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Looking for a Second Machine

Cocopop | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Hi Everyone,

I have a Singer Touch and Sew 758 which is wonderful, but I would like a second machine for backup, take to classes, and make the kind of buttonholes that the machine will measure the size and remember the size.  I have looked at Viking and Bernina. I have heard that Bernina is wonderful but overpriced. Please send me some suggestions.  I looked at the Bernina Activa 230 PE and the Viking Emeralds.





  1. gailete | | #1

    I just picked up a Janome 9000 used as a second machine. I won't be taking it to classes, but I know I used to have an 8000 that I took on the road with me when I traveled for work so I could sew in the hotel room. What the maids must have thought! If you want to take it to classes, make sure it has a good cover or will fit in the travel trolleys (or whatever they are called) so it is protected. I love having that second machine especially with a 2 story house. I can work on projects on either level now. Buying it used got me a great deal (much better than the original 9000 I bought) as it came with some memory cards and a scan and sew. Not necessarily item you would want or care about, but picking up machines new on line sometimes gets you lots of extra goodies that you won't find at a shop. If you do go the shop route (I have nothing against that) make sure they are people you will want to keep working with over the years for classes and maintenance. Most machines offer basically the same things and then each takes off into their own specialty so you do have to know what you want.

  2. MaryinColorado | | #2

    http://www.patternreview.com has sewing machine reviews done by owners

    you can do an advanced "search" on this site

    I love my Vikings!  (I own two sm and one serger from them).  They often sell "previously loved" machines that people have traded up since they offer advantages to those who do.  Often, these machines have been checked out by company authorized servicepeople.  Free learn your machine classes are great, even for those of us who've been sewing "forever".

    Janome makes some great machines at good prices, I've known several people very happy with both of these brands in particular.

    I wouldn't buy the "bottom" line of any machines unless I knew they were made in the same factories, countries, with the same materials.  Many of them are not of the same quality workmanship, materials, and quality control.  I've heard too many horror stories about some of those machines where people spent hard earned money and were stuck with serious problems with them.  Sometimes the warranties are different too.   Buyer beware.

    The sewing trolleys are great for transporting machines too.  You can do a google search for who has them, as well as the fabric stores and http://www.nancysnotions.com

    Good luck in your search!  I love being able to preset the button size and have them all come out the same.


    1. Cocopop | | #3

      I had read somewhere that all if the machines are not made in the countries that we think they are.  I will avoid the lower end machines. The Viking sounds like one that I will test drive.  Thanks for the tips.

      1. MaryinColorado | | #4

        I helped my mother in law find her new machine.  For her specific needs, the Brother NX something (forgot the number, might be 400) was just right.  What is right for each of us is what really matters. 

        She wanted a Viking, because she was so impressed with mine and my daughter in laws' machines.  We love ours, but: She especially needed the large easy to read buttons (cataracts), and an umcomplicated machine due to Alzheimers, free know your machine classes, and they added on private instruction for her specific needs whenever she needs them.  Local repair service was available too, it was a Pfaff dealership that also carries Brother machines.  It also has many wonderful stitches and is not too heavy to transport for her, though they also offer to come out to the car to get her machine for her!  (The Viking dealership also gets my trolley with machine inside out of my trunk for me as I cannot lift it due to a neck injury.)  Although she was really hoping for a Viking and the embroidery capabilities, she is now very happy with her machine as it is "just right" for her needs, interests, and abilities.  She made a set of curtains, likes to make her own clothing, and some quilting.  The larger harp area on the machine is nice for quilting too and there are many decorative stitches.  Mary

        1. gailete | | #5

          Glad to hear that your MIL isn't letting a few health problems into her way for sewing. If she really wants to do embroidery, a stand alone embroidery machine can be bought for cheaper than a combo sometimes. And you don't need one with the huge embroidery fields either (although that is nice). Sounds like she would be doing smaller projects and so wouldn't need much bigger than the 5x7 field.

