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Thread: Sewing machine choices

  1. #1
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    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

  2. #2
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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.

  3. #3
    Super Member rryder's Avatar
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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.

    Rob

  4. #4
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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.

  5. #5
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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.

  6. #6
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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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.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  7. #7
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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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
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
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  8. #8
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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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.
    Alyce

  9. #9
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    Quote 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
    Brother (XL-3500i, CV3550, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D), Juki MO-2000QVP, Handiquilter Avante

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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...

  11. #11
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    I agree with checking out your local dealer for a used machine. Lots of folks do trade-ins for newer models so there are some nice machines out there very reasonably priced. Most dealers will also offer some kind of limited warranty on a used machine purchased from them (at least mine does). I have a Husqvarna Viking (Platinum) which does have the needle up/down feature (that you can turn on/off at will). No low bobbin indicator but as GarageDragon says, it makes a different sound when the bobbin is running low and is a decent indicator as long as I pay attention.

  12. #12
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    Update: Thanks for all the advice. My sister has a Brother 3129, Simplicity series that she loves. So I did some research and Consumer Digest, I think it was, ranks it as one of the best computerized machines. I'm thinking that this machine has what I want, at $450-ish it does have a needle up/down which I really want. I'm not as concerned with the low bobbin indicator, my current machine has a clear window, I guess I need to pay attention to that more. I do have another question. I'm a little leery about the cost if anything were to go wrong on a computerized machine, seems it might be expensive to repair. Or do they not have computer related issues much? Does anyone have the Brother/Simplicity 3129? Or another of the Brother/Simplicity series models? How do you like it?
    Kelly~

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    When you say straight stitch only does that mean that there would be no zig zag stitch option, or button hole capability?

  14. #14
    Super Member DonnaC's Avatar
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    I also have the Brother Project Runway PC420 that rryder talked about. I bought it from Overstock.com as a backup machine, but it is now my main machine because I love it so much. I have owned several low-end Brother machines (meaning, ones that were not purchased from a dealership) and have had absolutely no problems with any of them. They have not needed maintenance such as the computer motherboard going or anything like that. Of course, I've also had several (modern, not antique) Singers which didn't give me any problems either, and people generally pan those on this Board like crazy. Guess maybe I'm just lucky with machines!

    This is the model I have, currently selling on Overstock for $399:

    http://www.overstock.com/Crafts-Sewi...ml?searchidx=2

    I wanted to comment on a couple of other things in your post.

    I know lots of people are going to tell you to get yourself to a dealer and try lots of machines, which isn't bad advice; however, some of us either don't have dealers close by, or (in my case) have dealers near us that we do NOT want to deal with (no pun intended). I think if you are experienced enough, and know exactly what you want, you can buy a machine without a dealer.

    As far as only being able to quilt straight lines - not true! Even with a relatively small machine like my PR420, you can free-motion quilt the heck out of your stuff if you're willing to experiment! If you don't know Leah Day yet, check her out on YouTube or on her website. She definitely has some wonderful ideas and tips for quilting on a small domestic machine that could help you. Hey, I didn't think it was possible either until I tried it!

  15. #15
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    I will definitely consider buying from other than a dealer. As far as free motion quilting, I tried it on my Singer, which I like by the way, and had a terrible time trying to keep the fabric from all of a sudden moving a couple of inches, or even half an inch, thereby causing long stitches. I wasn't using the slippery thing under the fabric though. The other hang-up I have is that I can't imagine having a quilt sized piece to free motion and managing all the bulk while still keeping the feeding of the fabric, therefor the stitch length, even. I have watched Leah Day. :-) She makes it look SO easy! Any other advice about free-motion? I really would love to master it...

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    The earlier poster said it was the Brother PQ1500 that only does a straight stitch. Sorry for the confusion.

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    Does anybody have any experience with the Janome Magnolia?

  18. #18
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    I'm reading reviews for the Brother 420 on the Walmart site, people love it! :-)

  19. #19
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    Another question about the Brother 420, does it have the automatic scissor cut?

  20. #20
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    I've never had any of the machines that you mentioned but as far as computerized machines go, I've had 2 Berninas that were computerized. I was doing a ton of sewing and quilting when I got the first one and the first years that I had the second. I never had any problems with the computer. It would be expensive to fix but with normal precautions like a power strip and unplugging it when you are done using it just in case I don't believe that there are an inherent problems with the computers in machines.
    Patrice S

    Bernina Artista 180, Singer 301a, Featherweight Centennial, Rocketeer, Juki 2200 QVP Mini, White 1964 Featherweight

  21. #21
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    I have a Janome 6600 and it is quite quiet. I love it. It has needle down and auto thread cutter and many, many stitches. I saved for years and bought it a a LQS and it was a used machine and they had it serviced and it runs great. I paid $1000.00 but was well worth it. I really love the Janome. Good luck on your decision.

  22. #22
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    Machines are so expensive!!!! I went on ebay and bought an old singer a 15-91 only does straight stitch but you have a main you can pull out for decorative stitches doesn't do up or down needlet though but I got it cheap, it's a workhorse! Has large throat for quilt!!! Bought cheaper one for decorative stitches would love a little more but they are so expensive and all the computerized stuff scares me and has stuff I'd never use!!!!

  23. #23
    ro
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    just make sure you go into the different shops and try all the machines available. you'll find something you like and then some. don't forget most places also have 0 financing for 48 months now. have fun with making a decision.

  24. #24
    Super Member rryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kellyer21 View Post
    Another question about the Brother 420, does it have the automatic scissor cut?
    There's a button that you push on the front that pulls the threads to the back, ties them off and cuts them.

    Rob

  25. #25
    Super Member Girlfriend's Avatar
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    Amazon has a great price for the PC420PRW, as Rryder mentioned. This machine is on my wish list...

    http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B...=ATVPDKIKX0DER
    Creative clutter is better than idle neatness.

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