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Forum > Sewing Machines > Babylock Serenade or Juki f600 ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Babylock Serenade or Juki f600
buying a sewing machine
kearnshippy
kearnshippy
Member since 5/22/12
Posts: 27
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Date: 1/25/13 8:11 PM

I am looking at upgrading from my Singer Quilter Confidence to something with more features that will sew through more fabric. I have read great reviews about the Juki F600 but can't seem to find one locally to try. It looks like it will run about $900 buying online. Today I went to a local fabric store and came across a Babylock Serenade for $1000. I liked how I could specify the size on the decorative stitches. I was thinking I may buy that, but all the reviews here say it's a terrible machine. Anyone have any advice?
Here are my criteria also:
1) I've been getting into quilting, so I'm looking for something that has an extension table and can do free motion
2) It needs to be able to sew through at least 6 layers of good fabric evenly
3) I like to be able to sew really close to the edge when starting my fabric
4) I would like a decent selection of decorative stitches
5) Close to or less than $1000 would be nice.

I hope to find something that fits all this and with good reviews. Any advice is appreciated.

dukaqwn

dukaqwn
Intermediate
Mississippi USA
Member since 2/12/09
Posts: 471
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Date: 1/25/13 9:04 PM

Though I don't really have any advice for you, per se, I will say this: if you liked the Serenade and have a dealer close by, it may be a great buy for you if the dealer is a good one and will support you. With the Juki, you won't have that same dealer support. It's not exactly a deal breaker as most on line merchants will refund you within a certain amount of time if there are any problems, though you probably will have to pay the shipping back to them.

The one experience I have had with Juki was the newer K series, and I wasn't impressed with it. It is a "lower class" machine in comparison to the F600 so I don't have a bad taste in my mouth. I bought it from HSN and the shipping back was free. I just could not get the tension right on that machine and the straight stitch was terrible - wonky all over the place. Not sure if it has the box feed or not. STILL - I have been considering getting the F400 from HSN and giving it a try. That way I could send it back the same way and the payments to help.

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Mufffet
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Mufffet  Friend of PR
Intermediate
Vermont USA
Member since 8/14/05
Posts: 11402
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In reply to kearnshippy <<


Date: 1/25/13 9:18 PM

Have your sewing dealer give you a try out on the Serenade. Sit down and have them talk you through the machine and what it can do - one thing is that it is a far prettier macine in my opinion, though others may differ and you need to like the looks of a machine to be happy with it, and if this thing sews to meet your list of criteria, go for it with local dealer support.

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"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible."
--Dalai Lama

I have sewing machines

Maia B
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Maia B  Friend of PR
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Illinois USA
Member since 10/27/10
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Date: 1/25/13 9:51 PM

I have the Quest Plus, the predecessor to the Serenade, made in the same factory, which also makes the Pfaff Smarter C1100 Pro and Singer L500. It's a fabulous machine for the $1300 I paid. I bought it based on reviews and advise here and on the Quilting Board. I reviewed it on PR.

Melinda in Tulsa loves her Serenade so much she has 2!

At least one negative review I read was revised when the owner learned how to thread it properly. It has a vertical bobbin with removeable bobbin case, so that's new/strange/fiddly to some.

To test drive the Serenade, check out the dealer, and see what you think. If you go with the Serenade, see if there's a supplemental workbook and set of specialty presser feet. There was for the Quest. I got the workbook, and it was very helpful in learning and using the machine. I wish I had pushed harder to get the set of feet included.

If I'm not mistaken, the Serenade includes a large acrylic extension table, straight stitch plate, and lots of feet. Those are often extra purchases.

It took a lot of self-control for me not to trade-up to the Serenade or buy one on sale. More due to space limitations than price. I'm pretty stuck on Berninas now-they have a set of features, plus the power, precision, and performance I love. But the Quest Plus compares very favorably for the much lower price. The feed in particular is superb. Perfect 1/4" and even more narrow seams are easily achieved. The dual feed is fabulous for all kinds of sewing, and works with 7-8 of the 15 feet I have.

I'm sure you'll get plenty of raves about the Juki from its owners. I've never sewn on one, but I'm impressed by its reputation among discriminating sewists. It's a big advantage that you can return it for a refund from an online vendor if it doesn't suit you.

Good luck choosing! My QP was a major upgrade for me, huge improvement in my sewing enjoyment and yes, in the results too.

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🌸 Plenty of machines, mostly Berninas 🌸

dukaqwn

dukaqwn
Intermediate
Mississippi USA
Member since 2/12/09
Posts: 471
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Date: 1/25/13 10:05 PM

I actually got to looking at this Serenade on the site and reading more reviews than here. This machine has 513 stitches for starters; that's a lot more for your money. Another thing I like about it is the front loading vertical bobbin. I just do not like horizontal top loading bobbins - maybe because of my positive experience with vintages that all seem to have this. Maybe I WILL take a look at the serenade too.

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http://sewtarot.blogspot.com/

Maia B
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Maia B  Friend of PR
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Illinois USA
Member since 10/27/10
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Date: 1/25/13 10:21 PM

Just saw that there's a NIB Serenade on ebay from what looks like a pretty high-rated seller (99+% with over 23000 feedback) with a 7-day return period. NAYY, but if the price stays low...

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🌸 Plenty of machines, mostly Berninas 🌸

kearnshippy
kearnshippy
Member since 5/22/12
Posts: 27
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Date: 1/25/13 10:41 PM

Thanks for all the replies so far! I did go to a local dealer and check out the Babylock and I really liked it! I was able to start sewing right at the edge of the fabric, it included the feet and table and seemed to be pretty straight forward and easy to use. They also had a quilt I could try it on, and even with it folded over, the machine sewed straight and even stitches. Right now, I'm leaning toward the Babylock over the Juki. Plus I can have it tomorrow rather than wait for shipping. :)

karen149
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karen149  Friend of PR
Intermediate
California USA
Member since 3/4/05
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Date: 1/25/13 10:44 PM

The Serenade has been discontinued but it's nice to see one NIB. I really like the idea of being able to use Pfaff feet on it, too.

This particular machine body/style(Singer L-500, Pfaff Smarter, BabyLock Quest/Serenade) has all but disappeared from the U.S. market.

Maia B
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Maia B  Friend of PR
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Illinois USA
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Date: 1/25/13 10:54 PM

It was Karen149 that sleuthed that common factory from which all those models come. I suspect dealers don't push them because they differ from the other models in the brand and/or the profit margin is less.

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🌸 Plenty of machines, mostly Berninas 🌸

karen149
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karen149  Friend of PR
Intermediate
California USA
Member since 3/4/05
Posts: 3321
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In reply to Maia B <<


Date: 1/25/13 11:55 PM

They aren't even on the websites anymore. BabyLock doesn't even have the Serenade in the Previous Models section like they do the Quest and Quest Plus. How weird!

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