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#1 of 25 Old 12-02-2010, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DH wants to buy me a sewing machine for Christmas.  I didn't realize the market I was in was so expensive!  I would consider myself an experienced beginner.  I sewed a bit in my teens and last year or so I got interested in quilting.  I went as far as I could with my mother's borrowed Walmart brother, so we thought I would try a step up.

The next step up is $3000?  I want one I can quilt on, but that really is too much for us.  Is there really no middle ground?










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#2 of 25 Old 12-02-2010, 03:34 PM
 
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I found it difficult to find a mid-priced machine too. Seems like they are either too basic, or way too advanced & pricey. But Amazon has a few options in the range of   $300 to 400, also you might check out overstock.com - they sell both new and reconditioned machines.

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#3 of 25 Old 12-02-2010, 05:29 PM
 
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Would you consider a vintage machine?  You'd get way more for your money.  I have a Singer 500A Rocketeer and an Elna 1 Grasshopper, and I wouldn't trade either for any new machine.  Shopping for vintage does take more time, though. You'll need to do some research to see what you want, and then track one down.  You might even enjoy fixing it up and caring for it yourself, too.  I do.  I got my Rocketeer from Ebay, paid less than $200, and have a top of the line machine.  A thrift store or Craig's list would cost less (most people don't know how to properly pack a vintage machine for shipping.)

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#4 of 25 Old 12-02-2010, 07:13 PM
 
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What kind of machine are you looking for? I just bought a really nice, designed for quilting, sewing machine, for $795, and it came with TONS of extras. It's a Brother Innovis NX-450Q. It's one of Bother's high end models. I know this fall Brother Innovis machines were written up in consumer reports for making the best quality machine for the price. The woman who sold me in my machine was the owner of the sewing machine dealership. She sells Brother Innovis', and Vikings and she said that her personal machine was a Brother Innovis. She said the high end machines aren't worth the money, and I agree. I sold my Bernina 1090 on ebay, so I could get my Brother.


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#5 of 25 Old 12-02-2010, 07:36 PM
 
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I agree with looking for a vintage machine.  Another possible spot to look is sewing machine repair shops, they often sell new machines and have trade-ins that they fix up and sell.  I have a Bernina from the 70s and it's amazing.


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#6 of 25 Old 12-03-2010, 07:43 AM
 
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i got a mid priced machine and i am thrilled, THRILLED with it so far.. it has decorative stitches and is perfect for quilting (though instructions about which feet accessorize and which ones to buy are not too clear, nor is the install, so feel free to pm me if you end up with the same machine..) i got a janome magnolia 7330, around 350.00.. i'd encourage you to read the reviews for that one.

there may be better things out there, but the reviews sold me and it's been awesome so far/ i really feel like without the price range you were appalled at i got a good deal.

it's made for both quilting and general sewing, and once i got that walking foot & embroidery foot i was in heaven.  there's lots of clearance space too, and it's super easy to use, and you can use it without the foot control for thread painting etc.


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#7 of 25 Old 12-03-2010, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone.

 

I am too chicken to buy a vintage machine...I know zero about sewing machines, and I am afraid it would just end up being something that always needed service and was hard to find parts for.  That is so cool to be able to do that though.  Right now we are looking at some midpriced Juki's on ebay.  I think I remember hearing something about Juki being a good brand.  This one looks good, it is at the higher end, price-wise. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=380294306963&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

 

Maybe after all of this, I won't be so clueless when it comes to machines!

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#8 of 25 Old 12-04-2010, 08:43 PM
 
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I'm going to be lurking on this thread to hear machine recommendations. :) 

 

I have dreams of upgrading.

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#9 of 25 Old 12-05-2010, 09:49 AM
 
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What do you want the machine to do?  Do you want a machine that does embroidery as well as sews seams?  Can you learn how to operate your machine on your own or would you want dealer lessons?  So many questions to think about when buying a machine.  I sew reenacting clothing as my wah business and do wedding gowns as a side line.  I sew on a 10 year old $300 Kenmore sewing machine and a 1950 Singer Featherweight.  I use the Featherweight for the bridal wear.  Quilters that I know would kill for my Featherweight.  You don't need to spend $3000 on a machine.  You do need to buy a machine that you like to sew on and does everything you want it to do on the fabrics you want to sew on.


Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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#10 of 25 Old 12-05-2010, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Those are good questions. 

 

I don't necessarily want something that embroiders...I am not a fan of machine embroidery.  I want to be able to quilt primarily.  But also sew small projects like kids clothes.  But the thing is, I am teaching myself quilting and don't know much about it. 

 

So I assume I need a machine that can have a walking foot attachment, and is easy to do free motion stuff on?  The problems I had with my $75 Brother loaner had to do with tension and jamming when I tried to quilt.  But who knows, it may not have been the machine it may have been me!

 

So, the new ones appeal to me because they say exactly what they are good for, does that make sense?

