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Thread: What sewing machine do I buy?

  1. #1

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    Help!! I have been quilting by hand for years, I'm still a beginner. I would like to learn to use a sewing machine to make some of my easiest projects go faster and actually get done. But the problem is I don;t even know where to start on buying a sewing machine. Brand, style, etc. I want to be sure to get a good one because I will have to save up some money and will be using it for a long time to get more than my moneys worth,lol. any suggestions would be great!
    Thanx,
    Star

  2. #2
    Super Member beachlady's Avatar
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    I love my 20+ year old Bernina!

  3. #3
    Super Member sidmona's Avatar
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    I love my 5 year old Juki TL98E

  4. #4

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    Thanx for the input. I am going to start looking. when i buy a machine do they offer classes??

  5. #5
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    There are as many opinions on which sewing machine as there are which car to buy!!!! I love my Janome.....but that's because it's an improvement over my 30 yr old Kenmore!

  6. #6
    Power Poster Lacelady's Avatar
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    I don't know about other makes, but Bernina give a free class if you buy one. I would suggest you investigate what makes are available near you, as buying the machine is only the first step. You will be forever grateful that you bought a machine from a service dealership near you. Ask around anyone in your area, then ask to test drive as many as you can, in your price range. Also ask if they have any used machines higher up the range, that might come within your price range.

  7. #7
    Senior Member zkosh's Avatar
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    If you can, buy from a dealer near you so that you can take advantage of their classes and service. The sky's the limit on options available. I love my old Bernina and have recently "inherited" a Pfaff 2144 from my dear MIL which does pretty much everything, including embroidery.

    You'll have a lot of decisions to make so take your time. You might ask about when they have sales and about machines turned in on a trade-in. People tend to have allegiances to different brands so don't be surprised by those attitudes.

    I really love the convenience of needle up/needle down, needle threader, and separate motor for loading the bobbin on my Pfaff. I would definitely want those if I was looking at buying a machine. I haven't had time to learn all the ins and outs or the embroidery stuff yet, but I can't wait.

    Good luck on your purchase. You're going to have such fun!

  8. #8
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    It depends on where you buy your machine. If you get it from Walmart or on E-Bay or Joanns or something, no, they won't offer classes. My suggestion would be to go to a local quilt or sewing store that sells machines and try out several in your price range. Many shops will only sell one or 2 brands of machines. I have a Bernina and an older Pfaff. I never got lessons on my Pfaff cause I bought it in the town where my parents lived and I lived 300 miles away. I wish I could have had lessons. It was a fantastic machine, a real workhorse and I would have purchased another except I would have to travel 45 miles or so for classes and repairs on it. There is a Bernina dealer within 1.5 mile of my house. I bought my machine on e-bay, but then was able to take classes on it at my local store. Originally they were going to charge me for the classes but then didn't. I guess that's because I have bought furniture and sewing chairs and thousands of dollars in fabrics there. It is really nice to have someone close by to go to for questions or problems or extra sewing feet. They are really helpful with that. You will want to be able to take the classes, the minimum would be on how to fully use your machine and also extra classes on other features. Many of our quilters here love their Janome's as well. I looked at them and I have a Janome dealer within 12 miles but I liked the Bernina better.
    Many times they will have gently used machines that you can get a good price on. Try several different types, find what works well for you. Make sure you get a 1/4" foot and also a walking foot would be a must. I love the Needle up/down feature on mine.
    Hope you have fun finding the right sewing machine for you!!!

  9. #9

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    I looked up a few on-line and they are all about 25-30miles away!! we used to have a store right in town but they went out of business last year. I guess thats not so far, atleast for service but i think it would be hard for me to make it to classes and such with my schedule. but like i said im just starting to look! :D

  10. #10
    Power Poster Lacelady's Avatar
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    25 - 30 miles away? That's a walk in the park. My nearest dealer is the ONLY one in the country, and he's on the other side - almost 200 miles! If I had wanted lessons, he doesn't do them, and I would have had to go to London. Now you know how much I really like my Bernina.

  11. #11

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    WOW!! that's far.

  12. #12
    Senior Member zkosh's Avatar
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    I just had another thought to pass on. My MIL had purchased my Pfaff in Longview and then moved to Houston so the store that sold it is not here in my area. When I went online I found out that Pfaff has videos online to demonstrate how to use various things on the machine. It's not like face to face, but it definitely was helpful. I imagine there are other videos like this that could help. I know on both the Pfaff and the Bernina website there is a lot of info as well as videos. It would be a way for you to start to find out what is available. :-)

  13. #13
    Super Member quiltwoman's Avatar
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    That's a hard question because there are so many different brands w/ different options. I started out w/ a machine from Wal-mart. I bought it 20 years ago with my first paycheck. It cost $89 and I had NO clue how to use it.

    Since then, I have purchased 4 more machines. Some were less than $200 and one cost more than my first car. I'd try to determine what was absolutely necessary for you to be happy completing a quilt. Then, I would set a buget. Try out machines and don't be hesitant to look at used ones too. I'd try to get the most for my $$.


