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recommendations please
sewing machine purchase
leighann777
leighann777  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/17/14 1:04 PM

I started sewing about a year ago. I take lessons once a week and then sew some at home, and so while I wouldn't consider myself a true beginner, I don't think I'm at the advanced beginner stage yet, either. (Is there such a thing as an intermediate beginner?!) Before I started sewing, I bought the least expensive and most basic Janome mechanical, and it's okay but there are some things about it I don't like and some other things it doesn't do that I would like. I'm looking to upgrade a bit. I sew garments, and I think I will do a bit of home dec sewing. I'm not interested in quilting. My preference is for mechanical machines, or at least machines without a lot of computerized things. I would like to sew knits (something my current machine steadfastly refuses to do), so while I know it's not the only way to sew knits, I really like idea of the Pfaff IDT. I bid on three nice used ones on ebay, only to lose every time. But since there is no Pfaff dealer within 250 miles of here, perhaps it is for the best. Now I think I'll buy new, from a local dealer. I'd like to keep the price under $500 at most. I'm looking at a new Viking Emerald 118. I'd like to be able to sew knits well; I'd like needle up/down; I'd like the needle position to be movable. Self threading would be nice but isn't a requirement. Oh, and it needs to be fairly portable since I take it to class. Any suggestions? Thank you.

PattiAnnJ
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Date: 1/17/14 1:13 PM

When knits first became available to the home sew-er back in the early seventies, I was using a Singer Golden Touch N Sew. No walking foot, PDF or BSR (Bernina) or even ballpoint or stretch needles. Small town department stores sold fabrics, notions and patterns.

The point to my story is that you do not need an expensive machine to sew knits one day and boat covers the next.

Visit local dealers and tell them what you like to sew and would like to be able to sew. They will show you what is available, demo and let you test drive.

Buy what gives the best results (take a scrap of the knit) from the dealer that is the most patient, helpful and services what they sell.

Don't hold out for this or that brand or model as there may be a lot more out there that you are missing out on.

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

leighann777
leighann777  Friend of PR
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In reply to PattiAnnJ <<
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Date: 1/17/14 1:19 PM

That's good advice. I like the salesperson at the Viking dealership. But you're right about getting locked into something specific and not wanting to consider anything else.

ShantiSeamstressing
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Date: 1/17/14 6:45 PM

Quote: PattiAnnJ

The point to my story is that you do not need an expensive machine to sew knits one day and boat covers the next.




I'd agree with this. I began sewing on a Bernette 680, a very basic mechanical. My very first sewing project ever was a knit dress. A knit! I didn't know it was "supposed to be" more difficult to sew knits. I didn't even know about regular versus ballpoint or stretch needles. I just chose a needle based on the knit's "weight" (some knits are super light, even slinky; some are heavier and dense). And I continued to sew knits on that machine. (For that matter...I still sew knits on a basic mechanical, with no IDT, and frankly, without even bothering to use a walking foot. I do use ballpoint and stretch needles nowadays, though.)
leighann777
leighann777  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/17/14 8:31 PM

"But I really don't want an expensive machine," I said plaintively. Just a better one than what I've got. But thanks, y'all, for taking the time to respond, and for the good advice. I really appreciate it. The truth is, I under bought a bit perhaps, to start. But just as true is that I've taken a mild dislike to my machine and a more than mild dislike to the local Janome dealer. But perhaps I should do nothing at present and try to find out if it's possible to make the one I have work for a bit. I really liked the Emerald, and I like the Viking dealer, but I read somewhere on these boards that the Emerald might be made by Janome, even though it's branded Viking. I wonder if this is true?

with love Heidi
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Date: 1/18/14 6:26 AM

I think it is, I use a Jamone walking foot on the Emerald 116. I don't think it sews knits well, I always had to use a walking foot. The needle position only moves one way which I found to be a MAJOR pain and I'm not sure if it has needle up/down.
I wrote a fairly comprehensive review on the Emerald 116, I know it's the model down but it might help you know what to check for. http://sewing.patternreview.com/SewingMachine/Review/1/5164

leighann777
leighann777  Friend of PR
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In reply to with love Heidi <<
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Date: 1/18/14 10:31 AM

Heidi, thank you! That is very helpful. There are definitely some things to think about there. The needle position thing is strange. Also, if it doesn't sew knits well, then it's not a huge improvement over what I've got now. What are you thinking of buying when you buy your new machine?

swirlgurl
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Date: 1/18/14 11:47 AM

hmmm if you are really interested in sewing knits, how about a serger?

Brotherlover
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Date: 1/18/14 12:21 PM

What about a brother PC-420 it is computerized but falls in your price range and should sew knits very well just with standard presser foot, But I think it comes with a walking foot, and should have more features than your mechanical without being too complicated. I was sewing a jersey knit on mine with my standard presser foot, and with my muvit foot and didn't see much difference on my brother so I know the standard foot works, and PC-420 has the pressure adjustment as well

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

2 Airedales n Me
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Date: 1/18/14 12:24 PM

You might also consider a used machine…. There are often fabulous machines that have been traded in on TOL models and they are all the machine you need at a very good price. When looking at used models don't be in a hurry. Leave your wish-list of features with the dealer you like best, check in now and then and wait.

Or…check your local community for on-line classified ads. In my city of 350,000 there are MANY wonderful sewing machines for sale on-line.

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