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Thread: Which Sewing Machine??

  1. #1

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    So, I have been saving for several months and I just got an incredible Christmas bonus. So now I get to go shopping for a new sewing machine! Yay! But which one?

    I looked at the Bernina 430. It was alright. The way it sewed felt a little 'heavy' for some reason. It just didn't seem to glide for me. But it had a lot of features, but all the 'quilting' features were extra - the extended table, walking foot, clear or open toed darning foot, etc. I did like this one because it was upgrade-able. If I wanted the stitch regulator at a later date, I could add to it. Or I could add the embroidery functions as well. But it seemed like it was one of the more expensive machines for the least amount of extras.

    I looked at a Pfaff Quilt expression 4.0. I really didn't like the way this one sewed. So I have kind of thrown this one out the window. It had some nice features, but it just didn't feel right.... lol

    I looked at a Janome 6600. This one is sold at the LQS, so of course that is the one I have heard about the most. Everyone seems to love it. But when I did FMQ, the back looked awful with the feathering (is that what it is called?) around the curves, where the top thread pulls around and makes the loops look funny. Hope that makes sense. When I had borrowed a friends Janome DC when my Brother was in the shop, I had the same issue throughout the entire FMQ. I had played with tensions and speeds, and just thought that it was because it wasn't a top machine. But then after I got my Brother back, I never had that problem again.... This machine had a LOT more features than any of the others I looked at, and all the feet were included, and there is a sale going on until Christmas eve that includes a sewing table cabinet for the machine. So the price and extras are right....

    I then looked at a Viking Sapphire. I really liked this one. I liked the way it did free-motion and I liked the feel of the sewing. I liked the large throat. And I loved the hands free feature that you used with the peddle, not a knee press. I liked the feature that every time you stopped sewing, the needle went down and the foot came up automatically, so you could rotate the fabric without have to do a thing. It came with a great darning foot and an applique foot, but the walking foot was extra. The sales lady said she would even throw in the extended table. I also loved the automatic sensor that adjusted tension and foot pressure for you, but you could also manually adjust these tensions

    So I guess my question to you all is, which ones do you prefer and why? The sales lady for the Viking thought that the Janome wasn't powerful enough. She didn't even think that a Janome was in the same playing field as the other three brands, because of the different type of motors. But then the LQS sales lady had NOTHING good to say about the Viking or Pfaff. She kept going on and on about the reliability of the Janome and how she knew that the Viking & Pfaff machines were always in the shop, 'every 3 to 4 months' she said.... So, is that true? have you Viking owners found that your machine is in the shop a lot? That you have issues with it? The Janome sales lady also said the she had less issues with specialty threads with the Janome than with any of the other machines she had owned. Have you found that to be true?

    I really liked the Viking the best, but I don't want to purchase a machine that I will later regret. Also, all the classes are at the LQS and I kind of feel like a betrayer if I don't get a Janome. But the fact that the FMQ on the Janome could be a struggle is a HUGE drawback. I wonder if I would ever find the right combination and practice to not make the feathering happen? I have only been doing FMQ since this summer, but have loved it. And I have not had this problem on my Brother since the first week. But I was never able to cure it on the Janome that I had borrowed. Have any of you ever had this issue with a Janome and not with some other brand?

    Thank you thank you for all your input!

  2. #2
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Honestly, I would buy the Viking if that is the machine that feels right to you. It's a lot like buying a car in that at a certain point it comes down to personal preference. I'm pretty sure all the major brands of sewing machine you mentioned are in a similar category of reliability.

    Sometimes even a good brand will have a model that's a dud, so I would recommend reading reviews of the specific models before making a decision. http://www.patternreview.com is a great place for that. Sign up to be able to look at all the reviews (signing up is free).

  3. #3
    Super Member Leota's Avatar
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    I have a Viking 6430 that I purchased 30 years ago...If you liked the Viking over the others, that's what you should go with. Make a list of the pros and cons... does it perform the way you want it to? Is it in the price range you have budgeted. These are just two of the many questions that you need to ask. I'd test drive it several times before making that final decision. You may even take a small sample of your quilting and test it. Good luck

  4. #4
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    i own two janome machines, one of which is the MC6600P. i absolutely love both of them and have never regretted the selections. however, when i was shopping around before buying each of them the choices narrowed down to the janomes and the equivalent vikings models. in terms of features and reputation they were equal. i chose the janomes because the dealer is "only" an hour away and sells at fabulous prices compared to the other sources i checked. the nearest viking dealer is a four hour drive.

    who cares what the LQS salesperson thinks or says? she's just trying to convince you to buy what she wants to sell. she is not objective. frankly, i think her sales tactics are tacky and unethical.

    you have personally tested both brands. the viking worked best for you. you already know you like it best.

    get the viking.

