5.19.2009

Sewing Machine Crisis



So sorry that I have been missing in action the last couple weeks. I have been having some sewing dilemas. About a month ago I bought the Brother CS6000i to replace my mother's 1980's no name machine that I have been using for years. The Brother has gotten tons of positive reviews and it's cheap so I thought it would be perfect. It has not gone as well for me. It has been a constant struggle with tension and now it won't even sew quilting fabric together without missing stitches.
So I am sending it back for a refund and am going to get a more sturdy machine. I am willing to pay somewhere between $400-$600. I was thinking about a Janome or a Bernina. Any suggestions?

19 comments:

  1. I was having the same problem with the basic singer machines at Joannes. I had to return two of them and a friend had to return one as well. I bit the bullet and bought a Bernina and have not regretted it for a second - OK for a second when I slid my debit card, but not since I've used it :)

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  2. I have really liked my Singer 4166 that I just bought, but haven't had it long and can't vouch for whether I am sewing as much/or on the same kinds of fabrics as you are. I have made some baby shoes that often have some thick areas and haven't noticed any skipping - there is the occasional tangle if it's so thick that the foot is pressed all the way up, but not often. I just know I have to go slowly and both push and pull the material through. My mom owns an expensive computerized bernina - she bought her's quite a while ago so it has lasted and she mostly quilts on hers. Good luck! I would also suggest going into some nicer quilting stores and you should be allowed to actually try the machines - make sure to bring swatches so you can test them out. Good luck!

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  3. I actually have a Huskystar 224 with about 18-20 different stitches - don't know if that would be enuf for you - but it is a good sturdy machine that stitches well for me. I've had it about 2 years, and no major problems (knock on wood), just taken it in each year for a cleaning. It would be in your price range, too, at the lower end - I think mine was around $400 a couple years ago? But it isn't a Janome, which I've heard are good, and Berninas, which I've heard (and seen) are great. But I'm not sure of their low-end models....Good luck with your choosing! :)

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  4. Within the last 7 years, I have purchased three sewing machines. The first was a Janome 4623 LE - a simpler model but good workhorse. Then when I wanted to upgrade I purchased a Janome 6500 - a computerized one with a lot of bells and whistles.

    Now I don't know if my Janome 6500 had a glitch or what though I did buy it brand new, but the 6500 didn't quite sew the quality that I was looking for (tension, stitch balance, etc.) and I could tell pretty soon after buying it.

    My mom has used Berninas for years and so I bit the bullet and sold the Janome 6500 and bought a Bernina Virtuosa 155 right when Bernina was changing their models and so I got a great price on a floor model, but it was still about 50% more than what I paid for the Janome 6500.

    But it was SO worth it. The quality is superb and I have not had one problem with it. It sews like a dream, the tension is awesome as are the decorative stitches, buttonholes - everything. Bernina is definitely pricier than most but the quality is outstanding.

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  5. I have a Bernina, my mom has a Bernina, and my mother-in-law has a Bernina. I have never had any problems with mine (I've had it for 7 years now)...and both my mother and mother-in-law have had very few problems with theirs for the 20-30 years that they have owned them.

    However, I know that Berninas cost more than most other sewing machine companies, but I don't think you will go wrong if you get one. They are great.

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  6. BERNINA!! It is the only way to go! Of course, I am prejudiced, since that's what I have, as well as my mom and sisters-in-law. We are all heavily into sewing, and none of us has ever had problems. My mom's machine is 35+ years old, and still going strong. I've had mine for 5 years and never had a problem.

    Good luck! It is H~O~R~R~I~B~L~E to be without a sewing machine!!

    By the way, I love your site -- I got myself a boys' shirt to make into a dress for my baby girl. Hope I get it done before the end of the month!

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  7. I love my Pfaff! It was a surprise from my mom 5-8 years back. The only thing I wouldn't suggest it for is several layers of really heavy fabric. It's not like some of the industrial type machines that can hack through anything but can only sew a straight stitch and zig-zag. It does fine sewing through a few layers of denim + seam allowances when I'm patching up my kids' jeans, so don't worry. Ahhhhh, that machine is my baby. I have a pretty basic model, but I know the embroidery can get really fancy in higher end models.

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  8. BERNINA!!! I have sewn for 20 years on a Bernina 930 and recently my husband bought me the Artista 640 which is totally overkill.

