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Conversational Threads

What sewing machine do you use?

Deana | Posted in Talk With Us on

What kind of sewing machine do you use? Do you like it? Do you prefer manual or electronic? What machine would you get if money was no object?

Deana Tierney, Assistant Editor, Threads


  1. User avater
    dayenu | | #1

    I sew on a Babylock Decorator's Choice (BLDC) it's in a roberts cabinet with a flat insert.

    I keep a Babylock Ellageo 3 in embroidery mode all the time. Before I bought the BLDC obviously I was sewing w the ellageo but the DC sews faster and more smoothly.

    I have two Elna 714 sergers - four threads. I keep one threaded with white and the other threaded with black.

    Just bought a Babylock Embelisher and am having a great time learning its possibilities.

    I have preferred computerized machines ever since my first Brother PC6000. If money were no object I would keep the BLDC  I have but possibly upgrade to the new ellageo for embroidery. I would DEFINITELY get a babylock self threading sergerwith all the bells and whistles.

    Edited 8/14/2007 6:02 pm by dayenu

    Edited 8/14/2007 9:07 pm by dayenu

    1. SPOILED | | #51

      I've come accross your site and enjoy what I'm seeing I have a 9000+ and 10,000 Janome and I really use both all of the time.I teach sewing to beginners of all ages, and was doing store displays for a national fabric store, until it left my area. So now Idoing sewing for my self at a better schedule. Planning on getting a long arm at some point in the summer, this will complete my toy list for a while. but the if I could hit the lottery then look out at what I would buy maybe a high end machine in EVERY brand and then folks would NEVER see me I woould be having so much fun.  Enjoy ready the replys glad to see a site to chat withothers who enkoy the same passion I have. 

      1. moira | | #66

        Hi and welcome to the forum! I just discovered it recently and have so enjoyed reading and participating in the discussions. And I know what you mean about how good it is to chat with others who share this passion. Wouldn't it be great to have someone to make dinner, empty the dishwasher and walk the dogs - so you could just SEW?!

        1. ChristianNewLifeCreations | | #154


          When we go to heaven, we will have enough time to make anything we want to- all the threads, designs, stabelizers, and fabrics will be free and we can just create to our hearts content (because we won't have to stop to do dishes, do the bills, run errands, run out of money, etc).   AND, I'm pretty sure that Jesus will let us sit around and spend time with (I hope) Sue Box and others - lol. AND, we will all become as talented (but in our own way)....I will be able to run the Grand Quilter and actually stay on the lines I want to stitch!.  In case some of you are not into the embroidery aspect - Sue Box designs laces.  Unbelievably beautiful ones....

          Another frustrated sewer (by the time everything gets done and I can sit down to sew, it'smidnight!),



    2. dressed2atee | | #63

      I have the EVOLVE babylock serger with all the bells and whistles and it is truly a dream!

  2. starzoe | | #2

    My machine, for the past 22 years, has been a workhorse, a Husqvarna Prisma 990 and I don't plan to buy another machine. This machine has sewn everything from sails to tents, from silk lingerie to denim outfits. I have had it serviced twice in all those years, just for checkups, not because of a problem.Sergers weren't even invented when I could have used one, sewing for a family. I still use the Husky almost every day.

  3. Crazy K | | #3

    I have two  Viking Designer SE machines........one mainly for sewing, the other for embroidery but I've been known to have both doing embroidery at the same time.  I love the machines and their many wonderful features.  I also have my first serger, an Elna which has been great and is my workhorse.  I also have a small Janome serger that sits at the ready with black thread, a Babylock Evolve that I keep mainly set for coverhem.  I love the jet threading and the wonderful chart that makes changes stitches so easy.  I also have a Janome Compulock which does whatever I need it to do.  There is also a Janome 9000 sitting there that I can't bear to part with but don't have a space for it at present.

    Sewing is my hobby and embroidery is my addiction!  Except for helping my daughter with daycare and sewing for her business, I am retired. 

    My personal advice would be to go with a computerized machine if at all possible.  They seem to be far superior over the mechanical ones.  And if money were no object, I guess I would have what I have now.  I have TOL or near TOL machines and love them. 

  4. solosmocker | | #4

    Thanks for asking, Deana. I have a 7 yr old computerized Pfaff which I love. It has all the heirloom stitches I love and lots more. It is not an embroidery machine. However I also have up at all times my 35 year old Kenmore workhorse. It is permanently set up for buttonholes which it is able to do thru any kind and number of fabric thicknesses, something that eludes computerized machines. I really feel you need both, a computerized machine for the ease of all it can do and a mechanical for those buttonholes and "ski" type zipper feet. I advise people to pick up an old mechanical for a few bucks at a yard sale or thrift store. I see them often. Try it out for the buttonholes and if they are great, keep it. If not, put it in your own yardsale. Add to these a 15 yr old Singer serger and my Singer Featherweight. Its a 1952 white paint model that sews like a dream. You would have to pry that one from me! So I think in today's sewing world, a few machines are needed to really get the professional results we want in garment sewing, home dec sewing, speed sewing, etc. solosmocker

  5. User avater
    VKStitcher | | #5

    Hi Deana,

    I have a Janome Memory Craft 4800, which I love.  It is computerized, has lots and lots of stitches, and sews beautifully.  It's easy to use, and easy to find feet & attachments for it.  I also have a Janome 300e, which is an embroidery-only machine.

    I learned to sew on Mom's Singer 400-A.  It was the top-of-the line when she bought it, and she still uses it.  They don't make machines like that any more!  I used to have a mechanical Singer, just a basic zig-zag machine--OK, but nothing great.  I prefer the computerized machines, because of all the nifty features (automatic threader, automatic tensions, variety of stitches, perfect buttonholes, etc.)

    I don't plan on trading in my MC4800, but if money were no object, then I'd probably get the Janome 6600P with the AccuFeed system.  I've been dreaming of a Baby Lock serger with the jet air threading system.  If I get a nice year-end bonus, I'm heading to the Sew & Vac store!


  6. meg | | #6

    I use a 1981 Pfaff model 1222E. I think it's the first model with the integrated dual feed (walking foot) and I've used it for all sorts of stitching. I purchased it new. I also have a 1935-ish model Featherweight which I use for some classes.

  7. tmorris1 | | #7

    Deana;I have had several machines over the years, but absolutely LOVE sewing with the $100.00 Juki industrial that I bought from a garment manufacturers closeout sale. I also have a Union Special industrial serger which I love, and a Janome Decor Excel. I use the Janome for all of the special stitches, buttonholes, etc, but nothing compares to the speed and power of the industrial. I have considered getting a computerized model at some point, but would only purchase one for machine embroidery. I like that my machines are very straight forward, easy to use and repair, and I do not require a huge manual just to figure out how to stitch a seam. I have had many feet made for my industrial as well, so I really can do anything with my industrial that I can do with the traditional home machine.What a great question, thank you.T.