          One of the reasons I got the second machine that I did was for the decorative stitches. I knew the 9000 had the stitches I was missing (that is how I knew I missed them as I had had a 9000 that I traded in) and so I knew it would meet my needs. As it came with some memory cards including a quilting card, I can use it on my little quilt projects that I'm working on downstairs without having to load a flashcard and then set up the embroidery machine upstairs. I didn't realize until I had a machine on both floors how much sewing I used to do when everything was on one floor. For 2 1/2 years now, all those free minutes have been wasted without a machine downstairs. I guess that is why I get excited when someone wants a secondary machine. It isn't frivilous if you really do a lot of sewing! With a 2nd machine you can do even more! i use my downstairs machine for my charity quilts.

          1. MaryinColorado | | #6

            Thanks for your kind input.  She has improved alot since going to a new doctor and getting on some medication that has made a wonderful difference.  Everyone is thrilled that it has helped so much!  She is thrilled with her machine.  She loves the idea of embroidery, but is not comfortable with the learning curve. 

            Last time she was at our house, she and my adult son sat there knitting.  I'm so glad I took pictures too. 

          2. gailete | | #7

            Amazingly enough, for simple machine embroidery projects, there isn't much of a learning curve--it just LOOKS like there should be. I found the Jeanette (Jeanine?) Twigg machine embroidery book series (some libraries have copies) to be a good resource for newbies to machine embroidery. The biggest two things to know is make sure you have the right and enough stabilizer AND use the smallest hoop you can get away with to prevent poor registration and sifting of fabric

          3. MaryinColorado | | #8

            Thanks for your kind consideration.  I have been doing machine embroidery for a long time too.  I've taught several family members, my grandkids, daughter in law, and son all enjoy it too.  My daughter is finally interested in learning and since she is currently out of work we have time to work together on it.  I'm happy for the opportunity, but hope she finds work soon.  Mary


          4. gailete | | #9

            Either hope she finds work or finds a way to make money soon. Sometimes finding self-employment can be the most fun.

            I wasn't sure if you did machine embroidery. I've tried to convince my MIL who lives next door to come over and try my machine out with my help and she has decided it is too 'difficult' and she couldn't possibly do it. Knowing if she did catch on, she would be super careful of my equipment, I've tried to talk her into it, but she won't budge. I admire these 60+ year old ladies who are willing to try out all this new technology and really send their hobby to another level. My MIL is so bored, I would just like to see her doing something fun. Maybe if I convinced her I needed help to get a project done?!?

          5. MaryinColorado | | #10

            There's an old saying "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink".   My grandkids all know how to sew, embroider, and quilt but right now they are "choosing" other interests.  They know the door is always open and we spend time together doing other things, even if it is as simple as sharing a meal and talking. 

             I enjoy watching them perform in their sports, choir, scouts, etc. but don't want to actually participate!  They've invited me to ride bikes with them, but I make excuses because I'd rather just go at my own snails pace for now (I just got a bike this year and haven't practiced much.)  Maybe next summer....

            My daughter has been exposed to my sewing all her life, loves and appreciates the finished product and the creativity, but never had the spark for it.  She's 36, recently decided she wants to try machine embroidery.  I don't think she wants to prepare fabric by washing, cutting it, or hooping it and seems to stand by and watch rather than participate there.  She's okay with changing the threads, pusing the "go" button, and having  the finished embroidery!  But then there's the snipping of jump stitches and removing the stabilizer...I appreciate her interest and will take her where she wishes to go with it, though I think it's a passing phase and won't hold her attention for long.  I hope she proves me wrong!  Mary

          6. gailete | | #11

            The only interest my boys have shown in my sewing is asking me to mend their stuff. Actually the one ask and the other one I have to tell to take off his pants so I can fix something on them! But I did make them gifts for Christmas last year that they seemed to appreciate.

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