What sewing machine do you use?

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Posts 469
on 11 May 2009 8:06 AM

I'm always interested to know what everyone prefers for their particular type of sewing arts. What do you use for traditional piecework and quilt construction? What do you use for free-motion?

I remember the grand old singer my mother had when I was a child- I wish I knew where that machine was today! It was one of those lovely black cast iron types that rose out of its own small cabinet table, 100% manual. I loved the sound of that machine as she'd stitch with it.

My goal is to do mostly free-motion art quilting, so I'm using a Huskvarna Viking Sapphire 870Q. I've only had it for a few months and I adore it. It sure beats the tar out of the old student-grade machine I'd been using.

I've got a Fab-u-motion on layaway, too (I didn't even know anyone DID lay aways anymore, but she offered, so I went for it). Has anyone ever used one of these? I'd love to hear your opinions about it.

- Judi

My Blog   My Art


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Posts 238
Jody Johnson wrote
on 11 May 2009 8:47 AM

What is a Fab-u-motion? I have never hear of this before and am interested to find out what it is. I have heard good things about Huskvarna and Brother machines. My first machine was a mechanical Kenmore and I would have to say this machine was an exercise in frustration!

I now have Bernina 153QE that I bought about 6 years ago. One of Bernina's more basic machines (no BSR) but I love it! It does everything I need and I have never had a problem with it. I do have to say I am religous about cleaning it and do this after every project or more often if it is a big project. When and if this machine conks out I would definitely buy another Bernina. While they are more expensive than many other machines I love the fact that this is still a family-owned business.

I have used it for traditional piecing and free-motion quilting, thread painting, sewing paper and a lot of other stuff I probaby should not be sewing. I use straight stich, zig zag and blind hem stitch the most and think I have only used the fancy stitches once or twice.

What do other think of the embroidery models on Bernina or any other machine? Do you find you use them a lot...only a little....not at all? I have looked at some of the higher end Berninas and went to a demo for their new top of the line machine. This thing was AMAZING! I just don't know whether the cost is worth it for me. I don't know if I would use the embroidery feature on these higher end machines or have the patience to figure out the full potential of the machine. When I get into my studio I just want to create, not waste time reading a manual.


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Posts 96
TheNeedler wrote
on 11 May 2009 9:37 AM

I have a Husqvarna Viking Designer I with 4D software.  I use it for everything, not just embroidery..I sewed for many years on a 1964 Kenmore portable.  What a workhorse.  I still have it.  I have a Husqvarna Huskystar ER10 embellishing machine.  I love it but the needles are too expensive.  I have found a supplier in SC where I can buy 50 needles at a time, and in many sizes, very reasonably.  I also own a Juki serger.......Jim D

Top 10 Contributor
Posts 469
on 11 May 2009 12:56 PM

A Fab-u-Motion is a table you attach to your machine that allows full free-motion range within a 7" square area. It mimics the motion you use when you free-motion quilt, so it's the table that moves as you stitch and not the fabric. I haven't used one too much but the little bit I did was amazing.

- Judi

My Blog   My Art


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Posts 96
TheNeedler wrote
on 11 May 2009 2:43 PM

In addition to my Designer I, I purchased a Sew Easy Acrylic table to fit my machine.  It is 18"x18" and a treat to use for free motion....Jim D

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Posts 156
Whidbey2 wrote
on 11 May 2009 4:26 PM

I just took a 1/2 day class on the next to the top of the line Bernina.  $9000 was the quoated price on sale for $6500.  I just didn't get the magic feelings.  I went with my friend who had just bought the top of the line mega Bernina don't know what she paid for it but she got a cruise to Alaska with it.  She absolutely loves it but then she takes classes on it several times a week.  So she will actually learn all that it does. 

I own a JUKI TLQ does nothing but forward and backward straight but with lots of power.  I do free motion and everything else on it  and have never had one oz of problem with it in any way.  I had a computerized machine many years ago and I got rid of it.  I was sewing by hand rather than have domestic squables with that possessed machine.

I also have several acrylic tables of different sizes.  Absolutely love them.


