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Advice on Bernina or Janome or Viking -what model?
sewing dolls, quilts, clothing, applique
nrodger
nrodger
Intermediate
Member since 4/13/11
Posts: 3
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Date: 4/13/11 3:24 PM

I am new to Pattern Review. I have an old German White Sewing machine and I have decided to upgrade to a sturdy newer model. From what I can tell, everyone likes Bernina, Vikings and Janomes.
I will be visiting a shop that carries new and used machines soon. Some advice before I go would be great.

I would like a machine that I can handle sewing:
small dolls and doll clothing
quilts
clothing
applique
drop feed dogs for free motion quilting - decor


Tight budget (ideally under $500) Hope this is not unrealistic.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks
Nancy

boyforpele13
boyforpele13
Beginner
Florida USA
Member since 2/3/11
Posts: 106
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In reply to nrodger


Date: 4/13/11 3:49 PM

I'm a huge beginner here, but recently did a ton of research and made a sewing machine purchase. On that budget, and others, please correct me if I'm wrong, it's likely going to limit your selection to Janome, unless a) you get a great deal on a used/floor model machine or b) you don't need/want it to be computerized. If you are just looking for a mechanical, that *might* open things back up a bit to Viking and Bernina, not entirely sure on that. I know Bernina has the Bernette line (but if I understand correctly, it's not made by Bernina any longer and there have been some poor reviews.) Viking has the E10/20 mechanical and the Emerald 116/118 mechanicals that might fall in your budget. I'm pretty sure both of their computerized models start at over $500, Bernina for sure but again, that's on a new model, not used or floor. With Janome, $500 will buy just about ANY of their mechanicals, as well as a fair selection of their computerized models with some bells and whistles too.
-- Edited on 4/13/11 3:57 PM --

StephanieW

StephanieW  Friend of PR
Advanced Beginner
South Dakota USA
Member since 1/6/03
Posts: 6
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Date: 4/13/11 3:52 PM

While I have both old machine (treadle that I use for all my piecing) and modern machines (I have owned a bernina 200E, a brother 770 pe embroidery and a viking platinum) I love my sturdy old machine the best. I still have my brother, viking and good old 1898 singer treadle. To get the best machine for you, I recommend test driving the machines. Find a dealer that will allow you to sit down and stitch or test out a friends machine. Also put together your list of must haves and some of the things you'd like, but could live without. And the reviews here on patternreview are a big help. Good luck. Come back and let us know what you find.

------
Stitching in South Dakota (gotta keep warm you know!)

BimmytheBookish
BimmytheBookish
Advanced
UNITED KINGDOM
Member since 4/13/11
Posts: 1
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Date: 4/13/11 3:56 PM

I've just upgraded to a Janome My Style 22 (also known as Janome 2522) because it was recommended to me as being a good solid workhorse machine.

It's very straightforward to use and understand, and has useful features that make sewing easier and quicker.

It retails new at around 350 ($569) but I waited for one to come up on ebay and got one for just 120 ($195) pre-used, but it's like new though it's about 6 years old.

I've been sewing clothes/toys/household furnishings for over 30 years and never needed anything more fancy than this. In fact my previous machines were a little more basic, so I'm confident that the Janome MS22 will do all you want it to and more.

If you are not familiar with sewing machines generally, it might be useful to go have a look at as many as you can in the flesh and ask for demos, so you can get a feel for them and what they can do.

------
Designer/maker. Fashion student. Seamstress/wannabe tailor. Serious about clothes that fit properly; standardised sizing; capsule wardrobes; larks.

sewfrequent

sewfrequent
Intermediate
Texas USA
Member since 6/27/03
Posts: 3221
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Date: 4/13/11 4:11 PM

I have Janomes and also a slightly older Viking (not vintage). The Viking is the one I'd use for doll clothes because the free-arm is narrower and the feet are too. Also the needle is not recessed as far so visiblity is very good. My Janomes have very wide free arms. Any vintage Singer straight stitch such as a 221, 99, 201 or 15-91, even a 301, 401 or 500 would be an excellent choice for doll-clothes also bc they have narrow feed-dogs and narrow feet, BUT they lack a free-arm and all but the 401 and 500 do only a straight stitch. There is a mechanical Janome with metal exterior either TB-12 or new incarnation HD1000 that has narrow foot-print and feed-dogs. I own the TB-12 ($199) and it would be nice for tiny things also. So many of the newer models in computerized do have wide feed-dogs (and wide feet) and tend to have wide free-arms but perhaps your current machine has no free-arm and you are accustomed to sewing without one. Currently, the best bang for your buck in computerized sewing is the Brother 420. It has many decorative stitches, needle up/down, auto thread-cutter, an amazing threader, variable needle positions, lock-stitch and more for under $500. Welcome and let us know where your search ends!

SouthernStitch
starstarstar
SouthernStitch  Friend of PR
Intermediate
Member since 8/24/02
Posts: 10230
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Date: 4/13/11 6:23 PM

I have to totally second sewfrequent. At that price point, a Bernina or Viking is out of the ballpark, even for a demo of a newer model.
I would look for the narrowest feed dogs you can find for those doll clothes, and a machine that offers a straight stitch plate as an accessory.
Both Brother and Janome give you a good machine for the money, as well as Kenmore, in that price range.

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

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

nrodger
nrodger
Intermediate
Member since 4/13/11
Posts: 3
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Date: 4/13/11 8:21 PM

Thanks Everyone! A lot of good advice and information on sewing machines. I hope to go to the store this week. I am assuming that they will let me sew on some of the machines. I am really excited.

I will let you know what I find out!

My good old Gritzner Kayser "White Zig Zag" was made in the 50s I believe. I got it in 1973 used from a wonderful man who ran the Macy's sewing machine department. I has 3 or more cams with decorative stitches and lots of attachments. I never used the fancy stitching but made many an outfit for myself and my kids. But the heaviness of all steel and the lack of smooth going sewing (always lifting up the heavy thing to pull and readjust the stuck bobbin thread) have made it perhaps a little too old.

Thanks again!
Nancy



karen149
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karen149  Friend of PR
Intermediate
California USA
Member since 3/4/05
Posts: 3189
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Date: 4/13/11 8:28 PM

Have you considered Brother or BabyLock? Brother makes a well-liked, feature-loaded model PC-420. It is even available on Amazon for $420:

Brother PC-420

-- Edited on 4/14/11 10:13 PM --

gymcats

gymcats
Advanced Beginner
California USA
Member since 3/13/05
Posts: 479
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In reply to nrodger


Date: 4/13/11 8:46 PM

Quote: nrodger
My good old Gritzner Kayser "White Zig Zag" was made in the 50s I believe.

Wasn't the company later acquired by Pfaff? I heard these German made Whites are good machines.


-- Edited on 4/13/11 8:47 PM --
Therien
Therien
Intermediate
Member since 1/7/11
Posts: 195
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Date: 4/14/11 9:41 PM

What about an older Bernina like an 830/930 or something? They can sometimes go higher but I have seen both for under $500. There may be used Vikings for that price too- maybe the floral series (freesia, lilly, rose). The Brothers are a fantastic suggestion and could be purchased new for that price. I tried them recently and was really impressed. Vintage Singers like the 400/500s are really strong machines and have satin stitches I think. The vintage Elnas that were made in Italy are pretty popular too. A lot of people think the older machines were a little more powerful and often have the narrow feed dogs that people like for little stuff but the new machines have tons of tempting features. There are lots of great machines out there for $500 and under.

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