    1. User avater
      suesewing | | #137

      Do you recommend Juki for a novice serger?

      1. tmorris1 | | #138

        Sue;Juki manufacturing company makes the Union Special machines, and they are as far as I know, the most widely used and sturdy machines available as far as industrial sergers go. I find that the threading is more complicated than a household machine, but I can run it all day under heavy conditions, and it never complains. I really like mine, it is so fast and steady that using a home machine now feels like a child's toy. I purchased mine used for $100.00 and had to spend about $75.00 having it cleaned and serviced before I first used it. There is no comparison to the industrials, my friend has a consew ss machine, and makes a lot of heavy bags out of Cordura. It is amazing to watch her sew so fast that the needle will literally start to smoke, and the machine just wants to keep going!! Check them out, I feel that it is worth it.T.

  8. Tatsy | | #8

    I have a Husqvarna Designer I and a Babylock Evolve serger, and I think I'm in heaven.  I love the versatility of the two machines.  There are set up on an ell table so I can swivel from one machine to the other without having to get up.  The Viking is electronic and great for embroidery as well as regular and heirloom sewing.  T he Babylock is mechanical and very easy to use.  Threading is simple and so are changing to chainstitch and 2- or 3-thread cover stitch.  I love being able to serge the edges of pattern pieces before sewing them together.  I have sewn some garments totally on the serger, but the Designer I has a finer stitch which gives a better looking seam.

    I also have a cheap Brother machine which sits in the closet for emergencies.  It is very useful and dependable but did not have the versatility of the Viking. 

    1. BJB1929 | | #169

      I also have the Designer1 and have upgraded it to the usb port.  I love it and don't plan to get another machine.  I have recently given to my 10 year old great granddaughter the Singer Featherweight my mother got when I was 11.  It is in perfect condition (had it checked to make certain) and she has made a corduroy jumper on it.  She keeps it at our house and sews here.

      I have an Old Huskylock 550, but I will have to admit not using it too often.  I find that the Desinger does about everything I need.

      God bless you,



      1. Tatsy | | #170

        Thanks for telling me.  I had heard just the opposite.  I had to buy an external floppy disk drive for another project and found that worked well. I retire in June so either I'll have more time to sew or I'll be too busy with other projects.

        1. BJB1929 | | #171

          I have found that you tend to be busier after retirement (Last November for me) and I turn 78 in 2 days.  I am going to college taking senior ed classes on computers, serve on a food bank board and church council, teaching Sunday Church School ( over 50 years) and have 5 great grandchildren 8-14 in ages.  One boy has full blown autism and the other has Aspergers (a form of autism).  Our granddaughter has her hands full working full time for a laboratory that makes nutrient suppliments for children of special needs.  She is also a licensed nutritionist and does some consulting.  She is a former president and still serves on the board of Families for Effective Autism Treatment.  She has to travel some in her work and she also speaks on autism.  There are also three young girls in the family that need attention. Consequently, she needs a lot of help with the children.  Her husband is working in Maryland and gets home every two weeks.

          I determined that after I retired I was going to learn to do more things on my machine.  I am still waiting for that time.

          Sorry to go on and on.  Have a great retirement!!



  9. user-61024 | | #9

    Unlike the other respondents, I'm much more low tech. I'm using my Mom's Singer from about 1950. Talk about a work horse. This machine sews through just about anything, and always with a beautiful, even stitch. My Mom found another machine one year younger at an auction, so I alternate between the two models. No fancy stitches here, but that's not what I need.

  10. Kathleen | | #10

    I have a Pfaff 2144 - which is wonderful. It does everything. I had mechanical machines in the past and while they were nice, the Pfaff is amazing . I just got an embellisher which is lots of fun and am thinking about getting a serger.

    Thanks, Kathleen

    1. moira | | #58

      Don't think about getting a serger any longer - just get one! They are wonderful machines. I've had a Brother Lock for maybe 10 years and it transformed my sewing. When you've used one, you'll wonder how you ever managed without it!Moira

  11. Ramc | | #11

    I use a Bernina 1030 that is probably from 1983. I actually traded in a computerized machine to buy this one back them;  when the fancy machine had a problem, it took nearly 3 months to get it repaired. I decided that I needed a real work-horse, and that's what I have.   I love the knee lift, don't use most of the decorative stitches on it, like the buttonholes, the 5 needle positions... and when it breaks, someone local can fix it quickly.  I hope  it never dies!

    I also have, in our second home, a Bernina 1003. I would never buy another one of these. It's OK, but no knee lift, much less flexibility, not as good at straight stitching (or zig zag, for that matter). I did not know that some Bernina's are made in the east... and this is one of them.

    My serger is a Viking Huskylock 936... I really like it.  It produces good stitching, rarely creates sewing problems (mostly it's me, not knowing for sure how to do something). The BIG problem with it is getting parts here on Cape Cod: it sat for almost a month awaiting a new S stitch plate ( one of the fingers had come loose, early in my learning how to use it); it sat for more than a month awaiting a needle clamp ( one of the needle screws had gotten stripped) until I went on line and contacted a dealer in FL who has helped me when I have had the machine in Key West.

    I do follow the directions for taking care of my machines and I  follow the directions for using them.  I use them for making clothes for family and myself, especially for a grand-daughter who has definite ideas about what to wear and draws pictures of what she wants. I like doing that.  I also really enjoy making costumes for 2 theaters, one in Harwich, one in Key West. And those requests sometimes come with pictures or an idea, rather than a pattern.  That is the height of sewing fun, really exciting. It is also where I am apt to have the most difficulty with the machines.


  12. Ralphetta | | #12

    The machine I use most is a New Home computerized machine that is about 20 years old.  It cost about $1700.  When I went shopping for my ideal machine I fully expected to get a Bernina.  I had no intention of getting a computerized machine because I had seen first-hand how undependable Singers were at that time.  I wasn't interested in embroidery, etc. and just wanted the very best top stitch, buttonhole and basic sewing.  After comparing my samples, it was obvious that the New Home was the best.  I've never regretted my choice.  This machine has never let me down. 

    Although I like my old free-arm Singer serger I would love to get a newer one that is easier to thread, etc. and that will be my next purchase. 

