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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sewing Machine Shopping

I have spent the whole week end shopping for a sewing machine.  I suspect you all know what I'm talking about when I say this is mind blowing.  I had no idea this would be so hard.

Here is my sewing love.  She and I have put a lot of miles in together.  I don't want to lose her but give her a little rest. I have had her in my life for 26 years and I will never say good bye to her.  She has made some beautiful dresses, quilts, curtains, costumes, decorations, clothes, and purses.  She whines a little, but so would I if I had to put up with the abuse she has had to endure.  lol

My husband was so sweet to take Friday afternoon off to take me to a little quilt shop about 45 minutes away.  It's a Bernina dealership and I went armed with the idea of purchasing one of two machines I had seen in magazines.  I had no idea what the price would be, but I knew Bernina had great machines and I really wanted to have a machine with that fancy stitch regulator for free motion quilting.  Embroidery is something I'm also interested in but the main feature I'm looking for is a big throat area.

My dream sewing machine is the BERNINA 830LE.  This machine has everything I want.  It also has a very big price tag.  It's not out of the question, but I keep thinking of all the things I could buy if I didn't purchase this one.

I also like the features of the BERNINA 580 E.  It's throat area is too small but this machine is wonderful.  The BERNINA Stitch Regulator fits on this machine to make fmq a lot easier, but the price of that little gadget makes me wonder if it is that important.  So....

I decided to look for a Free Motion Pressure Foot to put on the Kenmore and try my luck.  I thought a quilt shop might have one, so I went over to the closest shop to have a look around.  No feet, but a class was going on.  I met a lot of very nice quilters and they listened to my shopping woes and gave some much needed advice.  75 percent of them either owned a Janome or wanted the machine.  Wow, that really got me excited to know that I could have a machine with a big throat at a fraction of the cost of my dream machine.  I won't have embroidery, but at this price, I can purchase a separate embroidery machine and still buy thread.... lol 

The Janome MC6600P is looking like a great option for me.  The price is right and it has some great features with some fun stitches.  I could do more that stitch a straight (somewhat straight) line.  It has a lot of room for king size quilts, which is one of the main features I want.

I left the quilt shop ready to go home and start my Internet comparison shopping....again.  But, I still wanted to find a FMQ foot for the ole Kenmore.  I found another Sewing Machine dealer with a google search on my phone and decided to head over there.  This is my last local chance for a foot.  The search didn't reveal what kind of machines they had, but I was willing to take a chance.  I'm desperate for supplies around here.


Hello sweetness.  The shop was downtown and sells vacuum cleaners as well as ......wait for it.... yes, they have JANOME and a pressure foot.  Of course, they do not have the model I'm interested in, but Miss Carol will order it and she was very helpful in the embroidery machines as well.  I haven't used the foot yet, but hope to try it out later today on my little Kenmore love.  I want to start this class:
Free Motion Quilting Project

The instructor, Leah, uses a Janome Horizon 7700, but I've read there may be glitches.  I've read good and bad about all machines though.

Here are a couple links I've used in the search:

If you have any advice, I'm welcoming thoughts.  Please.

I need to sew and quit worrying about the next machine of my life,

Linking with:

sew many ways

The DIY Show Off



Dogwood Lane Rambles said...

I purchased a 6600 Janome about a year ago and am so happy with it. Be sure to get a straight stitch throat plate for it if it doesn't come with one to make your patchwork piecing easier, (no eating points). The even feed on this baby has improved my piecing significantly.
With the money I saved I bought an embroidery only Janome 350e, another happy purchase. It has a 5x7 hoop, which is about as large as I need and embroiders beautifully, I'm a newbie at this so I don't need anything too complicated.
Good luck on your machine shopping

SheilaG @ Plum Doodles said...

I get so confused when I research a new ~anything~ ! I know what you mean about the Berninas- they were my first thought a couple of years ago when I was shopping for a new machine- until I saw the price! I ended up with a Brother Pacesetter, nothing fancy, but I don't do a great amount of sewing. Found you at DIY Showoff's party, now Linky following. Good luck on the sewing machine hunt! :)

Unknown said...

