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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: MaryW
Date: 01-21-2006, 09:16 AM (1 of 3)
This lady emailed me for advice. What do you think?

Hope you can make some suggestions or recommendations re buying a sewing machine.

I am in the market for a machine as I promised my daughter-in-law she could have my electronic Elna in the event I bought a new machine. Having made this promise in a moment of generosity, I will now have to make good on my promise.

However, that poses a problem for me: I don't know what brand to buy. I like my Elna electronic and would like to go with another electronic as I feel comfortable with type.

On the web I see a lot of embroidery machines but I don't think it likely that I would have much use for one. Besides they look complicated to use to say nothing about the initial cost and the cost of embroidery thread as well. In short, it would be an expensiive hobby. Am I right about that?

Therefore, I think I should stick with the electronic types.
Do you know some of the brands I should look into and more than that, perhaps make a recommendation? Price wise, I'm thinking in the area of $700-$800. I would like a good working and reliable (and pleasurable) machine. I would not be able to travel hither and thither to actually see and test out sewing machines as that could take me miles away from home.

I do not know who else to go for guidance. With your expertise and knowledge of sewing and the various sewing machines, I'm hoping you may be able to steer me in the right direction.

Thanks very much for any advice you can give me.
owner/editor of Sew Whats New
User: MaryW
Member since: 06-23-2005
Total posts: 2542
From: Chrysantha
Date: 01-21-2006, 10:14 PM (2 of 3)
Most BRAND names have good machines. Bernina, Janome, Pfaff, Husqvarna/Viking, Elna, some of the Kenmores (made buy Janome), Babylock. I'd stay away from WalMart, KMart and machines NOT sold buy a dealer (Sears sells, may repair, but no one there sews and can't really help you).
The heavier the machine the more metal used and the longer it will last.
Always buy GOOD thread. (stay away from Coats and Clark it's cheap and linty, in the new machines it makes a mess).
Buying from a dealer will ensure you have repairs, a warranty that will be honored, classes, 'perks' (from most), and a friend who will help you if you need it.

I myself have 5 Janomes. All TOL's (embroidery, quilting and a serger). They're pricey and heavy...that way I'll have them for years to come. My dealer also sells Bernina, she sells them like hot cakes. (all the models). She's a great person and has a wonderful shop.
Look online to read about features and what you actually want. will have all the site addresses for all the major brands.
as for prices...they vary between dealers, but not by much.
So I'd test drive a few....before I make a choice. Thats what I did. I researched for 3 mnths before buying my first machine. (it sews and embroiders....but thats what -I- wanted.)
Have fun !!!
User: Chrysantha
Member since: 09-06-2002
Total posts: 2414
From: paroper
Date: 01-22-2006, 07:21 AM (3 of 3)
Don't just buy a machine, buy a dealer. With the price of gas, you need to keep in mind how far they are from you.

You are absolutely 100 percent correct about embroidery. It can be horribly expensive. If you don't have a yen or an need to embroider, there isn't any reason to go there. Besides, adding the embroidery unit to your machine makes it much more expensive for initial purchase. If I thought that down the line I would be interested in embroidery, I'd pay a little more than what you are thinking and head straight for the Bernina 430. Embroidery can be added to that machine, it attaches and runs the embroidery through your computer. Also, the BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator) can be added to that machine. The BSR monitors and keeps the stitching even when quilting. The machine sews like a dream, with the old-fashioned rotary hook system that Bernina is famous for but I really like that it can grow with your needs. If you decide to go the embroidery route in the future, it has a very nice size stitch field. You may be able to find an excellent price on these machines (used). They were introduced last March or April...there was a terrible backlong and a long waiting list when they came out. It was the first Bernina machine introduced with the BSR. Many people bought them at dealers who had trade in/trade up policies that allow people full value on their machines if they trade up in a year. So...when the next layer of machine came out, many traded in the 440 and 430's on a higher model. You might find a FANTASTIC deal on these!

The Swiss made Bernina machines have a lot of metal in them and in past they have kept the parts available for their machines for at least 20 years.

The lower end Bernina machines are Janome made (that is not a stab at Janome, Bernina would not sell them if they didn't recognize their worth.) Starting around $600 you can buy a Bernina made machine, but most people do not like it as well as the next model that doesn't have snap on feet. This particular line of machine is their 3/4 size machine and a lot of quilters love them because they are a little lighter because of their size so they can take them to class easily. They sew as well as the larger machines and are a pretty popular line these machines also have the rotary hook system (only Bernina makes this, I think.) Bernina started their hook system in the 40's.

There are many excellent machines out there. When you go, be sure that you know what kind of sewing you want to do. Keep that in mind as you shop. There are plenty of dealers who will try with all their might to up sell you. This is the time of year when the dealers don't sell as many machines so you may be able to make a good deal. In the spring, about March, many machine companies start running promotional sales. You CAN dicker on the price (unfortunately, something I didn't know all these years) and you can dicker on little "extras" like cases, feet, whatever. The more expensive the machine, the more you can dicker.

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
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