget is limited right now. I like the Babylock Jane that is a straight stitch machine but since I use decorative stitches for my binding I would still need a second machine.

  2. #2
    Super Member virtualbernie's Avatar
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    What issues are you having with the Singer?
    Bernie

  3. #3
    Member georgiagirlquilting's Avatar
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    I have contacted Singer for the correct bobbin size, but it still bounces up and down while sewing. It gets really bad after I have only used about half of the bobbin. It messes up the tension, so I start out looking good and the more I sew, the worse it looks. Adjusting the tension has not helped. I have tried Gutterman thread, Coats and Clark, even serger thread to no avail. Any ideas?

  4. #4
    Super Member virtualbernie's Avatar
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    What Singer do you have? How are you winding the bobbin?
    Bernie

  5. #5
    Member georgiagirlquilting's Avatar
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    It is the Singer Quantum 9920. I wind the bobbin on the bobbin winder that is on the top of the machine.

  6. #6
    Super Member virtualbernie's Avatar
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    I have 3 new Singers but I don't have that one. I thought that maybe you were using the Simplicity bobbin winder. When I used that, I always had problems with the bobbin on my L500. I was using the Simplicity bobbin winder just as a convenience--winding a bunch of bobbins at once for all the machines so I wouldn't have to stop sewing to wind bobbins. Inspect your bobbins closely and see if there are any nicks or cracks in them. I had a problem once and when I looked there were minute cracks in it as if I had somehow wound the bobbin too full. Don't know how it happened but when I changed to another bobbin it was fine. My CE250 was making a racket once but that was because I hadn't cleaned the bobbin area in a while. Once I cleaned all the dust out and oiled the hook it worked perfectly! I've never had a problem using any particular thread unless I am FMQ'g.
    Bernie

  7. #7
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    So sorry to hear about your machines!!! Good luck finding the right machine!!! I love my vikings!!

  8. #8
    Kas
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    Super Member Kas's Avatar
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    Take the Bernina to a qualified Bernina service shop. The first place did something wrong. Bernina has great service. They should make it right. I love mine to pieces.
    Outside of a dog, a book is Man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.-Groucho Marx

  9. #9
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    Compare the bobbin number given in the instruction book for your Singer and the bobbin number for the bobbin you actually have in your machine. There are 2 of the clear plastic bobbins for use with Singer machines that appear to be identical but are actually two different sizes. I bought additional bobbins so I could have extra of several different colors, used one of them and stitches were awful. Put in one of the older ones and everything was great. Read the manual and it said to check the size of the bobbin and make sure you had the correct size. Replacing the new bobbins resolved my problem.
    Fabric is like money, no matter how much you have it's never enough.

  10. #10
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kas View Post
    Take the Bernina to a qualified Bernina service shop. The first place did something wrong. Bernina has great service. They should make it right. I love mine to pieces.

    Yes, and I'd be curious to know what model Bernina you have that you bought new for $700? Never heard of such a thing except for a Bernette, which isn't made by Bernina. If it's a Bernette, well, lesson learned but if it's a Bernina, I agree it needs to be taken to a different, certified technician.

  11. #11
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    Maybe try a vintage machine like singer 201.
    Anna Quilts

  12. #12
    Junior Member txstitcher's Avatar
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    I had a Singer and a Pfaff. I had issues with both. I traded in the Pfaff for a Janome MC6500. I'll never have any other machine. I will always buy Janome.

    Go to a Janome authorized dealer and try out all the Janomes before you buy/decide.

    Good Luck!
    Michelle

  13. #13
    Senior Member QuiltingCrazie's Avatar
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    Ive always been on a tight budget when it has come to my machines. I used my moms kenmore for years til it needed service which my dad does but we were living in another state. So I bought a 150 brother from Walmart which I used for all my quilting and sewing til last month so 10 years. Nothing is wrong with it I just wanted a few more stitches that my current machine didn't have. My hubby bought me another brother for 200 last month its a 6000i I believe but it's great. It is picky about thread I have to FMQ with 100% cotton otherwise I have tension issues. The bobbins are a different size then my previous brother. I originally only looked at another Brother because I didn't want to buy new attachments. My new machine came with bonus feet which was a good thing because the old brother feet are not compatible. I'm happy with both my brother machines. my daughter sews on my old machine. My best friend has the same brother 5232XL i believe and she's had hers for 12 years and still no issues! If I had the budget I might look into other machines but I don't so I get the most for my money and I have been very happy!!
    *Rachel*

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    If your machine gets bird's nests and the technician says nothing is wrong, the problem is with the technician not the machine!!!! Go to a different technician with an example IN THE MACHINE of the fabric and the bird's nests. When you pick it up, sew for about 30 minutes in the shop before you leave to "test drive" the repair." Good luck.
    Last edited by TanyaL; 02-23-2012 at 04:29 AM.

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    Maybe if you contact Bernina directly they can help you find someone who will trouble shoot your machine.
    If you still have problems with the two machines, head on down to Kennesaw, my fave dealer/serviceman is there. Not sure I am supposed to mention names of the shop on this site but if you will PM me, I'll be glad to give you their name. You will most likely be able to "search" Pfaff, Brother, and Janome and find them in store locater. Believe me you won't be sorry to purchase any one of these brands, where they are also serviced. They even helped me out with some features I couldn't figure out how to use, 9 years after the purchase.
    Last edited by judi wess; 02-23-2012 at 04:48 AM.

