What's your dream sewing machine? *update #20* - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-31-2008, 06:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm in the market for a new machine. I've been using my grandma's old Bernina and I didn't realize how spoiled I was! Whoa was I surprised when I started looking at the bottom-of-the-line Berninas :

I would really like another Bernina for many reasons but I don't think that it's in the cards right now.

I feel like I've been living in the dark ages as far as sewing machines go. They are ALL computerized. Each company still makes one model that is mechanical for the people who refuse to get with the times but none of them are very good.

I'm sure that I can learn to love all of the things that a computerized machine can do but since I haven't been using one, all those fancy stitches just seem extravagant.


I really want a good machine that does excellent basic stitching. I also really, really want a hands-free presser foot lifter. I can't really sew without it Those are the only two things that I know I want.

At the sewing machine store, the one that seemed to meet all my needs was the Baby lock Designer's choice, on-sale for 1,099 The man said that more models are starting to get the hands-free lifter because the Bernina patent had just run out but it is still just on the higher end machines so that was the cheapest one that had what I wanted.


Oh dear, I'm rambling. On to the point...

Does anyone LOVE their sewing machine? What would you like to buy? Any really good deals that I should know about? Oh what to do!?!
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Old 12-31-2008, 06:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone?
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Old 12-31-2008, 08:30 PM
 
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I have a Brother machine that was about 150ish. It is computerized, but I haven't taken the time to learn how to use that yet. It's a great little machine and really works hard for how inexpensive it is.

Trying to balance a preschooler and peace....
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Old 12-31-2008, 08:32 PM
 
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Have you seen the Incredibles? I want Edna Mode's sewing machine.
You can see it in the scene just before Helen views the family supersuits.
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Old 01-01-2009, 02:18 AM
 
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I just bought my Janome Magnolia a month or so ago. It's not pretty (unless you like big yellow flowers on your machine), but I love the fact that it auto-adjusts for all the different stitches. I never thought I'd have a use for the fancy stitches, but I've used them on hats and an advent calander so far.

It's definately not pricey - mine was on sale for 299.
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Old 01-01-2009, 09:30 PM
 
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Are you asking what machine I'd really want if money was no object or a nice machine on a budget. If I couldn't spend at least $500 on a machine then I would go vintage. I would probably get a vintage viking or bernina. I do have a modern machine that I adore and would highly recommend, it's a brother pc6000, but it's no longer in the current brother line. I think the closest is probably an innovis 1200 or so. My machine is really all I need in terms of a sewing machine. It's computerized, has auto everything and will stitch through pretty much anything. I do have an embroidery machine that is a combo machine (the babylock ellure) but I've never actually sewn on it...only embroidered which it does very well. I recommend making a list of features you really want and then test drive as many machines as you can. The right machine for me, might not be the right one for you. I found out when I was searching for my brother. I really thought I'd end up with a bernina or janome and didn't really care for either one in my price range which was around $1500.

Sabrina , mom to 4 fab kids!

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Old 01-02-2009, 06:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sabrinat View Post
I recommend making a list of features you really want and then test drive as many machines as you can.
The only things I know I want are:

a hands free (operated by your knee) pressure-foot lifter
a really good basic stitch
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Old 01-02-2009, 07:55 PM
 
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The only things I know I want are:

a hands free (operated by your knee) pressure-foot lifter
a really good basic stitch
Many machines have that feature as an option. However, you haven't mentioned your budget. That feature is generally on at least a midrange machine. Why do you want handsfree pressure lifting? I'm wondering if you can achieve the same thing (not having your work move) if you have a needle up/down option

Sabrina , mom to 4 fab kids!

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Old 01-02-2009, 08:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by sabrinat View Post
Many machines have that feature as an option. However, you haven't mentioned your budget. That feature is generally on at least a midrange machine. Why do you want handsfree pressure lifting? I'm wondering if you can achieve the same thing (not having your work move) if you have a needle up/down option
Well, I wanted to spend less than $500, more like $300, but now I realize that was unrealistic. At this point I want to spend as little as possible and get a good machine with the features I want

I do like the needle up/down option but it is not the same as the pressure foot-lifter. The only reason that I want it is habit. I learned how to sew on my grandma's Bernina and I feel like a retard when I'm sewing on a machine that doesn't have one. I'm sure I could adjust and I know that there is a learning curve with any new machine, it's just a feature that I really love.