  13. Beth | | #13

    My main machine is a Viking 6020 built about 1971. I have owned it since new. It is my ideal machine for two reasons, it can be and has been repaired, just once, and I know how to use it. I have about 8-10 feet for it and use many of them. It is very reliable, when something doesn't work right, there is a simple, straightforward reason. You can tell, I don't like cranky, touchy equiptment.
    I also have an older Kenmore, made in Japan, probably in the 80's. It has only a couple of feet, makes nice buttonholes and has both a single needle plate plus will sew a 7mm wide stitch. It is a little harder to use. I don't have an instruction book for it.
    The serger is a Janome, MyLock 204D. It is easy to use and reliable.
    My ideal serger would convert easily to a coverlock and do all the things my present serger does. Thanks for asking this question.

    1. nutsew | | #152

      I use a Bernina.  It's one of the electronics, but not really fancy--I don't remember the model number.  I have invested in feet for it, and it is very reliable and straightforward.

  14. jtsadler | | #14

    I have had a Brother for several years.  It doubles as a embroidery machine.  Even if it didn't embroidery, I would by it.  It automatically threads, the tension is great and it sews like a dream.  The only thing it doesn't do is cut the material. 



  15. VMiles | | #15

    Several years ago I replaced my old broken-down vintage 1958 White zig-zag sewing machine with a Husqvarna Designer I embroidery machine.  I love it.  I made some very nice embroidered pieces with it.  It's a bit daunting at first, but the classes and seminars were very helpful.  My only problem is that since moving a couple of years ago, I haven't had the time or the energy to get back to sewing.  I know I will have to learn all over again.  Perhaps that will be remedied soon as I bought some fabric to make curtains for my dining room--they wanted $900 labor to make them!  I ought to be able to sew a straight seam! 

  16. SuzyShadow | | #16

    I have 3 Janome machines: Memory Craft 8000 (which I would love to upgrade to their top of the line), a Compulock and a small light weight model I take to sewing classes. Never had to service any of them and they run like champs.

  17. SusaninSaintJohn | | #17

    I have a Bernina 440 with the embroidery module.  I really enjoy the needle up/down feature because it is easier on my right wrist than my older Bernina 801.  I chose this model because I wanted narrower feed teeth for general sewing (5.5 mm) and I'm not particularly concerned about the width of decorative stitches.  It also was the only model available with the stitch regulator at the time.

  18. OverTheEdge | | #18

    I replaced my Singer Athena 2000 with an Elna Heirloom edition machine. I like computerized machines for their ease of use, but probably will not purchase another. I bought an old Singer (made 1948) at an yard sale a few years ago.  Beautiful, consistant, straight stitches every time! This is really what I want in a sewing machine.

  19. Momto9 | | #19

    I sew on a Bernina Inspiration Plus 1630 sewing machine. I use a Bernette 340 Deco for machine embroidery. My serger is a Bernina 1100DA. I enjoy sewing on computerized sewing machines. If I had LOTS of money I would love to have a Bernina Artista 730E!!! I would probably drool on it too much to sew!!! LOL

    Edited 8/22/2007 3:17 pm ET by Momto9

  20. ikeessyou | | #20

    I use a Bernina Aurora 440. I love the BSR foot! I also own a Kenmore 24 Stitch that's a little over 20 years old. I also have an Elna serger.I love my Bernina! It is so smooth and sewing on it is pure pleasure.

  21. quilthis2 | | #21

    My current sewing machine is a Bernina 1260. My embroidery machine is a Janome 300E. I do not like combination machines; so this suits me. My first sewing machine was a Bernina 730 (mechanical). At the time, it was top of the line. Now they have come full circle and are using 730 for the new TOL 730. Just strikes me as funny.Sherri

  22. Timtam | | #22

    Hi there!  Interesting learning about what machines everyone uses.  We are lucky we have so many choices!

    I am decidedly low tech.  I have a Bernina 1080 that I've had since the 90s.  It is sturdy, reliable and sews every kind of fabric I've used.  It has a nice even straight stitch.  I have a second machine just for traveling around with....a Viking Emma...it is more of a light weight machine, but sews nicely.

    I bought a serger about a year ago.  A Bernina top of the line machine for $1500 and ended up selling it.  I prefer sewing knits on my regular machine and hated threading the serger!

    Happy Sewing everyone!


    1. ckells | | #93

      I too own a Viking Emma and it will no longer sew a zigzag stitch. I'm not in love with the machine, it was on sale when I retired and thought about getting back sewing again and so I have just bought a Pfaff 2048 which I love so far.  But after reading your post I think I'll bite the bullet and have it looked at. Joanne's the only Viking dealer here.

      I like your idea of using it to take to classes. I was worried about carrying an electronic machine to classes, thought the boards inside might get rattled? Or something?

  23. DoMiSew | | #23

    I use a Brother Innovis 4000 in an old Koala cabinet with a flat insert. Prior to this I had a ULT and Deco 650 plus 2 Berninas. I like the Bernina best of all for straight sewing but, due to arthritis in my fingers, I have great difficulty inserting the front-loading bobbin case. (It went to live with my daughter, whom I hope will start sewing someday: in the meantime, I have a good machine when I visit her. I love my Innovis for embroidery and am getting used to it as a straight stitch machine. I have a Bernette serger which I can't seem to master although I have had classes...a case of "if you don't use it, you lose it!" My goal is to tame that serger or sell it!

  24. phyllisews | | #24

    I sew on a Bernina 1000, it is a mechanical machine.  I just got a used Viking 1003LCD serger.  I use the serger frequenly.  I have an old Bernette Funlock 004 serger and my Mom's 1950s singer.

    I do garment, home dec, and quilts.  I use my Bernina for most things, the serger for knits and seam finishes

    If money were no object I would like a machine with a few more stiches and a repeatable buttonhole, the only issue I have with the Bernina.  Maybe an embroidery machine.

    If money and room were no object, I would like a long arm machine. 



  25. teaflowers | | #25

    I have a brother XL 3500 sewing maching. also have a brother 929D compact overlock.  I just got a embroidery maching. I have never used a computerized maching. hope I do not make too many mistakes.

  26. loiswms | | #26

    I have several machines and like and use each for different reasons.

    First is a Janome 11000, which is the easiest embroidery machine to set up and use and it does great embroidery. I like that I can hook it up directly to the computer or use compact flash cards, usb drives or cd/s. I particularly like that it takes much smaller space than the machines that have a separate embroidery unit to attach.

    My Singler XL 6000 I use for designs that don't have a lot of color changes because of the thread exchanger and the endless bobbin.

    My Janome 6600 is great for my sewing and quilting, especially while the other machines are doing embroidery. The dual feed system on this machine is fantastic for quilting.

    I also have an older Pfaff, I think is a 1475CD which is lighter in weight and great to carry to classes when I won't be doing embroidery.

    If I could have only one machine, I would probably choose the Janome 11000 as it combines great quilting and embroidery as well regular sewing. It is easy to take to classes because I don't need to take am embroidery unit and unless the class requires the computer for Digitizing I can take the designs i need on a USB drive. Really saves on packing and toting and much easier to keep track of everything.

