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Message Board > Sewing Machines > To upgrade or not? ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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To upgrade or not?
I want a magic "improve my sewing" button
sciuro
sciuro
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MA USA
Member since 11/17/13
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Date: 11/26/13 4:04 PM

I've been sewing things here and there for several years (although I still consider myself a beginner!). When I started to sew, I've inherited a Brother Pacesetter 1000 (PS-1000)... it still works the same, but now I am not quite happy with how it works on anything that's not a straight stitch on medium-weight cotton. The tension is sometimes weird, stitching uneven; overlock-like stitches often are messed up (I have a foot for that). It doesn't like to hem heavy fabrics... it doesn't like to stitch light-weight fabrics. Overall, my machine has a personality and it's not the nicest one :)

So I wonder if it's me and my technique that needs to be improved, or it is indeed the machine? First of all, I don't know how to classify my old PS-1000 - is it "old and sturdy", reliable metal-frame beast that everyone loves? I was told it used to be one of the high-end machines - is it so? Would I be unhappy upgrading to one of the new "under $200" machines or it will be an obvious improvement? Are those electronic guts supposed to be a benefit compared to what I have (better stitch quality)?

I want to work with various fabrics, including denim; probably no embroidery. I am not scared of electronics but I will like my new machine even if it doesn't look like a latest generatio iphoneI would spend up to $250 without a second thought and up to $400 if I am really convinced that I need it. Any ideas what would be a good candidate - and do I need to upgrade at all? Right now I'm thinking of getting Brother PC210 from Costco - $200 sounds good and Costco returns are very easy for me (BTW, any difference between PC210 and PC210PRW? Costco's is without PRW letters).

Thanks a lot for your help!

-- Edited on 11/26/13 4:06 PM --

gramma b
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gramma b
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Date: 11/26/13 4:36 PM

FYI--
I still use 2 old Brothers, a Pacesetter from the 70's and a newer VX model with LED display (could never find the year but still "vintage") picked up like new at a garage sale. They are heavy-duty all metal ones made in Japan. It's never been in the shop, I trouble-shoot, clean, and have never replaced a basic part except the belt.
Never had the desire for any with newer gadgets and plastic. The 2nd I got cheap because it had more (21) stitches, more seam-finishing ones that the first. You can still get parts and feet for these.
I would suggest taking it in for a check and cleaning to a reliable "old-school" dealer who has been around long enough to work on these.
If it ain't broke, don't fix a good thing and spend it on fabric!
My mom sewed back in the 50's--winter coats, proper suits, and wedding dresses--when Singers were No. 1 and very basic.
But go and try SM's out for several hours first wherever you can, don't let dealers do the bait-and-switch to sell you something higher priced either.
Others with computer models here can tell you when/what it will cost to fix those of the techie age.

Maia B
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Maia B  Friend of PR
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Date: 11/26/13 5:39 PM

I like older mechanical and newer computerized machines both and use both.

I'll say this, I sewed for 20 years on a Singer 9410. The tension was never very good and would change mid-seam. The stitches were often wonky, and it was a constant struggle to sew straight. It NEVER occurred to me that it was the machine and not me, even though I had learned to sew on older, better Singers. My 9410 was serviced several times by various shops in those 20yrs. Must've been a bit of a dud, since others have liked that model.

So my experience, upgrading to a Baby Lock Quest Plus did result in an immediate improvement in my sewing, especially topstitching and piecing. The comfort and enjoyment of sewing also increased immensely.

I wish I had upgraded sooner.

A test drive will probably tell you if a new (or new to you) machine will be an upgrade for you.

------
🌸 Plenty of machines, mostly Berninas 🌸

beauturbo
beauturbo
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Date: 11/26/13 6:40 PM

Go sew on some other/ a bunch of machines old or new and then you can tell even. Just by what happens and how you even feel about it then. I don't think just getting another machine, always suddenly gives you any "new sewing techniques" all of time at all, although if you happen to take some classes included with it, or it is just kind of something new and then that greatly inspires you in sewing, and then you are kind of "re-excited about it" and then do more reading or explore things more, then I think it really can sometimes. So I'm not sure that one thing is always connected to the other or not, but it can be sometimes.

