WWQP Bulletin Board

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Maybe getting a new sewing machine - input please

Hello,
  I've sewn for many, many years.  All of my machines have been inexpensive, basic machines.  I've decided to finally take the plunge and spend a little bit more in hopes of being able to do machine quilting in addition to regular sewing.  I would be interested in your views on your machine, what you like about it and what you wish was different. 

  My budget is under $1500, the lower the better for my cheap wallet.  LOL

  I like sturdy machines but not so heavy that it will become a problem to lift and move.

  The main thing for now, though, is being able to do regular sewing plus machine quilting.  I'm not into embroidery but if that type of machine is best then I could go that direction.

  Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Hugz, Mary in Oregon

14 Comments:

  • At August 23, 2012 at 6:25 PM , Blogger MJ said...

    Hi Mary, This site won't let me post but maybe I can comment. I went thru this last spring and bought an Elna. Would have got a Brothers but the service here is awful. I found a man who had closed his wife's shop and had her inventory, so got my machine at a fraction of the cost. Craigslist might be a good way to go, also check postings in local shops or even leave a post. Our guild has advertised machines after a member passes away - for the spouse. MaryJo

     
  • At August 24, 2012 at 2:09 AM , Blogger Laura in IA said...

    Mary,
    You just need to take your samples in and try out different machines. I have had the same Bernina for 15 years so I am not up on what's out there. I do not enjoy machine quilting so cannot advise you there except to notice the amount of space under the arm in order to be able to quilt larger quilts. I have seen quilters trying the Juki and Janome as of late. Almost always when people talk about buying a machine they mention the availability of the dealer to maintain the machine. That's about 2 cents worth.

     
  • At August 24, 2012 at 2:10 AM , Blogger Laura in IA said...

    Mary,
    You just need to take your samples in and try out different machines. I have had the same Bernina for 15 years so I am not up on what's out there. I do not enjoy machine quilting so cannot advise you there except to notice the amount of space under the arm in order to be able to quilt larger quilts. I have seen quilters trying the Juki and Janome as of late. Almost always when people talk about buying a machine they mention the availability of the dealer to maintain the machine. That's about 2 cents worth.

     
  • At August 24, 2012 at 6:11 AM , Blogger Lavinia-TN said...

    The Fall issue of Quiltmaker has a comparison of machines. Unfortunately most are at least $1999 and UP so you may have to wait for a sale. I want to go back to Pfaff because it has the best BUILT IN walking foot. Elna 740 has a bigger space, but pricey, and they have a connected walking foot too. It is so much simpler than fighting attaching a walking foot. The Pfaff 4.0 is around $2499 but one shop here has it for $1999. Pfaff is coming out with a new model shortly but I haven't looked into it. Since selling my Babylock haven't been able to afford a new machine and DH frowns on getting one.(aargh). When I got it a few years ago they also had a model with a built in walking foot but I didn't know it at the time.

     
  • At August 24, 2012 at 10:37 AM , Blogger WhiteStone said...

    I'm machine-quilted numerous quilts (up to queen size) on my 1950s vintage Singer Model 15-91. I use a $10 embroidery foot that allows the quilt to move freely. I found this at a flea-market in its original Queen Anne cabinet for $150. The 15-91 has a direct gear drive (not belt-driven) that gives the machine great strength and speed.

    I don't have any advice for a "new" machine, because my "newest" is a 1960s Singer 403 (a great zigzag machine that uses cams for different ZZ patterns).

    When I found the 403 it was "frozen" up due to having sat unattended for years and years. I used WD-40 on it to loosen up the old dried oil and clean it to "like-new" condition.

    I recognize the old machines are not for everyone but I have enjoyed finding them at yard sales, etc., and by using the owner's manual, have been able to keep them in top-notch shape by simply keeping them oiled.

    Singers of the 1960s and prior years were all-metal. No plastic parts to fail. No computer systems to fail. Just solid mechanical machines that will sew forever if treated well.

    You can find the old Singers on eBay but watch for reputable sellers.

    The down side to using the old machines to machine quilt is that the stitch length cannot be computer controlled. My stitches are not the perfect length throughout the quilt. But then, my quilts are to be used, washed, dried, used again.

    Good luck on your search.

     
  • At August 24, 2012 at 10:50 AM , Blogger Lavinia-TN said...