    Lois in Delaware

  27. linda725 | | #27

    I sew on a Bernina Artista 185 and I really love my sewing machine. If I could have any machine money could buy it would be the Bernina 730. It has the stitch regulator. I am a novice at machine quilting and the stitch regulator would make it easier. I also have my mother's Singer. It needs the tension adjusted and I will use this machine, too. I called Singer and found out that Mom's machine was "born" on May 9, 1946. Funny, Mom's birthday was May 9th.Linda

  28. Debi53 | | #28

    Hi Deana, I am a loyal PFAFF user.  My first, that I bought, in 1980, was a brand new PFAFF 122E and I still have it.  Last year I purchased a new PFAFF 2144 and just love it too.  Both machines are set up and in use.  My oldest daughter, 31, has tried to talk me out of the 1222E many times and finally gave up and bought her own PFAFF.  I also have a PFAFF serger that I purchased 14 years ago and even though it is still in good shape I would like to replace it with a newer model some day.  My PFAFF's are workshorses!  I have been so pleased with my PFAFF's that I would not consider buying any other brand of sewing machine.

    Happy Sewing,  Debi

    1. User avater
      gae | | #43

      If you need to buy a machine don't close your mind to another brand.  I used to sell Pfaff and about 5-6 yrs. ago Viking bought them out to get their built-in even feed.  It really hasn't been as reliable since.  Just check 'em all out.

      1. sewable | | #45

        Hi gae, interesting you say that Pfaff are not as reliable.  I agree that my 2048 isn't in the same street as the 7570 or 1222E - 10 and 30 years old respectively.  I love the solid reliability of the older machines compared with the new one.  At only 3 months old it gave heaps of problems until fitted with a new foot pedal.  Shouldn't happen with a brand new machine.

        1. PalmCoastLady | | #144

          I heard that Threads Magazine had a good article comparing sewing machines.  Does anyone have that article?  I am interested in buying one after my 35 year old Singer died.



          1. BJB1929 | | #145

            I do not know which addition the article was in.  However, if cost is not a primary object, I would highly recommend the Husqvarna Designer 1 with the USB port.  The pressure foot lifts slightly when you stop and if you are making a turn the needle is down and it is very easy to make the corner.  It has an automatic thread cutter and also a needle threader.  It automatically adjusts to any weight of fabric, leather etc.  I have a friend who has had the Bernina and the Pfaff and seeing how they work I am very glad I have the Designer 1.  It also does beautiful emboridery work. 

            God bless you,


          2. PalmCoastLady | | #146

            Thanks so much for your advice.  I'm trying to locate sewing machine stores in my area, so I will have the opportunity to take lessons on the machine.  I found a Vicking store so will look up the machine you recommend.



          3. Crazy K | | #147

            Hi......I also had a Designer 1 and loved it.....then when the SE came out I traded up.  I love the SEs......the lights are to-die-for for these aging eyes and it has a bit more power than the D-1........plus all the other features you mentioned.  It truly is an awesome machine ........if price is not a primary concern.  I sew and do embroidery and I love the SE for both..........so much in fact, that I got a second one so I can sew and embroider at the same time..........or embroider on both!!  Sewing is my one and only vice and I'm retired now so I have more time to play........sometimes!  Life get crazy now and then but that's a whole other story!!


          4. BJB1929 | | #148

            This wouldn't be the Kay who knows our daughter TKA who is in a wheelchair?  If so, I have heard you are doing beautiful work and your sewing area is something to die for.

            BJB29 or busybs 

          5. Crazy K | | #149

            I don't think I know your daughter.  I live in an eastern suburb of St. Paul, MN.......  Could it be??  I know one lady in a wheelchair but her name is Nancy.......she's a bit older than I am.........which is 'old enough'!

          6. BJB1929 | | #150

            Our daughter lives in Texas.  She has a very good friend named Kay and she has several machines, sergers etc plus a large amount of fabric in her sewing room.  When I saw your note I wondered if you could be her.  BJB1929 busybs

          7. Crazy K | | #151

            We have a daughter that lives in Texas also!  No, I'm not that Kay..........wouldn't that have been a hoot??!!  It is a small world..........I guess stranger things have happened.  In this case, however, there is another Kay with the same love of sewing and the same 'collection' of stuff to go along with it!!


      2. ChristianNewLifeCreations | | #153

         I bought one of the last Pfaff 2144's that was made in Germany, so I hesitate to let go of it.  I would have had the opportunity to trade it in towards the brand new Creative Vision, which has the Dream Grand Hoop 360 x 350 mm.  Despite the temptation to trade it, I decided to keep it because I knew the other wasn't made in Germany and I figured I'd wait and see what the verdict was from those that will invest almost $8 grand!   

        I absolutely love my machine and am very pleased with the precision of the stitches (always even and never a skipped one), the many varieties of the stitches and the ability to save themto embroidery files, the IDT function which keeps my quilt together as I sew, the emboidery functions, and the ability to have so many accessories (the various feet alone) that improve sewing techniques and speed.  It always gives a professional result.

        It really does make sewing enjoyable, creative, and exciting!



  29. Camielle | | #29

    Deana, I would own the latest sewing/embroidery machine by Pfaff. It is truly a dream machine. Money definitely for me is a problem, but I certainly would buy this beautiful machine if I could afford it. Sincerely, Camielle

  30. kramer | | #30

    I do most of my sewing on a Bernina Artista 170.  I never use the embroidery module.  The machine is fine, but not everything I had hoped for.

    My workhorse machine is a 30-year-old Elna SP mechanical.  Still going strong and never misses a stitch!

    Serger is a Bernina 800 DL - love it.

    Babylock Coverstitch machine (new - can't comment yet)


  31. gazitz | | #31

    I use a Kenmore Elite.  My embroidery machine is the ULT 2003.  I love both of them.  If money were no object, I would purchase the new Espireby Babylock.  I also own a QuantumLock Serger.

  32. dotta | | #32

    I've used a Janome 5700 since 2001. For 40 years my "first love" was a Singer 500, so the upgrade as challenging.  I wish I'd either bought the Janome 10000 (new at the time) or a Babylock.  So much great technology has come about in the last 6 years.  I have never mastered the repositioning of the hoop in machine embroidery in order to continue a design. For all other sewing it is a very great machine.  I still love my Singer 4-spool serger I purchased in 1986.  I've been sewing since I was 14 and always feel at home in front of a sewing machine.

  33. JackieRoush | | #33

    I have a Designer 1 from Viking and maybe interested in the SE.

    I would also be interested in a commercial embroidery machine.  Would depend on the cost of an entry level machine.

