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Thread: Sewing machine overload

  1. #1
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    Question Sewing machine overload

    I know you must get alot of "What to Buy" here, but I am new to forum. I went out ot look at machines and the dealers wanted to sell me either the Janome 7700, Brother Ashley nx-2000, or baby lock symphony. I started quilting last year and wanted a machine that has a blanket stitch and possibly a larger throat so I can teach myself how to free motion quilt. I was shocked at the price all three were the same price here and on the high end of prices I find on internet. Do I need one of these, or is there other options? Thanks

  2. #2
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    No, you do not NEED one of these!
    I, for example, have been quilting for 30 years, have taught, designed, published, done commissions, and owned a large quilt shop, yet have never owned such a high end machine. I quilt on an 18 year old mechanical Bernina 1031 and adore it. I also own two vintage Berninas, an 830 and an 807.

    "Wanting", now, that's a totally different story.....and completely depends on your ability to pay, your willingness to pay, your motivation for buying, and what you plan to do to make the purchase worthwhile in the future.....besides bragging rights, of course!

    Jan in VA
    Jan in VA
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    peacefully colors my world.
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  3. #3
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Buy what you like and can afford and don't fret over wondering if you made the right purchase. There will always be newer machines. It usually takes three or four machine purchases over time before you find the one that is the one.
    Got fabric?

  4. #4
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    Smile

    The extra stitches can be nice but you need to decide what you want to do. You mentioned blanket stitch for appliqué. Don't take the dealers word for it ask for or take a background, a sample shape and stabalizer. Try all the levels of machines in each brand that have the features you want most. Try some fmq on them. Who cares what it looks like, just try to get a feel for the machine. You may find the higher end machine does not produce as nice a stitch as a lower model, or maybe you find one or the other easier to use. I did not buy a top of the line Bernina and am very happy with the model I chose. I love it for binding and clothing construction but I like to piece with vintage machines. Just make sure what you chose fits you at this point in time and what you might like to try in the near future. No one can predict what kind of sewing they will want to do 15 or 20 years out.
    Cheryl Robinson
    http://www.silverneedlestitching.com
    APQS Millenium Longarm with Intelliquilter

  5. #5
    Super Member kristakz's Avatar
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    Other than the larger throat, quilting doesn't need fancy stitches. Straight stitch for piecing. Free motion capability (drop feed dogs) for quilting. You already know you want a few fancy stitches - that's still not a high end machine, and I don't think one is necessary. My old Kenmore, which I bought for about $300 does a blanket stitch.

    The throat size - after quilting for 7 years I would definitely pay for a decent throat. I have about 7-8" on my machine, and it is a pain in the neck to do anything much bigger than a baby quilt. I have done it however - all the way up to king size. If you can get a larger throat without breaking your budget, I say go for it. But don't let them push you into fancy embroidery stitches and what-not. And it's possible to do a lot with a smaller throat, with a little bit of creativity and perseverance, if you can't afford the big throat now. After 7 years, I'm splurging on a long-arm machine (which arrives tomorrow)

  6. #6
    Super Member tjradj's Avatar
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    Do you have a trusted quilter friend who can go shopping with you? I recently did this with a couple of new quilters and it helps a lot in keeping focused on the real shopping and not the hype from the sales person.
    I used to be "hot", now it's just "hot flashes!"

  7. #7
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Do not be "over " sold .. can what you can really use... and leave alot of that "nice to have , but I won't use it much" stuff aside.
    It is soooo easy to get "up" sold on all the amazing things machines can do... It easier when you are trying to learn .. not to have to learn so much about the machine.
    My Mom receintly bought a very high end machine, and mind you she has been sewing along time.... its way more machine than she can really handle... and when I visit she is using the older machine with much simpler controls. She says the new machine takes too many steps to do the same thing.

  8. #8
    Senior Member w7sue's Avatar
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    I have eight machines - use two on a regular basis - both Janomes. One is a 2010 and the other is a 6600. I would not own the 6600 if I had to buy it (I won it on a shop hop a few years back). I straight stitch on it and not much else - what a waste! I have two Featherweights and I know everyone swears by them but I don't prefer them to the smaller Janome which travels very well. I have not been able to get the presser feet on either Featherweight to hold the fabric down well enough - it feels like I am doing FMQ with them ...

  9. #9
    Senior Member DawnFurlong's Avatar
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    Lots of good advice here from people who have been around longer than I. I was machine shopping earlier in the year, primarily because I wanted a larger throat space (I have a Janome MC4800 - which is about 8 years old - still works just fine). I gave myself headaches (and was about half nauseous) by the time I looked at all the machines, researched the machines, asked questions about various machines. I kept thinking - so much money!!!

    I didn't rush out to buy one that was touted as an excellent deal (and it probably was a pretty good deal). Instead, my research led me to think about what was really important to me. I already have a machine with a lot of extra stitches. Ask me how many I had used up to that point?! Maybe 2. What I really needed was straight stitch and a larger throat. Simple. And was leaning toward a straight stitch only machine (Brother 1500). And then I found a vintage machine. Didn't even know I was looking for it! Mechanical, straight stitch only - LOVE, LOVE this machine! I especially love how it feels to FMQ on this machine. While the throat isn't as big as the Brother would have been, it is bigger than my Janome, plus feels bigger than it is because the "column" is more upright (I quilted a king sized quilt on it).