Are there any good online sources for sewing machines?

Does anyone have a Baby lock Designers choice? It seems to be the one I am leaning towards for the feature/price ratio
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Old 01-03-2009, 12:16 AM
 
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You can certainly get used to sewing w/o a pressure foot lift, lol. I think you can probably find a decent entry level machine in your price range. I'd check Sears for their janome made Kenmores. They are known to be very solid performers and featured pack (although no pressure foot lift). I also again would recommend a decent vintage machine. If you're used to sewing on your grandmother's Bernina you're probably not going to find anything in your price range with the same stitch quality. However you can get a machine with that type of stitching if you go vintage. I have both an 811 and 807 and while neither is feature loaded they are excellent stitchers. I think Bernina has a special on the 1008 and also the Activa 125 for around $699 right now. With the economy you could probably bargain w/them. When I purchased my brother (which retailed for $1200 at that time IIRC) I also looked at the Babylock's at that same price point and loved them. I do have a Babylock ellure that I use only for embroidery, but it is a combo machine. I like it very well, especially for embroidery. It's feature packed but still reasonably priced at about 1K I believe for the one without USB connectivity. I would recommend Babylock as I've owned 2 brothers (they make most machines for Babylock (or at least they did at one point) and 1 babylock and they were all great. The reality is for $300 your best option is probably Kenmore or used.

Oh yeah...you might check out patternreview.com for consumer machine reviews. they have tons and it's nice to read about what people liked and didn't like about some machines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toolip View Post
Well, I wanted to spend less than $500, more like $300, but now I realize that was unrealistic. At this point I want to spend as little as possible and get a good machine with the features I want

I do like the needle up/down option but it is not the same as the pressure foot-lifter. The only reason that I want it is habit. I learned how to sew on my grandma's Bernina and I feel like a retard when I'm sewing on a machine that doesn't have one. I'm sure I could adjust and I know that there is a learning curve with any new machine, it's just a feature that I really love.

Are there any good online sources for sewing machines?

Does anyone have a Baby lock Designers choice? It seems to be the one I am leaning towards for the feature/price ratio

Sabrina , mom to 4 fab kids!

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Old 01-03-2009, 12:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all that info. Where do you go about looking for vintage machines?

I threw my price range out the window I'd rather save for a few months and get a machine that I will really love but I don't want to be spending more than I have to, you know?

The only thing that I would be willing to spend more money on is if there are two comparable machines with the features I want and one is made in a country that has fair labor laws. I'm definitely willing to spend more money for that. That is one of the reasons that I was first interested in Bernina and Huskeys, their (higher end models, at least) machines are still made in Sweden and Switzerland (I think...).

I have a deeply rooted frustration with Kenmore. Correct me if I'm wrong but their machines have replacement parts that you have to order from them, just like all other Kenmore tools. : It's a real turn-off to me.

I'm going to look more into Brother, I really don't know much about them. Interesting that they make Baby lock. Are they more inexpensive than baby lock?



Thanks for all the ideas, keep em commin!!
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Old 01-03-2009, 11:34 AM
 
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In terms of what country the machine is made or assembled, you're going to have a hard time finding a Swiss made Bernina for less than say 3k that's still made in Switzerland...even the great Swiss company has an Asian factory. What they do now is make the parts in Switzerland and assemble it in China or Taiwan. That's not necessarily a bad thing. The factories are owned by these companies so they still want to maintain the quality of the brand...but like all things it's cheaper to go to asia for the labor.
If your price range is more flexible and you think you want to buy from a dealer then I'd just go out and test drive machines that have the features I wanted and figure out what I wanted to get.
If you think you'd like to try vintage...you can start with garage sales, thrift stores, craigslist and ebay. I've gotten both a Viking 6440 in mint condition with all the feet and a ton of other accesories for $80 and a bernina 801 sport for $45 off CL. I've also gotten a free Elna Supermatic too. You just have to look a lot, but stuff comes up. Oh and my dh bought my Singer featherweight for $175 which in terms of a FW was a really good price about 50% off the usual going rate. I've found some great machines in thrift stores too...another Viking 6460 (which I resold for 5X's what I paid ) and a neechi bu nova in a great midcentury cabinet that I sew on. I've gotten machines off freecycle too. Including a singer 503 (rocketeer! I know...it was unbelievable) and a cute little kenmore 3/4 head 1030. A friend gave me a Singer 401 because she didn't want it...but she got it free of CL...so to answer your question look everywhere. Even one of your relatives might have something they want to get rid of. If you lived near me I have an Alden you could have, but it's way to heavy to ship.
I'm a fan of Kenmore because I think you fairly consistently get a good product. If you know who actually manufactured the product you could probably avoid dealing with them...but honestly you get at least a comparable Janome made machine for a fraction of the price as it would be if it said Janome on it. I would consider that strongly.
Brother is a well established Japanese company and they make a ton of stuff including sewing machine. I think their rep has suffered because I think they dominate the low end big box machines market and those machines can be hit or miss in terms of solid performance. I started off with a brother machine from Walmart about 15 years ago and used it for probably 10 years. I sewed all manner of items. And while it could be kind of finicky I now think a lot of the problem might have been user error. The Brothers sold through dealerships are well made and reliable and you will not be disappointed. They also tend to have a lower price point than the similarly featured Babylock model. I'm very devoted to my Brother/Babylock machines. I think for the price you really can't go wrong. I know that they don't have the same cache that say Viking or Bernina have...but I was looking for a good machine at a reasonable price and I've never regretted my decision to purchase my brother or my babylock.

