Thursday, February 9, 2012

Help Wanted: Sewing Machine Advice

From time to time I get emails from nice readers who are looking for advice about where and what to buy for their first sewing machine purchase. And being the really helpful person that I am, I write back and tell them that I have no idea. I always feel like a total schlub.

While I thoroughly enjoy sewing, my sewing machine experience has been really limited. In fact, I have been blissfully sewing away on my Bernina Sport 801 for most of my sewing life. It's probably about as old as I am. This machine is fantastic - I love it.  It's not the easiest machine to lug around - it's pretty heavy, but I like that it feels sturdy.  I don't do a lot of fancy stuff - mainly all I sew are straight lines with a 1/4" seam allowance. I also don't do very much quilting with my machine other than mini quilts and some baby quilts.  If I were doing a lot of machine quilting, I would probably get frustrated because it has such a narrow throat.  But for what I do use my machine for, it's awesome.

So basically my only advice thus far has been, decide what your needs are (now and future) and get the best machine you can afford. If you don't need all the bells and whistles, don't get them. But I'd really love to be able to point folks to something a lot more concrete than that.  This is the part where I'd love your help.
If you have a great machine or have read any posts about finding the perfect beginning machine and you'd like to share that info, please leave it in the comments. Then I'll be able to sleep at night at least knowing that folks are finding some answers instead of the virtual blank stare they get from me on this topic.

128 comments:

  1. I have a janome 6600p that I LOVE. It's probably a little pricey for a beginner machine, but it is a real workhouse and it has a large throat for quilting. I have quilted queen size quilts with it. I would also recommend the place I bought mine, Brubaker's. They are amazing!

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    1. I am a big Janome fan and got my 6500 used. I completely adore this machine. Erica (above) has some extra cool settings with her 6600 but I always recommend Janome!

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    2. I too have a Janome 6500 and love, love, love my machine. I was using a 30 year old Singer to sew with before replacing it the the Janome because I couldn't lower the feed dogs to machine quilt. While I am still new to quilting, the Janome is a perfect machine for all my sewing needs.

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    3. I have the Janome 6500 and I also bought thru Brubaker's. At the Lancaster Quilt Show a few years ago. Love it and think I will have it for years to come. This is my 4th Janome machine. I say " User Friendly" tried a lot of machine but this is the best for the price too! Margie G.

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  2. I don't like fancy stitches and I have a thrift store machine that will zigzag when needed so I bought just a workhorse straight stitch machine - a Juki tl98Q (with the thread cutter!). I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE my machine and it came with lots of quilting feet. I absolutely know it's not for everyone but it is good for what *I* do. I'd hate to sew a ton of garments on it though b/c of the lack of other stitches.

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    1. I have a Juki TL-2010Q (the model that came out after the 98Q) and I absolutely love it too! It's a workhorse (and heavy!) and quilts and stitches beautifully. I would definitely recommend it.

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    2. Add me to the Juki bandwagon - I've got a TL2000Qi and love it. I have a Husqvarna I sew clothes and such on, but for quilting, you can't beat a Juki. I've machine quilted some pretty big quilts and it works beautifully.

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    3. Juki come right in with the Janome machines...They are great workhorses if you want a lasting machine then get the Jamome's or Juki's for your first machine. how cool to find it at a thrift store what a deal.

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  3. I have several machines but the one that I love for carting around is my Brother CS6000i. It has lots of different stitches, a variety of feet, an extension table, easy buttonhole attachment and is very lightweight. It is the machine that my granddaughter got for Christmas and she loves it.

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  4. I grew up with an old Singer, then a Necchi that I lugged to college. For years I had an inexpensive Brother {love that in their lower cost machines, you can still get an auto thread cutter} and it worked great for many things. I just bought a Janome for the large throat and I don't know how I survived without it. Hope that helps ;)

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  5. I grew up using Kenmore's....they have never let me down...they're solid and usually come with a variety of features for an affordable price. However, I did decide to upgrade to something with bells and whistles, in a price I could afford, and chose the Brother PC 420 - they sell it at Overstock.com. Anyway, it is a good machine. It's similar to Innovis, but I couldn't afford the $600+ that they were asking at the local shop, so bought the other one online. It has a fonts, decorative stitches, a memory, needle threader, you can use it with or without the foot pedal, there are just a lot of nice features. Mine is being serviced now, so I hope it comes back working right....I miss it!

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    1. OMG - I'm in LOVE w/my Brother 420!! I researched long and hard. I was initially looking into Janome, Bernina, and other popular high end machines. But the machines in my price range didn't have the features that I wanted - and I just couldn't justify going that far out of my budget. The brother machines seemed to get good reviews online. I really wanted fonts and fancy stitches for top stitching on baby quilts and such. I have had my machine for 9 months and I am in love. One of my favorite features is the auto thread cutter, speed adjustment slider, needle threader, and needle down. It handles thick quilts (although the throat isn't big enough to make quilting fun, I have made it work). It sews fast and straight. I figure if it can work for the folks on project runway, then it can do anything I need it to. My only 2 complaints - it defaults to the right (versus the center) - which requires me to adjust the needle position everytime I turn it on & I can't seem to get the bobbin winder to wind it evenly w/o me manually easing the thread up and down the bobbin.

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  6. Glad to pipe in...as a long time quilting teacher I am asked ALL the time which machine to buy. I always tell my students it is NOT the machine...it is the support you get from the people who sell you the machine. That is why Costco etc are not the place to buy a machine. A good shop will offer continuous support and classes. I also tell my students to "underbuy". Again...a good shop will let a student trade in their machine in the first year for a more upgraded machine if they decide to do so. My first machine was a simple Pfaff...no bells, no whistles. It didn't take me long to realize that I NEEDED needle down. I brought my machine back and paid very little difference ( trading in my old machine) to find a machine with that option. I have recommeded them a thousand times over...good for them and good for me. I am still a simple girl although I NOW have a machine with an automatic thread cutter. The joy of it all!!! Good post...I will be interested to see what people share.

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    1. When you stop sewing, the needle stays down in the fabric.

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    2. I totally agree!! Buy for the dealer!! I bought from Hinkletown and I would never but from any other place!! I LOVE them!! Great classes and ALWAYS great service!! If you are in PA you won't be sorry at that stop!!

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  7. I tell women who are wanting to buy their first sewing machine to invest in a used older machine, like a Bernina or Pfaff. The older machines are so well built and while they might not have the bells and whistles of the newer machines, they are workhorses and require very little maintenance.

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    1. I agree! I love the fact that Bernina till sells the 1008! What an awesome machine that is! I don't own one but its been around for many years and I know people that would never part!

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  8. I have a Bernina Activa 220 - I got it about two years ago and I love it. I'd recommend it to anyone who asked me!!

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    1. I have the Activa 240 and love it as well. It works well and is simple to operate. We bought at the local swiss shop. I have not needed support yet as I own it for a year and 3 months.

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  9. definitely go to a great shop that will throw in a bunch of classes as a package deal. you will learn a lot about your machine this way and don't just do the quilting classes, do the apparel or how to make a bag too. I just bought a babylock grace and for my needs at the moment it's perfect. but i have the option to trade up later on. the staff at the store where i got my machine are so great, they will answer questions and demonstrate. go to many stores and try the machines.