    All that to say - ditto to what the others have said - and don't let yourself feel rushed! Evaluate what you really need. Consider what you want and can afford. And try out all levels of machines - not just the high end ones they are pushing.

    Good luck in your search! :-)
    Dawn

  10. #10
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    Thank you. The comments have been helpful. It is easy to get caught up in the moment with all the fancy machines.

  11. #11
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    Buy what you like and want not what a dealer or someone tells you to buy. If you are going to go high end, I would spend several month looking at different machines. Go to shows and try different brands out. For me I drooled over my machine for 2 years, but couldn't afford it. I went in to actually price lower models to upgrade from my cheapo mechanical brother. When I went in they told me their payment plans and I opted for my dream machine the babylock espire (symphony and ashleys predecessor). I would say it was about 6 months before I was completely comfortable with my new machine. It was easy to use, but has many many features. To this day almost 3 years later I still learn new things about her. I love all her bells and whistles, and miss them when I sew on my lower models. You don't need these features but they are nice to have you will only know if that is what you want in a machine. I would say start small and work you way up. my first machine was very basic mechanical brother with limited stitching, then I got a mechanical with more features. Now I have my baby, and upgraded my small mechanical brother to a small computerized one from walmart and can say I love my little one even though she doesn't have all the features of my big one I can do almost everything on her and she is so portable. I would if I were you get a smaller machine with those features and see if FMQ is something you truly enjoy before shedding out the dollars for a big machine. You can FMQ wall hangings and lap sizes on the cheaper machines, and even with a decent harp you will still have to get the hang of maneuvering your quilt. Some don't like it and opt for a mid arm machine to do it and a small machine for piecing. I paid 109 for my cheap mechanical brother 7 years ago and it does everything you would need it to with out the big spending.
    Some of the features on the high end machines that make them nice are
    automatic thread cutter
    ability to adjust presser foot pressure, and height
    pivoting feature with automatic presser foot lift when foot is released from pedal
    knee lift for presser foot
    needle down
    screed instructions on basic threading of your machine without pulling out manual
    bobbin winding independent from sewing function
    low bobbin detector (no more sewing for minutes with no bobbin thread)
    automatic tension adjuster
    memory pockets for saved stitches
    stitch length and width adjusting abilities( width was not an option in my first machine)
    drop feed dog capabilities (these are only on my computerized machines)

    My computerized small machine has drop feed and needle down feature so that it is more features for quilting than my second mechanical machine and only cost 200 ( 180 with the rebate) has blanket and decorative stitches and many feet that you would need for garment sewing without braking the bank.

    Honestly I have practiced FMQ and the espire is just short of 9" harp, and don't know if I would do a big queen or king on it ever.

  12. #12
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Welcome, from Texas!

    All you really "need" is a machine you love. Of course the shops are gonna try to sell you the most expensive one, possible; that's how they make money. I had the same Kenmore, for 35 years, before buying a Horizon 7700, for the extra throat space. I love my 7700 but I also still love my old Kenmore (and am trying to get it back to working order). When I decided to teach my dd and dgd to sew, I bought an inexpensive Brother CS6000i (with the intention of sending it home with them, afterwards). The LQS lady bad-mouthed it but I trusted the reviews and opinions here . . . and so far, it seems to be a wonderful machine!
    Neesie


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  13. #13
    Senior Member luana's Avatar
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    You mentioned that you wanted a blanket stitch. I would suggest that you check out the machines for the scope of length and width for the blanket stitch. Last year I purchased a smaller travel machine with the blanket stitch option and soon discovered that it had one setting. I couldn't lengthen the stitch to where I wanted and couldn't make it any wider. If you plan to develop your quilting skills I would recommend looking at the built in walking foot. There's nothing better for stitching in the ditch. You will do a lot of that along with free motion quilting. Good Luck!

  14. #14
    Super Member May in Jersey's Avatar
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    First, know the features you really want, wider throat, blanket stitch, etc. and
    Second, sit down and sew on the different machines. Top of the line may not be what's best for you, the models with lesser bells and whistles may have the features you want and at a much lower price.

    When I was looking for a new machine I was sure I was going to buy a Bernina but I didn't feel comfortable using it. Went to a sewing machine/vacuum shop that was a big messy place but since it took me so long to drive there I'd try out the Pfaff I came to check out. Well I bought it because I felt so comfortable using it and still do.

  15. #15
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    You also should check with the dealers for good used machines. Lots of quilters upgrade to the newest model and trade in their older machine. I found a great deal on a used Janome 6600 at the dealer. It came with unlimited classes to learn how to use it, as well as free quilting classes. I love my 6600 and while there are features on other machines that would be nice, I refuse to mortgage the house to have them!