    You cannot go wrong for your money with a Bernina.

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  9. Bernina is always a good idea. Always.

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  10. you don't know me, but i follow your blog. i started sewing about 4 years ago...used my cheap brother $200 machine i bought at target for a year...realized how much i loved sewing and i beat that thing into the ground with how much i used it. tension and skipping stitches problems like you had. i took it in to get it fixed and they laughed at me and said it wasn't worth fixing. so i buckled down to get a new machine because i (and my husband...the frugal one) realized how important this is to me as a hobby...so i might as well buy one that will serve me well for many years. so i went with a pfaff. i got a basic machine...it was on clearance for like 50% off so i paid $850 for it...but seriously it is so worth it. i would say if you're going to spend $500 just spend a little bit more to make sure you're getting a really great machine. good luck! love following a fellow seamstress' blog.

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  11. My Viking is not almost 30 year old and still sews through 16 layers of denim. It's not electronic but it's a workhorse. Hunt around on ebay and you can still find the Viking 6000 series. I bought mine new and paid about $1000.00 for it 30 years ago - it was expensive then, but I sure don't have anything else that has held up that long.

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  12. Vikings! They're great and right in that price range. I know they sell them at JoAnn craft stores. My old roommate had a brother and I loved it. Sorry you're turned out bad. Other than that I've been using a tiny little sewing machine I got from Sears for $100 but I have family members who have Vikings and that's why I can support them. The next one I buy (if I ever bother to do it, I'm cheap) will be a Viking Emerald (~$350) or something like that.

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  13. I just invested in a viking. I LOVE it!! I started with a cheap Singer and it was a nightmare. I almost gave up all together. I no longer fight with my machine. My biggest problem is finding the time to sew all the creations bobbing around in this old noggin of mine. Rid yourself of the headache and invest in a quality machine preferably sold by a dealer (you get much more for your money):)

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  14. Anonymous20.5.09

    VIKING! Definatley the best machine s ever. They have reasonable ones and they last. I have had mine for 8 years and NEVER had one issue with it. Check your local JoAnn fabrics to see if they have a viking seweing gallery inside. I would NEVER buy anything else, I have used bernina, singer, brother..... You will never go back after using a viking!

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  15. Anonymous20.5.09

    I started out on a Brother too which made me think that I was a terrible seamstress with all the tension problems and skipped stitches. I bought a computerized Kenmore model last year for about $350 and LOVE it. Now I just need to learn how to use the embroidery on it. Babylocks are a dream to sew on as well.

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  16. the motto for Bernina says it all: Nothing sews like a Bernina, Nothing. I've got 7 or 8 sewing machines right now(i keep getting gifted unused, perfectly good machines, and old antique ones!), but the ONLY one i use is my ridiculously expensive Bernina 730. Although, for all the hours i've put on it (4-5/day, for 3+ years), it's worked out cheaply!
    Something I've learned from getting emails from my dealer, and just talking to him, if you go to a bernina dealer, you can haggle. DON'T pay the MSRP. They have a LOT of room to negotiate... My dealer gave me the deluxe embroidery software, plus a bunch of supplies to "learn on," plus I can attend any classes they offer for free for buying there... so i've taken classes that i would never PAY for, but WILL take for free (brushing up on applique methods, beginner doll making, etc).

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  17. I got my Bernina from a home ec department that was selling old machines to make room for new machines. I sewed on it when I was in high school, as did about thirty years worth of MVGHS grads before me. It still works great!!!! I say BERNINA!!

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  18. I have that exact same brother machine that I bought when my viking had to go in the shop. I have used it quite a bit, but it is a bit wimpy and has plastic gears inside. It now is frozen up and won't sew. You are wise to send it back. I would totally recommend a viking, as I have had one now for 16 years and it has only been in the shop one time for a belt that had slipped off. You won't go wrong there. I also recently purchased a Janome 6600P and absolutely love it! It is a wonderful machine and does everything I want it to do. I recently began quilting and it has a built-in walking foot. I haven't had a moment's trouble from it. Good Luck with your search!

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  19. I have the Janome TB-30, the Threadbanger Machine. It's under $600 and it's AWESOME!!!
    My fav stitches are the overcast and the straightstitch w/an automatic backtack. I also love the way it does buttonholes. Super easy!!

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