    Me again. The new Pfaff Ambition is $799 BUT only has 8 inches to the right of the needle. Ditto the message about the older machines (Pfaff 130 comes to mind). They mostly had straight, even stitches. I am not good at machine quilting at all, but it seemed easier to use one that was not computerized (I had a slant needled Singer at the time). I don't know how to control the stitches on a computerized machine, you still have to move the fabric yourself at a certain speed, although you can control how fast the machine is stitching. On mechanical you would do that with your foot. There are some computerized machines with a start/stop button you can set the speed and have at it, don't use your foot. Have to think fast to push the stop button LOL. The great thing about the really old machines is the amount of space under the head. Check out Craig's List in your area; many estate sales have these with cabinets at about $150-$200 or so. No matter what you look at, take a quilt sandwich with you to try out the machine. Have fun and let us know the results!

     
  • At August 24, 2012 at 1:39 PM , Blogger Kathi in Idaho said...

    I do all of my MQ on a Brother PQ1500 that I bought about ten years ago. I think it might have been in the $700 range then, but can't remember exactly. It has a wide throat space, but only straight stitching. I use the embroidery foot with the feed dogs dropped for MQing, both on the machine table and on my elderly Handi-Quilter (the first model ever made). I have a Bernina that I bought in 1964 that does nice zigzag and amazing machine applique and a 20 year old Kenmore that I get out when I need anything other than plain zigzag.

    Kathi

     
  • At August 25, 2012 at 9:43 AM , Blogger Jean at Mill Bay said...

    I suggest you check the Janome dealers in your area and look for a trade in. I have used Janome machines for the last 15 years and absolutely love the 6600 and 7700 models. If you can find a good used one you will have a fabulous machine!

     
  • At August 25, 2012 at 8:42 PM , Blogger Mary in Oregon said...

    Thank you everyone! Lavina, the Pfaff sounds really wonderful except for the price. :-)

    With everyone's great input I'm going to re-think options. Perhaps a good 'regular' machine (such as the Janome of Pfaff) might work well.

    I have an old Singer Featherweight. I'm embarrassed to admit I haven't used it. I can't seem to get rid of the musty smell which I seem to be sensitive to.

    I'll start checking Craig's list as well as check dealer's used machines.

    Again, thank you everyone! I'm sure you've all saved me a bunch of money. :-)

    Mary in Oregon

     
  • At August 25, 2012 at 10:17 PM , Blogger judy in ar said...

    Some suggestions about how to remove the musty smell from your Featherweight: Leave it in bright sunshine for a few hours and see if that helps. Pack it in a suitcase with some new dryer sheets. Leave for a week or so--check periodically. It's a shame not to be utilizing the great straight stitching this machine probably offers.

     
  • At August 25, 2012 at 10:17 PM , Blogger judy in ar said...

    This comment has been removed by the author.

     
  • At August 26, 2012 at 3:59 PM , Blogger Sara in Florida said...

    If u can stand 1 more comment. .At some point your machine will have to be serviced, if only cleaned. Find out what your local dealer services,sells. I bought a Janomee 6000 about 4 or 5 yrs. ago because the local person services them. Most people love Berninia BUT I had a terrible experience with mine, finally gave it away.
    It was $1,000 then. Prob. $1500 or so now. Sara in Fla. --let us know!

     
  • At August 26, 2012 at 7:33 PM , Blogger Judy in Ohio said...

    Musty smell on Featherweight is caused by the glue used in the lining of the case. Leave machine out of the case and put kitty litter in the case for a couple of weeks (the kind for multiple cats). That should deodorize the case. Put machine in another box on top of the same kitty litter to deodorize the machine.

    On another quilting forum I have read your same question about "what kind of machine" and people say many kind things about Janome machines if you insist on buying a new machine. Never heard anyone bad mouth a Janome. Me, I use a vintage Singer 201-2 and have quilted dozens and dozens of crib sized and couch sized quilts on this old machine that has a nine inch throat.

     
  • At August 26, 2012 at 11:46 PM , Blogger Mary in Oregon said...

    Thank you for the additional notes. I had been anxious to get a new machine but realized that I need to think about it more, spend more time researching and testing. Thank you all for helping me avoid impulse buying. :-)

    Thanks too on the hints regarding the Featherweight. I got rid of the original case as after several months and a variety of attempts to kill the smell I just gave up. It was truly awful. Right now I have the machine sitting on a shelf covered with a towel in an attempt to 'air' it. I'll pull it out soon and see how it's doing. After oiling it again of course. :-)

    We've replaced the belt and felt in the bottom. Unfortunately, I think I'm just extra sensitive to that scent/smell. :-(

    I very much appreciate the input both on the 'new' machine as well as the Featherweight. Thanks again!

    Mary in Oregon

     

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