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.
Melissa Mortenson of Polkadot Chair also has a great article about how to pick a sewing machine.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      February 10, 2012 at 12:26 pm

      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!

    • Reply
      February 10, 2012 at 9:40 pm

      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.

    • Reply
      February 12, 2012 at 7:24 am

      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.

  • Reply
    The Tulip Patch
    February 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    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

    • Reply
      Caitlin T.
      February 9, 2012 at 7:50 pm

      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.

    • Reply
      February 10, 2012 at 1:42 am

      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.

    • Reply
      March 18, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      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.

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    Beverly Pennington
    February 9, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    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 😉

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    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

    • Reply
      February 12, 2012 at 7:46 pm

      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

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    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

    • Reply
      Becca Hartzer
      May 10, 2012 at 9:09 am

      What is needle down?

    • Reply
      June 6, 2012 at 6:21 am

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

    • Reply
      November 25, 2013 at 1:08 pm

      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!!

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      November 25, 2013 at 1:09 pm

      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!

  • Reply
    Archie the wonder dog
    February 9, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    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!!

    • Reply
      February 12, 2012 at 3:23 am

      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.

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    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

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    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

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    I wrote a (long, rambling) review of my Janome Horizon here: http://thegirlwhoquilts.blogspot.com/2011/02/hello-betty.html<br /><br />I&#39;ve also sewn on a simple New Home and 2 different Berninas. I think this one is a keeper, though. 🙂

  • Reply
    amy g :)
    February 9, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    i agree with loriginsberg – i have a mechanical bernina 830 (my grandmother&#39;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&#39;s machines, which were brand new, and it&#39;s obviously been working that well for about 40 years now. you can find them used on ebay. i know there isn&#39;t that support (i totally agree this

    • Reply
      February 9, 2012 at 8:15 pm

      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

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    I&#39;ve heard many times that the older Berninas and Pfaffs are where it&#39;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&#39;s what my sewing students use when they come for lessons – plenty of stitches and features,

  • Reply
    Marci Warren-Elmer
    February 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    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 &quot;she&quot; decides to play nice it is an awesome machine.

    • Reply
      Sarah Craig
      February 10, 2012 at 7:15 am

      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.

    • Reply
      Patricia Hall
      October 17, 2012 at 10:13 am

      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.

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    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

    • Reply
      Julie in WA
      February 10, 2012 at 12:46 pm

      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.

  • Reply
    Emily {Creative Chicks}
    February 9, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    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

    • Reply
      February 16, 2012 at 3:35 am

      That&#39;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! 🙂

  • Reply
    Sea Sew
    February 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    I live on a boat so I won&#39;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&#39;t really like using my machine for this but sometimes it&#39;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

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    I have a Husqvarna Scandinavia 200, it&#39;s about 5 years old. It&#39;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&#39;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&#39;t like Pfaff machines, even though I&#

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    My first machine was a Pfaff and at the time, I loved it. Then I discovered the Singer Featherweight and I haven&#39;t looked back. It has nothing in the way of fancy stitches, it&#39;s just simple straight stitch but it sews beautifully and is very quiet which I can&#39;t say about the Pfaff (or any machine made primarily of plastic). I do all my piecing on it and most of my quilting…

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    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

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    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.)

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    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 &quot;what you learn on, that&#39;s what you like,&quot; 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

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    I started with a &lt;$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&#39;s a dream machine. It runs great, threads easily, has some decorative stitching but is really basic. I&#39;ve hemmed jeans (no problem), sewn delicate baby outfits, and quilted

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    I&#39;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&#39;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

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    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

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    I have a Janome Magnolia 7318 great basic machine and I just love it. It&#39;s made the Janome company they use to make Kenmore machines many years ago. The best part no plastic pieces inside…..

  • Reply
    A.J. Dub.
    February 9, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    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&#39;m sure I should take it in – just can&#39;t imagine being without it! <br /><br />My very favorite feature is the built in walking foot (IDT)! I have sewn everything from silk

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    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&quot; and it can be a bit taxing when that large but I can do it. I love this machine and it

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Just brought home a Janome 2160DC, and I love it!!!! I&#39;ve done more actual sewing in the past two weeks I&#39;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&#39;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.

