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Looking for a new machine

SewMusical | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

I currently own a Viking Emerald machine.  Last year the main board went out on it and it hasn’t worked as well since it was repaired.  I was never as happy with it as the Janome I had previously.  I am planning to replace it and am looking for recommendations.  I am a garment sewer so I need the stretch stitch capability and button holes are important.  It needs to be able to sew denim well.  Beyond that, I don’t need a ton of stitches.  I can’t afford the embroidery machines (I hope to keep the purchase under $1,000 since we have a kid heading off to college in the fall).  I looked at an Elna 3230 and loved it.  What do the garment sewers out there recommend?  Anyone with Elna experience?


  1. HelgaPataki | | #1

    I love singers

    I grew up with singers so I love them the best.  I recently purchased a new singer from their 160 anniversary edition to replace a Janome quilters companion that just went off timing.  that Janome was the first machine ever that Is not a singer.  I dealt with it for a busy 14 years and felt it was okay simply because I was very busy raising kids.  My singer arrived by courrier a month ago and it sews like a dream, the tension, the touch and feel, the way I felt did not seem clanky.  i guess its what your used to, and the singer is not heavy and the bobbin winds tigher and smoother. 

  2. Pattiann42 | | #2

    Looking for a new machine

    I have been using an Elna 7200 for several years as my primary machine.  I also, on occasion use a Baby Lock and a couple Singer models.  In the past I have been a Bernina owner.  All are equal when it comes to basic stitching.

    Seek out as many dealers as you can find.  Take scraps of denim, knit and sheer fabrics with you.  Ask for a demo of those features most important to you.

    It is always a good idea to rate the dealer/sales staff as well as the machine.  Every dealer will have several models of the brands they represent.

    Sleep on it before making a decision as dealers do not take back new machines that they have sold unless it is a trade-up for a machine that is considerably more expensive.  Once a new machine has been sold, the manufacturer considers it used and the warranty is no longer valid.

    1. HelgaPataki | | #3

      yeah I forgot about my baby lock.  it was really reliable until I accidentally shifted all the components to the left!!!  Anyways, no much else to add except that the singers and that particular baby lock is really a favorite.  currently i have a my lock serger by janome and its really great, i recently replaced my janome quilters companion for another singer and after returning to a singer, I realized singers sew so much more smoothly and quietly.  maybe its based on familiarity but even the tightness in bobbin winding was a mark difference.  the singer held about 2 times the amount of bobbin thread.

  3. kate lamar | | #4

    new machine

    I too, am a garment sewer and former Viking owener.  My current machine is a Pfaff Select, model 4.0 and I love it.  It makes BEAUTIFUL buttonholes and handles all weights of fabric quite well.  It also has a variety of stitches, but the Select model 3.0 has fewer and a slightly cheaper price.  I purchased mine a few years ago on sal for about $600.00.  I highly recommend this machine.


  4. HelgaPataki | | #5

    keeping your feet useful

    if you have a lot of accessories or gadgets with your existing machine, you could consider the same brand name because accessories are hard to come by as well as an extra expense. 

  5. sewchris703 | | #6

    You might want to consider keeping the Kenmore.  I burnt out my "new" machine (about 10 years old) but my about 50 yo Kenmore is still going strong.  I've only had to rewire it.  It weighs a ton and doesn't have a free arm; the decorative stitches are all on cams and none of them is a stretch stitch nor does it have a build-in buttonhole stitch.  But then I mostly do straight stitching, maybe some zigzag.  I have a serger to do all the finishing of seams and sewing stretch.  I also have a Singer Featherweight (circa 1950) that I use for bridal and special occasion sewing.  It has a buttonhole attachment so I can do buttonholes on that machine if I don't want to free hand it on the Kenmore.   I find that the old, mechanical machines are more designed for the amount of sewing that I do, unlike the newer machines.  Not to mention cheaper and easier to repair instead of tossing and buying another one.


  6. BlueRoses | | #7

    I use to own a brother but I sold it long ago. as for the computerized sewing machines, I have a  necchi omega  it's a computerized sewing machine, all touch of a button. I've had it for 7 years, I've never had any part on it to go out, my husband & I service our sewing machine ourselves, we sew clothes, fleece,denim, my husband uses the computerized sewing machine to quilt on, he says he like the stitches better, & I use it to do buttonholes on, but we've never had any problems with it since we bought it new. we also have a mechnical sewing machine also.  

  7. sewchris703 | | #8

    I discovered another reason not to replace my mechanical sewing machine with a computerized one.  Thunderstorms.  Yesterday we had a major storm with thunder and lightening right over head.  While we turned off all the computerized devices in the house (TV, computers, DVD players, etc.), I was still able to sew on my mechanical sewing machine. 


    1. Pattiann42 | | #9

      computerized vs mechanical sewing machine

      Whole house serge protectors are available and easy to install if you have a breaker box with room for another hook-up.  Your electric company may also provide this service for a nominal fee.

      1. sewchris703 | | #10

        Unfortunately that's not possible with our house without rewiring and putting in a new breaker box.  Our house has no ground wiring at all.  It was built in the 50s.  We replaced the outlets with new three prong so we could plug in the power strips which all have surge protectors and are designed for electronics.  But I still don't take chances with thunderstorms that are right over head.


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