good sewing machine dealer
Hi! Does anyone know a good sewing machine dealer within 25 miles in the Rockville, Maryland area? I have very little experience with sewing machine. Recently, I’m thinking about taking a sewing class becuase my son goes through his jeans so fast and the holes are always on the knees even though the rest of the pants looks brand new. I’m thinking about cutting them and just make them into shorts. I’m also interested in making quilts. At first, I decide I should take a class to make sure I’m really interested in sewing before making the commitment of buying a sewing machine; otherwise, the money I spend on the sewing machine can buy me lots of pants. Ha! Ha! But the shop where I’d like to learn to quilt only lent the sewing machines to people having experience with Bernina. I’ve been searching on the web site and have a rough idea which brands are considered reputable. Most people giving out advice couldn’t stress enough the importance of finding a good dealer. Most of my friends do not sew, if you give them a sewing machine they probably just stare at it with a blank look, just like me. I’m a little timid about going to a dealer and testing the machine since I don’t even know how to thread it. I’d appreciate any advice you can provide. Thank you!
If you get an answer to this please post it, I'm also in Rockville and also considering machine shopping. Someone I know went to Hagerstown to buy a machine, another mail ordered from the Poconos area in PA. G Street is probably reliable but they are high priced. If and when I get myself in gear to try a couple of places I will post here.
G street fabrics sent me a card saying all Bernina will be 15% off in the middle of June. I went to a dealer in Mt Airy that sells Pfaff and Babylock sewing machines. The salesperson was very nice but Pfaff wasn't on sale at that time and she didn't seem to be very eager pushing Babylock. Babylock Ellure was on sale at that time for $999. I was hopeing that I could test sew on the machine but she said there was a back order on the machine and she let one customer took home the demo model. I went to the Viking dealer as well. The guy seemed very nice but the price He quoted me was on the high side. He quoted Freesia 415 @799, 425 @999. He'll throw in a package of presser foot (about 6, I think , but I'm not sure). Do you have any luck shopping for your sewing machine? You mentioned that your friend bought one at Haggerstown. Is it the White Swam on the Lake? How's her experience with the shop?
I will try to ask about the Hagerstown store the next time I see this woman, who is an acquaintance rather than a friend. She hasn't commented on being dissatisfied with the store, only with having to travel to take the classes which are included in the purchase. Pocono Sew&Vac is the store my other sewing friend uses. She says they do repairs on-site with quick shipping there and back.
G Street seems to be having more frequent sales, so don't feel you must decide this week. I'm sure they'll do it again for July 4th and they also sell discounted floor models from time to time.
I'm "the friend" whose favorite store is Pocono Sew N Vac in Stroudsburg, PA. (http://www.sewlowprice.com) Ask for Paul, though everyone has always been very nice and helpful on the phone. They've been shipping to and receiving from Rockville via UPS in only one day (okay, over Memorial Day weekend it took two workdays to get my newest toy), and they do repairs in-house.
G Street uses someone around Parklawn/Nicholson Lane to do machine repairs, but I don't know where (though I could find out from my friend who works there)--I'm pretty sure G Street will want you to bring it to them to farm out.
I also had a very pleasant experience speaking to the Janome dealer who is in Wheaton (I think Wheaton, maybe Silver Spring--it was a woman), but I don't know where or how they do the repairs. I had contacted her to see if she would support a Janome machine bought out of state, and she sort of laughed to hear that dealers wouldn't. She said they love ALL Janome machine owners and to come by any time.
Brothers Sew N Vac in Rockville/Gaithersburg/Hillandale also repairs machines in house and did a nice job on my 40-year-old White when I took it in for cleaning and spiffing. Their prices seemed relatively standard. I don't know how they would do on computerized machines. I think they sell Vikings and Whites (Huskystar, etc.)
One thing I loved best about Pocono Sew n Vac is that they sell EVERYTHING--every brand I could think of, even Babylock now, which is a newer line for them. They have no bones to pick about any of them--they're not on commission. I happened upon them (literally--we were wandering around the town) when on vacation in the Poconos last year and they've taken very good care of me and have great prices on everything they can sell out of state--or in their store (even accessories and notions). As we all know, not all brands will allow them to sell current models out of state. Shipping is always included in their prices. When I was in the store and asked about features I had heard about, Paul just marched me to the other tables and showed me different brands that had those features.