    • Reply
      January 5, 2014 at 9:29 pm

      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!

  • Reply
    Jamie Lee
    February 9, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    I am a VERY loyal Pfaff owner… 🙂 Don&#39;t even want to count the years I&#39;ve been sewing on one! We&#39;ll just leave it at &quot;many&quot;.. As said above, my favourite feature is the built in walking foot – i truly can&#39;t imagine sewing without it!! I too recommend a Pfaff, without hesitation!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Goddess in Progress
    February 9, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    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&#39;t yet sure if sewing was for them, it wouldn&#39;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

  • Reply
    Quilts by PAR
    February 9, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    I have been sewing on a Kenmore for over 20 years and it&#39;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&#39;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

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    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

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    The &quot;what machine&quot; 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

  • Reply
    Auntie Pami
    February 9, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    I love my Berninas! All of them. I collect vintage machines. My oldest is from 1932 and the book is in German. I&#39;ve had a $10 garage sale anchor (don&#39;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,

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    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 &amp; fancy stitches. After you have been sewing/quilting for a

  • Reply
    April @ Sewing Novice
    February 9, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    I think you advice was right on. I have a Bernette (a plastic version of the Bernina) and I love it. I&#39;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.

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    I love my Bernina&#39;s. I have an artista ( a gift,truth be told I didn&#39;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.

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    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&#39;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&#39;t required a single bit of

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Hahaha — quilters are usually passionate about their machines. I&#39;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&#39;re all wonderful machines. My sister and I occasionally fight over that

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    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

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    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&#39;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

  • Reply
    Shop Girl
    February 9, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    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 &amp; you can regularly get it @ Hancock Fabrics for $79 with coupons &amp; a sale. It does straight stitch, zig-sag, buttonhole, has a free arm along with 8 other utility stitches. Includes a 1/4&quot; foot and is light weight for

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    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&#39;s perfect for any beginner and it&#39;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

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    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&#39;t pay much for it. i made me a &#39;new&#39; 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

  • Reply
    Catskill Quilter
    February 9, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    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

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    I just started quilting about 2 years ago, and bought a Janome Magnolia 7330 which I LOVE! It&#39;s simple to use (I&#39;d never used a sewing machine before) and I&#39;ve never had any issues with it. Highly recommend this machine for beginner quilters – it was about $350, so it wasn&#39;t a huge investment, but it sews extremely well.

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 1:30 am

    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.:)

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 1:56 am

    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!!!

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 2:57 am

    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&#39;t be certain.

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 6:29 am

    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

  • Reply
    Sarah Craig
    February 10, 2012 at 7:21 am

    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&#39;s &quot;portable&quot; 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

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 7:49 am

    Bernina, there&#39;s nothing like them! I have had 2 of them, my &quot;newest&quot; is a 1090. I don&#39;t want anything newer, in fact, wish I had my old one back!

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 7:55 am

    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&#39;s/early 70&#39;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

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 8:21 am

    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&#39;m not crazy about the needle-down automatic,

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 8:29 am

    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!

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 9:00 am

    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&#39;t care

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 9:47 am

    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&#39;s bigger than but has the same

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 9:56 am

    I sew and quilt on my Bernina 440 Quilter&#39;s Edition. It is a workhorse and I love it. I quilt all my quilts on this domestic sewing machine. I can&#39;t brag enough about Bernina. Everything they make is awesome quality!

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 11:50 am

    SOOOO Interesting to read all the comments!!<br /><br />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!<br /><br />Having said that I tell people who

  • Reply
    Crafty Girls Workshop
    February 10, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Here&#39;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.

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I have a Janome Jem Platinum 760 and I love it. It&#39;s smaller and portable so I can sew all over the house. But it&#39;s full featured and very sturdy. I&#39;ve even managed to quilt a 70 x 70 quilt (straight lines) with it but the throat is not that big.