    And, a long arm machine would be nice.

    Edited 8/22/2007 6:35 pm ET by JackieRoush

  34. BusySewingMaMa | | #34

    I use a commercial Singer 20U, and I also have a   Viking Embroidery Machine the 1 Plus.  I love using my embroidery machine and if I could afford it I would try the newest one Viking has.  I am considering looking at the Phafp also.

  35. quiltbrain | | #35

    I've had a Bernina Virtuosa 150 for 9 years now and will stick with it.  I also sew with a Juki industrial that is terrific, too.

    1. SandyP | | #36

      Hi, I sew a great deal and own   a Viking SE which is a very good machine and great stitching and the embroidery is wonderful.  but I also just bought a Baby lock espire and use it mainly for quilting I think it is a great value and has a lot of good features.  I also have a Viking936 serger and an a Baby Lock hemmer.

  36. BJB1929 | | #37

    I have an electronic sewing machine which is a Husqvarna-Viking Designer 1 upgraded to USB.  I love it.


    1. jgimple | | #38

      I too have a Designer I and would love to have it upgraded to a USB.  Was that an expensive and/or expensive thing to do?  Thanks for the information,  jgimple

      1. BJB1929 | | #39

        I guess it depends on your financial circumstance.  For me it was very expensive and had I not inherited some money would not have been able to do it.  Our shop charged $600.  Since the floppies are becoming obsolete, I felt it to be a good way to spend some of the inheritance.  If you can afford it, I think you will be happy with it.


  37. sewable | | #40

    Hi Deana, what a question to ask sewing enthusiasts!  We're all in love with our many sewing machines, from our old faithfuls which we can't part with to our latest purchase.  I'm a Pfaff tragic, have a 1222Em, 7570 and 2048. all in use at various times and for various reasons.  My Pfaff overlocker has only 3 threads but is brilliant - about 14 years old.  My other overlocker is a Jaguar (yes I'd never heard of it either), 4 threads, differential feed and beautiful but parts are not available any more.  When it dies, it will go and not be replaced.  My embroidery machine is an outdated but brilliant Galaxy 2, and I am reluctant to trade up to get larger embroideries, because do I really want larger stitchouts?  Thank you for an interesting question. 

  38. grammysgirl | | #41

    Hi Deana, I have a Singer Futura 200, and I love love it. Also a Europro computerized sewing machine. It is awesome too! Oh yes a Singer serger. Does anyone love their Futura too, we can compare notes.      Thanks Terri

  39. User avater
    gae | | #42

    I prefer a computerized machine.  I know that wasn't the choice but my favorite quilting machine is the Janome 6600.  Awesome built-in even feed, scissors extension table, smooth, quiet and never chews my fabris when I start off the fabric.  My favorite embroidery machine is a Baby Lock Elegante'.  Can't write all the awesome reasons so I'll just say "User Friendly".  My favorite serger is the Baby Lock Evolve, easy, jet-air threading, NO TENSION and I love it.  My favorite small machine for carrying around is the Janome 760.  TWELVE POUNDS, smooth, quiet, needle-up, needle down and much more.  The rumor is Janome is coming out with a 16" long arm, yahoo!

  40. maf | | #44

    I have a 16 yo Singer Merritt-1872. I never found any one else with this model nor did I read any comment about it. It is VERY basic straight and zig-zag + forward and backward + length of stiches from 0 to 5. Very basic but not much of strength when I need to sew in jeans or in this fabric. But I still can do a lot with this one. I hope to buy a serger one day or a machine with a stronger engine.manon
    Montreal Qc Canada

  41. thebluemax | | #46

    I have always used the Viking machines.  I have recently purchased the Viking Designer SE.  I just love it.  It's a computerized machine and I do a lot of embroidery. I kept my old machine, The Rose.  It's a very nice machine and I still use it.  Sometimes I have both of them going at once.  I can truthfully say that I have no desire for another machine.  Maybe  that is because I have never owned another, so I have nothing to compare it to.  As the saying goes "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." I also have the Babylock serger ,  the Evolve.  It can use 9 spools of thread and is self threading. I think it's a very nice machine, however I haven't really learned to use it yet as this is the first serger that I have owned.


    1. User avater
      gae | | #49

      I really love my Evolve.  If I could only have one machine I would keep it.  It does so much and makes my sewing look so much more professional.  Yes, I know it dosen't do buttonholes or embroidery but it does about anything else and more than a sewing machine.  Learn to use it, it's absolutely the easiest serger to use.  Don't be intimidated by 8 threads.  It's a 4 thread serger and a cover stitch machine and I promise it's easy.

  42. CarolBee | | #47

    Hello, I am in the UK, my machine is called a Brother Galaxie 2000 here, I think it has a different name elsewhere! Great machine. My dream machine would possibly be the Brother Innovis 4000d or the Janome 11000. I could also wish that there was a scheme whereby potential buyers could rent the machine and its software that interests them for say a month. After all these top end machines are not cheap and a mistake could be very costly.

    1. lself | | #177

      Now that's the best idea I've heard in a long time!!!  There's no way you can learn enough about a machine by watching a store demonstration. It would have saved me a lot of money if I could have rented one first.  Maybe manufacturers have someone who reads blogs and will take the hint.

      1. CarolBee | | #178

        Hello, Could we be that lucky!!  There is no such thing as the 'perfect' sewing machine.  I am worried about getting the 'wrong' one for me. I use a Brother Super Galaxie 2000. I have found it to be a great machine, but its getting 'left behind' in terms of software.

        1. lself | | #179

          I had a Brother, wasn't really satisfied with it and traded for a Viking D-1.  I love it, but she can be a tempermental thing.  I have 3-D digitizing software, but went back to my PE Design.  I do a lot better with vector based drawing.  The real key  is finding a dealer that "cares" for their customers.  Fortunately I have one close by.  The ladies in the shop know their stuff, too, they aren't just interested in selling   They are all great teachers and very helpful.  I waffled about buying my D-1 for "several" years and every time I went in, the shop owner was gracious, and willing to take time with me...and I really mean for years.   If you can find a good dealer, half the battle is won.  I worry about software and such getting out of date, too, but so far Viking has been good at upgrading theirs so far....still about every five years they come out with a newer and better model and I start drooling.   It really isn't their fault though, technology is just growing so fast.  It's just terrible that the only way to find the right fit is trial and error.  That's fine with a $20 gadget, but not very realistic when it's a $6000 piece of equipment.

          I hope you find your dream machine.  Just research and read reviews and look for a dealer willing to take time with you.  Good luck.  As for me, I'll stick with my D-1; as tempermental as she is, she has everything I need and my dealer is a whiz at service and supplying sewing machine Valium. He calms her down every time.