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#11 of 25 Old 12-05-2010, 02:39 PM
 
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I have several sewing machines, 2 of them a lot more expensive than the others.   But I also have 2 of the super duper basic ones from walmart ($50ish), one at my house and one at my parents vacation house, and I use those WAY more than my other machines.   They work just fine!  And its perfect for a beginner, it does all you need it to do for basic sewing.   

 

Or maybe try craigslist, or a sewing machine store that sells referbished ones.   Also, JoAnn's has machines anywhere from $99 to $8,000, with lots in-between (a few in the $200ish rnge that are real nice ones!)

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#12 of 25 Old 12-05-2010, 04:09 PM
 
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I would suggest you try to find a quilting shop in your area and ask the people there what they suggest you look for.  There's a great sewing machine dealer/quilting specialty shop near me.  If you could find something like that I think it'd be very helpful.

 

I'm pretty sure I could quilt with my low end Bernina that cost something like $300ish 5 or 6 years ago.  I don't have a walking foot, but I know there's one available for it. The only problems I've ever had with it was when I was using knock off bobbins that were just slightly the wrong size. 

 

I looked at a Janome TB-30 a year or so ago, but couldn't afford to send the money.  I'd still love one. 


Kristy, wife to Josh proud mama to Katie: since 3/08 and Emma since 8/12.

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#13 of 25 Old 12-05-2010, 04:43 PM
 
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http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_02019233000P?prdNo=2&blockNo=2&blockType=L2

 

I've got this one, and love it!  I also have a $$$$ combo embroidery/sewing machine, but like the kenmore better. The $$$$ has auto tension and is just finicky altogether.  I can't free motion quilt on it, because it just gets terrible tension issues.  The kenmore quilts beautifully.  

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#14 of 25 Old 12-05-2010, 07:57 PM
 
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I bought a new machine this past spring after having used my parents' hand me down machine for 20 years.  I love it!  Its a Janome 3160 QDC which has 60 stitches, 6 types of button holes and comes with a quilting kit (atachable table, walking foot, 1/4 inch foot, and fabric guide).  I think all told it was $650.  What I really love about it is that it automatically cuts the thread for you after you finish a seam.  No more looking for a pair of scissors!

 

FWIW, I sew clothes and am a beginner quilter.:)


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#15 of 25 Old 12-05-2010, 09:55 PM
 
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A third vote for Janome! My husband bought me a Janome Sewist 500 for Mother's Day this year and I *LOVE* it! It was easy to use right out of the box and I honestly haven't sewn a thing since 8th grade home ec. I use it primarily for quilting also - completely self-taught, I'm working on my 5th quilt now and my machine has never given me a single problem. I learned everything I know about using and caring for the machine from the manual that came with it. I don't have a walking foot either, I bought a 1/4" foot and a free motion (darning) foot for it off of eBay for like $15 and have been quilting up a storm just fine.

 

IMHO, from my personal experience and from what I've heard from others, Janome is like the Honda Accord of sewing machines - it's economical, runs well, and gets the job done for a good price. I would buy mine over and over again. They always have refurbished and sometimes new ones on Overstock, I would suggest checking there first.

 

Here's my machine - http://www.amazon.com/Janome-Sewist-500-Machine-Stitches/dp/B003AXXWAE/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

 

Also, if you are looking for a good tutorial on free-motion quilting, this is the best one I've found....I practiced a lot on scraps and now I can quilt a baby-size quilt in about an hour.

 

http://www.ohfransson.com/oh_fransson/2009/03/quilt-along-14-freemotion-quilting.html

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#16 of 25 Old 12-06-2010, 09:42 AM
 
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I think this month has been exceptional for low-priced, quality sewing machine deals.

I love my vintage Singer 15-91. I have had no problem finding manuals, attachments, and parts, and the thing is all metal so there is basically nothing that can break, LOVE IT. The only problem is that it is a straight stitch machine only. I sew quite a few things where I would like zig-zag so I have been looking at machines again. To my surprise, there are a number of reasonably priced machines that do everything I want - with good reviews. Last time I looked, I gave up because it seemed all the machines that had good reviews were over $350-500.

I also had a bad experience with a Brother machine. Dh bought me one many years ago and it just never worked. I think my mom took it into the shop and spent about $100 to fix it and it worked long enough for her to piece one quilt, but quit again by the time she was ready to quilt it. So I personally stay away from Brother unless you find a model with glowing reviews. I have a Brother serger, 1034D, that rocks so I can't say all Brothers are bad.

Anyway, the ones I have been looking at are Janomes or Kenmores made by Janome. I check reviews at Sewing Pattern Reviews.

These are a couple I have been eying:

 

Kenmore 18221

 

Janome 8050

 

 


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#17 of 25 Old 12-06-2010, 06:35 PM
 
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Last Christmas my bf got me a refurbished Husqvarna Viking from the 60s for $170.  We found it at a local sew and vac shop.  It's a dream.  I highly recommend refurbished machines - check local sewing or vacuum shops.  Or, look in a thrift store.  I've bought machines for $7-8 and gotten 6months - 3 years use out of them.