  • Reply
    Amy in VA
    February 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    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&#39;t get any feet. I especially loved when the dealer told me &quot;Good Luck&quot;. I test drove the Bernina&#39;s but the drop in bobbin on the BabyLock

    • Reply
      Gretchen in MI
      March 1, 2013 at 1:47 pm

      I got the Babylock Melody after using a Kenmore for years. Just took an owner&#39;s class and this machine does a lot. I&#39;ve made several quilts on it already, and it&#39;s a great little machine. Really pieces beautifully and gives you an exact 1/4&quot; seam allowance. My Kenmore never had an exact 1/4&quot; seam allowance. I especially love the side-sewing options you can use (Perfect for

  • Reply
    amy smart
    February 10, 2012 at 2:59 pm

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

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    What a great blog! And gorgeous work!!! I do have a question….I am doing the BOM and I haven&#39;t found the pattern for February…could you tell me where I can locate it??

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Last week I got a Janome 3160QDC. It&#39;s PERFECT!!! I quilt and do general sewing. It&#39;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&#39;t cost a fortune, as they do with other brands. Works like a dream!

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    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)

    • Reply
      March 18, 2013 at 7:12 am

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

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 9:56 pm

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

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    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

  • Reply
    Dawn W
    February 10, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2012 at 12:42 am

    I have a Kenmore-advertised as the quilter&#39;s machine (Kenmore=Janome)&amp; I&#39;ve been happier than a clam with it. It has needle down &amp; 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&#39;s. It still works just fine, but I wanted something newer too. I also have a Singer Featherweight for taking to

  • Reply
    February 11, 2012 at 8:36 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2012 at 8:36 am

    I wrote several blog postings on buying a machine – http://mselaineousteachessewing.blogspot.com/search/label/Sewing%20Machines<br /><br />I own a sewing studio and have had many different brands and machines in here. Some have problems; some don&#39;t. One brand does stand out – Bernina. They are $$$, but last forever.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2012 at 10:56 am

    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&#39;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

  • Reply
    February 11, 2012 at 11:03 am

    I love my Babylock Espire! I think they changed the name, but it&#39;s still being made! It&#39;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.<br /><br />When I decided to buy an upper end machine I

  • Reply
    February 11, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    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&#39;s still kicking along, but I run into some tension issues now and again (probably because it&#39;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

  • Reply
    February 11, 2012 at 9:01 pm

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

  • Reply
    February 12, 2012 at 2:22 am

    I started sewing on a 1962 Elna Super Bluetop. It&#39;s a wonderful machine that, in it&#39;s day was very good.<br /><br />I&#39;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

  • Reply
    February 13, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    I love my Janome Magnolia. It&#39;s the non-computerized kind.

  • Reply
    February 14, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    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 &quot;upgrade&quot; to a Bernina, but honestly I&#39;ve looked at them several times in the last couple

  • Reply
    Naomi Olson
    February 15, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    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 &quot;real&quot; 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

  • Reply
    February 15, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    As a fairly new quilter can I just say &quot;thank you&quot; 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

  • Reply
    February 16, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    I have two machines…a 1950&#39;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&#39;ll own another.

  • Reply
    Hands Sew Full
    February 22, 2012 at 12:06 am

    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&#39;s Singer Quantum

  • Reply
    February 22, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    Just bought a Bernina 440 QE. Wish me luck! (Not delivered yet.) I&#39;ve had a Pfaff 7570 for 15 years which I have LOVED! (Two years later, Pfaff sold and they haven&#39;t been as good.)

