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Forum > Sewing Machines > Need help choosing a machine under $500 please:) ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Need help choosing a machine under $500 please:)
Good machine that is well made and reliable for under $500
geoduck
geoduck
Member since 1/2/13
Posts: 2
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Date: 1/4/13 10:18 AM

Hello,

I'm getting back into sewing again and have been scouring the internet and the PR site reading about various machines and I've also visited all the local sewing shops, which are Brother/Janome, Babylock/Berinina and Pfaff dealers in my town.

I liked the Pfaff Ambition 1.0, but didn't like buttons which are flush with the machine and actual protruding buttons which I like. I really liked the Bernina 330, but it's more that I'd like spend and will probably not use most of the decorative patterns on these machines.

I've even looked into purchasing older Pfaff's that were made in Germany but they still fetch a lot of money and I'm thinking it's better to invest in a newer machine if I'm going to spend that kind of money.

Yesterday one of my local shops were really raving about the Brother SB3129 http://www.brother-usa.com/homesewing/ModelDetail.aspx?ProductID=SB3129#.UObwEKyk-So They told me it's a special right now for $499 and will go up to $599 next week. Don't if this is a good deal?

I tried to find reviews on it but could not find a single one. It appears almost identical to a Brother Brother PC-420 PRW Limited Edition. http://www.amazon.com/Brother-Limited-Edition-Project-Machine/dp/B000XE3FGO/ref=sr_1_1?s=arts-crafts&ie=UTF8&qid=1357312170&sr=1-1&keywords=brother+pc-420+prw+limited+edition+project+runway+sewing+machine

I'm looking for a machine with foot pressure adjustment as I believe it's important to have when sewing different thicknesses and layers of fabric. I will not be getting into embroidering, which I'm found out that most of the newer machines are about.

I'm contemplating the Janome HD1000 or HD3000, but don't know if they really any good. I would like something that can handle thick denim and purse making, don't know what the minimum recommended feed dogs are?

There a few sewing projects on hold at the moment because I don't have a machine so I'd like to get one soon but at the same time don't want to rush into something and have buyers remorse.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

SouthernStitch
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SouthernStitch  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/4/13 10:29 AM

Have you considered the Juki F600 or F400? I think the 600 might cost a tad bit more than your budget, but maybe not the 400. I know many people here just raved about the F600. There are threads on here galore if you want to do a search. For purse making and many layers of denim, yeah you will have to be careful that you get a nice solid machine that will handle it - and Juki tends to fit that bill!
I know nothing about the ones you listed, just giving you something else to consider.

------
Bernina 780, and 530
Juki TL2010
Babylock Evolution
Singer 403a

When life gives you green velvet curtains, make a green velvet dress.

Marie367
Marie367  Friend of PR
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Member since 5/28/11
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Date: 1/4/13 5:26 PM

I had a Brother 420 PC and did a review on here. Very nice machine. I got rid of it after buying the Janome. There are several Janomes that would fit in your budget. It just depends on what features you want. Have you gone to dealers? Most brands have machines in that price range and some dealers sell used machines.

karen149
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karen149  Friend of PR
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California USA
Member since 3/4/05
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Date: 1/4/13 8:20 PM

Hello and welcome! The Brother you were shown is similar to the PC-420 with the addition of the Simplicity name and some red color accent and minus the knee lever.

For $50($549) more can get the sturdy Janome DC4030. It pretty much has all the stitches you would need for efficient sewing.

-- Edited on 1/21/13 9:11 PM --

dukaqwn

dukaqwn
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Mississippi USA
Member since 2/12/09
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In reply to geoduck <<


Date: 1/4/13 8:37 PM

I would recommend a vintage. If you look carefully, you can find a vintage that will meet your requirements, give you a beautiful stitch, perform wonderful buttonholes with a vintage Greist buttonholer, and last a long, long time. As a beginner, I would look for a vintage that has been serviced with all parts present and operating OR investigate sewing machine repairmen in my area if I planned on getting one cheap to have the other investment in a good tune up. I like to buy my vintages from ebay by sellers that have serviced, are reputable, present videos of the machines in action, ship safely, and answer my questions well before I bid. You may pay $200 or so, but you'll have a great machine ready to work out of the box.

If you don't want to go that route, the Janome HD3000 sounds like a great option. I have only tried one Juki - the newer lower end model - and I would not recommend it, but I have NOT tried the F series. Perhaps you might want dealer support; I have never found it helpful, but some do. Is there a possibility you would finance with a dealer for a little more for a little more machine?