Top 50 Contributor
Posts 139
reginabdunn wrote
on 11 May 2009 4:48 PM

I have a Bernina 153 special quilter's edition. I bought it to replace my old Singer Touch and Sew. It's the only machine I have. I'd like to also have a serger and an embellisher, but I can't justify spending that kind of money when I'm not a full time artist. I love my Bernina, though. It's a joy to use.

Top 150 Contributor
Posts 30
claynfiber wrote
on 11 May 2009 5:20 PM

I have had my Bernina 830 since 1977 and it has been a wonderful machine. Last year I decided to splerge and buy a new machine so of course I went for Bernina again, the 730. It is a great machine and I love how it sews, but I overbought. I don't use the embroidery so could have bought a more basic model. I have set up an appointment to see the new 820. It just may be my dream machine. I mostly use basic stitches and a lot of the free motion. I also have a Bernina serger that I bought back in the mid 80's.

Top 10 Contributor
Posts 469
on 11 May 2009 8:35 PM

So many great responses... I'm a nut for hearing how and why arists use the tools they love.

- Judi

My Blog   My Art


Top 150 Contributor
Posts 43
on 12 May 2009 4:46 AM

I currently have the Bernina 440 QE (quilter's edition).  I totally love it!!!!!  I've had this machine for about two years now and the machine I used before this and still have for my back up is a Bernina 830, the older version from the 70's.  Hmmmm, I wonder if it could magically morph into one of the new 830s?  Anyway...I do everything on my 440.  It does have the option to add on the embroidery unit, but since I don't do that type of work I don't have that.  I've been sewing on a Bernina for about 12 years now and I'm a satisfied customer.  I love my local dealership too...very friendly and great service.

Terri Stegmiller, Mandan, ND

Top 25 Contributor
Posts 218
MellyT wrote
on 12 May 2009 5:17 AM

I use a Bernina 1001 and love it, am very loyal to it. I do mostly free motion on it. I am about to get a 440QE and can't wait to receive it!

Author: Inspired to Quilt
Melanie Testa<--my art
Go play in your studio!!!

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Posts 9
Angela R wrote
on 12 May 2009 7:32 AM

Mine is a Husqvarna Lily, predecessor, I think, of the the Sapphire and about 8 years old.  I use it for everything, I am an embroiderer not a quilter so that means mainly free motion.  It is built like a tractor, very well behaved and very accurate at precise straight stitch for reverse applique. You can stop exactly on the stitch.  I hardly ever use fancy stitches though the preset quilt sepentine stitch is useful. If you turn the fabric tension right down you can produce a kind of imitation free motion background net pattern with threads (like Natech) which are too fragile for free motion through the needle.  It is rather less fussy about thread than some Berninas I have used but it very heavy to take to class. I bought a spare bobbin for cable stitch etc and a stippling foot which is much better for drawing with the needle than the darning foot  though it tends to catch in loose threads.  I would love a needle threader though.

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Muppin wrote
on 12 May 2009 8:19 AM

I have a Janome 4900QE and I love it. 

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Posts 17
jckirner wrote
on 12 May 2009 9:04 AM

I'm using a hand-me-over Janome 9000 for everything - piecing, free-motion, overlocking. (Despite having an Elna serger - I never use it - still in its box - the threading intimidates me) I use the built in stitches on the Janome but not the embroidery portion of the machine.

I had terrific Kenmore from the early '80's - a true workhorse. My mom, the dressmaker, wanted to trade so I took her Janome, and she took my Kenmore - mostly she wanted it for the single hole throat plate it had and some wonderful presser feet that met her needs more than mine.




Jackie K.




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Posts 7
farscapegal wrote
on 12 May 2009 9:59 AM

I have a Bernina 1260 and 165 and a Husqvarna SE.   I love my Bernina 1260 best.  I use it to make my quilts.  The Bernina 165 I take to classes and make everything else with.  The SE is a nice machine but I am so use to my Berninas that  I tend to use them and leave the SE on the side table.  I also have a Viking Mega Qulter that I haven't used yet.  My hubby keeps asking me when I am going to use it.

I use my PR 600 for all my embroidery needs so don't use the units on the 165 or the SE.


Earth. Terra Firma.  Seems forever it's filled my thoughts, been my goal.  And now...I'm here. 

John Crichton,  Farscape

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