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Sewing machine for denim and quilting?

raven2run | Posted in General Discussion on

While I’m at it..

 Anyone dealing with heavy materials found a machine they like? Bought a new used Bernina. Its fine for normal and light weight fabrics, but is a whimp with denim. Won’t go thru the double seams, and presser foot too low even with adjustment. Plus it is so light weight it will lift off the table if I’m struggling with the material. All it does is make me mad!

I can afford pretty much anything and could even get an industrial machine if necessary if I knew what to get. Also I’m getting interested getting into machine quilting and would love a machine that could handle the layers properly. I bet there’s a special foot for it.



  1. sueb | | #1

    I love my juki tl98E - it'll sew through and over anything I ask it to.  Bought it from allbrands.com - it's super fast so it's great for free motion work.  it's just a straight stitch though, no zig zag so you'll need to have another machine to do buttonholes and zig zag decorative stitching.

  2. Kiley | | #2

    I have a mechanical Pfaff with the dual feed and I highly recommend it for sewing on various fabrics both heavy and light. I have a computerized other brand machine that sews well on all fabric also but Pfaff's IDT is wonderful. If looking for a new machine you might want to go give one a try and take the materials with you to test them and see what you think.

    1. raven2run | | #3

      Thanks for the machine info. Gives me something to go on. I've had computerized industrial machines before and they are just too high tech for my comfort. I'm old school and still want a machine that's not smarter than I am and have so many programs I need a degree to set them. Next they'll have them talking back!

  3. Quilter | | #4

    Newbie here delurking to put in my little bit.  I have a Husqvarna Quilt designer that I absolutely love. It's not the Designer 2 - I bought mine early in the product line, so I don't have the embroidery feature, or the thread cutter (darn)  but I can hem my husbands jeans, and I quilt up a storm on it.

    1. raven2run | | #5

      Keep those cards and letters coming. I'm so new didn't even bother lurking..in too big a hurry for info. I'm really glad you decided to post.

      I know the Husq'es are a good name in chain saws..didn't know it was on sewing machines. I'm finding so many machines (and LOTS of other stuff as well) have changed who is making them ie where they come from, and quality has suffered noticably..lower pressure bars and a loss of umph in machines are quite often the case. Where a good machine the first run is great, doen't mean the second will be and I've learned the hard way.

      I live in the boonies and wasn't able to test run my Bernina first. I had to make my daughters wedding dress out of stretch crepe silk in a hurry and needed a different machine to deal with the stretch. Took the word of the little online I could find about the machine. Said it could handle everything..it can't even sort of. Turns out, yep, they changed makers and I have a machine I want to throw in frustration. I won't make the same mistake again.

      1. Quilter | | #6

        I'm in Canada - in the U.S. I think the Husqvarna's are sold as Vikings although I could be wrong about that.  I initially made the choice because my local quilt shop sells the brand and provides excellent customer support - something I consider to be really important because I live in northern BC and servicing can present problems if you buy a brand that doesn't have a local dealer. Well, that and the fact that I had a very basic Husqvarna that I'd used for years and considered it to be an excellent little workhorse.  When I decided to upgrade I wanted a machine that could use all my existing attachments.  I passed the older machine on to my oldest daughter who was struggling with an old Kenmore that sucked material down into the throat on a regular basis. 

        1. sueb | | #7

          You're right, Husqvarna and Viking are the same.  I had a Husqvarna Rose digital embroidery machine for a few years and I thought it was a terrible machine.  It wouldn't sew over several layers and it never worked right even after having it serviced and cleaned regularly.  That's why I bought the Juki, non digital machine - no bells and whistles but it does sew over anything I give it, even leather straps with no problem.  I do have a Husqvarna 910 serger though and it's a great machine.  It could be that the Rose machine (which I don't know if they actually make anymore) was just a lemon.

  4. applepie767 | | #8

    I have a Pfaff 2054 which is unsurpassed for quilting and denim work. Please try one at a dealer after you read about it at the Pfaff.com website. I believe the new model is 2056. Shelley

  5. diday | | #9

    Raven2run, yes, there's a jeans foot for Bernina (though you didn't say which model you're using). Here's a link for it http://tinyurl.com/87lt2. If the link doesn't work go to http://www.berninausa.com and use search keyword "jeans." A jeans foot would certainly be much less expensive than a brand new machine.

  6. Desiderata | | #10

    Hi, get the Jeans foot mentioned before and then take an old credit card folded over, place this behind and underneath the presserfeet when you come to the crossed seams or 'bump'. This will prevent the back of the presser-foot from hanging downwards, level it out with the front going over the seam and your task will be much easier. You might have to reinsert the card once or twice until you are over the 'bump'. Some people hammer the 'bump' to flatten it before sewing.

    Remember also to use a large jeans needle, IMHO, a size 90 will NOT be adequate enough. Go for 100 or even better 110.

    You didn't say what model Bernina you have. The lower end Berninas are made in Asia. The computerised models are made in Switzerland by Bernina.

    Hope this helps. If not I may be able to offer further suggestions.

    1. raven2run | | #11

      Ah Desiderata~

      You have given me something to work with! I will keep you in mind. Thanks!!

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