  16. #16
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    I started out with a cheap Brother machine. It is now my backup machine. One thing about Brother machines is they are good machines and reasonable.
    I now have a Viking Sapphire computer machine. I love it. It has a 10 in throat and that has become a must have.
    Love the needle down function and that is now a must have also. My quilting has improved so much by having a fancy machine.
    Do lots of research before investing in an expensive machine.
    Now Im wanting an embroidery machine, it never ends.

  17. #17
    Junior Member jj1150's Avatar
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    I recently bought the Janome 6600 and really, really like it . And I am *back to quilting* (or trying to be) after an absence of about 25 yrs. ..... my other machine (which I have always loved) is a Bernina Record 730 (bought in 1969) and I did want to upgrade.

    I just finished a queen size rag quilt and made pillowcases/shams to go with it; and I so enjoyed added the decorative stitches on these ~ gives it just the *right* finishing touch.


    And I *might* have overbought, but I knew I would NOT be able to buy a machine and then trade up in a few years (my husband likes, all too often, to remind me, we are NOW on fixed income!!!)

    Sooo, I bought the best I could afford (and that was the top of my $$$$ line), because I knew it had to be the ONLY one I would be getting. But at 61, this should last me forever!!!

    jody

  18. #18
    Super Member jlm5419's Avatar
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    My 30+ year old Kenmore does a blanket stitch, along with several others. There are probably lots of older machines out there that will do what you want without paying the price of those high-end new machines, and the older machines will likely outlast the new ones.
    jlm5419-an Okie back in Oklahoma!
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  19. #19
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    I started with the cheapest Viking Huskavarna, $300, and used that for 15 years. Then I upgraded to a Viking Quilt Designer, which I still have as back up. And 2 years ago I purchased my dream machine and I love it. I won't mention the name of it because it causes all kinds of problems for some people. I saved for this machine and it does everything but people get upset if I mention the mere name of it. But I love my new sewing machine and I am so happy I bought it.
    "Be yourself...everyone else is taken."
    Strong people don't put others down...they build them up."
    "Remember that your instincts are more important than rules"

  20. #20
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    One thing I should mention. A lot of gals here have many featherweight machines and I know that they cost a pretty penny. Someone has 60 older machines and no one bats an eye on how much people spend on these old machines. Then there are all the people who have long arm machines and I know they cost a lot of money and no one says anything about how much money they cost. Why is it that people only say negative things about anyone who spends a bit of extra money to buy an expensive new sewing machine?
    "Be yourself...everyone else is taken."
    Strong people don't put others down...they build them up."
    "Remember that your instincts are more important than rules"

  21. #21
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
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    I would go with a used trade in....and go from there....do you have a local shop to go to...ask questions, ask questions....and yes need and want ARE two different things. I have a friend that has spent a small fortune on sewing machines, every year getting the newest one out.....with all the additional bells and whistles....and NO she does not use them, and yes all she does is sew forward and back.......and I don't think she is any happier than I am .....with my older machine....

  22. #22
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    When I bought my Janome, I had very specific desires. Make sure you know what you really want in your new machine - test drive lots of them to find out what you want. I REALLY wanted a bigger "throat". I wanted a heavier machine that had the thread cutter button (I LOVE that button). A few other things were on the "have to have it" list.

    I also wanted a machine I could "grow into", so I deliberately got something more advanced than I felt I currently needed.

    Then I tried to figure out how long I expected to use the machine. I expect this machine will be my "main" machine for at LEAST 10-15 years. This helped me sort of amortize the cost out a bit and make sure I was getting enough "bang" for each buck.

    In the end, I'm very happy with my machine, zero regrets. Happy hunting for yours!

  23. #23
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcrow View Post
    One thing I should mention. A lot of gals here have many featherweight machines and I know that they cost a pretty penny. Someone has 60 older machines and no one bats an eye on how much people spend on these old machines. Then there are all the people who have long arm machines and I know they cost a lot of money and no one says anything about how much money they cost. Why is it that people only say negative things about anyone who spends a bit of extra money to buy an expensive new sewing machine?
    Who's been saying negative things about your sewing machine purchase? Tell us and we'll go stomp on his/her/their feet!!!
    Neesie


    By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.
    ~Richard Dawkins

  24. #24
    Senior Member cmw0829's Avatar
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    Sewing machine dealers - oh my!! Almost as bad as used car dealers. They will take a look at you and try to sell you what they think you can afford. They will try to sell what they need to push in any given month. (I wanted to look at the Horizon but they poo-pooed it saying "you dont' want that - it has had mother board problems") and then steered me to a Viking 875. The next month, still looking, they steered me to the Horizon.

    Figure out what you want and then go shopping for machines that have the features you want. Trust other owners for the issues they've had rather than listening to the dealers.

    Good luck and try to have fun with the search.

  25. #25
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    I love my brother pc420. It was $420 on amazon, has a gazillion stitches and is easy to use. It has a decent amount of harp space and many of the features of a $2000+ machine. For someone like me who is on a budget but still wants a high quality machine with computerized features, this is a good way to go.

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