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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was lucky and received a nice lottery ticket in my Xmas stuff. Hubby says to spend my winnings on something I wouldn't normally treat myself to. After some thought I am thinking a new sewing machine might be the ticket. I don't sew enough to want to spend much above the $500 range..but I am a big bargain hunter. I wouldn't use embroidery stitches much but wouldn't mind being able to monogram. I'm nervous about electronic machines after having one years ago that was a real pain and pricey to get fixed. I just want a nice reliable, quiet steady sewing machine that can at least sew through several layers of terry. I used to own an Elna and really loved that. I currently have and am happy with a cheap Kenmore. My sister has suggested Pfaff, Elna, Viking or Bernina. Not sure if any of those are in my price range, I'd doubt it. I know Janome is a name I hear a lot but I've never seen one let alone used on.
Ok tell me your likes and dislikes about your machines....Also can you tell me what different features a quilting machine has?

Thanks so much,

PQ
 

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Sew-Classic.com
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FYI if the begining of the model number on the plate on your Kenmore starts with "385." - that's the source doe for Janome, and it was made by them for Sears. They've been making the Kenmore sewing machines since about 1990.

On a new machine, you won't get any fonts unless you go computerized. Even then, the size of the letters is limited by the max stitch width unless the machine has some sort of embroidery functions beyond decorative stitches.

In the under $500 price range for a brand new machine, you'll probably want to look at the Janomes, Kenmores (further up the food chain from your current model), Brother's and perhaps Babylocks.

If you want a mechanical machne with a way of doing letters or fonts, you'd have to go vintage.

For quilting, You'll want a nice size harp and not to cramped around the needle bar area.

Some of the advance electronic and computerized features that some quilters like are needle up/needle down and speed control.


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Jenny
 

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As always I swear by my Janome machines.

I have them from the Jem II and Platium 760 (3/4 size machines, one mechanical and one computer).

The 4623LE mechanical with motor speed control and up/down stop and some fancy stitches.

The 6500P - this is the quilter type. I really like being able to put the serger cones of thread on it, and it has fancy stitches, but does not have free arm.

And in all of this a Brother NX600 came in, and it's a very nice machine with lots of stitches, computer.

The 300E embroidery machine is Janome.

The 1000CP coverpro machine is Janome.

And the serger is babylock Imagin.

The 4623LE usually sells for about $305, so that might be a really good recommendation.

Or check out the Sew Precise it's about the same retail pricing.

And then Kenmores that start with the 385 as Sew-Classic said. May be a way to get a really good machine for less $$.

(I've also had a Janome Memory Craft 8000, and traded it in after several years for the 300E and my daughter has the Memory Craft 6000 that I bought used in 1989, and it's still going strong).

Angie
 

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Personally, I would look for a gently used Janome 6500.
It'll probably be a bit higher than $500, but shouldn't be too far. And it's a fantastic machine!
 

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I have a Babylock Quilters Choice that I love ........ look for an automatic needle threader....automatic thread cutter ......I love thoes features !!!!
 

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The Babylock dealer I got the Brother NX600 from said it was virtually the same as the Babylock Quilter's Choice. (the new model numberi s NX650).

Angie
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all your help and suggestions. Now I have a few things to check out. SewClassic..could you please explain the term "harp'? I'm guessing you mean something like the ring I use to hand embroider but I'm not sure. You folks are so knowledgeable and so kind to share with us all.

PQ
 

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I'm now Sew-Classic, but the harp is that large area from the needle to the right hand side of the machine. the open space that fabric goes on the right hand side of the presser foot area. In the 6500P it's about 9 inches as opposed to about 7 or so in a regular full sized machine. the 6500P and the other "quilter" machines are like 1.25 sized machines.

also, on the 6500P the stitch speed goes to 1000 stitches per minute, where most normal machines stitch at 850 stitches per minute. That doesn't matter much unless doing long straight stitches.

I know on the Babylock and the Janome web sites, you can compare feature on some machines with their comparing features.