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Thanks for all that info. Where do you go about looking for vintage machines?

I threw my price range out the window I'd rather save for a few months and get a machine that I will really love but I don't want to be spending more than I have to, you know?

The only thing that I would be willing to spend more money on is if there are two comparable machines with the features I want and one is made in a country that has fair labor laws. I'm definitely willing to spend more money for that. That is one of the reasons that I was first interested in Bernina and Huskeys, their (higher end models, at least) machines are still made in Sweden and Switzerland (I think...).

I have a deeply rooted frustration with Kenmore. Correct me if I'm wrong but their machines have replacement parts that you have to order from them, just like all other Kenmore tools. : It's a real turn-off to me.

I'm going to look more into Brother, I really don't know much about them. Interesting that they make Baby lock. Are they more inexpensive than baby lock?



Thanks for all the ideas, keep em commin!!

Sabrina , mom to 4 fab kids!

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Old 01-03-2009, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, that gives me a lot to think about, thanks!
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Old 01-04-2009, 03:36 AM
 
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I just did a bunch of research for sewing machines and narrowed it down to Kenmores made by Janome. I did a CL search right before I went into Sears to buy the 19233.

I found a ten month old Kenmore 19606 on CL for 325, still under the extended transferrable warranty. It is in mint condition, the seller said she used it less than 25 hours and I believe her. The seller gave me orignal receipt, indicating that she paid almost 900 for the machine, warranty, and all the extra feet and notions. She gave me all of that and threw in a lesson explaining how to use it and a few extra intro quilting books she had lying around.

My longwinded point is that you can find incredible deals on CL. I love my 19606.
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:49 AM
 
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Also think about the dealer you are buying it from, do you really like and trust the folks there? Do you want to deal with them long term if you need to bring it in for repairs? Also if you are looking at a new new machine many of the dealers offer free classes, having a store that is within easy driving distance would be a plus)

(I was trying to get a friends older viking working for her and the dealer closest to me had no clue what customer service was, would not return phone calls, was rude to me in person when I went into the store. I ended up buying the part from a further from me dealer but one who was nice)

When I was dreaming-- big time dreaming-- looking at the highest end of the berninas, yeah if I'm going to dream, dream big right! When I called the dealer for prices they told me of all the specials they offered, even for the lower end, well not the lowest end, more like the +$1,000 models she was telling me that they offered a gift card to use in their fabric area or a serger, once you got to the 4,000+ machines they were offering both. Not that you want to go that high in your spending but if they were able to mark up the prices enough to offer that sweet of a deal, I'm sure the markup is still there and ther is some wiggle room in your bargining, so even if they are not willing to take alot of actual $ off the price, then ask for other things like fabric or attachments for the machine.

Do you have a machine you could trade in? My MIL always upgraded her machines by trading in her old one and saving.

The reason I was so intriged with the Bernina was the stich regulator foot, that was my big draw to it. And until I win the lottery, I'll continue to use my old treadles.
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:55 AM
 
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I have a Riccar that is nearly forty years old. It is simple and has kept me in stitches all of this time. It was a high school graduation present.