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  10. Everyone seems to have a different favorite. I've had several over the years, but my current favorite is my Bernina Aurora 440...made especially for machine-quilting. I use the Bernina stitch regulator foot all the time. It is awesome! I also love my vintage Pfaff (I've bought and sold several. They are wonderful). That's my recommendation, but I have to agree--ou really need to decide on what your own needs are and go from there.

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  11. I wrote a (long, rambling) review of my Janome Horizon here: http://thegirlwhoquilts.blogspot.com/2011/02/hello-betty.html

    I've also sewn on a simple New Home and 2 different Berninas. I think this one is a keeper, though. :)

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  12. i agree with loriginsberg - i have a mechanical bernina 830 (my grandmother's!) and have only had to get it serviced when it was damaged in shipping. it works so much better than some of my friend's machines, which were brand new, and it's obviously been working that well for about 40 years now. you can find them used on ebay. i know there isn't that support (i totally agree this is important if you are a new quilter/sewer) but this specific model is a sought out machine.

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    1. I second this recommendation. I purchased a second-hand Bernina 830 Record back in 1995. It was $600 then which was a lot of money for us but I have never regretted it. I have since been able to afford to upgrade to a Viking with all the fancy stitches but my Bernina is still my go-to machine. It weighs a ton because it is mechanical (vs. plastic and electronic) but it is so unbelievably reliable. I keep it clean and have never had to take it in for anything.

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  13. I've heard many times that the older Berninas and Pfaffs are where it's at - if you can find one! Personally, I have a Janome 7700 and it is AMAZING. I love it. The throat space makes quilting large quilts so easy. I started out with a Brother CS6000i and I love that machine so much, too. It's what my sewing students use when they come for lessons - plenty of stitches and features, but extremely user-friendly.

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  14. I have only been quilting for a few years but I sew alot. I wore out my first machine in 10 months. Then I bought a Singer 7469Q Quilters Confidence it still works great and is a fantastic loaner machine. My nice husband upgraded my machine at Christmas and I have an new Janome Horizon 7700 I love love love the huge throat and when "she" decides to play nice it is an awesome machine. Mine is kind of finicky and I'm not sure if I would recommend it to anyone.

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    1. For new quilters, I second the recommendation of the Singer 7469Q Quilters Confidence. It comes with all the equipment needed for quilting - FMQ foot, walking foot, 1/4 inch foot, extension table - and even a few fancy stitches! This is what I recommend to anyone just starting out, needing a machine, who wants to do quilting and maybe some other things too.

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    2. I have the Singer Confidence Quilter and have pieced several quilts on it. I like the ease of threading and all the attachments that came with it. However, it does not sew well over double seams. I have to lift the presser foot to get it to move. I wonder, since this machine gets good reviews, if I am the only one with this problem.

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  15. I have a Juki TL98Q and I love it!!! It just does a straight stitch, has needle down and an auto thread cutter (all wonderful for quilting). It also has a longer throat which is great, since I quilt all of my own quilts. This machine is a workhorse and does not disappoint. It is heavy so not one to lug around. I also have a Baby Lock which does all the other stitches when I need it. Plus it is easy to take places if needed.

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    1. I have this same Juki and it truly is a dream machine for piecing and quilting. I purchased it online two years ago for $800 and it was well worth the price. My first machine is still around, for it can sew button holes and zigzags. But when it comes to quilting, the Juki outperforms the cheaper machine significantly.

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  16. I actually think your advice is spot on. I think sewing machines are pretty subjective--as in--people basically like what they are used to. So, since I sew on a 15yr old Kenmore/Singer I feel no need to spend more money on a Bernina, etc. It suits my needs just fine for everyday sewing/quilting. While someone who has only sewn on a Bernina swears they are the best thing since sliced bread. Your advice to get something sturdy that fits your needs is so true! They just need to decide what those needs are. And I agree that you shouldn't overbuy on your first machine. You might be awfully disappointed with your $1000 "all the bells and whistles" machine that you only sew straight stitches on.

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  17. I used to have a Pfaff (a 1987 model) and it was awful--all METRIC. Try sewing 1/4 and 3/8 seams on a machine with metric markings and feet and all. Egads! I had tape all over it to mark my seam allowances, and every time I took it in for service (it had bobbin issues the entire 20 years I had it), they had to rip off the tape to access everything. Supposedly you could buy a replacement piece with American measurements, but over 20 years I went to dealers in 3 states for work, and none could find that mystery part.

    I happily got a Huskvarna Quiltdesigner II 5 or 6 years ago. I love it and it was worth every penny.

    I also have my grandmother's Free-Westinghouse machine, c1935. I have never tried it, and it would need to be cleaned up/oiled by a pro, I have no idea when it was last used. It's pretty :)

    You can read all about machines on patternreview.com--which used to be completely free and isn't any more. I think now without a membership you can only access reviews less than 6 months old. Great forums too.

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    1. That's interesting. My Pfaff has both inches and cm on the needle plate and I use my 1/4 inch foot all the time. I guess in Britain we like to have the best of both worlds! :)

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  18. I live on a boat so I won't buy any machine that is too expensive for fear that it will get ruined. I bought a Janome 8077 2.5 years ago and still love it. I can even do sail repairs on it (I don't really like using my machine for this but sometimes it's necessary and proves you can actually get a decent amount of fabric in it). It is a top loading computerized machine and has a great 1/4 inch/ditch foot that is clear and perfect for quilting. It has just enough options for quilting plus a few more. I would totally recommend it as a beginner machine and or anyone who doesn't want to spend the big money. The list price is $500 but I've seen them on Amazon for $300 and I got mine on sale at a Hancock Fabrics for $250 so definitely shop around.

    I also have a Janome 2212. I needed a temporary machine while back in the US and away from the boat but wanted to spend as little as possible on something that would still enable me to quilt a great deal. You can get one of these for about $150 (or less if you watch for a sale like I did). This is a mechanical, front-loading, machine - neither of which I would choose for my everyday machine. It doesn't have a lot of options but it has enough for quilting. You can buy a 1/4 inch foot for it but it is a true-quarter inch - not a scant quarter inch. This is probably a pretty good machine for a kid or real true beginner looking to see if they will really use it. That being said I did 5 quilts for Christmas on it (including the quilting - http://sea-sew.blogspot.com/2012/01/i-finished-it-friday-1.html) so you can do a lot with it. I usually do kids quilts so if you are looking for something that you can quilt a queen size quilt on this probably is not the machine for you.

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  19. I have a Husqvarna Scandinavia 200, it's about 5 years old. It's an electronic machine with a few bells and whistles. I love it. If I travel to a class or retreat, I take a smaller lighter machine, my Janome SUV1108, it's mechanical not electronic, but I love it. I just bought it last year so it still kind of has that new machine feel! I don't like Pfaff machines, even though I've never owned one, I just think they're weird looking ;-) Good luck in your decision making!

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  20. My first machine was a Pfaff and at the time, I loved it. Then I discovered the Singer Featherweight and I haven't looked back. It has nothing in the way of fancy stitches, it's just simple straight stitch but it sews beautifully and is very quiet which I can't say about the Pfaff (or any machine made primarily of plastic). I do all my piecing on it and most of my quilting...anything larger than queen-sized though and it gets a little tricky. Thanks for letting me wax rhapsodic about my machine!