But you'll really do well if you can stitch on a machine and see how it feels to you.

(I once had a Babylock Xscape and I just didn't bond with it, that's why I have the Brother machine, I traded in the Xscape).

Angie


Angie
 

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My sister has suggested Pfaff, Elna, Viking or Bernina. Not sure if any of those are in my price range, I'd doubt it.
I don't know about the others, but a new regular Bernina is out of your price range, I believe. However, you can ask about used ones that have been traded in and reconditioned. Bernina also makes a nice line called Bernette, and while these don't have the computer designs, I have found mine to be very reliable and useful. I think I paid $600 for mine, but it was new, not reconditioned.

I've only had one Brother, and won't get another one. It was nothing but trouble for me. I had a very difficult time with the speed, it didn't want to chug along at a medium rate, it would only go VERY fast or not go at all. That might have been that individual machine, but I'm not willing to chance it again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for your input Lynn. I had been looking at the Bernette's today on line. I had a bad experience with a Brother and won't get another one. It was just too frustrating and expensive to try and get it repaired. Unfortunately I live in an area where I have very little access to stores where I can try out a machine. I'm hoping to get some ideas and then take a nice long day out...

PQ
 

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Well, in your case, I would DEFINITELY get on the phone and call the Local Quilt Shops that sell machines to see if they have some traded-in models, especially this time of year. I know that my mother traded in a couple of her machines to get upgrades, and there was nothing wrong with the machines, she was just getting a better, more powerful machine. I wouldn't bother with a cheap machine, they're more trouble than they're worth.

Have you been checking Craigslist and Freecycle? Sometimes I'll see machines listed there, usually Mom or Grandma has passed on, nobody else in the family sews, and they just want to get rid of a good machine that might still have miles of sewing left in it. I see new and used machines in our newspapers, too. I live in Fort Worth, which is about 30 miles from Dallas, and take the Dallas paper. Occasionally I'll buy the Fort Worth paper for sales and such, and it also has a selection of used machines. Of course you'd really have to check out any used machine.

I don't think that I'd buy a machine at a pawn shop, unless I knew the PS owner, and was able to really inspect any machine.

I really, really advise against getting a cheap machine. When it has a problem, you'll have to take it in, and feel guilty about spending more money on it, or you'll just quit sewing on it, and feel guilty about the money you spent when you bought it.
 

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Oh, and please don't be discouraged. Sewing with the right machine is fun, and I hope that you find a machine that's right for you. You are wise to spend a little time now to save a lot of frustration later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks again Lynn for your helpful suggestions. I will definately make some calls around. I have no intention of getting a cheap machine. I'd rather have an older good quality one. I'm not in any rush as I do have a machine that works just fine. I do watch Freecycle and Craig's list. Unfortunately another problem of being pretty rural is that things get snapped up super fast, often before the listing gets to me. When it is meant t be the right one will come along. Right now it is too cold to go out hunting for anything especially after a night below 0 with no power! Have a great weekend,

PQ
 

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As you are searching for a used machine, you may find some of the sewing machine reviews on my blog helpful.

I don't have a review for them, but there are two types of vintage machines that can do some lettering. One is some of the late 1970's Kenmores, and the other is the Singer slant-o-matic series. If you are thinking of doing any FM work, go for the Kenmores with their vertical hook rather than the horizontial hook on the Singer slant-o-matic machines.
 

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I don't know about the quilting stores near you but I called three different ones today and no one had a used machine to sell in the range of the Janome 6500. I was told that "you ladies just keep those forever."

Somehow I find myself on a sewing machine shopping adventure right now. This is bad. Very bad. Last time I just wanted to replace my serger w/ a decent serger (mine was a disposable one from Sam's club). I ended up w/ a Janome MyLock and Babylock Elegante. Somehow today I developed a need for a Viking Mega Quilter.

This is bad. My husband just asked me if I died what should he do w/ my machines. I said, "Don't just give them to someone who rarely sews!"

Please post on your search results.

Mary
 
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