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Sewing machine choices

Sewing machine choices

Old 11-24-2015, 12:09 PM
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Default Sewing machine choices

Hello. I'm relatively experienced at sewing, pretty new to quilting. I have a very basic machine, Singer Scholastic. I bought it when i was mostly sewing clothes for grandkids, now I'm quilting. I'm in the market for a new machine. My wish list: I'd like a machine that is quiet and smooth. I watch videos of quilters and their machines are so much more quiet than mine.
I'd like to have needle down/up capability.
Is there such a thing as low bobbin thread indicator?
I do quilt on my machine, not sure how useful a computerized one would be since the biggest challenge on quilting with a domestic, basic machine is the bulk of the quilt, that isn't addressed by the machine being computerized, i still couldn't do anything but straight lines, right?
Any suggestions on agood machine? My budget is only about $500 or so.
Thanks, Kelly
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Old 11-24-2015, 12:17 PM
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My Janome MC 6600P is very quiet and had the needle up/down, but it costs almost 3 times what you want to spend. Maybe you could visit a dealer and see if they have some used models. My Husqvarna had the the needle up/down and it has the low bobbin thread indicator too - it is also an embroidery machine. I know my dealers do sell used machines because they take trade-ins all the time.

Have fun looking.
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Old 11-24-2015, 12:57 PM
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I have been using my Brother PC420PRW machine to free motion quilt. It is very quiet, has needle up or down and has a 7" throat. It also has a ton of decorative stitches if you're into that kind of thing. Runs anywhere from just under $400 to $500 on line.

Amazon.com sells them and you get Brother's 25/5/1 warranty which at least I've found that my local dealer does honor if you need repairs. Walmart's on-line store also has them and is sometimes a little cheaper than Amazon.com. I've had mine for 3 years and have pushed a lot of quilts through it.

It's a great little machine. I have noticed that I have to help it along when I'm binding a quilt or sewing upholstery fabric, but I'm pretty sure that it wasn't really meant to do those kinds of jobs LOL.

If you can spend a little more you might want to look at the Brother PQ1500s--it's a straight stitch only machine with needle up/down, thread cutter and nearly 9" to the right of the needle. I've heard it works really well for FMQ. They go for between $600 and $800 new at Amazon and a variety of other on-line Brother dealers. Sometimes you see them for sale used on Ebay, but they tend to get bid up to as much as $450 or $500, almost as much as a new one. I know several quilters who have them and love them. The PQ1500s have a much more powerful motor than the PC420 which comes in handy if you're going to be binding a thick quilt, or working with upholstery fabrics, and they can sew an amazing 1500 stitches per minute, while having a very responsive foot pedal.

Neither the PC420 nor the PQ1500 has a low bobbin indicator, but I don't think you're going to find a machine with a low bobbin indicator for under $1000 unless you can pick up a used machine.

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Old 11-24-2015, 01:28 PM
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I have never had a machine with a low bobbin indicator, but have read many complaints on here about how annoying that feature is. Most complain that the warning goes off too soon.
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Old 11-24-2015, 01:39 PM
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I've noticed that on the machines that we shopped for a low bobbin or low thread indicator started about the $2500 range and even some of those machines did not have it.

On the wife's new machine the bobbin cover is clear and it helps you see when you are getting low without an actual sensor.

Good luck finding the perfect machine for you.
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Old 11-24-2015, 01:46 PM
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You need to go to a large quilt show where dealers who are selling various models will have them on display. A DSM is just like a car, you have to test drive them and then haggle with the price. Paid a grand for my Bernina 1530 in the late 90s and I still love it. With quilting larger quilts, you just have to find someway to support the quilt on your left side and behind your machine.
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Old 11-24-2015, 01:55 PM
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My Singer Quantum has low bobbin indication. A small red light comes on but doesn't blink or ding. I have a Bernina, Janome, and Brother machine and none have the indicator. But I forget to notice it so I still run out mid seam. LOL
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Old 11-24-2015, 06:20 PM
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We have had several discussions on this recently if you want to use the search button and various combinations of "new machine" etc. Most people tell how much they like their machines. The best advice that was given by ManiacQuilter2 is to go try out many different machines. Either at a quilt show or at different dealers. What works for me might not work for you. It's a good idea to test drive them yourself vs what someone else likes. I like my mechanical Walmart version of Brother machines plus I have a bunch of vintage machines. I like them but you may not. Have fun with your search and let us know what you end up with.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Feathers-N-Fur View Post
I have never had a machine with a low bobbin indicator, but have read many complaints on here about how annoying that feature is. Most complain that the warning goes off too soon.
You can turn it off to use the rest of the bobbin. I still love the feature but it does go off early
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Old 11-25-2015, 01:44 AM
Join Date: Apr 2015
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My Husqvarna Viking (Freesia) has a top loading bobbin, with a clear plastic cover, so you can see at a glance how much thread is left (it also starts to make a sort of rattle if it gets too low, but I don't think that's a design feature!) - a low tech solution? It doesn't have the needle up/down choice though, which is somewhat frustrating (a tap on the foot peddle gets it down again, but I am going to make sure my next machine has this facility!) although I think that others do have the feature. I love my machine, it's managed everything I have thrown at it so far...
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