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  21. I have a Singer Model 15 born August 18, 1909 which I love. It is a treadle machine (very green.)I admit at least part of the attraction is that the machine belonged to my Great-Grandmother. She was a seamstress. It is also an incredible workhorse of a machine. I have successfully sewed leather purses in addition to clothing and FMQ full sized quilts. I tried three different darning feet before picking a favorite. A downside is the ORIGINAL walking foot or even foot costs considerably more than the machine. They do make inexpensive walking feet which should work but I have not yet tried any of them. It only does straight stitch and has no reverse. This has not been an impediment. I believe there are affordable zig zag attachments available but I haven't tried them yet. It has required no maintenance beyond oiling and a switch of the treadle belt (once in 12 years.) It took some doing to get the knack of the machine and fortunately I was able to locate manuals online. By the time I had gotten interested in the machine my Grandma no longer remembered much about its operation. I learned to sew on an electric Singer of my mothers and I can say without hesitation that this machine can handle a much heavier work load. I believe it will still be a solid working machine in another 100 years! Good Luck!

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  22. I have been told that even though Walmart and Costco type places sell machines such as Singer and Brother that those machine are made for those stores and are not the quality you can get at a sewing machine store with the same Brands (Singer and Brother, etc.)

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  23. I started out with a cheap old Singer and had to replace it after a couple of years, but I LOVE my Janome DC2007 (Mid-level, cheapest Janome with auto-tension). I mostly agree with the people saying "what you learn on, that's what you like," but for me I never did get attached to that old Singer, it was too persnickety. I personally have never relied on classes, I much prefer to just read the manual (which in Janome's case, does get points for being well written). Having a dealer nearby has been nice for servicing and new/foot/bobbin/whatever acquisition though.

    Before I started quilting, I sewed Middle Eastern (Ie. Belly Dance) wear, and I found the auto-tension feature INVALUABLE on my new machine. Subsequently, when I shopped for a sewing machine for a friend, auto-tension was one (and if I am honest, pretty much the only) must-have on my list. It is way easy to price yourself out to the heavens, but the advice to go small first is good advice. You can always trade up and honestly, sometimes you don't miss things you don't have.

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  24. I started with a <$100 Singer and taught myself how to sew. But it really frustrated me for so many reasons. So about 2 years ago I took our tax return and purchased what I could afford a Bernina Activa 210. It's a dream machine. It runs great, threads easily, has some decorative stitching but is really basic. I've hemmed jeans (no problem), sewn delicate baby outfits, and quilted a twin size quilt. Love my Bernina!!! The walking foot is my best investment after the initial machine!!!

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  25. I'm with the above two posters in saying vintage singer is the way to do. I have Singer a 15 handcrank (mine is newer 1940's - and has reverse), 99 (no reverse), 221 Featherweight (beautifully quiet!) and a 319k which takes special needles, but does a whole tonne of decorative stitches. They are all workhorses and work like a dream. You can maintain them yourself very easily. If you want a bigger machine for quilting, a 66 is a good bet. I have seen and used a fancy as Janome (all computerised and stuff, with the needle down thingy) and I guess because I'm used to my old levers and gears it was horrible. But the one thing that stuck out? The straight stitch was all over the place, so was the tension, and that was on a test stitch. It was horrid. Mine are perfect every time and that is all I need for quilting and garment sewing (Also, its not that hard to learn the rhythm of your machine, you get used to the sound of when the needle is down).

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  26. I have an old 1950s Novum which sews like a dream ... the straightest stitches ever and a lovely harp ... now I sew mostly on my cheapo Brother Innovis 10 ... faster, easier (needle down, speed control and all that) but really I pine for a lovely Janome or Bernina

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  27. I have a Janome Magnolia 7318 great basic machine and I just love it. It's made the Janome company they use to make Kenmore machines many years ago. The best part no plastic pieces inside.....

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  28. My advice would be to go to retailers and play with them. Make a list of what you want (or think you want) and see what fits you best.

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  29. I love my PFaff Quilting Expression machine. It is about 10 years old and I have not had a single problem! I oil it regularly, change the needle occassionally and have yet to feel it needs to be serviced although I'm sure I should take it in - just can't imagine being without it!

    My very favorite feature is the built in walking foot (IDT)! I have sewn everything from silk fabrics to heavy upholstery fabrics and all are handled beautifully!

    I took a quilting class and my garage sale Singer didn't have a walking foot so the teacher let me use one of their Pfaffs! The love story began there - my husband and sons bought me one as a gift and it's my favorite!!!

    Totally hands down I recommend Pfaff!

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  30. I have a Kenmore, pretty basic model but it has way more stitches than I use and cost @$200 in 2008. My previous machine was also a Kenmore and I had it since 1980 or so. I do not know how to free motion quilt but it has the capacity to do so. I do all my own straight line quilting on quilts up to 70" and it can be a bit taxing when that large but I can do it. I love this machine and it is a great beginner in part as it is a great price!

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  31. Just brought home a Janome 2160DC, and I love it!!!! I've done more actual sewing in the past two weeks I've had it, than in the past few years. I had an old Riccar that weighed a million lbs, and finally kicked the bucket. I don't fight with the Janome! It just does what I want the first time, every time. It was fairly affordable, makes me more confident to try new projects.

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    1. Miranda, I am looking at the 2160 so I am very pleased to hear that you love it!! Do you do any quilting? I am just beginning and my janome 1306 has packed it in so it is time for an upgrade!

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  32. I have a Janome 6600P. I learned to sew on a Kenmore. What I love about my machine: speed control, needle up/down, large throat space for quilting. The Kenmore was a Ford Fiesta, but the Janome is a Lexus.

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  33. I am a VERY loyal Pfaff owner... :) Don't even want to count the years I've been sewing on one! We'll just leave it at "many".. As said above, my favourite feature is the built in walking foot - i truly can't imagine sewing without it!! I too recommend a Pfaff, without hesitation!! :)

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  34. I made my first couple of quilts on a $90 Singer from Target. I was teaching some friends to quilt recently, and some of them needed to get a machine. I figured, if they weren't yet sure if sewing was for them, it wouldn't hurt to get a relatively inexpensive machine. Does it work as smoothly? Of course not. But starting to quilt is an expensive endeavor. If a (comparatively) inexpensive machine will get the job done, I say go for it until you come up against the limits of the machine and feel good about upgrading. I sold my old Singer on Craigslist for probably $40, and upgraded to a mid-level Janome for around $300. Got more involved in sewing and then felt good about pulling the trigger on the Janome 6600 for more like $1200. Yes, it makes a lot of things easier, but I would NEVER suggest that a beginning sewist spend that much on a machine.

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  35. I have been sewing on a Kenmore for over 20 years and it's still going strong. When hubby bought me a quilting frame for Christmas a few years back, he also bought the suggested sewing machine to use with it -- a Janome. I haven't used the frame or the new sewing machine yet... that is soon to end within the next month or so. Oh, by the way, hubby picked up my new Kenmore for $20-$25 from a couple who were divorcing. Apparently she wasn't a sewer and had never used it; it was a gift from her soon-to-be ex-husband.

