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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: Cant-sew-a-lick
Date: 11-26-2005, 11:55 AM (1 of 12)
I have always sewn on other peoples passed down machines (A.K.A. Junk) usually straight stitch, some even converted to electric from a treadle! I am sure that some of you have been in the same situation.

When did you decide enough was enough! When did you realize that you were only as good as the equipment you had been working with and it was holding you back? I have a new, very inexpensive (cheap) machine. I bought the least expensive machine I could find since I had always become frustrated in the past and didn't want to waste a bunch of money if I got fed up. Now I wish I had spent a bit more and got a couple features that I didn't know about (Speed control! Who knew!)

I could probably return my machine to Wal-mart, I've only had it a couple weeks, but I feel that that isn't right since there is really nothing wrong with it. It is just too basic - Brother LS-2125 $78.00. I don't have $1,000 to drop on a machine but, I really think I could get a decent machine for a couple hundred dollars. Not top of the line, but better than anything I have ever had. I'm so confused.....
My dogs need clothes!
User: Cant-sew-a-lick
Member since: 11-07-2005
Total posts: 29
From: debsews
Date: 11-26-2005, 12:31 PM (2 of 12)
I'm probably not the one to answer this question but I haven't been sewing that long and started out with a basic older machine. Then went to a Viking 330 which is still manual in that you must change to the stitches you want to use and adjust everything. Then I went to the Viking #1+ and it's electronic. Has the sewing advisor and everything is pretty much done for you. I love it! Makes sewing so much more fun. Now as to the price - it was pricey but you can get somewhere in the middle. In other words an electronic machine that will give you a lot of features for not a lot of money. A lot of posts here are about Janome and people really seem to like them and I think they are not as pricey as some others. Go to a dealer and test drive the machines. You'll know which is right for you.
User: debsews
Member since: 09-16-2005
Total posts: 254
From: LeapFrog Libby
Date: 11-26-2005, 05:39 PM (3 of 12)
As far as I'm concerned, you cannot beat Janome.. I have had mine since 199? 2-3-or 4.. Sorry , cannot remember exactly.. I think 1993.. Only problem I ever had was me !! I did not read carefully enough and ended up calling my dealer with a major problem (I thought).. I love it. Check them out on their website and read up on features.. I love the speed control on mine.. My DGD is showing an interest now and I'm using the slow for her use.. Its great..
Sew With Love
User: LeapFrog Libby
Member since: 05-01-2002
Total posts: 2022
From: HeyJudee
Date: 11-26-2005, 06:45 PM (4 of 12)
C-s-a-L, I did something similiar as you. I had a basic Brother (10 stitches) since '73 and used it mainly to mend and sew a few things. Then I wanted to start quilting and decided to buy a new machine. In 2002 I bought a Kenmore with approx. 30 stitches. After that I took a quilting course and got into free-motion quilting. That is when I realized I wanted a better machine...I wanted the speed control and the needle up/down option. I wasn't going to pay a lot (ha ha). But when I started looking at the dealers here in Ottawa (Bernina, Pfaff, Husquavarna, Janome) to get those features it was "expensive" no matter where I went. So you really have to decide what you want and what you are willing to pay. I got what I wanted and I love what I bought....but I paid the price!!!
TTFN from
User: HeyJudee
Member since: 01-25-2005
Total posts: 1366
From: toadusew
Date: 11-27-2005, 09:47 AM (5 of 12)
I have 2 Janomes and love them! In my opinion, you just can't beat that brand. :smile: However, there are other good brands of sewing machines on the market. Buying a sewing machine is like buying a car--you find what is right for your needs and which machine you bond with best.

When I was first in the market for a sewing machine a number of years ago, a Wal Mart employee told me that the Brothers they sold tended to be returned so I steered clear of that one.

I would recommend going to some reliable local dealers and test driving some machines. That way, you will have dealer support if/when your machine needs servicing or repairing. I also recommend getting a midline machine--they may run anywhere from $200-$500, give or take a little, but in my opinion, they would be worth it. When I taught sewing, I always told my clients that they had to bond with/love their machines or they could wind up getting frustrated and giving up before they had really given sewing a chance.

Janome has a great website and you can check out their machines there--no prices, but you can get an idea of what features they have and that may help you decide what your particular sewing needs/wants are. Here's the