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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Old 01-04-2009, 12:49 PM
 
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Yes, buying a sewing machine from a dealer is like buying a car. Don't pay sticker.
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, buying a sewing machine from a dealer is like buying a car. Don't pay sticker.
Oh! I didn't realize. I actually can't seem to figure out where to buy one (a new one) if not from a dealer. They were all on sale when I went in, they were still having the Christmas sale.

Lightheart- I do trust my dealer, he's been fixing my moms machine for years. He's also the only dealer I've ever worked with and I have no idea how his prices compare but I feel good about him.
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Old 01-04-2009, 11:15 PM
 
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The 17 year old Pfaff I have, has the presser foot up/down option. If money were no object, a newer Pfaff- But- we don't have an extra $3,000 right now. So, if I couldn't get a quality pfaff, I would go with something used/vintage. Something reliable. Which is why my backup machine was an old $20 Kenmore from Craigslist. It works great when I need it to, but I miss the computerized stitches, etc.
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Old 01-09-2009, 05:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I think I've decided. My bank account is crying but I want a machine that will last me years and that I will love

So, I think I am going to save up (since it's not an emergency, I still have a working machine) and get the Bernina 430

It costs.... 2,700.... gulp

It can be upgraded to have all the features of the 440, like the bernina stitch regulator :

The guy that I am going to buy it from is going to call me when Bernina puts this machine on special and hopefully it will line up with the time that my bank account is over flowing I just opened a new savings account for my sewing machine He thinks that I will probably be able to get it for $2,000, does that sound reasonable?


Well, so much for my nice little $300-$500 budget

Does anyone have the 430 or 440? Do you LOVE it? You can tell me the truth, I haven't bought it yet
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Old 01-09-2009, 11:59 AM
 
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Is there a starry eyed smilie??? Can I be your bestest friend when you get the machine and come help you play with it????? ... oh don't get me dreaming again!!!! oh wait, you already have! I wanna hear what others have to say about it too.
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Old 01-09-2009, 07:50 PM
 
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I think you'll be very happy. My gf has the 440 w/the embroidery module and absolutely adores it. She says it's her "forever" machine. Let us know when you get it and how much you love it!

Sabrina , mom to 4 fab kids!

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Old 01-10-2009, 05:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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She says it's her "forever" machine.
that's how i'm justifying it
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Old 01-12-2009, 01:59 PM
 
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Any thoughts to a slightly older Bernina? I have a 1090 that I got from a dealer- it was a trade-in, and I love, love, love it. It was $700.
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Old 01-12-2009, 06:19 PM
 
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Any thoughts to a slightly older Bernina? I have a 1090 that I got from a dealer- it was a trade-in, and I love, love, love it. It was $700.
Bernina's are always solid choices...especially if you're happy with it, that's all that really matters. Happy Sewing!

Sabrina , mom to 4 fab kids!

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Old 01-13-2009, 12:47 AM
 
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I am starting to go down this path... the path of very expensive sewing machines. When I told DH I wanted a new machine, he said sure. Then I explained how much it would cost. He changed his answer Someday... I have started sticking bday and xmas money in my jewelry box (if it is in the bank I will spend it).

Suzan, mama to DS 9-18-07 and #2 EDD 3/4/10 GIRL!.
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Old 01-13-2009, 02:02 AM
 
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Does anyone have the 430 or 440? Do you LOVE it? You can tell me the truth, I haven't bought it yet
My mom has a 435 (?), and honestly I never use my own machine anymore, even though she lives 1:45 drive away. I love Love LOVE her machine, and now want something similar. I think I'm going with a Janome 6600, but mostly because I don't need some of the features of her Bernina, and the Janome will be around $1000 cheaper for me.

Enjoy!

Mama to DS 3/05 and DD 1/08
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Old 01-23-2009, 12:35 PM
 
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I signed up for the Bernina email news... today in my inbox there was a special offer from bernina, the super weekend sale, 1-29-09 to 2-2-09... I don't know if the machines are actually on sale or if they are just trying to get you to use their credit card with no monthly payments and no intrest for 18 months - you have to pay it off by 18 months or else the rate is insane... 21.98%! YIKES!

I know you said in your posts to the thread that the dealer you were going to buy from would call you if the machine went on sale, but you may want to call him just in case.
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Old 07-09-2009, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I got the Bernina 430e :

:

I'm in love with it
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Old 07-10-2009, 01:05 PM
 
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I got the Bernina 430e :

:

I'm in love with it
Nice

Sabrina , mom to 4 fab kids!

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