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  36. I have a Kenmore Elite. I got it 10 yrs ago when leaving my job instead of rolling over my 401k I bought a sewing machine with the money. I have never had a problem. I have had it professionaly cleaned twice. Before the Kenmore I had an old Singer that I donated to my sister-n-law, never had any problems with that one and it is still running strong. I am so glad everyone is leaving some info about their machines. I would like to get another one that has more space for quilting so all your info is coming in handy for when I am ready to buy another. My Kenmore needs a friend. 8)

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  37. The "what machine" is always a difficult and personal decision. I have taught sewing classes for over thirty years and have used extensively or owned every major brand of sewing machine. My all time favorite is Bernina -hands down! There is a reason you are still using your vintage Bernina- they are really that well made. The only things you have to know are but a Bernina (not a Bernette) and from the top of the line to the basic intro level machine, there are all workhorses. Used Berninas from a reputable dealer are also less expensive but still a great machine. I know a sixty year old woman using a Bernina she received as a college graduation present.

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  38. I love my Berninas! All of them. I collect vintage machines. My oldest is from 1932 and the book is in German. I've had a $10 garage sale anchor (don't recall the brand, but it was HEAVY! and had bad tension). I have had a beginner Kenmore and a Pfaff. But I love my Berninas. They are built to last can stitch through anything I throw at them and keep on purring. I love the fancy stitches, but really an entry level Bernina would be great or if you can find an older one (I have used eBay with mixed results).

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  39. I originally bought a Singer Simple when I started then stumbled into a deal on the Janome 6500. I am a huge FAN of the Janome machines now.

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  40. Mostly similar to what you said Amy - for a new quilter or sewer, my advice is to go to a sewing machine dealer. Dealers will usually carry used machines for sale that are far better quality than a new machine from a chain or big box store. Look for good straight stitch quality and consistent 1/4 seam, not so much the most features & fancy stitches. After you have been sewing/quilting for a while you can better define what upgrade features you want in your dream machine. You may never want or need to upgrade and that’s great too.
    I have 8 different brands, some new and most are “rescues’ from the dump that need some TLC. (I have a soft spot for disposed machines :)) They all make a decent 1/4" seam, which is what we spend most of our time on as quilters. If you have a model in mind, you can check at SewingPatternReview for reviews and prices. There are some really in depth reviews there by owners that can help with decisions. Regardless of brand, the important thing is to find something that makes sewing fun and easy.

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  41. I LOVE my Bernina 330 and posted about it on my blog. Here is the linke http://sewingnovice.com/2011/08/25/walking-foot-and-bernina-330-update/ and there is another link in that email to give more details about the machine. I am a beginner and have zero complaints about this machine.

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  42. I think you advice was right on. I have a Bernette (a plastic version of the Bernina) and I love it. I've had it almost 20 years and it works just fine. What every anyone does about buying a machine make sure you have a good place to take it for cleaning and any possible repairs. The older the repairman the better.

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  43. I love my Bernina's. I have an artista ( a gift,truth be told I didn't need this much machine) and a Bernette which is great fun for an afternoon os simple sewing with my friends or a class.My Artista is my second work horse Bernina I loved the first one too, a Quilters version.

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  44. I have a Bernina 440 QE that I like, however I bought it for the stitch regulator foot and HATE the foot! The machine is fine, but not something I can't live without. My goal for the year is to learn to quilt well without it, at which point I will sell it and buy a Pfaff. I learned, and spent my first 10 years on a Costco Singer and still love it. It hasn't required a single bit of service, cleaning, or oiling, and hasn't ever complained.

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  45. Hahaha -- quilters are usually passionate about their machines. I'm a Die. Hard. Viking fan. My dad bought my non-sewing mother a top-of-the-line Viking when I was a little girl -- we both learned on it. Then I bought another one in my early twenties and another one 10 years ago. I still have all three and they're all wonderful machines. My sister and I occasionally fight over that old 1960s model Viking. I'm going to win though. I'm the oldest. ;-D.

    Now that I've extolled the virtures of the best (haha), the reality is that the dealer is the most important thing in choosing a sewing machine brand. Support is a very important thing when you're learning a new machine!

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  46. My parents gave me a little 12 stitch Kenmore as a graduation present from high school. I took it to college, sewed my wedding dress and later for my children all without a single hiccup. I loved my Kenmore (Betsy) and still have her. When I wanted to upgrade to a machine that had more stitch options, some quilting features and an embroidery function I chose the Janome 9500 (Opal LOL) I am loving this machine and all the functions that it has on it. It's no longer in production, but can still be found on the internet. Do consider where your dealer is. It's always good to have a dealer nearby if there are repairs needed. Have fun!

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  47. Sewing on a Pfaff for the first time after using my $75 Walmart Brother was like going from a Ford Escort hatchback (my college car) to a Cadillac (still don't have one of those!). There is no comparison. The great thing about Pfaff is the built-in walking foot (IDT). SO WORTH IT. And I found my $900 machine on craigslist for under $250! My advice is to just check frequently for what you want, new posts on great machines come up everyday!

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  48. I have always been a Bernina Girl....But when it came to purchasing 2 machines for my little people to use I opted for the janome 3128. It retails for $139.00 & you can regularly get it @ Hancock Fabrics for $79 with coupons & a sale. It does straight stitch, zig-sag, buttonhole, has a free arm along with 8 other utility stitches. Includes a 1/4" foot and is light weight for hauling around. We have seewn many hours on them and they keep on ticking. For under $100 compared to a Bernina @ $2,000.00 I figure we can go through a few of these until we decide if an investment is in our future. When the investment is in order....It will be a Bernina:)

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  49. Singer is my favorite brand at the moment, they offer good machines at low prices. The first Singer I ever got was the Singer 1507WC and I absolutely loved it. It's perfect for any beginner and it's got a great price tag to boot. Unfortunately when my husband was driving cross country he got into a wreck and it got smashed. Sad sad day for me, lol. The second machine I got was a Brother and I did not like it one bit. I switched back to Singer and got the Singer Simple 2263. It's less than $100 at Walmart, depending on when you get it. I got it when it was on sale for $80! :) That is the machine I've been sewing everything on, including my quilts. The thing I like most about it is that it has the heavy duty metal frame. THAT is the one thing that every professional seamstress or quilter always says to look for, a machine with a metal frame. Now this past Christmas my parents surprised me with a new sewing machine designed for quilters, the Singer 7469Q Confidence Quilter. I absolutely adore this machine! I love the needle down stop position and the amazing 98 stitches but the automatic thread tension control. Here are the links for each of the Singer machines I mentioned so you can see the features, stats, etc.

    Singer 1507WC: http://www.singerco.com/products/1371/1507wc
    Singer Simple 2263: http://www.singerco.com/products/1556/2263-simple
    Singer Confidence Quilter: http://www.singerco.com/products/1548/7469q-confidence-quilter

    I'd recommend the Singer Simple 2263 because it's very basic and easy to learn on and it has 23 stitches, so you can add a decorative touch when you want. The Singer 1507WC is the one I'd buy again if I ever have a daughter that wants to learn how to sew. It's another great little machine but it only has 8 stitches, which is good for the very beginner.

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  50. i bought a little singer quilter five or six years ago ... it had lots of stitches, all the quilting attachments [including the dual feed foot] necessary for a beginner and didn't pay much for it. i made me a 'new' sewing room last year and put a new viking in there. i sold my little singer for almost as much as i paid for it to a quilter for a take along machine. i like my viking just as much as i did the little singer.