Just some suggestions. Overall, have fun looking and trying out machines. You will find your soul mate of a machine, I'm sure.

------
http://sewtarot.blogspot.com/

SandiMacD
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SandiMacD  Friend of PR
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Florida USA
Member since 2/8/09
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Date: 1/5/13 2:51 AM

I dont know about Brothers either. I visited a dealer last Nov but my budget was under $300. I was just not impressed.
If you dont get a response, try re-posting with the title that includes Brother in it.
I got a Janome made one under the Babylock name for the same type of use you want to do. I just order a pfaff shank for the pfaff bilevel top stitching foot. Am quite impressed.

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sewing brings joy and meaning to my life...

cocosloft
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Date: 1/5/13 6:07 AM

I love my Singer Quantum Stylist 9960. Best I have ever had. Great motor, tension control, and stitch selection. Box feed. Worth a hard look. At about the same price the brother 420 PC does not come close. I had one before the stylist and had to return it! Tension problems. Pulled to one side. Also had a Janome Magnolia 7330 which actually dropped a part and quit after 14 months...

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Coco

RipStitcher
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Date: 1/5/13 6:34 AM

In your price bracket, I think the Brothers give the most bang for the buck - with lots of features to enjoy.

Earlier this year, I got the Brother SE400 on Amazon just to try out the embroidery functions to see if I'd even like doing embroidery before committing to an expensive machine. I *loved* that little machine! It came with lots of features, decorative stitches and feet.

For under $400 ($329 at the time I'm writing this on Amazon ) , it comes with an automatic thread cutter, and incredible needle threader - it's almost insulting that you have to get into several thousand dollars in some lines before you get those two features.

Then last month, I helped another client of mine pick out a machine for her daughter for Christmas. She got a Brother XR9500PRW from Amazon . It's only about $175.

I encourage you to go look at the links above and see the features lists and stitch diagrams on these machines for their price.

The up side of buying from Amazon is that they offer a bulletproof return policy. You can get the machine home, play with it for a few weeks and see if it meets your needs within a 30 day return period. If you send it back, they even pay the return shipping.

I've got three beautiful machines at home that I just got in 2012. Since getting those, I've been pouring over the machines offered out there to just get a travel machine so I don't have to steal my granddaughter's New Lotus (that was $900!).

It makes me just sick to see how these machines I'm mentioning above have thread cutters and needle threaders when some of the more snazzy name brands won't include these features until you spend about $3,000!

Lately, I do enjoy doing selvedge edge work, some quilting, and home dec type projects. Either of these Brothers at least offer enough stitches to keep things interesting.

And once you have a push-button thread cutter, you're not going to want to go back to life without it.

------
~~~YAY! ~~~ I finally published my first pattern!
See demo video on: www.BionicGearBag.com
My personal blog: www.RipStitcher.com

Wish list:
Bernina 550QE (for it's cute little footprint)
Sashiko
Ovation serger


Love my Babylock Ellisimo Gold & ElnaPress

JTink
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Date: 1/5/13 8:45 AM

I'm on the same page as Ripstitcher. I've had students who think the more a machine costs, the better it is. Not So. I tell them to try a lot of different ones...they will "bond" with one. I've never spent more than $200.00 for any of my machines. The one I have now, I found on a clearance(Kenmore 16221)for $50.00! It never retailed for much more than $200.00. I have it's newer "sister" 18221, and paid $150.00 on sale.

I have found that for the type of sewing you have mentioned, I can do all of it with a straight stitch, overlock stitch, and a ziz zag. I can't recall using any of the other stitch offerings on my machines. Of course, it's all personal preference. I have a problem with "dealers" because you are paying extra for a name. On the other hand, a good dealer can be a great support system, if you need repair or help. That can also be dicey. I have a friend who has a Bernina and the dealer in our area has been rude and uncooperative with her... all she wanted was a yearly "checkup". So she now takes her machine to a dealer 60 miles away.

geoduck
geoduck
Member since 1/2/13
Posts: 2
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Date: 1/5/13 10:59 AM

Thanks for all of your suggestions thus far. The main issue I'm running into is that the machines I like as far as price don't have have the presser foot pressure adjustment.

I've read some people say it's not necessary, but others say it's imperative for knits and delicate fabric. Even if I might not use it I think it would be important to have down the road.

What are your thoughts on the foot presser foot pressure adjustment. Do the automatic ones work well. Right now I'm leaning towards the Janome line, I think the Janome DC2012, which was offered to me for $500 at a local dealer would be nice but it doesn't have the pressure adjustment, don't know about the start/stop either.

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