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Message Board > Sewing Machines > What machines should I be looking at? ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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What machines should I be looking at?
Experienced Seamstress, beginning quilter
ElizabethK

ElizabethK
Intermediate
TX
Member since 3/28/08
Posts: 84
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Date: 12/8/13 12:49 PM

Hi Everyone,

I have drastically outgrown my current machine - a Singer CG500 that does *nothing* except sew a straight line.

So - I am experienced seamstress with a closet-full of hand-sewn dresses. I was originally looking for a machine with a handful of decorative stitches, one step buttonhole, free arm, all of the regulars for garment sewing.

But I have gotten into quilting now so I'm thinking I want to include possibilities for extension tables, free quilting capabilities and quilting room.

What machines should I be looking at would meet both garment sewing and quilting? I have visited the local Babylock dealer and looked at the Melody and the Rachel but I really need guidance other other machines to consider. I would like to stay under $1000, possibly closer to the $500 - 750 range unless there is a huge advantage to a model in a slightly higher price range.

Thanks so much for any advice!

PattiAnnJ
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PattiAnnJ
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OH USA
Member since 12/3/06
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Date: 12/8/13 1:01 PM

You can piece and quilt with any sewing machine.

You need space to the right of the needle for a bulky quilt.

And they all have some ability for disengaging the feed dogs for free-motion quilting/thread painting/darning.

Print out your wish list and start visiting various dealers for test drives and ask all the questions on the list. Give each dealer a star or a X rating...same for the machines.

Then buy from the dealer you like best.

------
I dont give them Hell, I just tell the truth about them and they think its Hell. Harry Truman

"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

RipStitcher
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RipStitcher
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Date: 12/8/13 1:12 PM

If you can eek your budget in the other direction by $500 - so closer to $1,500 ... there are many slightly used Janome Horizon 7700's out in the wild on Craigslist and sewitsforsale (a Yahoo group for sewing stuff) .

If you're accustomed to doing what you're doing with what you have... you would be blown away by all this machine does.

Janome came out with new models about a year ago... and because so many people are upgrading to just have the latest and greatest, there are many of these out there. Most people paid about $2,700 for theirs just a year ago.

Personally, I think this model (and I own it) has advantages over the new ones.... but that's a whole 'nuther discussion.

And... on the sewitsforsale group, I think you can get a good idea that the machine was well taken care of. I probably wouldn't hesitate to buy from that group.

Also... call around to any of your Janome dealers and see if they have a trade in .. and for how much.

If you're going to get into free motion quilting (FMQ), then the space with the Janome is nice... and these machines came with an acrylic table - which saves you from finding another solution to getting "flat" for FMQ.

Just a thought!

------
My projects (and life and times!) are on www.RipStitcher.com

Wish list:
Bernina 550QE (for it's cute little footprint)
Sashiko
Ovation serger
APQS George ... oh heck... go Millie!

2014: Sold the 7700 to make room for a 5.5mm machine alongside side my Ellie.
2013: Wow.. no real new toys - too much family drama!!!!
2012: New Elna Lotus for granddaughter, Red Elna Press, Horizon 7700, Gidget 2 Table, Babylock Ellisimo Gold
1970's: Elna SU62 & ElnaPress

Maia B
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Maia B  Friend of PR
Advanced Beginner
IL USA
Member since 10/27/10
Posts: 4479
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In reply to ElizabethK <<
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Date: 12/8/13 1:13 PM

Under $1000, the biggest harp you'll get is on the straight-stitchers such as the Juki 2010q, Brother P1500, and Baby Lock Jane. If you were satisfied with your current machine for zigzag, buttonholes, and stretch and decorative stitches (or if you didn't want those), that would be my recommendation. Those machines are legend for piecing, quilting on or off the frame, topstitching, and handling thick and bulky seams. They're fast and powerful, with needle up/down and autocut.

But if you need to upgrade your zigzag, deco, stretch and buttonhole stitches also, for less than $1000, think about the Juki F600, or see what Janome, Baby Lock, Brother, or Pfaff have to offer within your budget. I adore my Berninas, but for under $1000, they have only 3/4 size machines, nothing with a large harp. And don't rule out a used or vintage machine.

You could always get a straight-stitcher now, and a better multi-stitch machine later.

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

Miss Fairchild
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Miss Fairchild  Friend of PR
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USA
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Date: 12/8/13 8:57 PM

Having a very vintage Singer when I was "just a seamstress", I found that it couldn't totally fill the bill when it came to my newfound quilting adventures. Mostly because I wanted fancy schmancy stitches.

What I found was pretty much what Janome had. I didn't want to spend lots of money on a TOL machine, such as Bernina, although all my quilting friends "had to buy glasses to look down their noses" at my little Singer and what I ended up with. But it serves me well. What did I buy? Well, I have two Janomes--a 6019QC and a 6500. Each were purchased used and the 6500 was $500 from a friend. I think the original price was somewhere about $2,000? The 6500 is computerized to where I can actually make my own stitch patterns using their stitches, and the 6019 is mechanical. They both have worked in my "seamstress world" as well as in my "quilting world" very nicely.

------
"Play the cards you are dealt, but choose who is sitting at the table"..AARP magazine

SEE MY ETSY SHOP HERE: http://www.etsy.com/shop/AuntMaymesAttic
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Brotherlover
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Brotherlover
Intermediate
CA USA
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Date: 12/8/13 10:09 PM

for your price range I might look at the juki exceed HZL f-600, they seem to be popular. I would get one if that was my budget.

------
Brother XL-3500i
SQ-9050
Dreamweaver VM6200D

CdnSkier
CdnSkier  Friend of PR
IL USA
Member since 3/18/09
Posts: 218
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In reply to ElizabethK <<


Date: 12/9/13 1:24 AM

Take a look at either the Baby Lock Elizabeth or the Brother Project Runway Limited Edition Innov-s 85e. They are essentially the same machine and actual selling price (not MSRP)should be just under your $1000 budget. For $400-$500 more, you could look at the Baby Lock Melody or the Brother NX-800, which have auto tension and a couple of other nice add ons. All of these machines come with a walking foot and an extension table, as well as a nice foot assortment. Also, the BL/Brother feet are very reasonable. I love my Baby Lock (I have a sewing/emb combo machine) and it has sewn through everything I've thrown at it. I also purchased the extension table and find I use it for garment sewing more than for quilting. It's great to keep knits and slippery fabrics from sliding and "puddling" on the floor. I recommend buying from a dealer so you get your owner training and also ongoing support.

------
Baby Lock Ellure Plus (BLR3), Pfaff Creative 4874 serger/coverstitch, Singer Rocketeer 500J, Singer 301A short-bed

"A woman is like a tea bag- you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water." Eleanor Roosevelt

"Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people." Eleanor Roosevelt

karen149
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karen149  Friend of PR
Intermediate
CA USA
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Date: 12/9/13 2:11 AM

In the $1000 range, there is the Pfaff Expression 150, if you can still find one. There is also the Viking Eden Rose 250C and the Opal series.

Artsewer
Artsewer  Friend of PR
Intermediate
NY USA
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Date: 12/9/13 2:38 AM

Juki F600
Babylock Elizabeth
Pfaff from the Ambition line would all fit our budget and are very
nice machines and will be versatile for your needs

------
Bernina 750Q, 635E, 380, Serger 1100DC

ElizabethK

ElizabethK
Intermediate
TX
Member since 3/28/08
Posts: 84
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Date: 12/10/13 3:11 PM

Thank you SO much for all of your suggestions! I'm going to be researching all of these machines and definitely visiting more dealers.

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