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#18 of 25 Old 12-06-2010, 07:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdaisy View Post

Thanks for the suggestions everyone.

 

I am too chicken to buy a vintage machine...I know zero about sewing machines, and I am afraid it would just end up being something that always needed service and was hard to find parts for.  That is so cool to be able to do that though.  Right now we are looking at some midpriced Juki's on ebay.  I think I remember hearing something about Juki being a good brand.  This one looks good, it is at the higher end, price-wise. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=380294306963&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

 

Maybe after all of this, I won't be so clueless when it comes to machines!



I just bought a Juki serger this fall, after doing a ton of research on them, and it makes beautiful sergered edges and seams, and is a total work horse, but it's completely mechanical with no bells and whistles. Juki is known for their industrial machines, but also makes great quality home sewing machines and sergers. They actually make machines for Bernina. The thing with Juki is that they are very well made, but have no frills. If you're serious about what you want to use your machine for, the Juki you were looking at looks very nice, especially for quilting, and heavy duty sewing.

As some other people recommended, I also recommend going to a dealer, because they can help you find the right machine for you. I know in my area we have dealers for every brand of machine out there. I went to all of them so I could try out all of the different types of machines, and I still came back to the Brother Innovis, I will reiterate, this is their higher end line that can only be sold by a sewing machine dealer. You won't find a Brother Innovis machine at Walmart.


Double majoring Philosophy/History single student mommy geek.gif to DD(4yo)dust.gif. I heartbeat.gif reading (mostly feminist philosophy, Simone de Beauvoir and Jane Addams are my intellectual heros. I'm a dork pinktongue.gif), and sewmachine.gif.
You've got to get man off your eyeball, before you can see anything at all.- Shug Avery in "The Color Purple"

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#19 of 25 Old 12-06-2010, 10:24 PM
 
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I have a walking foot for my Kenmore machine but don't like it so I learned to quilt with just the all purpose foot.  I have a free motion embroidery and darning foot for the free motion (also called stippling) quilting.  A 1/4" straight stitch foot is great for sewing the 1/4" seams on quilts.  For machine quilting, look for a large hole in the middle of the machine (between the needle and the right side of the machine where all the stitch options are).  A large area there means that you can fit a bigger quilt in the machine while machine quilting it.  As another poster said, check out quilt shops and groups in your area and see what they recommend.


Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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#20 of 25 Old 12-10-2010, 04:48 AM
 
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There is definitely a middle ground! You want to look for a machine that's going to grow with you as you progress, but not be so complicated that you're intimidated by it. I recommend this Brother CS600i to all my beginners. It's sturdy, simple to use, but not too pricey.  If you want more stitches or a machine designed for quilting, you might also check out this Juki TL98Q.  Don't give up, and don't settle for a junky machine just because it's lower priced.  Here's hoping you find the machine of your dreams!

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#21 of 25 Old 12-16-2010, 05:58 PM
 
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I have this one and I *love* it.  http://www.kenmore.com/shc/s/p_10154_12604_02019233000P?vName=Home&cName=Sewing+Machines&sName=Electric+Sewing+Machines&prdNo=3&blockNo=3&blockType=L3  It is reliable and has done a great job from satin to knits to jeans.  I have a much more expensive Babylock that I got for embroidery, but find myself going back to this one for my everyday sewing.

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#22 of 25 Old 12-18-2010, 02:07 PM
 
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Meeee tooooooooo.....I so would love to upgrade to at least a digital machine, then I wouldn't have to mess w/ the tension so much...ugh  But I do have one of my mom's old machines...I need to look into that.  hmmmm????

Quote:
Originally Posted by omamasmama View Post

I'm going to be lurking on this thread to hear machine recommendations. :) 

 

I have dreams of upgrading.




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#23 of 25 Old 12-18-2010, 03:06 PM
 
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Another vote for vintage machine. I found a Rocketeer in a table for $100 in the local paper. I'd been watching for one for several weeks. A lady was selling it- it had been her mom's and was well taken care of. Just needed a cleaning. One day I would like to get a new cord on it since the plug it has isn't polarized and kind of bent. It's an awesome machine- I've done some very basic quilting, sewing of clothes and diapers, blankets, etc. I love it!


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#24 of 25 Old 12-27-2010, 10:59 PM
 
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You got lots of replies and I haven't read them all... Check on ebay fo reburbished ones or even at a sewing machine repair shop around your town.


lady.gifNatural, Dancing, Sewing WAHMommie to 3 beautiful girls reading.gif  Peace.gif wave.gif and an awesome step-son nut.gif
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#25 of 25 Old 01-02-2011, 10:15 AM
 
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I get all my machines from ebay. I have gotten a couple great deals, machines that cost over $5000 for less than 2

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