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Sewing machine recommendations

DebbieAnn | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

My 30 year old Elna locked up while sewing and I’ve decided it’s time for a new machine. I don’t need alot of fancy stitches, but want a good one for general sewing (I do alterations) and features for quilting as that’s my first love and hope to get into it seriously soon. Any recommendations? Thanks so much!


  1. jillebean | | #1

    I love my Viking Platinum---I began sewing after a 20 year hiatus, and just couldn't believe how wonderful a piece of machinery can be. It just hums along, and the feet are really, really worth investing in. At the stores, you can purchase gently used machines. Now they can read the actual time spent sewing on the machine so you can avoid an overused, about to wear-out machine.

    1. DebbieAnn | | #2

      Thanks jillebean-I've also checked on the net and it sounds like almost any of the current machines will be really nice after using old ones for so many years. I hope to hear from sewers/quilters who use other brands as well. I believe there are dealers for the major brands within 50 miles of where I live.

      1. Pattiann42 | | #3

        Visit those dealers and tell them what kind of sewing you will be doing and if you have a budget, include that also.

        Try out as many machines as you can and then buy the brand/model you like best from the dealer you like best.

        1. DebbieAnn | | #4

          Thanks-sounds like good advise. I did call one dealer asking if they have holidays sale prices and was told no, but they have everyday low prices. I hope to be able to visit soon.
          I just tried machine quilting with my 50 year old Singer and was amazed at how well it worked with the regular pressure foot ( don't think walking feet had been invernted yet) with the pressure eased somewhat. The problem is in pivoting with the wad of rolled up quilt!

          1. Pattiann42 | | #5

            Another thought!  You want a machine with plenty of room in the area to the right of the presser foot so you can maneuver the bulk of a quilt.

            The walking foot helps in keeping the layers of fabric from shifting.

          2. DebbieAnn | | #6

            I'd gotten a walking foot years ago for Elna (the one that locked up), but life got too crazy and quilting took a back seat. That foot doesn't fit my old Singer, so I tried Maggie Malone's method of machine quilting-she wrote books in the 1980's and her ideas are unconventional. She doesn't even baste the layers together-just a few pins here and there. I gave it a try and couldn't believe how well it worked. The quilt I'm working on now is strickly utilitarian-not a thing of beauty-so I thought it a good one to practice on.

          3. Pattiann42 | | #7

            Do you have the title of the Maggie Malone book that you used?


          4. DebbieAnn | | #8

            The book I have is Maggie's "Quilting Techniques & Patterns for Machine Stitching", 1985, published by Sterling. The ISBN # is 0-8069-5706-9. She doesn't go into great detail-I get the idea she likes to keep things simple. I see she has a current book out with lots of quilt block patterns.DebbieAnn

          5. Pattiann42 | | #10

            Thanks, I am going to give the book a try.

  2. Sewhatstg | | #9

    I recently purchased a new Janome quilters machine (I think it is the 6600) -  it has a long arm and it sews beautifully.  It isn't as expensive as Bernina's, but probably more than Brother or a new Elna. 

    I looked at Pfaff and Bernina when deciding, and Janome was my choice. 

    Good luck.

    1. DebbieAnn | | #14

      Thanks for your input. The dealer I may visit tomorrow sells Janome and Viking, plus others. I'm looking forward to trying them all!

  3. rebe | | #11

    Brother QC-1000.. awesome machine, great for quilting, large bed and great price!!

    1. DebbieAnn | | #15

      Thanks, rebe. Sounds like there's a bunch of good machines out there. I'll have to see which one feels right for me. I'm guessing there will be features on all of them that would be nice to have.

  4. katina | | #12

    What model is your Elna?


    1. DebbieAnn | | #13

      My Elna is a T SP-Top Special, purchased 1979 or 80. It was the last gear driven model the store had-computerized machines were new then. It was overhauled around 5 years ago-the technichian was puzzeled by some corrossion in it, but I knew it was because I'd had it in a damp basement for a while.

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