  14. #14
    Super Member blahel's Avatar
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    this is what i would do if i was buying a machine now...go to different dealers and try their machines and try all kinds with different features that way you will find what you like and need in a machine. Take your time and dont rush into it...Talk to lots of people..go to a local quilt group and see what they use thats where i found lots of useful info after i bought my machine...
    Buy from a dealer and get lessons so you can use your machine to its fullest. Also get to know your dealer so when you need to service your machine or get it repaired you need someone you trust. Find out how much a machine is to service as the computerised ones cost more to service..
    these are all thing I didnt do and definitely would do as a machine is expensive and an investment. Look at used ones as i bought mine used a couple of years ago and have had no trouble.
    The features that i would look for are what feet come with machine and if you love quilting try to get a walking foot thrown in as they can be expensive!! Also see if you can get a 1/4 inch foot and a darning foot thrown in as these are all feet I had to buy afterwards..
    Decide what you need in a machine ie do you really need an embroidery machine as a lot of the machines come with so many stitches. i bought a Bernina Artiste 180 with embroidery hoops and all but have not used the embroidery bits at all yet as i have not had lessons and the shop i bought from i found out afterwards that the guy who owns it is not trustworthy (this i heard from several people afterwards)
    I do love my machine and even if your machine is basic try to get one with the needle up/down feature as that is one feature i do love on mine. Also when testing machines some are noisier and some are smoother so look out for that as well. Another thing is throat space.. get a machine with as much throat space as possible if you have a choice on that.. Good luck in your search and let us know what you end up with

  15. #15

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    SO much good information!! well my next question is since I have never used a machine before how do I "try them out?' I wouldn't even be sure if I could keep the stitch going straight, LOL. am I just trying which one feels comfortable to use?

  16. #16
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    When you go into one of the dealers, let them know that you have never used a machine before. They will walk you through it. Ask them for brochures if they have them, take notes, and don't be afraid to ask them questions, it is there job to give you any and all info on their machines. If you don't understand something or get overloaded with info you can always come back here to get more opinions or suggestions and help!! But most of all have fun playing with all of the different functions these new machines have to offer :D 8) :D

  17. #17

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    thanx amma! I just didn't want them to blow me off or try to tell me I needed the most expensive machine out there when I already have my own two hands, :lol:

  18. #18
    Moderator tlrnhi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lacelady
    25 - 30 miles away? That's a walk in the park. My nearest dealer is the ONLY one in the country, and he's on the other side - almost 200 miles! If I had wanted lessons, he doesn't do them, and I would have had to go to London. Now you know how much I really like my Bernina.
    At least you HAVE one in your country. There are no places except KMart to buy a machine here and NO ONE here fixes them!

  19. #19

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    well i guess i don't have it bad at all!!

  20. #20
    Moderator tlrnhi's Avatar
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    I would suggest that when buying a machine....think about what you want to do with it. Then, from there, start pricing them.
    I think the $$$$$$ ones can and will do the same job as a $$ machine. You really don't need all the bells and whistles to make anything great.
    I'll admit, I have over 100 stitches that my machine will do, but I have yet to use them all.
    You get what you can afford and what you feel comfortable with. I know a lady who went and bought a cheap $100 machine from Walmart and puts out some AWESOME things with that.
    Just my 2 cents!

  21. #21

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    thats what I was thinking of for my first one just something really cheap so that i can learn the basics, but all those other ones are so PRETTY and sound so NICE it just makes you want one. I m sure i will only be using one stitch for a long time :lol: Then again I don't want to regret not getting something that had a little more.

  22. #22
    Moderator tlrnhi's Avatar
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    I learned to sew on my Mom's Singer Touch N Sew.
    When I got married and started making clothes for my girls, my mom and dad bought me a cheap $80 Singer. I used that for about 20 years and ended up giving it away. It needed a HUGE cleaning and that was going to cost me about $100, so didn't feel I needed to pay that. I did have a Kenmore standby that I used. That one is probably about 15 years old and works great too!
    My main machine is a Kenmore Ergo3. It retailed at the time for almost $2000 and I got it for about 1/2 that. What I liked was that it had the embroidery machine built in as well, so I "bit the bullet" and bought it. I just love it! I've had it for about 4 years now and it's going great!

  23. #23

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    what a deal though! my husband wants to buy me a machine and keeps aking which one i want but I don't know thats why I started asking here. He seea all those fancy ones that do all the awesome embroidery, which I also like. but it seemed that you could buy so many different embroidery software that I was intimidated by this. Do you have to buy different cartridges or software for your machine? just wondering if that is an added cost.

  24. #24

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    My good 'hand' quilting friend did the same as you:)She went around and tried everyone's machines and bought a Janome like mine;)She just finished a flannel quilt on it!:)You won't be sorry!:)You can go to the site direct of machines, such as janome and select what features you are interested in and the list of machines will pop up:)(helps with learning different options)I started out w/the janome 3200 and have since upgraded to the 6600 for more speed and a bigger throat area to make machine quilting on it easier. Was doing all of it on the 3200...which worked fine...just tight on those bigger quilts:)Good luck and enjoy the search!Skeat

  25. #25

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    thanx skeat i need all the help i can get :-)

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