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What kind of sewing machine should I buy?
Nunum
Nunum
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Member since 12/1/13
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Date: 12/1/13 8:01 PM

Hello! I'm new here. My mom and I want to sew clothes and historical costumes together, and want a quality sewing machine to help us out. The problem is, buying a machine is like buying a car!!!---complete with all the sleezy salesmen!

I don't know who to trust about machines. Every sewing store I walk into just wants me to buy their stuff, regardless of what is best. I went to JoAnns and liked a Viking Opal 670, but I started getting cold feet because the lady was pushy and I haven't tried other brands yet.

Is the Viking Opal 670 any good? Even though it's made in China (it's impossible to find a new sewing machine that's not made in China) and I can hardly find any real people reviews online? Is it over priced? Will it crash and stop working?

So many questions I don't really know where to begin.

Basically, I want a sturdy, quality sewing machine that will sew clothing and costumes, with MANY different types of fabric, including thick materials, furs and leathers. I liked the Opal's one-step button holes, automatic tension, the advisor, and the automatic cutter.

I'd like a machine that I could grow WITH, not one that I will grow out of. . .if that makes sense.

What is better, computerized or mechanical? Is Janome the best brand? Or is Viking? I'd rather avoid Singer because I've heard they've gone down hill in quality. Bernina is too pricey.

Sooo confused and overwhelmed and frustrated! I'd really appreciate your help! Thank you :)

SouthernStitch
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SouthernStitch  Friend of PR
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Date: 12/1/13 8:17 PM

Well, everyone here has their favorite brand. Janome, Viking, Pfaff, Bernina, Babylock, Brother - they are all good machines.
You will be told here to gather the types of fabrics you'll use most, and test the machines at various dealers. And, you need to feel comfortable at the dealer - very very important!

What is your budget?
-- Edited on 12/1/13 8:18 PM --

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

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

Nunum
Nunum
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In reply to SouthernStitch <<


Date: 12/1/13 8:23 PM

How do you know if a dealer is good or not? What if the person who sold you the machine decides to quit 5 years from now---right when the machine needs fixing---who would help out?

Budget is anything in the 200-900ish range. If I found the perfect machine, I'd pay just a smudge more.

Puglover52
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In reply to Nunum <<
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Date: 12/1/13 9:42 PM

I am very much a novice too but the helpful people on this forum helped me buy a machine for my daughter. Besides asking questions and learning from their responses, I started reading the reviews and checking out machine specific sites. I didn't realize how many dealers I had until going to the sites and looking for dealers for that specific machine/brand. Then I started visiting dealers and seeing the machines. I was thinking of Viking and wasn't overly impressed but looking at their lower end ones. I saw the Pfaff Ambition Essential that is/was $599 and that was nice. I was tempted to get that for me.

I ended up getting a Brother Innov-is 40 which is the equivalent of the Baby Lock Grace. Brother has different levels of machines - some only sold by dealers like this one. I'm considering getting myself the same or maybe the Brother PC-420PRW or ........

If the business seems to be thriving hopefully they will be around. I feel as confident as one can be with the shop I bought from but other ones I wasn't so sure.

Good luck with your search.

heathergwo
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In reply to Nunum <<
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Date: 12/1/13 10:15 PM

This is probably the most frequently asked question on this board and unfortunately, there is no one right answer.

Basically you have to do your research online and at the stores. I would start here by going through the reviews to find a machine that has the features you want with good reviews in the price you're willing to pay.

Then, check out the dealers in your area. Look at Yelp to find reputable dealers that have been in business for awhile. Check out the machines in person and take samples of fabric to test.

You'll end up finding a good machine that "fits" you. I have a Brother and Janome and Singer and Babylock Sergers. Of course, I highly recommend Brother or Babylock as they are made by the same company and I like how they work. But most other brands out there have great machines that you really can't go wrong with.

You're going to be limited by what is available in your area at the dealers you're willing to drive to. Keep in mind that it shouldn't be SOO far away and that you won't keep your machine in good repair.

I hope that helps, but really it's a project to find the right machine and it can't be decided overnight.

GOOD LUCK!

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

karen149
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Date: 12/1/13 10:38 PM

Go back and take some samples to try on the Opal. It really is a nice machine. See how you like using the menu screen and such. Check out other machines. The one you keep going back to in your mind is the one worth investing in. You don't want to sit in front of a machine you really don't enjoy looking at and using.

bestgrammy
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bestgrammy
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In reply to Nunum <<
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Date: 12/1/13 11:01 PM

Quote: Nunum
Every sewing store I walk into just wants me to buy their stuff, regardless of what is best.