I just bought a Singer, Confidence Quilter in April and love LOVE it!!! I had a Brother before and it was choppy sewing and the foot never stayed the same speed and it was loud. I can do any of the 99 stitches and its throat is a good size and came with the extra long table for bigger projects and auto bobbin. And two cutters on it. My friend just borrowed it to finish her quilt (her's is a Brother too and was acting up) She finished it in a day and is looking at new machines too.

Bumblebee and Sophie said...

About 10 years I had a machine like the one you pictured. I too researched, not online at the time, but went and tried all the major makes, Bernina, Pfaff, Viking, Janome...I too had a Bernina on my heart, but I could not afford the price. I think it is important to try all of them. With fabric you would be using mostly. do you like the way it sewed? Is it as quiet as you want? I purchased a Viking Lily, I love it! But, It has lots of capabilities that I have never used. That being said, I also have a Janome Jem Gold, a very basic small machine. While my Viking was in the shop for two plus weeks I used it all the time. I wondered why I have such a fancy machine, the little Jem Gold is truly a Jem. So I guess my best advise is shop around and really think about how much do you really need the bells and wistles! Happy Shopping

Julie C. said...

My first machine was an old Kenmore and then I upgraded to a Viking (Lily model) and it was heaven. Then I upgraded that to a Viking Designer I and that was nice too but there were things about it that I didn't like - the automatic presser foot up and down was something I never got used to. I also wanted to adjust my blanket stitch settings and it wouldn't let me do the micro-adjusting that I wanted.

So, now I own a Bernina 440 QE and I absolutely love it. It was expensive at the time but I have never regretted it. It has a BSR but I don't use it; I prefer to free motion quilt without it.

I teach beginning quilt classes and free motion classes and I see a lot of different machines out there. I know a lot of people that are happy with their Janome's, Vikings, Pfaff's, Brothers, etc. You are smart to test out different brands and models and see what feels right for you.

I have been looking at Pfaff's recently because I like the idea of a built in walking foot and I like the stitch quality. They have a decent throat space as well.

Brother makes a machine, the PQ1500S, which is geared for free motion quilting. It only does a straight stitch, it has a very large throat space, extra large extension table and it can go really fast.

I wish I could say there is one machine that is the right one for you. It's a lot like buying a car, though. Everyone has their favorites. I know you get a lot of "bang for your buck" with Janome, Brother, Viking, and Pfaff. I love the quality of the Bernina, still, so you can't go wrong there if you can afford it.

Good luck and let us know what you find!

Shannon Fox said...

I am no help. I have a $99 Singer ;) Those are some gorgeous looking machines but I would be lost. Good luck to you!

Be Sweetly Inspired! said...

I'd say get what you really want, or else you will keep thinking about it if you buy something else. Especially if that Bernina is something you will grow into :) I know it seems so spend now, but next year you probably won't even think about the price, but you'll have the machine you adore!

good luck!

Lauren D. @ Be Sweetly Inspired

Michelle said...

Good luck on your hunt! I'm sorry but I'm no help. I love vintage machines and haven't found much use for specialty stitches. Since you can pick one up in excellent working order for $300 at a sewing machine shop or under $50 at a resale shop, I can't see putting out over $1000 for a machine even if my budget could afford it.

I don't have a need to do embroidery either but I did hear that you might want separate machines for both sewing and embroidery anyway because if you FMQ on an embroidery machine, whose feeddogs move in multiple directions, you can damage it. I'd buy 2 machines if I was you. I currently have a 3 machine setup, one for piecing, one for quilting and one for sewing clothes. If I also wanted to do embroidery, I'd have a 4th machine. It's nice not have to mess with the tensions and to be able to have multiple projects going at once since my attention span is limited.

Erin said...

Oh, thank goodness! I have been considering a new machine, but find myself overwhelmed by the bells and whistles all the new machines have. I can't figure out if I'd be overbuying or if I'd ever learn to use half the features. Reading that you're having difficulty deciding makes me feel better! (Misery loves company?)

So, have you decided?

Carla said...

I have decided and have been reading the owner's manual to my new Janome 6600 this morning. Now I'm nervous to plug it in and get started. I have a project I am ready to dive into on the new machine, just not ready to feel lost in all these controls. I love the way it looks on my counter though... lol