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  51. What a great question! My latest machine is a Pfaff 1473, which I bought used in 1993. It is a home machine, very solidly built but light weight and thus, portable. The features that I like most are the dual feed (built-in walking foot), the needle down option, which allows you to pivot and turn with the needle in the cloth, the snail button which allows you to slow down when doing something tricky, the 19 needle positions - and really, the benefit of this is that each of us sews slightly differently, so each of us can get a perfect 1/4 inch seam every time by experimenting with the needle positions until we find the right one for us. My sweetie has a 1222E Pfaff, which I have heard referred to as the "Pfaff workhorse." It is an incredibly solid machine, much older than mine, with the same trusty dual feed that is so nice when piecing quilts. A used Pfaff is a good choice, if it is new enough to have the dual feed. The older machines are a lot less complicated, there are less things that can break, and usually are all metal, which means they will last and last. Berninas and Jukis have great reputations too, but once you have the dual feed you do not want to give it up. Once you find any machine that works well for you and feels like an extension of you, keep that machine for life! The only reason to get a newer one, is if you are someone who enjoys gadgets (and there is nothing wrong with that).

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  52. I just started quilting about 2 years ago, and bought a Janome Magnolia 7330 which I LOVE! It's simple to use (I'd never used a sewing machine before) and I've never had any issues with it. Highly recommend this machine for beginner quilters - it was about $350, so it wasn't a huge investment, but it sews extremely well.

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  53. I have a Janome DC2010. It is simple to operate and works like a dream! I mainly sew 1/4 inch seams and straight lines as well, and have quilted some baby sized quilts. Some day I might want to upgrade to something a little more fancy, but I truly love my cute little Janome!

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  54. My first sewing machine was a Consumer Reports best buy of the year which just so happened to be a Sears Kenmore sewing machine. It was a simple machine, but was an excellent starting machine. At the time it was easily a tenth the price of the primo sewing machine of the year. I say check out Consumer Reports best buy and go for it.:)

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  55. You can not go wrong with a bernina Old or new, I have an artista 180 a 930 record,a 701 mini matic and a 730 record and LOVE LOVE them all!!! I have several other machines but he one I recommend with out hesitations is a bernina the 930 is like iron strong strong machine!!!

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  56. I teach beginning sewing and I am asked this question all the time. I advise students to get something basic. I advise them to read reviews of different machines. Even trusted brands can produce a lemon every once in awhile, and without reading about a specific model, you just can't be certain.

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  57. I started with a very cheap Brother and it was so frustrating that I never wanted to bother with sewing. I purchased a Husqvarna Viking - Sapphire 800 series, which was a trade in, and was not comfortable with some of the features at all. I finally upgraded to a Pfaff Quilt Expression 2048 (which has been upgraded to the QE 4.0) and I adore this machine! Lots of options, but a great sturdy machine as well. I didn't have a huge budget, but I got a steal on it. My biggest suggestion would be to find your budget and talk to shops about purchasing a trade in. A lot of people want the latest machines, so they don't even own them very long before buying a new one, and they are usually taken pretty good care of! Or talk to them about huge sales. A lot of times when they change the line of machines they have great sales on them! So even if you have a smaller budget, you can still find a great machine!

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  58. All my life growing up I sewed on Singers or on Kenmores, which back then were made by Singer. I still love a good mechanical Singer, and own five, all the way from a treadle to a 1900's "portable" machine to a featherweight to two more modern machines with some bells and whistles (the most recent a Singer 7470). But the amount of quilting I was doing was wearing out my 7470 (in its defense, I was quilting about 50-60 quilts a year) so I upgraded to a Juki TL98-Q. I love my Juki!! It is such a workhorse!! I also have a frame it goes on so that I can use it as a mid-arm quilting machine. This machine can easily keep up with the amount of quilting I do, very seldom has a problem, and I can do most of the maintenance myself. Someday I'll get a long arm quilter and then the Juki will become my main home sewing machine. The featherweight is my traveling machine, and I keep one machine nearby that will zigzag to put batting scraps together for larger projects. OK, so that was probably so much more info than you wanted!!

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  59. Bernina, there's nothing like them! I have had 2 of them, my "newest" is a 1090. I don't want anything newer, in fact, wish I had my old one back!

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  60. I have been building a stash over the last few years for the day that I would take a stab at quilting. Being a newbie, I am mainly concentrating on piecing (quilting a few smaller projects). Until I was sure of what options were a necessity, I purchased a late 60's/early 70's Kenmore Zig Zag metal body at a garage sale for $5.00. It is a work horse, easy for me to oil and maintain, and doesn't mind working with linty wool on occassion. It has a few specialty stitches. I honestly haven't seen a need to upgrade yet, since I plan on having my larger quilts sewn by a long arm quilter (They need the business too! ;) ). I'm not saying that I haven't looked at reviews on some newer machines and might eventually get a machine to quilt with... but my Kenzie pieces spot on and does beautiful applique... So from a newbie's point of view, I would go with an older metal body machine. (If you look at sewing centers online, they even make quilting feet and 1/4 inch guide feet for them now.) They are VERY forgiving and low maintenance. Then after a few years, you should know what other features that you want/need. :)

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  61. The home sewing machines I have some experience with are Bernina, Pfaff and Brother. When I was first starting to sew again, I took courses at the adult education centre where they used Berninas. The teacher said that those machines just last the longest and are the best value in their experience. I liked sewing with them and they were sturdy. I'm not crazy about the needle-down automatic, though, it's just not for me.

    I've sewn on a Pfaff home machine during some work experience and the great feature in that one was the extra top feed foot appliance that is especially useful if you're sewing with very thin and slippery fabrics like organza or silk. My cousin has a Pfaff and sews a lot of clothes and she's very happy with it.

    My own machine is a Brother from the seventies or eighties. It used to be my mother's. I'm very happy with that machine and bought some extra feet like a walking foot and an invisible zipper foot for it. I think I'd advise a beginner to buy a good quality machine but not to overdo it with the extras. Make sure you know what you need and want(like lowering feed dogs, does it have to be portable or do you prefer a sturdy machine, etc.)and go for quality instead of the bells and whistles. I think you'll get more for your money that way. Also a used machine in good shape is a good option in my opinion, since mine is probably as old as myself and still going strong!

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  62. I have a Bernina 1080 that I love. I bought it in 1994 after sitting at the Bernina booth and trying it out at the Houston Quilt show. It is metal and a work horse. I have never had a problem with it. My father bought one for my Mom after he saw mine. I recently coached a friend into buying one on ebay for a fraction of the original cost. She LOVES it too!

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  63. I used to have an all metal Nechi. Then I bought the Brother CS6000i, and it changed my life ;) I love it. I was told that all metal machines were superior to the new computerized machines. I completely disagree. My Brother runs so much smoother and the level or control is much higher. If I was wealthy I would have gotten the more expensive Brother, but mine works fine and I don't care about all the different stitches.

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  64. The new plastic Singers are not the equivalent of the old ones. Old black Singers -- the 15s and the 201-2 in particular -- are fabulous machines. Please note that the model number is infrequently posted on these machines, but you can find it on the cover of the manual. The 201-2 in particular is widely regarded as the finest machine Singer ever made. It's bigger than but has the same fundamental mechanism (the rotary hook) as the fabled and costly Featherweight.