          1. CarolBee | | #180

            Hello Linda, I loved reading your reply!  What you are saying about your machine just about sums it up. Maybe it gets a bit 'awkward' but you know her moods and can cope! I too have been dithering for some considerable time. Trade-in, again because of technology is so low as to be useless.  I would love to know what you are keen on. My email is [email protected]. Bye for now

      2. Sofi | | #183

        Hi, I have a Designer SE and it is a wonderful machine, I love it, the best way to find your dream machine is to make sure you are happy with the features for instense if your a dress maker look for a great buttonhole , needle position , and a good straight stitch. The beauty of the SE the sensor foot it just feeds thick or thin fabric with ease. Good luck in your search. Sofi

  43. MamaGail | | #48

    Kenmore 900001---I love the convenience of the sewing machine with all the built in stitches and how easy it is to change over to the embroidery and how easy it is to order the different disc for my machine

  44. JoSews8 | | #50

    i have a fabulous button collection and am looking for a sewing machine that makes great buttonholes easily -- I already have a good old straight sewing machine, and i can't spend a lot of money. i bought an inexpensive zig-zag machine at sears, and the buttonholes it made were difficult and uneven, so i returned it. help appreciated.

    1. vickianne1 | | #155

      I have my late mum's 60 year old singer that has a wonderful buttonhole attachment.  You choose the right size cam and away you go.  It moves the fabric very slowly, instead of the needle moving.  The buttonholes are supberb abd you even get proper rounded kethole ones!

      judy in a very windy Toowoomba (Queensland, Australia)

    2. vickianne1 | | #181

      i have my mums singer about 60 years old.  it has a button hole attachment that you put cams inot and it does absolutely beautiful buttonholes

      Judy in lovely Toowoomba (15.1c to 25.1 C, light breeze)

      1. catvoke | | #182

        I have (and have used) a 1949 electric Singer in a portable wooden case that my father got for my mother way back in the early 50's.  I remember watching Mom make us three girls pajamas on that machine. 

        When I inherited it I took it in for service and learned that the bullet shaped bobbin it has means that this particular machine was a "loaner", a machine a store or repair shop would lend out to sewers while their machines (ones with the better round bobbins) were being serviced.  My Dad could never resist a good "deal" and probably got this baby cheap.  I don't care, it makes me laugh.  It likes to skip stitches and pull the seam to one side if you don't stay right on top of it.  Its also very heavy.  I just like to pet it once in a while and then sit down to sew on my Pfaff 6230 or the wonderful old Singer 201-2:)  

  45. harrietr | | #52

    I have 4 Janome machines: the magical 3000, which I've had for 8 years and which does everything I've ever asked it to do. Ditto with the Serger: My Lock 634D. Have never had any problems with either of these machines and can't image trading them in. I am not an embroiderer, so wouldn't be interested in some of the newer fancier models.

    About 4 months ago, I finally broke down and bought the Janome coverpro 1000 for cover-stitching, but I'm almost embarrassed to say, I have not used it yet. Hopefully, now that  the days are getting shorter and I'll be spending more time in-doors, I'll master my newest acquisition.

    The fourth machine is a $99.00 wonder: the Janome Harmoney 1017--it weighs fewer than 10 lbs and is only a 3/4 size machine, but it's terrific for classes: I just use it for straight seams and basting, although it does have 17 stitches, including button-holes, but I rely on the 3000 machine for edge-stitching, buttonholes, etc.

    Thanks for this discussion: very interesting

  46. justducky48 | | #53

    I have 4 sewing machines and a serger. I love all of them! I have a 54 singer straight stitch which is my favorite for quilting, a 53 elna supermatic which I got at a thrift store for  10$ and it does beautiful buttonholes, a 70's sears kenmore that will sew through anything and another 70's sears kenmore that a friend gave me that I don't use a whole lot but it has a buttonhole attachment that is really nice.  I also have a singer serger that my husband bought for me for my birthday 3 years ago and I use it alot. I just got my serger back from being repaired and anyone who sews knows what it's like to be without a favorite machine for even a day!

    I like the electronic machines and I even had a singer for a while, which I still wish I had kept , but they make me a little nervous because I know they cost more to repair and that would not fit in my budget well.

    If I could have any machine I wanted it would absolutely be the baby lock ellegante embroidery machine. I am in love with it !

  47. betty2252 | | #54

    I sew on a Husqvarna Viking SE and I would not trade it for any amount of  the money.  I started out  with a Viking Rose, traded up to a Viking Designer I and then to my present machine.  I can do anything with the machine and I love it.  I also have a Husqvarna Viking serger that is a big help. One reason I like the Husqvarna Viking is that the store where I bought it has ladies who sew and teach classes.  If I have a problem or a question they are always ready to help me.

    I started sewing maternity clothes on a 2nd hand Kenmore about 47 years ago. I bought another Kenmore but had trouble with it and could find NO ONE at Sears who could help me.  That machine sat in the corner for 5 years until I gave it away.  

    Regardless of what kind of machine you buy, if you cannot get parts, service or just ask questions of some knowledgable person, yuo have wasted your money.

    Edited 8/23/2007 2:02 pm ET by betty2252

  48. miss88elle | | #55

    I have a Viking Rose

  49. cactusflower | | #56

    I highly recommend Bernina!  I replaced an old Singer (thread tension problems) with a new Bernina 830 thirty years ago (my mother-in-law also had one), and it sewed everything beautifully.

    I finally upgraded six months ago to a Bernina Aurora QE440 with the embroidery module, and even though I've done only one embroidery project so far, I love this machine.  It has so many great features, is so smooth, and stitches beautifully.  I chose the Aurora so I could use a laptop instead of the TOL machine where the screen is built into the machine.  This way, I get a much larger image and clear screen.

    I've kept my old Bernina and will not part with it, as it is part of the family.  I also have a 25 year-old Bernette 234 overlock machine that is great.

    Something that should definitely not be overlooked when selecting a new machine, I believe, is the great customer support from the store staff, and I've gotten that from Bernina.  They are always on hand to answer any questions I have!  Some machines are sold in vacuum cleaner stores where the staff doesn't know anything about the sewing machines. 

    If money was no object and I could buy any machine, this is the one I would have!

  50. greeneyes21 | | #57

    Hi: I have my mother's Necchi Elna, which was purchased in 1954 or l955. It was a "portable"in its own case. It is a very heavy machine. I used to borrow it to make the dresses for my first little girl's school clothes, and again, for my second daughyer. It has cams to embroider and all sorts of attachments, zig-zag stitches etc. When my mother passed away in 1959 I took her sewing machine and gave my sister my Singer which was, at that time, a good machine. My Necchi was put into an antique cabinet by my husband. I am constantly sewing. At the present time I make wonderful cloth dolls, quilts, clothes and items for my home. I have sewn on satins, sheers, silks, denim, drapery fabrics and even heavy vinyl. I made, at one time flowered vinyl seat covers for my car. It sews beautifully.My Necchi sews better than any new machine that I have seen and will probably last a lot longer than some of the new ones. I love it!

