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Thread: Sewing Machine Recommendations?

  1. #1
    Super Member moonrise's Avatar
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    Sewing Machine Recommendations?

    I'm looking for a heavy duty sewing machine that can do straight stitches and zig zag stitches, has the ability to FMQ (drop-able feed dogs), and has an 8" or larger harp. I don't need any other bells and whistles or fancy stitches. I just need a real workhorse that'll hold up over time.

    I'm thinking that maybe an older, non-computerized machine might be a good bet, but I'm not really all that familiar with older machines. (I do have a Singer 15-91, but I think it's straight-stitch only. It's in storage right now and I can't check).

    My last two machines have been mid-priced Brothers ($450-ish range), and for average/home sewing, they're fine, but for heavy use, they're just not holding up like I think they should. That's a shame, too, because I really like Brother's machines.

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    I think Donna Jordan uses a Juki most of the time for her piecing. It has an under the table industrial motor and stitches many stitches per minute. Sounds like you want it for machine quilting, and I think and industrial machine would work for what you want. You may want to research those ideas.

  3. #3
    Super Member moonrise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustAbitCrazy View Post
    I think Donna Jordan uses a Juki most of the time for her piecing. It has an under the table industrial motor and stitches many stitches per minute. Sounds like you want it for machine quilting, and I think and industrial machine would work for what you want. You may want to research those ideas.
    Thanks! Actually, I have a Juki quilting machine (TL98Q I think), but it's straight-stitch only. I wonder if Juki makes an "all purpose" heavy duty machine that's capable of zigzagging? I'll have to do some more Googling. Thanks again!

    Edited to add: I'm quilting small, but sometimes thicker, items such as purses.

  4. #4
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    Moonrise- I have the Juki TL2010 Q that I bought specifically for FMQ because of the large throat space but it's straight stitch only. It's a great machine.
    It seems that the newer machines that have zig-zag also have a lot of other stitches, bells and whistles.
    I'm looking to upgrade my Bernina. I was told by a blogger I follow that her 770QE has given her some problems. That was the one I was looking at. She recommended the 500 series. Also said to check our Janome and Baby Lock. Not sure what I'm going to do. I really love Bernina.

  5. #5
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    The Singer 237 model offers straight and zig-zag..no other stitches. Not sure harp area..but its full-sized vs 3/4 sized. In a cabinet, it'd probably be great for free motion, straight or zig-zag quilting. I have been kind of looking for one of those for a few months. They are plentiful until you are looking for one.
    mea

  6. #6
    Super Member meyert's Avatar
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    I don't know how heavy duty you are looking for... but I am really happy with my Janome 6600. I have had this machine for 6 years and its doing great... but it wasn't a low price machine. I am very glad that I made the investment

  7. #7
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    Angelia Walters uses a HQ Stitch sewing machine for machine quilting. The 710 has an 11" throat space with decorative stitching. The 510 is straight stitch only. Lots of pictures and videos here:

    https://hqstitch.com/
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
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  8. #8
    Junior Member wc00007's Avatar
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    I have 2 Juki's 2010 straight stitching and hz600 which has the zig zag . Love them both . The 600 will do
    what you are wanting,

  9. #9
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    I love my Janome 6600. It has never not done what i've asked of it. I quilt on it a lot... teach FMQ on it, and make bags with it. I love the integrated walking foot for doing bindings. I even purchased a 2nd one so when I sew with my daughters at camp, we have 2. My third machine is a Janome 10000 sewing and embroidery machine.
    Good luck with your search.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mea12 View Post
    The Singer 237 model offers straight and zig-zag..no other stitches. Not sure harp area..but its full-sized vs 3/4 sized. In a cabinet, it'd probably be great for free motion, straight or zig-zag quilting. I have been kind of looking for one of those for a few months. They are plentiful until you are looking for one.
    I have several of this model. It comes in two versions - with a drop feed and without. There is a knob on the right hand side that will lower the presser feet for dropping them. Some come without it. So be aware of that.

