Discisions, Decisions !!!
Are you buying locally? If so, buy the dealer… you want one with
good policies, someone who’s helpful AFTER the sale, with a good service tech. That can be more important than the brand/model…
it’s not much fun having the only SooperDooper brand machine for
a couple hundred miles if you can’t get someone to work on it.
FWIW, 95% of my sewing is done with straight stitch, the rest with
blind hem, zigzag and a couple of others. It’s fun to have all the
stitches in the world (I’ve got a bunch that (rarely if ever) get used), but it’s really important to have a machine that produces
a good straight stitch, a decent buttonhole, and just keeps going
and going with little fuss and bother. If you have to choose between
bells and whistles and fewer stitches but a more cooperative machine,
I’d suggest forgetting the bells and whistles.
You might also want to consider a used machine (maybe even with a guarantee)… some of the ones available for not much money now are
still great machines, but were top of the line 5 or 10 or 20 years
ago — still a lot of good sewing in them.
As far as the particular brands you mention… I’ve got my grandmother’s ancient White straightstitch machine… still going strong after 50+ years. On the other hand, I trashed a modern White
after about 18 months of sewing, about 8 years ago. Didn’t hold up
for me. When I was shopping for the White replacement, I didn’t like
the New Homes… just “didn’t fit”… wound up with what’s approximately the Viking Freesia 425, and it’s done well for me.
Try a bunch and see what feels comfortable.
The HF3000 is the old Janome 3000 (HF=Hancock Fabrics). It's a terrific machine! It's a great buy when it's on sale at Hancock Fabrics. The stitches are wonderful and it runs very smoothly.
If you're so inclined, contact Pocono Sew n Vac (everyone knows that's "my" dealer) and ask them what they recommend. They sell everything (including Baby Lock now!)--so they have no advantage in recommending one brand or model over another. I've been to the store in Stroudsburg, PA (and they're listed on the Web). They have lots of models to try and are wonderful people both in person and in helping over the phone. UPS from there to the Washington, DC area is only one day almost always, and I don't need sewing lessons in person. That's certainly close enough for me--especially because they fix the sewing machines right there in the store. Most places near me send it out somewhere else and it actually could take longer to get the machine back.
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