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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: quiltingemi
Date: 06-26-2007, 01:23 PM (1 of 6)
I'm new at quilting and a little frustrated with the way my Elna (33 years old) quilts. This little machine was given to me by my parents, when I was a teenager and wanted to learn how to sew. It only has 4 stiches, but it's all metal, has tension adjustment, and other nice things. I knew it was going to be hard to quilt on this machine, but I decided to give it a try. I purchased a walking foot, but it seems there is not enough space between the plate and the foot. So the fabric does not travel well. I'm not sure if this makes sense, since I don't know the proper terms. I had to help the fabric by pulling from the back, otherwise I got a lot of wrinkles, on the back particularly. But when I pulled, then the stitches are uneven. I had to do vertical and horizontal lines on the quilt, since the bias direction was impossible, it pulled the fabric too much and made even more wrinkles.

Now I need to decide what kind of machine I want to buy to be able to quilt. I do not want to spend a lot of money. I see that there are machines out there that are in the thousands. I truly want to stay under $500, $300 would be preferable. I have been reading in this forum and online about the different machines. There seem to be people who truly believe that if one doesn't pay good money there is no way one would a decent machine. Is this possible? I want a machine that I can quilt twin and double, and maybe, if lucky, a queen size quilt. If I ever make a king size quilt for my bed, I would take that one to be professionally quilted.

I'd love to hear you suggestions about inexpensive, but reliable machines. Is there anyway to find which of the Kenmore machines are made by Janome? I understand that the Janome are good machines. I also read good reviews about the Singers.

Thanks in advance for your help!

User: quiltingemi
Member since: 06-25-2007
Total posts: 7
From: Skye
Date: 06-26-2007, 07:18 PM (2 of 6)
I still have my very old Elna SU('cause it does stitch beautifully) and it did quilt ok but I got a newer machine because that distance between the foot and plate is narrow. I would look at a Janome - I got another ELna but only because my delaer offered me a deal that I couldn't refuse - The equivalent Janome would have worked just as well. If you have the $$ look at the machines that have the bigger harp space ( ie the space to the right of the needle)
Since having the newer machine nearly 4 years now I have done quite a few quilts mainly queen sized and have got hooked on free motion quilting - I need to practice that lots and lots - oh dear that means making more quilts - life is hard:cool: :bluesmile
BTW my machine does have alphabets and I do use these to make my quilt labels - very useful
User: Skye
Member since: 09-28-2000
Total posts: 233
From: pinkroses
Date: 06-26-2007, 07:36 PM (3 of 6)
I have a Elna computer. I really loved it.
I also brought a 9500 Janome that dose professional embroidery too.
I love both of mine. These machines are easy to use and sews beautifully .
Good luck with buying and getting one you like
Most places you buy from will give free sewing lessons so you can get to know your machine
If I were you I would look into that too. Pinkroses
I know I have a guradian angel watching over me. I am very gratefull. PINKROSES
User: pinkroses
Member since: 11-30-2005
Total posts: 64
From: Patty22
Date: 06-26-2007, 08:01 PM (4 of 6)
Emi....I have been quilting since 1982. Machine quilting was just coming into the spotlight in the mid eighties and I was a renegade breaking away from hand quilting.

I can only tell you from my own personal experience and from teaching machine quilting in a quilt shop - the easiest machine I have found for quilting is the Bernina( just my personal preference).

You should take some batting and backing and go to some different dealers and try out different machines and see what kind of customer service you can get. Maybe the dealer can sell you a used machine from another customer upgrading.

Lessons should come with any machine you purchase. It should be part of the package not something extra. Inquire as to who will be the instructor.

Reading about the machines is the first step, but you really need to test drive the machines.

How much quilting do you really want to do? Is it realistic for you to invest into an expensive machine if you're not going to stick with this endeavor?

Don't go into debt with a machine. Also, since you are really a novice...don't go on eBay thinking you can pick one up there. It is a jungle on that site and buyer beware is the phrase to remember. Every once in awhile I will stop in and I find myself sending fraud notices to the webmaster.

Everyone has a favorite machine....what matters is what you can work with and afford.
User: Patty22
Member since: 03-29-2006
Total posts: 1194
From: quiltingemi
Date: 06-27-2007, 01:22 PM (5 of 6)
Thank you for all your feedback!

I don't have many places near where to shop for a sewing machine. I have the local quilting store, Wal-mart, and Sears. Yesterday, I saw the Viking (I think) Sapphire, that our local store carries. It's a beauty! But it's $1200, on sale. A lot more than what I would like to pay. I also went to Sears and tried their $300 Kenmore (#19110) and it sews very nicely. I doesn't do nearly as much as the one at the local quilting store, actually, it's not even fair to compare them! But the Kenmore brand is much closer to what I'm willing to pay. It's make by Janome. The salesman showed me a little book they have there. It says that if the number in the back of the machine begins with 385, it's a machine made by Janome. I hear the machines made by Janome are good.

Since I just began quilting, and I never been into sewing much, I cannot justify a very expensive machine at this point. If I really get into quilting and stick with it, then later down the road, I will consider a more expensive machine.

I still want to go to the other stores to try other brands, but they all are at least 45-60min. away. Since the Sears machines are not on sale, I can wait. Maybe with luck, they will go on sale during the year.

Thanks again,

User: quiltingemi
Member since: 06-25-2007
Total posts: 7
From: Skye
Date: 06-27-2007, 06:14 PM (6 of 6)
another thought - alot of SM dealers have really good quality used machines often quite new models that people have used to trade up. Worth a look most would have a dealers warantee
User: Skye
Member since: 09-28-2000
Total posts: 233
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