Unless something is wrong with your machine though, I don't think just replacing it with anything new under $200 is really going to give you a "better machine" either though. Maybe let someone else sew on the one you already got even, and see if by anything they do, the one you already got even sews better for them than you? If so, then ask them to show you what they are doing there different than you possibly?
-- Edited on 11/26/13 6:45 PM --

heathergwo
heathergwo  Friend of PR
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Date: 11/26/13 6:46 PM

I'll fall somewhere in the middle.

Take the machine in for a repair/tuneup, but I wouldn't spend more than $100 to see if it improves. Take it home and try it out again (or better yet, see if you can do it at the repair shop - bring in some pieces of different types of fabric and show them what it's doing - or not doing).

Now, if it improves, great, you've got a good, old reliable machine that you may enjoy using again. HOWEVER, if it truly is the machine, then it's definitely time for an upgrade.

I would encourage you to spend up to your max budget to get something that you'll really be happy with for several years. Buy a used Janome or Brother, Viking, etc. something that is computerized that will sew different stitches and weights of fabric. Test drive some at your dealer and do a little research on this site to see what has the features you're looking for and is in your budget.

The reason I suggest to spend the max is that I purchased a $200 Singer when I first started sewing as I didn't want to invest too much into something I might not end up liking. Well, turned out I needed to upgrade fairly quickly as that cheap Singer was holding me back. It didn't have any MAJOR problems, but it was difficult with thin fabrics and wouldn't go over big seams, etc etc etc... if you invest in a quality piece of equipment, you won't have to replace it for many many years, if ever!

HTH!!

------
Brother Innovis 1250D
Babylock Enlighten
Singer Curvy 8763
Brother 1034D
Janome 385.19606
Brother 2340CV

PortlandMaine
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PortlandMaine  Friend of PR
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ME USA
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Date: 11/26/13 7:13 PM

Tough position to be in - Ive been there.

New machines priced under 200 might not be so great -- If craigslist is good around where you live maybe start looking at the sewing machines listed there.

I have had some great luck finding machines less than 80.00 that are great machines. Some duds, too.

I cant really go to look at new machines. My 300 dollar budget gets pushed to 600 fast - and before I know it im considering financing and well, If Im going to finance I might as well get a top of the line, right?

------
Quilting up a storm!

sciuro
sciuro
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MA USA
Member since 11/17/13
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Date: 11/26/13 7:35 PM

Thanks for your input!
Just a few notes:
- I took the machine I have to a dealer shop for tune-up about a year ago, nothing changed (they said its within its range of misbehaving);
- the PC210 is actually $300 at Amazon right now, $400 elsewhere and $500 MSRP, so it's not a cheapy-cheap machine...

karen149
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karen149  Friend of PR
Intermediate
CA USA
Member since 3/4/05
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In reply to sciuro <<


Date: 11/26/13 7:42 PM

The PC210 is a great machine to move up to. It's very easy to use. Awesome price at Costco! Go for it....
Note: If you want to see what stitch length or width you are setting with those levers on the front, just push the button below the lever to see the corresponding setting.

beauturbo
beauturbo
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Date: 11/26/13 9:18 PM

I don't think it's in it "range of miss-behaving" if you mean "does not work on anything that's not a straight stitch on medium-weight cotton. The tension is sometimes weird, stitching uneven; overlock-like stitches often are messed up (I have a foot for that). It doesn't like to hem heavy fabrics... it doesn't like to stitch light-weight fabrics".

No sewing machines operate like that when I sew on them or not for long, (and I've got a whole lot of them, and sew on other peoples often too) and I don't tolerate that kind of stuff at all. That makes for miserable sewing, no matter why. So yes, I think you should expect way more than that from any machine. Some of that kind of stuff is just how you choose to use it though each time, and sometimes maybe something really should be done to the machine, (and pretty quickly most times) so it sews something a whole lot better.

simplystitches
simplystitches
NY USA
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Posts: 1103
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In reply to sciuro <<


Date: 11/26/13 10:19 PM

Quote:
it still works the same, but now I am not quite happy with how it works on anything that's not a straight stitch on medium-weight cotton. The tension is sometimes weird, stitching uneven; overlock-like stitches often are messed up (I have a foot for that). It doesn't like to hem heavy fabrics... it doesn't like to stitch light-weight fabrics


I can't quote a later message that stated that you had taken it in for a tune up and checked out ok that way.

To me most of the problems would be the same ones I would have on my machine if I'm using the wrong type needle for the fabric.

Can you give a bit of detail on type/size of machine needle used with what type of fabric?


Debbie
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