  • Reply
    lemony lucy
    February 26, 2012 at 7:11 am

    Ah Singer, how I&#39;m sad to hate thee. My sisters and I all have Singers. They are all different models that are not &quot;beginner&quot; machines, nor the super expensive ones. We all hate them. If I didn&#39;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&#39;s

    • Reply
      March 19, 2013 at 4:15 am

      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&#39;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.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • Reply
    November 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Hi, <br />Will you please post a link to your Blog at The Sewing Community? Our members will love it. <br />Members include: Needleworkers, Clothes and Dress Makers, Enthusiasts, Experts, Groups, Clubs, etc.<br />It&#39;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.<br />Email me if you need

  • Reply
    February 21, 2013 at 3:34 am

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

  • Reply
    Tina A
    March 18, 2013 at 6:40 am

    I started sewing on my Mom&#39;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

  • Reply
    Judith Blinkenberg
    March 18, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2013 at 3:11 am

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Bernina 440QE. Each stitch is perfect – and it&#39;s solid and reliable and just keeps going. I also love the Sew Ezi table it&#39;s set into – all very comfortable and portable. I&#39;ve just invested in a Juki TL98 – I wanted a bit more throat space for bigger quilts. I haven&#39;t had much playtime with it yet, but I love it&#39;s simplicity and solidity. It&#39;s also

  • Reply
    March 19, 2013 at 4:08 am

    Wow, ask and ye shall receive? Seems sewers can&#39;t wait to share, and I just found you on MMM blog hop and must chime in too. After pitching my 1990&#39;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&#39;s perfect for that and have just recently gotten into quilting. It has needle down which is an

  • Reply
    Calvin Toews
    April 1, 2013 at 4:12 am

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • Reply
    May 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I have a Janome Jem Platinum 760 that I love! It&#39;s computerized and full featured and very portable so I can take it anywhere. I&#39;ve straight line quilted a few smaller quilts on it but it&#39;s really too small to use for free motion quilting anything larger than a baby quilt. So now I&#39;m looking to get a Juki TL-2010Q to free motion quilt on but I still love my Janome!

  • Reply
    Lisa Williams
    June 14, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    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.<br />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

  • Reply
    July 16, 2013 at 9:18 am

    My first sewing machine was a Singer that my parents bought for me. I don&#39;t remember the model or make. It was in the 1970s. It wasn&#39;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

  • Reply
    September 20, 2013 at 6:10 pm


  • Reply
    September 20, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    <br /> 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

  • Reply
    Karen Jerome
    October 1, 2013 at 1:59 pm

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

  • Reply
    Md.Shofiur Rahman
    January 4, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    Free Computer Support and Help &amp; Online PC Help Forums for beginners to experts alike. <br />Simple, free and reliable computer support …..<a href="http://www.freepchelp.co.uk/&quot; rel="nofollow"> Free PC Help </a>

  • Reply
    May 9, 2014 at 6:03 am

    My grandmother got me a Singer as a wedding present. It died as I put the binding on my first quilt. I knew that I enjoyed quilting but wasn&#39;t sure it was going to be the only thing I sewed. I went to the Brother dealership and a nice woman named Rosemary sat with me for an hour showing me how to thread the needle, wind and load the bobbin, and even how to do some basic FMQ. I went with a

  • Reply
    Christina Morld
    July 23, 2014 at 8:20 am

    There is a place where my sister always looked for advice, whenever she felt like buying a sewing machine. She has 25 years of sewing experience. It seems she trusts them and I guess they have some pretty honest reviews. You may read <br />http://www.best-home-ideas.com/

  • Reply
    August 19, 2014 at 7:43 am

    Amy, your post and the corresponding comments are really helpful! I&#39;ve just bought a new machine and wondered if you&#39;d mind me linking back this post in a round up of helpful research?

  • Reply
    December 15, 2014 at 12:51 am

    I have a Singer 7258 which I love. It cost only $180, and it&#39;s held up great for the year I&#39;ve been sewing regularly on it. (I&#39;ve owned it longer but didn&#39;t sew frequently at first.) My primary interest is quilting, and it&#39;s had no problem with the piecing, free-motion quilting, and binding that I&#39;ve done with it. It&#39;s got all the features you could ask for (like

  • Reply
    Basic Quilting Supplies
    March 22, 2016 at 11:44 am

    […] it running well for a long time. If you are looking for advice on buying a sewing machine I have a post with lots of great input from other sewers in the comments. Melissa Mortenson also has an excellent post on how to pick a sewing machine.You can buy sewing […]

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.