    I liked this machine well enough to buy several of them.

    The following adjustments are all done manually with a lever.

    Needle position - left, center, right
    Zigzag width - there are "lines" - but one set for "between the lines"
    Stitch length -
    Forward and backward

    One can also adjust the presser foot pressure with a knob on the top of the machine
    And the feed dog drop - if it's available - located on the base on the right hand side

    The two downsides of it that I am aware of:

    It does not have an open arm.

    It is heavy - between 30 and 40 pounds - not impossible to move around, but the weight of it could be an issue if you are looking for a machine that is easy to carry around for classes or if you have to put it away after each use.

    I think sellers are getting to be more aware of the value of some of these older machines. Now they are frequently selling for more than $100.

    Some of the older machines might also need a new tire bobbin - a very easy and inexpensive fix.

    Also, one can download the instruction book in some cases.

    It's a very easy to operate machine.

    And yes, they do seem to be plentiful, until one is looking for one.

    All my machines are "older" - but I do have a Bernina Record 930 and a Pfaff 1471 to compare it to. There are times that I actually prefer the Singer 237 to those machines. I acquired my first 237 about 15 years ago at a yard sale.

    Most of them only came with an all-purpose foot - which has worked out "perfectly" for that 1/4 inch seam used for piecing.

    It is a "straight-needle" as compared to a "slant-needle"
    Last edited by bearisgray; 05-13-2019 at 03:59 AM.

  11. #11
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    I found my Janome 6600 is the workhorse of machines. I have had it for 7 years. It is a great machine for sewing and quilting, It has taken everything I have thrown at it....jean quilts, lots of bags and totes. There is a janome yahoo group and they all say it is The Workhorse of all of the Janome machines. I have the 11ooo, 15000, 8900 SE, and Skyline 7 and two 6600 (one for home, other-cabin)....now that I see my list, I may need to purge. Love them all.
    Good luck in your quest. Test drive the 6600...I think you will like it.

  12. #12
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    Juki has the F-600 for around $1000. I love mine. Juki does use a slightly larger motor than many other machines, but it is not as strong as my straight stitch only machine. That said, the only things mine has refused to do were multiple layers of leather, or many, many layers of fleece for a dog toy. I have put mine through a lot and she has been a work horse.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feathers-N-Fur View Post
    Juki has the F-600 for around $1000. I love mine. Juki does use a slightly larger motor than many other machines, but it is not as strong as my straight stitch only machine. That said, the only things mine has refused to do were multiple layers of leather, or many, many layers of fleece for a dog toy. I have put mine through a lot and she has been a work horse.
    I had this machine for about 2 months, until I finally returned it. I loved the normal stitch quality, but even with technical help, I could not get the machine to work with polyester thread on top, cotton on bottom. The bobbin thread always came through, and not just a little dot here and there. If you don't need different thread weights, it would probably be a great machine.

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    janome 6600 is a workhorse.

  15. #15
    Super Member moonrise's Avatar
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    Thanks, everyone. Sorry I didn't make it back until now. Literally within minutes of my original post, my husband's finger had a "close encounter" with his table saw. We've spent all week in the E/R, doctor's offices, surgery, etc. They were able to save his finger, thankfully, but it's a mess.

    And on top of that, our fridge/freezer decided to go out, and with all the chaos in getting Hubby's finger tended to, we didn't notice that the food had gone bad until it was too late. Sigh.

    Needless to say, a new (or new-to-me) sewing machine isn't in the budget right now, but I'll save everyone's comments and PMs until I can shop for one at a later date.

    Thanks again - I really appreciate it.

  16. #16
    Super Member jmoore's Avatar
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    OMGosh...what an awful experience for your DH. I hope his finger mends quickly and w/o any issues. I’m sorry to hear of your unfortunate circumstances this past week.
    attitude is everything...the rest will fall into place.

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