  5. #5
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    As far as feeling obligated to get the machine at the LQS, you need to watch The Godfather. :-D

    It's not personal, it's business.

    :thumbup:

    I think the that movie has an answer to everything. :lol:

  6. #6
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Maybe this is the time to listen to your quilty heart :wink: It seems to be telling you the Viking needs to be a part of your quilting family :D:D:D

  7. #7
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    I have a Viking Platinum, which I think is the series that came out before the Sapphires. I love it, and I have had no issues with it. I don't use it for FMQ, though, just for piecing.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo
    As far as feeling obligated to get the machine at the LQS, you need to watch The Godfather. :-D

    It's not personal, it's business.

    :thumbup:

    I think the that movie has an answer to everything. :lol:

  9. #9
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    I have heard people say they love just about every make of sewing machine (except inexspensive Brother's from WalMart). I have a Viking #1+ which I have had for about 11 years. I have done FMQ and like the way it performs. No tension problems. I tried a Bernina with BSR and I did just as well on the Bernina without the BSR. So my DH wanted a sewing machine. He drooled over Pfaff's for WEEKS! Then he bought a used Viking Designer 1 and loves it. Find out where the newer Viking is being made. My DH's Designer is 5 yrs old and was still made in Sweden. His machine cost about half the Bernina high end one did.

    Just something to think about.

  10. #10
    Senior Member kapatt's Avatar
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    If the Viking feels good to you, then that is the one to get. You want something that you enjoy sewing with. Don't worry about what everyone else is sewing with at the classes. You don't even have to comment on why you didn't get the Janome. Remember, the sales lady is probably getting a commission or at the very least is being encouraged to push the one that their store sells.

    Whenever I find a machine that I love to sew with, that is the one I get. I don't worry about what everyone else will think.

  11. #11
    Super Member maryb119's Avatar
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    You should chose the machine that feels the best to you. I am a die hard Pfaff fan, and to contradict the sales lady, none of my Pfaff's have EVER been in the shop every 3 or 4 months for anything. I have owned Pfaff since 1992. The only thing I have ever done for them is regular maintainence. I was a seamtress for a bridal shop for 6 years using my own machines and then I worked for a quilt shop for 5 years, again using my own machines. They are hard working machine. I personally love Pfaff. The duel feed is wonderful when stitching anything. I can tell you all the good things about them. You have to decide the best one for you.

  12. #12
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    I have a 10 year old Pfaff. I've had it cleaned once this last year. It's been a real workhorse.

    Buying a sewing machine is like buying a car. Get what makes YOU happy!!

  13. #13
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    I have a Viking Sapphire 830, which I got about 6 months agot to replace my old Viking 400. I love it. It did take a little getting used to. I still reach for the presser foot lever! LOL Many people are very dedicated to a particular brand. I would also consider the dealer you purchase from. I passed on getting mine at the Viking inside of Joann's (the most convenient place) because they are generally rude to me. I purchased from another dealer who also offers free lessons for my machine anytime (not just 2 lessons like Joann's offers). She's been very helpful to me and does what she can to accommdate my schedule.

    Try out a few and go with what feels comfortable!

    Oh, and my old Viking I had for about 15 years and was never in the shop! That's a big reason I wanted another Viking.

  14. #14

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    I HAVE A SINGER AND I LOVE IT!

  15. #15
    Junior Member lovetoquilt's Avatar
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    I have a Viking Designer 1 and I love it. I have had it for 14 years and have never had a problem with it. I always wanted a Bernina until I saw the Viking. It was love at first sight. I also own the Viking Mega Quilter and love it . I don't think you will go wrong with the Viking.

  16. #16
    Junior Member Justok's Avatar
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    I don't want to confuse you more but I have a Baby Lock, the Quilters Dream Series. They can be expensive or you can get the lesser priced and I know you would be happy. I've had mine for 1 year and it works like a dream and low maintenance.

  17. #17

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    So I spent about an hour with the Janome today. Loved the features, but still having issues with the quilting. No more feathering since I used the single stitch throat plate, but the top threads show up on the bottom of the quilt. Still not happy with that. Sales ladies said it was just a matter of finding the right tension, even though we played with it a long time and never found one just right. She also mentioned a bobbin box that has a separate bobbin tension you can set and then just pop that in when you want to FMQ so it always has the correct tension... But seemed like I was having to get these 2 accessories (bobbin box & throat plate) just to get the result that might be what I wanted. Anybody else had this issue?

