What is a good "first time" sewing machine?

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on 1 Jul 2010 9:27 AM

I am planning on buying a sewing machine for the first time and I am REALLY confused on what type to buy. I am a beginner but am interested in learning how to quilt and make more complex projects.

Does anyone have any suggestions on machines? I was thinking a Brother 80 stitch SQ900 model?? Or the Brother CS 6000i?

Money is an issue but I also want a good machine.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!

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Dale Kathryn wrote
on 1 Jul 2010 1:36 PM

I am not familiar with Brother machines, and I am not recommending any one brand over another. However, what I DO recommend is that you purchase your machine from a dealer, not a "big box" store. The dealer will probably give you lessons in how to best use the features of your machine. I would suggest a machine with feed dogs that can be dropped and a needle-down position - both features are necessary if you plan to do free-motion sewing. Buy the very best quality you can afford. Perhaps your dealer may even have a "like new" reconditioned machine that would be just perfect! Good luck and let us know what you get! 


"To create one's own world in any of the arts takes courage." - Georgia O'Keeffe

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ckquilter wrote
on 2 Jul 2010 12:18 AM

hi melissa

listening to other people's suggestions is a good start - but..............

even better, is for you to do your own research.

1. make a list of the things you want your new machine to be able to do

2. make small samples to take with you - of the things on your list. for example,

you want to do free motion quilting - you need several small (say 10 or 12 inch square) mini quilts - back, batt and top. and you need to take the thread you plan on using for quilting.

you want to do satin stitched applique  ? fuse some shapes to your background fabric. add stabilizer. take YOUR thread along. and use YOUR thread.

want to use metallic threads? again, take YOUR thread along.

make sure you use the walking foot.

also, does the machine have a straight stitch needle plate available? you will want it for the best quality free motion quilting.

does it have needle up/down?   can you drop the feed dogs - or do you have to cover them with a plate (yuck)

can you adjust the pressure of the presser foot ? very important if you want to go from stitching free motion embroidery to quilting with a thick batt or doing trapunto on the machine.

it will take several days - depending on how many machines you try. a good dealer (and don't buy from any other source - it will just be a bigger hassle later on) will let you spend as much time as you want/need on any machine.  do it all - have them show you how - but then, you must - thread the machine, wind bobbins, sew with metallic thread, change needles, change presser feet, adjust tension on both needle and bobbin case. want to use thick thread in the bobbin - do it.  do satin stitching - with your thread. do buttonhole stitching. do free motion embroidery and quilting - using your samples and your thread.

want machine embroidery - use it while there. 

have any special or particular things you want to try - make your samples to sew on and take them with you.

if you find a dealer who won't spend the time to explain things, or won't let you use any machine you are interested in - run (don't walk) to the next dealer.

and after several days, and test driving at least half dozen machines - you will know exactly which one you want - and which dealer you like, as well.

hope that helps                         ckquilter

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BPParis wrote
on 2 Jul 2010 1:37 PM

I agree with the above posts.  I did get an expensive machine and have used it to death.  My problem now is that I live a long way from a big city and do not have a dealer nearby.  I have had to learn to clean and service and troubleshoot my own machine because it would be very expensive to mail it off, plus I would have to be without my "baby" for weeks.  You might consider a beginning machine that has at least one dealer nearby. 

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