    Old Berninas and old Pfaffs are wonderful, but costly. (Be aware that the old Pfaffs were cut to such tight tolerances that there's not a lot of room for oil; you will frequently find these in "frozen" condition, requiring a visit to a repairman that may wipe out the savings you enjoyed with the machine's bargain price.). If money is no object, you're in a position to compete for these prizes -- and believe me, especially in the case of old Berninas, there will be stiff competition.

    If you're on a budget, wonderful old machines are frequently found at estate sales, and the bigger the cabinet they're in, the more likely it will be that other buyers have passed them up. Always do estate sales with a friend, and the two of you will be able to transport most sewing machines in cabinets. One of my favorite machines is a lovely Singer 99K which I found with accessories and manual in a cabinet for $35.

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  65. I sew and quilt on my Bernina 440 Quilter's Edition. It is a workhorse and I love it. I quilt all my quilts on this domestic sewing machine. I can't brag enough about Bernina. Everything they make is awesome quality!

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  66. SOOOO Interesting to read all the comments!!

    I too teach sewing. And I am VERY thrifty....so I have never owned a new machine. I currently have a Janome MC5700, Janome MC9000 and a SInger professional 1/2 horsepower cast iron machine. I am patiently watching and waiting for a Janome 6500 to come for sale because it quilts like a dream!

    Having said that I tell people who are looking to spend the money on a quality used machine rather than buying a cheap brother, etc. You will get a LOT more mileage out of a well made used machine. I bought a not-really-cheap brother when I first started quilting to take to classes and within a month the tension was shot and it was irreparable. I had a brand new EuroPro that someone gave me and I managed to sieze it in one weekend of heavy sewing. My janome's take a licking and keep on ticking!

    As for the Kenmores....they are awesome and also made by Janome. I'd consider a Viking, a Juki and a Bernina....but that's about it!!!! Berninas are nice, but they aren't worth their price tag to me. I can get the same performance of my janome for a fraction of the price!

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  67. Here's a link to a post I wrote quite awhile ago with some general information about sewing machines and what to look for and some features that are nice to have versus great to have. http://craftygirlsworkshop.blogspot.com/2011/03/sew-you-want-to-learn-to-sew.html The link to the sewing machine is an affiliate link and if you or anyone else purchases from that link, I get a tiny commission.

    Since writing that post I have found that I REALLY love the Janome 2212 which probably $50 cheaper but a lot more basic and I can attest that it is a super workhorse of a machine. And let me tell you that I own a higher end Bernina that I love but it is quite heavy so the Janome is what I use as my travel machine. I think if you aren't looking for a Cadillac of machines and you are a little intimidated by computerized bells and whistles, either of these Janomes would be great to start with and give you enough room to grow as well.

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  68. I have a Janome Jem Platinum 760 and I love it. It's smaller and portable so I can sew all over the house. But it's full featured and very sturdy. I've even managed to quilt a 70 x 70 quilt (straight lines) with it but the throat is not that big.

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  69. I love my Babylock Melody. I got it on a big sale and it came with 14 feet and quilting table attachment. I had been using a Viking Huskystar 207 and the dealer here was less than helpful. Apparently Viking orphaned the Huskystar and I couldn't get any feet. I especially loved when the dealer told me "Good Luck". I test drove the Bernina's but the drop in bobbin on the BabyLock sealed the deal. After wrestling with the Viking's side bobbin, the Babylock is a dream.

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    1. I got the Babylock Melody after using a Kenmore for years. Just took an owner's class and this machine does a lot. I've made several quilts on it already, and it's a great little machine. Really pieces beautifully and gives you an exact 1/4" seam allowance. My Kenmore never had an exact 1/4" seam allowance. I especially love the side-sewing options you can use (Perfect for putting on a quilt label) and the rather large quilting stitches this machine has available that can eliminate the need for free motion. The wave stitch is a pretty neat feature. Does great button holes, darning options etc. For the money, it's a very good machine for quilters who do a lot of quilts per month.

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  70. You people rock! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and insights into the realm of sewing machines.

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  71. What a great blog! And gorgeous work!!! I do have a question....I am doing the BOM and I haven't found the pattern for February...could you tell me where I can locate it??

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  72. Last week I got a Janome 3160QDC. It's PERFECT!!! I quilt and do general sewing. It's a very good quality machine with excellent ratings (most Janomes have excellent ratings, based on my research). The best part is that the accessories are high quality but don't cost a fortune, as they do with other brands. Works like a dream!

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  73. I have a Janome 7700 Horizon. I LOVE IT!!!!!!! It has a 11 inch throat. Its great for quilting. It was a little pricey but so worth it. It sews great!!:O)

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    1. Me too!! Isnt it gorgeous!! We are lucky girls!!! Xx Julie

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  74. My 25 year old Bernina is a gem. The store I purchased it from still services it.

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  75. I am a total and complete Janome fan. I have the Janome 6500 which I bought on line at SEWVACDIRECT for $999.00. They shipped within the week and I have loved it. I also have the Janome embroidery machine and the Janome Decor which are all fabulous, reliable, and worth every penny. Be leery of machines with plastic parts inside (some brothers and singers) because they will melt with heavy use. I was so happy to see so many Janome lovers here!

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  76. I love my Viking Sapphire - so much room to quilt in! And the stitches are always so even, with great tension that I just never worry about. Highly recommend.

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  77. I have a Kenmore-advertised as the quilter's machine (Kenmore=Janome)& I've been happier than a clam with it. It has needle down & you can order a walking foot for it. My previous machine (which I still own)was a catalog purchase from Spiegel way back in the late 70's. It still works just fine, but I wanted something newer too. I also have a Singer Featherweight for taking to classes. Sears usually puts these machines on sale a couple of times a year-I got over 100.00 off on mine, it's regular price at that time was a little over 400.00. Not the cheapest, but not the most expensive either.

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  79. I wrote several blog postings on buying a machine - http://mselaineousteachessewing.blogspot.com/search/label/Sewing%20Machines

    I own a sewing studio and have had many different brands and machines in here. Some have problems; some don't. One brand does stand out - Bernina. They are $$$, but last forever.

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  80. So I am a new Quilter and first I want to thank you for all your awesome Tuts, Ive been using them to learn. I just recently purchased the Brother CS6000i, and it's pretty awesome for the price and really great for beginners. I do find myself already wanting to save up for a more long term sewing machine that will fit my needs, probably Bernina, Janome. But here are some pros and cons of the Brother.

    Pros
    Price
    Easy
    Comes with all you need to start quilting

    Cons
    The extra extension table is a bit small when quilting and so is the throat space
    Fairly Loud
    I can only use about half it's speed, if I go any faster it breaks the thread

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  81. I love my Babylock Espire! I think they changed the name, but it's still being made! It's an upper end machine, but wonderful. I can quilt anything on it as well as precision piece. It also has all the fancy stitches I need for garment construction and decorative stitching. My dealer, Cotton Shop, in Provo, UT is great as well.

    When I decided to buy an upper end machine I knew I wanted a Bernina. Then I spent some time at different dealers sewing on all different machines. Even with the bias of KNOWING I wanted a Bernina, I fell in love the the Baby Lock. I think you have to sew on many machines to fine the one that suits you.