I went to JoAnns and liked a Viking Opal 670, but I started getting cold feet because the lady was pushy and I haven't tried other brands yet.

Will it crash and stop working?

...with MANY different types of fabric, including thick materials, furs and leathers.

Hello and Welcome to PR. Glad you are here to get information.

The question of what sewing machine is best for such and such projects gets asked here a lot. Mostly there is not a way to just say this particular one...because your perception of what is the greatest maybe different from anyone else's.

But let's go over some of the points you brought up.

1. Yes...every sewing store you go into will want you to buy their stuff...that is what they have for sale so that is what they would want you to buy. Expect them to say that their stuff is the best there is...that is AOK. It's not OK for them to say another brand is bad...that is not good business practice. But it is good business practice for their products to be stated as the best...with the hope you will buy one of theirs.

2. Too bad at the JoAnn's you went to the Viking sales woman was pushy...that is not good and not acceptable.

I've been in a JoAnn's with a Viking sales center but that sales woman was very gentle and kindly let me test sew on an Emerald 116 without any sales pressure but she did try to sell...that's expected and acceptable.

Just saying that you have other sewing machines to test sew should be enough to get the sales person to back off...but if not...then be firmer while staying polite.

3. Will any particular computerized sewing machine "crash and burn"? That is not something that is predictable. Depends on care, proper use and amount of use...and sometimes just luck...considering electric power spikes and other variables.

4. As for sewing FUR and LEATHER...that is another entire realm of sewing...and sewing machines. A household sewing machine is not meant to sew fur. And...what kind of leather...soft glove type leather or thicker stiffer leather?

Consider too...that if making costumes for a business...then that voids most warranties.
TGWGWS
TGWGWS  Friend of PR
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Date: 12/2/13 0:47 AM

Try to buy from someone that offers free classes with your machine purchase. I feel this is so important. Good luck with your choice and happy sewing!

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Tina
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I do not weep at the world I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.
zora neal hurston

Viking Rose
Elna 945
Brother PE-770

sewfrequent

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Date: 12/2/13 7:10 AM

Choose one with a powerful motor to get through those layers and an extra-high lift. Have a walking foot included w/ your purchase. The Pfaff Ambition has a walking foot built in and is equipped much like the Viking Opal. BabyLock has some nice machines also. For what you are planning, power, feed and lift should be very important considerations. Its not a function of mechanical over computerized so much. I do like the Opal and have read a few reviews stating it does have the ability to handle thick/heavy fabrics (fur is always a challenge for any machine). The Pfaff Ambition is probably very much the same. One of the Ambition models (Essential) is $599 right now but i think you'd do better to bump up to the 1.0...seems like i read of a few annoyances on the Essential that the other 2 don't have. Janome has a huge # of models to choose from under $1000 just don't choose one of the 12-pounders for what you are planning to do.

Sandygirl
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Date: 12/2/13 7:35 AM

NEGOTIATE the final price!! Machine dealers.....which include the JoAnns dealer...which is a leased space, btw, all have pricing wiggle room. Do NOT pay MSRP. (Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price). Dealer machines have a nice profit margin that leaves room for you to negotiate a final price esp in the higher price points. My personal rule of thumb is to NOT get into the final purchase price until I have decided
The machine that I really want to buy. You should be ready to actually purchase your machine before you get into the final price. This stage is the last step after you have done your homework and decided on the winner. Don't waste peoples time negotiating price until you are ready to buy. 20% discount off of MSRP is my starting point but the Dealer shows their price as a starting bid. Just do the math beforehand so that your emotions dont take over and you lose control of the price.

Now, with this in mind...you will get the best price if you dont get into "financing" or "trading in". THEN it becomes the car-buying experience. Cash is your strongest negotiating tool. (Write the check).

I just bought a new machine and I even asked my dealer if they preferred credit card(fees) or "cash". I wrote her the check. Very happy!

Another idea....you may get a better deal on their floor models. Just casually ask them how long their models are in use as demo machines. Ask this when test sewing...a "just curious" question for your reference!
Sandy
-- Edited on 12/2/13 7:41 AM --

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Janome-gal. 9700, 9900, 1030, 11000D (serger)

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