Happy Sewing!
User: toadusew
Member since: 01-08-2005
Total posts: 369
From: bridesmom
Date: 11-28-2005, 04:51 AM (6 of 12)
I have an older Pfaff that was my mom's machine, but it has a huge assortment of embroidery stitches on it, and it works like a dream. My original machine was a Pfaff 1250 I think, did the basics, but a very heavy duty heavy machine. My serger is a Janome, I fell for it when testing out machines. And my embroidery machine was a gift (my sister upgraded hers and gave me the old one). Its a Bernina Deco 500, but even after using it a bit, I can see I'd like to upgrade it, but the $$ cost is holding me back right now. Theres lots of different discussions on the boards about machines, and lots of good information. The bottom line- buy the best you can afford, and test drive, test drive, test drive. Set a price range and see what you can come up with. I'd also suggest staying away from places you can't get support from, that includes on-line as well. You don't want to end up getting something that you have to ship back to the other side of the country if something goes wrong. And you want to be able to get service or help if and when you need it. Lots of places may have really good machines that have been traded in too.
Tickled pink with my Innovis 4000D
User: bridesmom
Member since: 01-21-2004
Total posts: 2026
From: SandyGirl
Date: 11-28-2005, 06:37 AM (7 of 12)
Cant Sew A Lick...the fact that you are sewing on other people's hand-me-downs (junk, in your words) and trying to sew on the bottom of the line price point...enough IS enough! You won't enjoy sewing if you don't get a decent machine in your price range. While you can't drop $1000 you have plenty of options in the mid range.... Getting a better machine will increase your pleasure and skills! YOU are deserving!! Hopefully no one is setting your limits but you! Sewing machines are like good tools...get the best that you can afford! Don't settle for less.
User: SandyGirl
Member since: 09-16-2005
Total posts: 97
From: paroper
Date: 11-28-2005, 06:38 AM (8 of 12)
I'm crazy about Bernina but I can tell you that most of the ladies like the machine brands they use. I know that you are tired of hand me down machines but keep in mind that if you purchase a good used machine with a some bells and whistles from a dealer where you can get a serviced machine with a warrenty and a couple of useage lessons you may be able to stretch your money. You may also find a good price on a machine that was gently used and is pretty new. Some women trade machines every time they bring out a new one. I would be very careful if I bought from an individual (never know what they'll hide) and I wouldn't buy from the internet (no recourse). Some dealers even offer trade in-trade up policies which allow you to recoup all or most of your money spent if you trade up within a given time period (often a year). This gives you a little time to make decisions about your machine.

As for returning the machine to Wal Mart. I appreciate your honesty but if you took a dress home, tried it on, and discovered it was too small would you keep it? This is basically the same thing. I'd return it. It is not like you have a seasoned sales person and a place to try the machine before you purchase.

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
From: LauraM62
Date: 11-28-2005, 07:18 AM (9 of 12)
Okay I always plug a Kenmore (Sears) machine! At the stores around me I can test drive them, we only have 1 dealer around beyond that. Kenmore machines are Janome's with the Kenmore name & price. I have one Kenmore over 30 years old still running strong, plus one around 3 years old, then a Kenmore Serger. As far as repairs, if you don't want to take them to Sears for service & repair, almost anyone that service & repairs Janome will service & repair Kenmore. I know you could spend more for a higher end name, but they are reliable for a good price, just my 2 cents. :bluewink:
SW Indiana

If everyone cared and nobody cried; If everyone loved and nobody lied; If everyone shared and swallowed their pride; Then we'd see the day when nobody died --'If Everyone Cared' by Nickelback
User: LauraM62
Member since: 08-10-2003
Total posts: 246
From: mommydionne
Date: 11-28-2005, 05:08 PM (10 of 12)
I'm not very brand loyal have a bit of everything but if I was going to buy my first machine I would get the same one I DID buy for my first machine. (after moving out and leaving mum's old singer behind)
It was a Janome 272 about $300, It had basic stitches, 4-step buttonhole and was such a workhorse. It lasted me for over 12 years when I upgraded to my Bernina 160 :wink: . I recently gave it to my old babysitter who is taking fashion design and it is still plugging away! You can buy a very similar machine from kenmore for a few $$ less. But you MUST HAVE: an excellant straight stitch, zig zag and a button hole stitch. A stretch stitch and blind hem stitch are great too.
User: mommydionne
Member since: 01-08-2004
Total posts: 838
From: echomandy
Date: 11-29-2005, 12:58 PM (11 of 12)
I have only been quilting for 2 years. I have a 38 year old Singer in a cabinet that suits my needs just fine. But when I started to take classes, that machine was way too heavy. So I bought a Singer Featherweight (not the old type, but the portable that is only 8 lbs) and it suits my needs for class. Its not anything fancy, its not a sturdy strong machine. Its sews for 3 hrs just fine. I only paid $99 for it, and have easily gotten my $$ worth now.

I am ready for a new machine, and will take advantage of (1) local dealer 1 year interest free; (2) what free classes and warranty does it have? (3) and think about what stitches you are missing. I'm missing the embrodery stitch for my applique...that is my main thing right now and SOME quilting to finish my quilts. Nothing hard core.

You are right, whoever has their machine, thinks their brand is the best.!!
User: echomandy
Member since: 11-29-2005
Total posts: 5
From: bunzino
Date: 12-02-2005, 09:55 PM (12 of 12)
I love my Viking and my old kenmore, but I think for a few hundred you could get a great Janome w lots of features. You MUST do the homework of trying out all kinds of machines -- there's just no getting around it. It's like buying a car.

If you really do this, you'll know for sure what features you want and which machine you feel at home with.

User: bunzino
Member since: 08-16-2002
Total posts: 119
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