    Marjorie in Ct.

  51. sewteach | | #59

    I use a Janome 10001.  It is great.  Does beautiful embroidery, great buttonholes and I use this machine almost daily.  I make clothing for my family and am an avid quiltmaker.  It has never given me any problems.  previous to this machine, I had a 9000, which I also enjoyed.  I'm not sure I would trade this one on anything else but I might consider purchasing a machine to use with the quilting frames..

  52. FranNJ | | #60

    My favorite machine is the JANOME Memory Craft 10,001 sewing/embroidery machine and is the one I use most of the time. I am fortunate to have a JANOME Silver to take to classes, but it can not compare with the 10,001. My collection also includes two NECCHI machines, one from 1951 and the other from 1953 which was made in Italy. These are used for 'heavy' materials and work very, very well. Then there is the SIMPLICITY serger purchased in 1990, which is a simple machine with no bells and whistles.Needle arts have been part of my life since I was very young and the first machine I used was Mother's treadle...wish I knew where that machine was today!Fran

  53. simiquilt | | #61

    I have a Pfaff 7570.  Love it.  That said, I still have and use my Pfaff 1473 and my Pfaff 1222E.  Now that one is almost bombproof.  Before we moved to AZ and my technology challenged friend came over to sew, I would put her on the 1222.  Knew she could break it!!  I also have a pre WW2 Featherweight and the treadle my great-grandfather bought used for my great-grandmother.  Someday, I will get the hang of the pedal rhythm right and stop sewing backwards.   I have a 5-thread Elna 905.

    I am intrigued by the ads for the new Pfaff that is due out next month.  If I didn't have to worry about what something cost, I might get that one. Of course, it would be nice if all my presser feet (a lot) work on the new model.  I adore the IDT feed.  It on 99% of the time.


  54. adelia | | #62

    I have a 2-year-old Singer Quantum XL6000 -- top of the line when purchased.  I had a Singer XL100 -- the first computerized embroidery machine they made.  I love them both.  Gave the XL to my sister.  The XL6000, in addition to being what I consider the best non-commercial embroidery machine, does everything so quickly it's a dream.  The automatic threader and thread cutter are wonderful.  It uses the regular wind bobbin, a wind-in-place bobbin, and the endless bobbin.  I use it for everything, including machine quilting, sewing heavy slipcovers, draperies, denim bags, etc.  To paraphrase Charleton Heston, they would have to "pry it out of my dead, cold hands" to make me change!  I also have an old Singer machine that used cams to do fancy stitches, and I save it for the times I take the XL6000 in for routine cleaning and maintenance.  The XL6000 cost almost $3,000 but I'd rather have it than a new car!

    1. dnic | | #96

      I am a new member and was so excited to see you loving your Singer XL-6000.  I recently visited my local Singer guy for the first time and took a look at this machine and I think I may be in love.  My husband is trying to say, "no way".  I currently use a Bernina Deco 600 but too much hooping for me.  Great little machine but a lot of manual work to keep it loaded-up. 

      I would like to have members input before I spend $3000 on a new machine as to their experiences with no-bobbin embroidery machines.  Don't like having to change those pains.

      I also sew on an old Singer and have a tiny Singer serger.  Old Athena 2000 which is about retired.


      Edited 9/2/2007 10:26 pm ET by dnic

  55. rodezzy | | #64

    A White, a Singer & Singer Serger, and an old JC Penny.

  56. rodezzy | | #65

    Sorry, I didn't finish answering the question.  A White (it's O.K.), a Singer (I'm frustrated with it) & Singer Serger (it's good) and an old JC Penny (Hate it).

    I would love to have the Elna Xquisit II sewing and embroidery machine.  That is my dream machine.



  57. User avater
    mrsbeast | | #67

    I sew on a 31 year old Kenmore that I got as a wedding present from my parents (I learned on an old Necchi). The Kenmore's button holer broke long ago, but I learned from a seamstress how to do without it. It has 10 special stitches and has worked really well all these years. I would love to buy a new, modern machine to try embroidery, and a serger. Thanks for asking this question. I've taken notes on all the great feedback!

    1. jgrue | | #157

      Your comment about "seamstress showing you how to do buttonholes"--I have an Elna 900SU--buttonholes drive me crazy. What were the tricks and tips that she taught you? I want to get a new machine just for quality buttonholes.Jgrue

      1. Brine | | #164

        I have both an Elna Super (Cl 62) and an Elna Diva, which is identical to the Elna 9000 except for some cosmetic changes. The Super makes fairly decent buttonholes, but they are four-step ones. Making buttonholes with the Diva (9000) can be an exercise in frustration because they are inconsistent. One thing I found that seems to help (in addition to using interfacing and placing stabilizer underneath) is something I missed when I read the instruction booklet. On page 8 there are instructions for using the fine adjustment wheel which say that if you want to adjust it upwards you turn it upwards, but if you want to adjust it down, you must first turn it down as far as it will go and then turn it back up to where you want it (below the initial setting).

        1. jgrue | | #165

          My Elna is the SU not the CL--I don't have the adjustment wheel that you talk about. I have an adjustment wheel on my Viking huskylock serger. Yes, interfacing and stabilizer make a difference but they're still not perfect. I have found the Elna dealer in a new location so I will do some test driving and see if a new one is an improvement. Thanks, Joanne

  58. Ev38 | | #68

    I have been happy with my Husqvarna 1100 since I bought it in June of 1991 and it's still purring along. It was my first electronic machine and I wouldn't go back to a manual machine now. Over the the years, I have acquired most of the presser feet and other gadgets which make a lot of sewing tasks easier. My only regret is that the embroidery programs are so limited.

    If I were to win the lottery, I would probably buy a more sophisticated model (probably Husqvarna), which would broaden the scope for textile embellishment.

    I also still use a White Superlock 534, mostly for sewing stretchy fabrics and for clean, overlocked seams on all garments.


  59. bzsewing | | #69

    In 1981 I bought a Bernina 900E Nova for $600, my basic workhorse machine. If I could only keep one of all my machines, this would be it hands down. I have just about every foot for it, just wish it had more decorative stitches on it like the 830. For Buttonholes and embroidery, it's my Janome 10000. It's a fun machine. For a trip into the past, I play around on my Singer Featherweight, 301 and 503 machines.I love the sound of the manual machines, but for repeating/complicated designs/embroidery it's a computerized machine.If money wasn't an object, I'd upgrade my 10000 to the Janome 11000 with all the aftermarket goodies and add a A+ shape vintage Singer treadle in for my growing collection of vintage machines.