    I started with a mid-line singer that I used for a decade! A great machine for beginning. My grandmother gave it to me when I married. (She got my hubby a drill. ;))

    Until you decide you are really going to "sew" and know what features you can't live without (needle down, knee lift, etc....), I always recommend not spending more than a couple hundred dollars.

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  82. My first sewing machine was a White Sewing Machine Company machine, and I got it when I was 7 years old for Christmas. Over 20 years later, it's still kicking along, but I run into some tension issues now and again (probably because it's 20+ years old and has never been serviced). I understand from Wikipedia that White Sewing Machine Company was bought back in the 80s by the people who make Husqvarna. For Christmas this year I got a Brother CS6000i and am really enjoying it. The throat's not very big, so quilting is a challenge, but the simple sewing is a dream - so much quieter and smoother than my White! I figure if I keep into quilting I'll re-read everyone's advice about Bernina, Pfaff and Janome!

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  83. My husbands aunt gave me a Pfaff 1471 and I hope it is the only machine I ever own. I adore it!

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  84. I started sewing on a 1962 Elna Super Bluetop. It's a wonderful machine that, in it's day was very good.

    I'm sewing more now, and moving from strictly quilts to quilts and girls apparel. Last year I was ready to upgrade. I, like many of the readers commenting above, identified my key features (easy change feet, ability to use a walking foot, feed dogs that drop - they don't on the oldies, and durability). I have a Juki TL-98Q "long" arm for straight stitch quilting, so I didn't need a large machine. I set my budget based on some birthday money and what my family could afford to spend.

    Beyond identifying important features for the sewing I wanted to do, trying out every brand and style within my budget was really helpful. I went to our local Sewing Expo where all the major players had booths. The Expo's/shows usually have special pricing, too, making it a good time and place to purchase.

    I tested each machine in my price range, took notes on pros & cons and was able to narrow the choices fairly quickly. Within about 8 hours I had sampled, compared, eliminated options and made a decision. I walked away from the Expo having purchased a Bernina 350 Patchwork Edition at a sale discount from a local dealer who provided free "Get to Know Your Machine" classes. Perfection!

    I've had it about a year now, and I still love it. It ticked all the boxes for me, it runs great and I think we'll be happy together for many years to come.

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  85. I love my Janome Magnolia. It's the non-computerized kind.

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  86. I have a Janome MC4800 and love it! It has some of the nicer features of a more expensive machine at a much more moderate price (700.00). It sews smoothly and does fine for quilting and bulkier projects. I sew both clothes and quilts, so I wanted a variety of features. Someday I hope to "upgrade" to a Bernina, but honestly I've looked at them several times in the last couple years and always decide I am happy with what I have!

    I learned on a 1953 Singer Featherweight that my great-grandmother bought for my mother when she married. I have it now :) I also used a 1970's green Singer that is my sister's machine now, it is a workhorse but frequently has tension problems.

    My first machine was an inexpensive Kenmore (12 years ago). It cost about 125.00 and for a girl like me who was trying to figure out if I really wanted to get into sewing, it was great. But within 3 years I was ready for something sturdier! Forget sewing denim or multiple layers.

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  87. I had an old Singer I finally wore out (I live int the middle of nowhere... so I checked on fixing it and the shipping etc. was way more than I paid for the machine ten years prior at a second-hand store). I was going to splurge and buy a "real" quilting machine when a family member heard my machine died and sent an old Kenmore. It works so I just keep using it... however it is loud and I sometimes find my mind drifting off to a Janome I used at a quilt shop over the summer.... hmmmmm. Perhaps.

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  88. As a fairly new quilter can I just say "thank you" for this timely post and all of your comments. I machine shopped today and read all of this before my shopping trip. I never knew I could negotiate on the price, nor did I know there was the possibility of buying used machines, or floor models! I found the perfect machine today and because of this I was able to get more than what I was expecting for what I wanted to pay. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, ladies!

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  89. I have two machines...a 1950's Singer 301 and a Janome Threadbanger TB30. Love them both. I piece and quilt with both of them, but I long for my Janome 6500 that my husband killed in a move. That was THE best machine I have ever quilted on. Some day I'll own another.

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  90. So many machine lovers! I have had a Kenmore (made by Janome) 30 stitch for 22 years and done everything imaginable on it including a queen sized denim quilt without it even batting an eye. It is still in used almost daily and works great. I also have a Singer Featherweight and a Singer 301 which are both quiet and reliable with incredible straight stitches. I have my Mom's Singer Quantum XL1 which is very cool but troublesome and my daughter has a base model brother which I detest! My newest treasure is the Elna 740 Excellance which is also made by Janome (basically the Horizon 7700 in a blue coat said Janome Canada!) It has all the fancy stitches and an 11" throat and does free motion like a dream. Very expensive but the throat space was the clincher for me, I have wrestled my last quilt through a tiny throat. So, as everyone else said, figure out what you actually need the machine to do read all the review, test drive what you have access to the buy the one in your budget.

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  91. Just bought a Bernina 440 QE. Wish me luck! (Not delivered yet.) I've had a Pfaff 7570 for 15 years which I have LOVED! (Two years later, Pfaff sold and they haven't been as good.)

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  92. Ah Singer, how I'm sad to hate thee. My sisters and I all have Singers. They are all different models that are not "beginner" machines, nor the super expensive ones. We all hate them. If I didn't need a sewing machine so badly it would give me great satisfaction to send my Singer flying out a second story window. It is difficult to get it to sew in a straight line (no, it's not me, I've sewn for decades and on other machines), the thread tension goes out whenever it wants for no reason in particular, and only half the decorative stitches work as they should. Don't even get me started on the zig zag stitch. It's not just my machine. All three of the ones in our family have severe problems even after multiple servicing. The thread tension is the worst and is only fixable by turning off the machine to let it sit and think about what it's done. It was so disappointing that Singer has gone down hill so badly. We grew up sewing on an amazing Singer from the 70's that worked like a charm until it finally gave up the ghost. I know other people who have significant problems with their Singers and a few others that haven't. I strongly recommend all new sewists to Never get a Singer. Unless, perhaps, they can afford one of the fancy fancy ones. Did I mention that at times when I press the foot pedal my machine decides to just not respond? Or maybe it's sitting there silently snickering at me. I've also used my mothers mid-range Huskvarna that's about 15 years old and it's a great workhorse and a pleasure to use. One sister finally got a Brother that's about mid-range as well. I tell ya, I thought I was in heaven. Thought about wrapping my clothes around it and sneaking it into my luggage to bring home with me. Too bad I'm stuck with the sewing hating Singer. Blarg.

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    1. In 2011, I bought a Singer for my DIL after my grandson was born and while I was demonstrating the features on it, I dropped the feed dogs and they wouldn't come back up. We took it back to the store and the display model did the same lousy thing. So I returned the Singer and bought her a Brother. I have one and adore it. So sad to see Singer die a slow death.

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  93. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  94. Hi,
    Will you please post a link to your Blog at The Sewing Community? Our members will love it.
    Members include: Needleworkers, Clothes and Dress Makers, Enthusiasts, Experts, Groups, Clubs, etc.
    It's easy to do, just cut and paste the link and it automatically links back to your website. You can also add Photos, Videos and Classifieds if you like.
    Email me if you need any help or would like me to do it for you.
    Please feel free to share as often and as much as you like.
    The Sewing Community: http://www.vorts.com/sewing/
    I hope you consider sharing with us.
    Thank you,
    James Kaufman, Editor

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  95. You ask for an advice and got 10 different answers, love it. Everyone has a favorite brand... Add HUSQVARNA :p.