  16. #16
    Super Member SuzyQ's Avatar
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    Maybe try a bobbin genie in your Singer? I have the Singer 9940 and haven't had any problems with it although I don't sew as much as you do. Good luck on your search.

    Suzy

  17. #17
    Senior Member QuiltingHaven's Avatar
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    For the Singer, there are 15J bobbins and 15 bobbins and they look almost identical but they are slightly different and that could be the problem. I took a permanent marker and marked a dot on the 15J bobbins so that I didn't use the 15 in those 2 machines. They are really easy to mix up.
    Busy in Ohio

  18. #18
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    I think trying out a machine to see if it works for you is a must. Janome is a good machine. I have viking, bernina , and janome. Right now like to play on feither weight when ahoulder gets better.

  19. #19
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    I bought a Brother SE400 in December. It is a combination sewing/embroidery machine and cost about $370. I say about because I don't remember the exact amount. I ordered it from Amazon. I love the machine. It's the first time I haven't had a Singer but I'm happy I switched.

  20. #20
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    The Brother CS6000i is a nice little machine - won't handle a steady diet of heavy sewing tasks for long, but it will piece and sew average weight and light weight fabric very well - with a pretty assortment of decorative & utility stitches and several types of built-in buttonholes.

    If you're up to to the research involved and possibly learning to do some of your own maintenance, I would look around at garage sales & craigslist, etc and try to find a Kenmore from the 70's in a nice big heavy cabinet.

    I have an 1802 and an 1803 from the early 70's and there are probably a couple of dozen machines that are related to these.

    They're *heavy* machines and so versatile - most of them come with a huge assortment of attachments and accesories including 20-25 feet, a chainstitch set-up, a monogrammer, buttonholer, stitch disks, etc.

    My 1803 has about a dozen different stitches built in and disks for 30 more. It's one of my best FMQ machines, except that the throat is smallish. (Not smallish like the modern machines, just not big like the Singer 15) I LOVE this machine - it will do everything. I didn't pay a huge amount for it, as I recall, but I did spend $125 to have the two internal belts replaced, the electrical checked and the normal COA done. I spent a couple of days cleaning it inside and out and she's been a fabulous machine ever since. She plows through anything I give her.

    Good luck and have fun!

  21. #21
    Senior Member lfletcher's Avatar
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    I'm shocked that Hancock's won't let you try the Janome before buying. I have a Janome 6500 and love it. I don't know much about the other models, but know most of my friends that have various Janomes like them. However, my Bernina friends also love their Berninas. I think you should try to find places that allow you to test drive. Then test drive several different models and decide after that based on your preference and what you need.

  22. #22
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I would not buy either a Singer or a Bernette. Perhaps take the ones you have to a different technician.

    If you want a new machine, find some dealerships in your area and go in and actually sew on the machines. Dealerships often have very good used machines that they have taken for trade-in, so that may be the way to go.

    In terms of brands, a lot depends on your price range. It sounds as if real Pfaff and Bernina machines are outside your range, so I would be trying out Janome and Brother machines. If Sears is still selling Kenmores (which are made by Janome), try out those too. (Sears is phasing out their machines.) Machines are usually *very* difficult to return for refund (although sometimes dealers will allow you to exchange upwards), so I would not purchase a machine before actually trying it out.

  23. #23
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    There is a "real" Pfaff available for around $800 and it is a wonderful machine. worth the money for the even feed alone. It is an Ambition, the entry level computerized machine in their line. I also have an about $700 Viking that I like almost as much. It was a closeout at the end of the model life. That is my FMQing machine. You can find good machines without spending thousands.

    I too would advise you to have a good dealer nearby whatever you buy. (Although my Pfaff dealers are far away!)

  24. #24
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    I'm shocked about the Bernina. As suggested, try a Bernina service. I inherited my mom's Bernina I think the 630? when she upgraded to the 930. Later, I wanted a new machine, not just new for me and went for a Viking. I received as much on teh Bernina trade-in as my mom had paid for it 23 years earlier. And never once did either of us have any trouble with the machine. She loved the 930 so much she never wanted a different machine. And it still works though sadly, she died about four years ago. My DD uses "nana's machine" now.

  25. #25
    Super Member Rumbols's Avatar
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    I bought one of the Singer 9920 from Hancock also. They wouldn't let me try it in the store before I bought it but I thought the sewing space was great. I had it three weeks (one of which it spent in the repair shop) and returned it for my money back. I had the same problems you have with the bobbin and additional problems with the way the stitches were formed. The repair guy couldn't do anything with it.
    I have a Pfaff, Bernina 440EQ, Brother cs6000i from Wally world (over 6 years old and no service), vintage Singers (over 50 yrs) , etc. They all work way better than the Singer 9900 series of machines. I take the Wally world machine on vacation all the time and it never fails me.
    Trade the Singer 9920 in for something better. All the ladies on here are giving you great advise on the other machines. Create a list of what you want your machine to do and shop around. Only you will know what you want.
    Hope this helps.

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