Unfortunately, in our area (Rockville/Washington, DC), the stores pretty much can carry only one or two brands--and they tend to pan the rest, it seems. I was told by someone in Langley Park that they stopped carrying Janome because they were told by their other brand (Pfaff or Viking, or something else) that if someone wanted to open a local store and be exclusive to that other brand, the company would pull that line from them because they weren't exclusve. Sounds like that should be illegal, but I guess it's not. Makes it hard to shop fairly. At about a 4-1/2-hour drive, it's probably worth a weekend in the Poconos to go to that sewing store in Stroudsburg and truly try them all with a fair comparison and honest information. And if you're in the store, they can sell you anything. I don't know how they can carry all the lines, except that there aren't many towns around and I guess they don't worry about competition coming into their small town.
Shopping for a new machine can be a tough project--but what fun!
P.S. I'm about to take a quilting class at G Street. I asked if I need to bring a machine, and they said I would just use the Berninas they have in the classroom (but of course, that's what they sell). For regular sewing classes, that seems to be the place around Rockville. Lots of quilting classes are given at Capitol Quilts off of Shady Grove Road in Rockville, but I think they assume you already know how to do basic sewing (straight stitching). In Frederick and Columbia, there are classes at Joann's ETC, but I don't know much about the classes--just that there are some.
Hello, Pasdenom, Joress,
Thank you very much for the detailed information. With two little kids, I don't have much time going machine shopping. I feel a little guilty about draging them around town to buy something that "Mom" likes. Therefore, it is especially important for me to gather as much information as possible before going on the field trip with them. I'm thinking about buying the new Janome Jem Silver ASG edition since I'm a beginner and not sure if I really like sewing. I've read a lot of good commends about the Jem Gold and someone said the Jem Silver is exactly like Jem Gold. It is a basic machine, though. Doesn't look very exciting to me. Most people bought it already has a more sophisticated machine at home.
I just got the White 1740 (on recommendation of my favorite store, Pocono Sew N Vac) as a portable machine for classes and travel. I haven't even had a chance to unpack it yet. The Bulletin Board at joann.com has a couple of threads from people who have used it and they say it's a solid machine and does really well. But it is a little smaller than usual and might not be as comfortable to use if you need the larger throat area for rolled quilts or other things to the right of your needle.
People seem to love their Jem Golds for classes and travel, so I asked about the Jem Silver--Paul at Pocono said it's just a version the American Sewing Guild has out for their 25th anniversary. I'm not sure if it has all of the same features as the Jem Gold, but I think so. Paul recommended the White 1740 for my portable because it has a DC motor, full flexibility in needle position and stitch length (the Jem Gold only has middle and left needle position and three stitch sizes), and already comes with the walking foot and quarter-inch foot. It has 17 built-in stitches, which look like good choices. Plus, the back of the hard case attaches as a large flatbed. It's cuter than a button, and costs less than the Jem Gold (at least, at Pocono Sew N Vac). I've seen it for more at Joann's, but they're there (in the boxes) if you want to look. It's also on the White Sewing website (http://www.whitesewing.com).
So, that's my information between the Jem Silver/Jem Gold vs. the White 1740. Unless you specifically need a portable, I don't know that I would get a smaller machine for my main machine--I think the larger throat area can be handy for certain projects. I hope this helps.
Thanks for the information.
My daugher in law lives in Silver Spring and she bought a Kenmore machine from Sears , located at 650 and 29(Colesville Rd or Columbia Pike)
and they offered basic lessons a couple of years ago. JoAnn's offers lessons and I think Hancock does also, try Hobby Lobby, but don't know if they are in Maryland. Any fabric store can recommend someone to give sewing lessons.
By the way I have used a Kenmore machine for more that 25 years for work and pleasure. I did alterations for a dry cleaners for years and I am still using that same machine for my little jobs here at home.
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