Sewing machines - advice needed

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ShannonR13 wrote
on 28 Jul 2009 10:03 AM

Not sure this is the right area to post this but I'm looking for advice or experience with sewing machines.  My machine is a singer and is lightweight and doesn't do the quilting part very well.  It pieces fine, just not quilts - moves too much.

I'm looking at a Janome 7330 maybe but not sure.

Sooo, What do you use and why?  Do you have issues with it?  I don't need to spend a lot of money on one so looking for less than $400 for now if possible.

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carmcarter wrote
on 28 Jul 2009 11:11 AM

My main sewing machine is a Bernina 150 that I have had for over 10 years.   I machine quilt all my own work and have had no trouble with my machine other than random thread breakage using Sew Art nylon thread.    This machine has a variety of stitches and I can purchase specialty feet like a free motion couching foot, etc.    I do only machine work, including invisible machine applique and this machine gives me the settings to do everything.  

Many Bernina stores sell used Berninas that are in great condition but were traded in because the owner wanted new and better.   Also check your newspaper and Craig's List.    You might find a good used Bernina for around $500 - $600.    Whenever someone in my quilt guild wants to sell an older Bernina, it is immediately snatched up because the stitch quality is so good, the insides are made of metal and you can still purchase the additional accessories.

When looking for a new sewing machine, I took my own thread, fabric, quilt batting sandwich and scissors and sewed/machine quilted on each sewing machine candidate.   I wrote on the samples which machine I used and could easily compare the results at home and away from the salespeople.      Good luck on your search!


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Posts 28
on 30 Jul 2009 3:25 AM

Shannon, I agree with looking out a good second hand machine.  The older machines are more solid and that helps with quilting.  (also helps with the budget)  I'm in Australia so this may be way off for where you come from, but you may be able to find a sewing machine mechanic who holds on to the good ones that get traded in and services them and sells them on. I've found that the mechanics know which brands are the sturdiest, don't come back repeatedly with problems and are worth preserving even if they are ugly ducklings.  Also agree with taking thread and samples of what your intend to quilt so you can see if it really does what you want before you buy!  Good Luck.  Barb.

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Posts 350
on 30 Jul 2009 5:05 AM


I am in the same boat. I also have a Singer and it is not doing it for me. I am doing some heavy layers and the machine I have is too lightweight for my quilting.  I am getting very frustrated. I am looking at Bernina and Janome. I also want some more stitches.  I am looking at local stores that resell and online to  see what I can get. 


Belinda aka crazyartgirl


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QE2 wrote
on 30 Jul 2009 7:01 AM

May I also suggest that a person who is behind the machine you buy is just as important.  It is so helpful to be able to phone and say "it is doing this..." and have the voice on the other end know you and your machine.  I've bought new and used from a good sewing store and the help, advice, info, etc.  has added to my skills in ways I couldn't begin to measure.



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Jody Johnson wrote
on 30 Jul 2009 4:04 PM

I agree with QE2. Whatever machine you end up buying look into the support you are going to get for that machine. I bought my Bernina (best machine ever!!!) there 9 years ago and always got fantastic service with whatever support I needed (general how to, issues, ideas). Lots of stores also offer discounts on further accessories you buy from them if you bought your machine there. 


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Posts 28
on 30 Jul 2009 5:25 PM

I've had a Pfaff Creative 1473 for 15 years or more (lost count!) and always thought some day I would trade up to a Bernina.  However the Pfaff is quite reliable with regular cleaning and tuneups (yearly when I was sewing nearly daily), so I haven't felt the need to buy a new one.  It has 170  stitches, nice button holes, handles multiple layers for quiliting, and more.

So, my advice is buy as locally as you can from a reliable sewing center so you won't put off maintenance visits.  Also, take advantage of the free/low cost lessons many stores provide to learn the functions of your machine.

Denise in Mendota, IL

My blog

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ShannonR13 wrote
on 31 Jul 2009 12:19 PM

Thanks for all the great suggestions.  I'm going to have to get something soon as I killed my machine.  :(  I think I pushed it too far.

I'm really getting cranky not being able to quilt and finish it.

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Posts 469
on 31 Jul 2009 1:31 PM

I use a Huskvarna/Viking Sapphire 870Q and I love it, although it does have some minor drawbacks I stumble on now and then. I agree that you should buy locally... not only is a good idea to help keep our local quilt and sewing shops in business, it's also incredibly valuable to have someone, as QE2 suggested, who knows you and your machine. There's just no substitute for walking your broken machine into the shop at 9am and walking it back out- fixed- by 9:30am.

- Judi

My Blog   My Art


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Muppin wrote
on 3 Aug 2009 11:46 AM

I agree about buying locally.  And when you test drive machines, bring a sample of your typical quilt sandwich and test drive quilting on your familiar materials.  I did this and it really helped with my decision.  I love my Janome.

Cheryl / Muppin

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Kate XXXXXX wrote
on 26 Aug 2009 7:04 AM

A while back I wrote an essay on the choosing, care and feeding of sewing machines.  While it is mostly aimed at those new to sewing, you might find some of the links and comments helpful.

In addition, for quilters in particular, I would add that there are some lovely machines out there if you want to be spendy.  I hear good reports of the Husqvarna Mega Quilter, the Pfaff Grand Quilter, and Bernina's 820, all designed with a larger harp area to get your quilt through.  A step on the way to the long arm machines, with more versatility...

If you want just straight stitch, and are on the lookout for an older machine, you can't go wrong with an old black Singer 15-88 treadle!  :D  You can drop the feed for free-motion stuff, and it'll still be sew when we are long gone.  Oh, and you can still sew when the lights go out!  I've treadled by the light of the Tilly lamp a time or two.

Happy shopping, and do tell what you get and how well you love it when you get it.  As a teacher of general sewing to kids, I'm always on the look-out for reliable reviews by folk who actually USE the machines.  :)

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kmcewen wrote
on 11 Oct 2009 6:23 PM


I am a big Janome fan. I have a Janome 6600 and a Janome Jem (traveling machine). I love both of my Janome machines. I have been able to do all the same quality, quantity and challenging sewing (bulky, heavyweight fabrics too) on my little Jem as my hefty 6600. With a Janome machine your get a lot of bang for your buck - they are high quality machines with lots of great features.

Good luck,


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ShannonR13 wrote
on 12 Oct 2009 6:48 AM

Thanks for all the wonderful advice everyone.

I ended up buying a Janome Magnolia 7330.  I am in love with it and have definitely put it through the ringer since I bought it.  I've done about 7 quilts on it including the actual quilting piece of it.  I did buy it locally because they offered the same price as online and she's willing to teach me anything I don't know about the machine.

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jph wrote
on 12 Oct 2009 3:47 PM

I agree with the Bernina lovers. Excellent heavy, metal machines. I run a college costume shop and have 8  Bernina machines, more than half of them are old 830 models. I snap them up any time I see them on ebay or craig's list. My students can rarely break them and they are all used 15-20 hrs a week.!! You should be able, as others have said, to get one for around $500 used. THis model is not made any more but it is a standout in the industry. You also might call Bernina dealers in your area and get on a call list for when one comes in on a trade in.  You will NOT be sorry you spent a bit more for a sturdy machine like this one. I also agree that you should find a good dealer/repair person - but you will rarely need more than a regular servicing.  I have had mine since 1972 and I use it hard. It has been in the shop for repair 3 times only!


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lawskat wrote
on 15 Oct 2009 11:19 AM

I too have had several Viking machines and love them.  I just purchased a 1 year old Viking 870Q from someone in my guild.  It is a great machine!  You could contact your local guild and see if anyone has a machine they want to sell.

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