Just starting quilting and have lots of questions

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Pattig wrote
on 10 Dec 2009 6:50 AM

Hi Quilters!

I am happy to find this group!  I have been knitting-crocheting for a long time but am just getting started at quilting. I have made several jeans scrap quilts for family and friends but want to try making some different types of  scrap and art quilting. My 20 year old Kenmore 24 stitch is having problems and I am looking to purchase a new sewing machine so my first question is -

   -What is the best machine for quilting in the budget price range of $300 - $400? and if you don't mind tell me what features are most important? 

I have been reading sewing machine reviews and started making a list of features that I like. I do have the Consumer Reports issue that reviewed sewing machines but they did not look at enough machines in my price range. I am looking forward to learning from all of you.






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Quilnan wrote
on 10 Dec 2009 11:33 AM

You'll want to get lots of input for choosing a new machine. One forum on this site is entitled "What Sewing Machine Do You Use?" and there are more than 50 responses on. All of them discuss various brands, models, features, and advantages. I think you'll find it very helpful. There is not much info on costs of machines in the discussion. You might find a web search of makes and models would give you more current info on that. Then you'll be able to visit local merchants who sell and service machines armed with a list of features you are looking for. They sometimes have good used machines at affordable prices. Good luck in your research. nancy

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okieLinda wrote
on 11 Dec 2009 9:05 AM

Always glad to see new faces here, I had your same problem even though Im basically a hand quilter sometimes I needed a good machine and the ones that everyone wants just wasnt in my cards  , like you I started by researching everything I could and then turned to ebay, I ended up with a really nice older model Viking which is a really good machine and has enough wizzes and bangs for me ,I didnt have a local dealer that I could trust so that was my second choice but work out well, Good Luck with your hunt  and quilting ,

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Caribquilter wrote
on 11 Dec 2009 1:42 PM

I too am a beginner and I investigated sewing machines sites for weeks and weeks (if not months) before deciding on the one that would do for me. I was looking at the prices of course but above all my machine had to have dual voltage and that immediately narrowed my field.

I remember being totally surprised by the prices that some machines fetch, but they do have some very good reserviced machines at affordable prices, and yes I also looked on Ebay and discovered some interesting opportunities there, unfortunately those available were Singer and mostly Brothers and none had the dual voltage so I had to buy a new European made. Still, some dealers might offer great bargains sometimes, I know I got my new machine at 50% of the sale price. It just takes patience and time to investigate. I would first decide what you want your machine for and what you want it to do and take it from there.

Enjoy the process, it is the 1st step to getting "into it" as I call it.

I wish you all the best and lots of fun, Caribquilter

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Pattig wrote
on 11 Dec 2009 5:05 PM

Thanks to all for your replies. I did find the discussion about sewing machines and read it with interest. I have been looking at sewing machine reviews all over the internet and learning a lot.  I am slowly narrowing down my choices. There is a Babylock dealer near me and I think I plan on going to check them out - I might be able to afford a used one. 

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Posts 7
on 12 Dec 2009 7:44 AM

Hi Patti

I bought a new machine 3 years ago.  I bought a Bernina which is computerized and has a bunch of bells and whistles and was pretty expensive.  My advise to you is to check out local sewing machine dealerships.  The after care that you receive is totally worth it.  When I first started looking I went onto Ebay, and Craigs List and a load of other on-line dealers.  Thank goodness I ended up going to a local sewing machine dealer, I can call them anytime I can't figure out how to do something and they can help over the phone and I can also take my machine in to the store and they will sit down with me and work out the problems.   Dealers often have second hand machines that have been traded in so you stand a good chance of getting a machine that has been completely serviced and also the follow up that is so important. 



dancing dog

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Posts 135
on 13 Dec 2009 2:53 AM

I would add in, when it comes to test driving a machine, take along the fabrics YOU use.  Very often dealers, will demonstrate machines and do so on a fabric which frankly it would be almost impossible for any machine or any user to struggle with.  So make up that quilt sandwich, take along fine chiffons, whatever it is.  May be try some different threads too, like metallic.  Friend of mine specifically wanted a machine which took the thread spool horizontally, fine, bought the machine, except at home she found the larger spools (not cones) wouldn't fit this way but had to be used vertically, so defeating the whole point of seeking out that feature in the first place!

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Posts 350
on 15 Dec 2009 2:33 AM

Welcome to the community. There is already a discussion on sewing machines going on in the forum. It is here:


If you can get to one of the International Quilt Fests, that is also a great place to try out machines and get one at a great price.


Belinda aka crazyartgirl

Blog:  http://alteredbelly.blogspot.com/

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