    Will spend about an hour with the Viking tomorrow, the dealership is closed on Sundays....

    Thanks for the help so far!

  18. #18
    Super Member Quilt Mom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lady.quilter
    she knew that the Viking & Pfaff machines were always in the shop, 'every 3 to 4 months' she said....
    Not so. In 30 years, my Vikiing has had issues only once. Yes, it was cleaned on a regular basis, and in general, taken care of. But problems - only one time, and that was age-related. I cannot speak about the other machines, but I know that unless you are happy with the way a machine sews before you buy it, you will not be happy after you buy it. I would hate to buy something from the LQS just because the classes are there, and be unhappy with the machine at home.

    I hope you come to a decision with which you are happy.

  19. #19
    Super Member shaverg's Avatar
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    It is all what feels good to you. My friend has a Viking and loves it.

  20. #20
    Super Member Quiltgranny's Avatar
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    I have two Singers, one Baby Lock and now two older Berninas. I've sewn garments and home dec for the last 40 years and now quilts for the last few years. I've sewn all the above on all of my machines. In my experience, the older Berninas and the older Singer win hands down. There's just something about those all metal, sturdy machines. Maintenance is a snap, too - de fuzz 'em and oil 'em occasionally.

    We've all had different machines, different experiences. Bottom line, as many have mentioned, after trying out different machines, please get the one that works/feels the best for you and and from a dealer that can offer service, lessons and a good warranty for you. Also, you are the one that needs to be happy, not the sales person. Machines are usually a big investment, so do your homework and then make the best decision you can. Let us know what you decide. Have fun!

  21. #21
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    I bought the Sapphire 830 when it first came out. No problems with it at all. Have had it serviced once just because I thought I should. It is a great machine, just wish I had bought the 850 for the embroidery but could not afford it.
    I love the large throat area and the needle down with pop up foot. Wish it had a stitch regulator is all.
    Bernina is just to expensive.
    I have not had to adjust the thread tension when free motion quilting.
    By the way, how much do they want for it? I paid 1100 for mine when it was new.

  22. #22
    Super Member Quiltgranny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rose Marie
    Bernina is just to expensive.
    By the way, how much do they want for it? I paid 1100 for mine when it was new.
    Oh, please don't think I'm made of money just because I said I have two Berninas, lol. In fact, my two cost less than your one machine. I learned early on to buy used Berninas. My 730 Record from the early 60's is still going strong and in excellent condition according to the technician and store owner. I purchased her in 94. Just this year I had the opportunity to buy a 1090 with many more bells and whistles, from the 90's. Likewise, she's in excellent condition and both provide me hours of reliable service and joy. Hence their slogan, "Nothing sews like a Bernina, nothing." Each to their own of course.

    Karla in CO

  23. #23
    CrystalKicks's Avatar
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    I say Janome all the way!! But I am biased...its the only one Ive had!!

  24. #24

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    So, went and tried out the Viking Sapphire and Bernina 430 again today. Spent 30 minutes with the sales lady AND tech guy and still couldn't get the bobbin tension to be correct so that no loops appeared on the top while FMQ. So that did it. The Bernina is the ONLY one that I didn't have any problems with it, after sewing on it multiple times. I also got a few accessories, that would have come with the Janome and Viking. So spent $290 more than either of these, but am very happy with the sewing. As my DH said, this is something you will be spending a lot of time on. Better to spend a bit more money and enjoy it, rather than being frustrated a lot of the time. So yay! And THANK YOU all for your help!

  25. #25
    Super Member Quiltgranny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lady.quilter
    The Bernina is the ONLY one that I didn't have any problems with it, after sewing on it multiple times. I also got a few accessories, that would have come with the Janome and Viking. So spent $290 more than either of these, but am very happy with the sewing. As my DH said, this is something you will be spending a lot of time on. Better to spend a bit more money and enjoy it, rather than being frustrated a lot of the time. So yay! And THANK YOU all for your help!
    Congratulations on your new Bernina!!

    :thumbup: :D I'm sure she'll give you years and years of wonderful service. There are a variety of on line Bernina sites where you can gain knowledge from others about your machine to help you learn to use it to it's potential. Here is one in particular for owners of 430's:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/430_44...40_730/summary

    Here is Bernina's official site with a brand new community and a blog:

    http://www.berninausa.com/search_projects.jsp

    Here is another:

    http://www.berninacentral.com/forum/

    Of course, lessons through your dealer will go a long way to assist you in learning all about your new machine. Have fun and keep us posted. I'm SO excited for you!!!
    :thumbup:

    Happy sewing,

    Karla in CO

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