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  96. I started sewing on my Mom's Singer when I was a teenager. Now I have a Bernina Virtuosa 150 QE that I bought about 15 years ago. She has lots of features and we have spent many, many happy hours together on everything from quilts, to curtains to garments. Loretta was named for my paternal Grandmother who taught me a lot about hand quilting as well as many life lessons

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  97. I am spoiled. I want the newest, and with the most bells and whistles. It should do all but cook dinner. So far I live my Bernina 780.

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  98. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Bernina 440QE. Each stitch is perfect - and it's solid and reliable and just keeps going. I also love the Sew Ezi table it's set into - all very comfortable and portable. I've just invested in a Juki TL98 - I wanted a bit more throat space for bigger quilts. I haven't had much playtime with it yet, but I love it's simplicity and solidity. It's also SO fast. I'm planning to try some quilting with it today. Very exciting (for me).

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  99. Wow, ask and ye shall receive? Seems sewers can't wait to share, and I just found you on MMM blog hop and must chime in too. After pitching my 1990's Singer POS out the window, in 2006 I bought the Brother CS6000i and have had zero problems with it. I sew clothes and home dec and it's perfect for that and have just recently gotten into quilting. It has needle down which is an absolute MUST now that I have it and I simply can no longer do without the auto needle threader (now that my eyes are getting older. I'd not heard good things about the Project Runway by Brother so stay away from that - a review up above showed some issues too? Mine came with lots of extras like a walking foot and FMQ foot and all the Distinctive feet on Amazon fit perfectly. If you've never used a computerized button hole maker, you've not experienced sewing heaven. It does have the annoying feature of defaulting the needle to the left vs. center but once you get used to that, it's a non-issue (I've only broken 2 needles - this only happens when you use a foot that only has a small center hole like the Distinctive 1/4 in foot but I don't need that anymore). Brother has another one now at Walmart that's just $199 and it does embroidery too with a bit larger throat than my current machine. I want to be able to embroider my name and date on my quilt backs so I'd like that feature. I also have the Brother Lock 1034D serger and it's nothing short of amazing. I adore that machine and again, it wasn't that expensive and is a must for sewing sheer or lightweight knit fabrics. If money were no object, I'd go with something from the new Brother Dreamweaver series. You get the best bang for your buck with Brother.

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  101. I have a Janome Jem Platinum 760 that I love! It's computerized and full featured and very portable so I can take it anywhere. I've straight line quilted a few smaller quilts on it but it's really too small to use for free motion quilting anything larger than a baby quilt. So now I'm looking to get a Juki TL-2010Q to free motion quilt on but I still love my Janome!

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  102. For a first machine, for a little girl ... I would recommend.. singer 221 featherweight.. so cute, fun and easy to use.. no headaches, oil and go.
    for a teenager I would then go to a 201-2 or 201-k .or a 15-90 model.. they are also carefree straight stitch sewing.. add a 401A for a few stitch options. and they are very easy, fun and a good first experience for sewing.. they will always remember learning to sew on these machines, and if smart they will keep them... these are my favorite machines, never ever have problems with my machines, I just bought a 1 amp motor to put on my 201k which is belt driven, unlike the 201-2 which is a potted motor and nice, but if it goes you have to replace the housing and all. I am going to replace the motor and finally found a blog that shows step by step how to take apart a singer 201 motor

    http://vssmb.blogspot.com/2011/07/201-bobbin-case-retaining-ring-re.html

    this is the only place I have found with such good instruction.. really good ! so I am going to try it with the old motor..

    I just bought a used Bernina 730E. with emb unit and stitch regulator today, I thought about the pfaff with idt. however, I found this machine.. and it has so much to offer that related to bernina support etc.. and it is coming with Bernina Designer Plus V 6 and V5 with the dongle.. and tons of everything... I got it for 780.00 and she is paying for shipping..i am scared tho, because this price is so low, that I am afraid that it is too good to be true, she is 67 and so it comes with the optional magnifiers that attach in front that swivel up and out of the way when you don't need it, I am 60 and my eyes are not as good as they used to be so this is a great thing. but I am most excited about the designer software that is valued at 1400.00 that is coming with it.. usb stick, and the ability to redesign anything I want, and create whatever I want from the web without being connected etc.. it is a feature I need, and will use in the designing of my girls dresses, and the quilting, with the BSR I hope will be fun, that will be a new thing for me, I bought a few other things this month it is my birthday, so I splurged and bought the june tailor template for cutting strips and squares etc.. that is so wonderful, cannot wait to get it..

    I really splurged this month, the machine was 780.00 but the value is way more then that I just could not pass it up..
    I have a lot of left over amy butler fabrics and other designer fabrics to use on my quilts and plan to make those for my etsy shop..

    anyway.
    for the first machine..
    singer featherweight..
    then singer 201.. thro in a 401 a for stitch options made easy.. and they will sew for life..
    I love my vintage cast iron singers.. I miss them when I don't have them with me if I am out of town. etc. it is crazy.. it is like the conspiracy theory when mel Gibson had to by the catcher in the rye every where he went.

    I do want to get down to about 3 machines, I think the bernina for all the design and embr. and quilt options, the singer for basic stitching, and my serger.. couldn't live without it .. I don't know how I lived without it as long as I did.. it is a brother 1134 d. but I researched and it had so many good reviews.. and it has really performed.. it is perfect.. I love it.. use it constantly..

    then I think, I will keep my Husqvarna Viking 6570 just because the red is so pretty .. and use it to sew 1/4 seams for quilting. unless bernina will do that nicely.. I don't know yet.

    I often wonder how women who don't create things, survive. it is such good therapy and keeps your mind busy and happy..

    my machine should arrive this week, we will see, hopefully it is what the photo showed.. just hope it isn't too good to be true!

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  103. My first sewing machine was a Singer that my parents bought for me. I don't remember the model or make. It was in the 1970s. It wasn't that great of a sewing machine. I traded it in for a (Janome) New Home Memory Craft 6000 in 1984. The MC6000 machine is a real work horse. It is made well - not plastic - nice and heavy. Came with tons of feet and did decorative stitching. I recently (as a retirement gift to myself) bought a Janome Horizon Memory Craft 12000, a top of the line sewing/embroidery machine. I gave (sob!) my New Home MC6000 to my niece since my new MC12000 did all that my MC6000 did and even more. My old New Home is still sewing beautifully at almost 30 years old. Based on my experience with my MC6000 I decided to go with Janome for my first embroidery machine. I'm in the learning stage but so far I'm loving it. No machine has everything...there are pros and cons with all of them. PS - I also have my paternal Grandmother's vintage Singer Model 201-2 - all it does is straight stitching but it does that beautifully and through the thickest fabric too. Believe it or not this 1940 model has a reverse stitch! It needs to be "tuned up" because it hasn't been sewn on in a while (clean it, oil etc.).

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  104. After being in relationship with my boyfriend for six years,he broke up with me,I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the spell caster, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem. Contact him now for your relationship or marriage problems via this email drojukuspellhome@gmail.com GOODLUCK.......

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  105. I just bought a Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 875Q and I love it!

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