  60. sandio | | #70

    I use a Baby Lock Quilters Choice.  I love it. I use it to sew garments.

    It makes perfect button holes, cuts it own thread and sews sideways if you wish.


  61. Nima | | #71

    I have been sewing on an Elna Carina for about 25 years. It has never given me any problems. I've made everything from lingerie to a new boat roof ! I have never even considered replacing this amazing machine. I also have a Singer altralock serger that I've had for 14 years. Just lately it has been giving me some grief but on the whole it has been a pretty good serger. I may replace it soon but really have not even looked to see what's out there. Any suggestions?

  62. Delly | | #72

    I own a Bernette 90E made by Bernina and it is truly a POS.  I've owned it for about 3 years and had no interest in embroidery capabilities found on the more expensive Bernina machines.  The tension is never correct no matter how much I fool with it.  I sew clothing almost exclusively so I don't switch between heavy upholstery fabrics and light weight silks.  I oil the machine and change the needle prior to every new project and have it maintained once a year...and it still doesn't sew well!  I'd love to throw it in the garbage but I'm afraid I'll just end up paying more for another overrated machine. 

    1. MercedesViking | | #73

      I just bought a Viking Designer SE.  I love it! 

      1. Delly | | #76


          Thanks for the input, I'm going to the Viking website now to get more info.  I'd loved to know what sort of sewing you do since I'm almost exclusively clothing 

        1. MercedesViking | | #77

          Right now, I'm terrible at everything, so I work on everything.  Interestingly enough, I needed a slip with hoops for a Marie Antoinette costume dress I have and I also needed some petticoats for a Mrs. Santa Clause dress.  So, my husband and I attended a Civil War re-enactment, visited the sutlery that had hoops and purchased a set.  I looked at the petticoats and the more voluminous ones were lovely and full, but unfinished and very expensive.  During a cocky moment, I decided that I would just make my own petticoats.  I'm sure you know how one thing leads to another, so now I have several period costume patterns, including the petticoats to keep me busy.  However, the Designer SE does so much more than that.  I have made an baby quilt, a hussif and beautiful lace and color fabric enhanced pillow cases in a Martha Pullen Heirloom Sewing Class.  What I'm really interested in using are the many quilting stitches (especially stipple quilting) , since we have a multitude of quilt tops in the family that need fininshing.  I also have some finished ratty quilts that I want to cut up to make purses and bags.  I have some curtain/drape needs that I'd like to design and use the machine to make.  Monogramming and embroidering is a request from all our kids and grandchildren.  At a yard sale, I purchased some new table cloths, terry bath mats and towels to use to play with embellishing stitches and monograms.  Long story, but I guess my preference in using the machine is with "stuff" and not so much just clothing.  I'm not really good at reading patterns.  I have trouble understanding "pattern speak."  Will that just take practice?    

          1. Delly | | #80

            What a hoot!  I've also made a few period pieces as well!  Mainly American 18th Century.  I've been sewing clothing off and on since high school but I still find pattern speak confusing!  I checked out the Viking after your last message and your response confirms my impression.  Sounds like a fabulous machine but it's emphasis seems to be quilting and embroidery which I would never use.    I wish I could find a machine with all the basic features of the Viking but without all the extras.  I'd be paying for stuff I'd never use.

          2. User avater
            dayenu | | #82

            i understand your problem with "pattern speak". some companies are worse than others. for  example I avoid simplicity as I find them very diffficult. Kwik Sew patterns are very easy to understand. It also requires a certain  kind  of visual spatial thinking.

            my husband who is absolutely brilliant cannot follow visual direictions to save his life but can follow wel eriten one. I need sketches.

            if pattern folowing is a challenge I strongly suggest making a cheapie version of something special with inexpensive muslin to work out the kinks. It seems time and money intensive to make a trial run but when you are sewing the pattern for the second time you are much much better at it. 

            PS I love your user name  :-)

          3. MercedesViking | | #83

            Thanks!  You know, I never thought about how some pattern companies may be worse than others on directions.  That's such a heads up for me.  Thanks so much.  I'll be more aware now.  Jeez, some of the easiest procedures are so convoluted and I was all focused on the stuff I wanted to make and not on whether or not I could read and understand the directions.  What a novice I am!

          4. Sofi | | #98

            Hi, love reading coments on sewing machines because I work in the industry, I also own a Designer SE & I am a dressmaker & teach as well I am thinking of trading in my SE for the Pfaff 2170 should I.Many Happy Hours Sewing.

          5. Crazy K | | #99

            I just have to ask..........what is it you do not like about your SE?  What draws you to the Pfaff?  I'm just very curious.  I have an two SEs and really like them.  Am I missing something??  ha

            I guess my biggest reason for going with the Viking was the proxmity of the dealership to my home.......just over two miles away.  Any other machine dealers were much further and all didn't offer the free classes, etc.   I've had other machines but when I wanted to get into the embroidery thing I went shopping.......and that's what I got.  I have not been sorry.


          6. MercedesViking | | #100

            Well, this is sort of funny.  I bought the Viking Designer SE because I live so FAR away from the dealer.  I wanted something that would do it all and not cause me to drive back and forth for something with additional stitches or capabilities of some sort.  I got the SE that does it all.  So, I stock up on thread and fabric and can stay put, since I live in the middle of nowhere.  Whatever I want to do, so far, the SE has been up to the task.

          7. Crazy K | | #103

            I got my SE to replace a Janome 9000 because I wanted to do embroidery.  The Janome dealer assured me I didn't need any software.........but of course, she wanted me to buy all my designs from her!!  I finally got an amazing box which worked but I didn't find it user friendly and I wanted MORE!!!  I wanted designs from the internet and at that time many were not in .sew format........I couldn't get things to work right and I was just frustrated.  Also, the 9000 has a very small stitch field.  Soooooo, I stopped at the Viking dealer in the JoAnnETC store closeby and started asking questions.  I came home with a Designer 1, the Studio 3d software and a bunch of floppy disks...........I was in heaven!!  When the SE came out, I traded up.  The Janome is a great sewing machine but the dealer lost me when she failed to  give me the whole story!  I love my machines and the USB port is great.  Since I prefer the ease of floppies and my computer is old enough to have a disk drive, I purchased an external floppy drive and plugged that in to my machine.  I also got a little hub and have a small mouse plugged in as well.  It all works great for me!

          8. MercedesViking | | #104

            Wow.  You are a lot more experienced than I.  My dealer told me I could get an external drive and I sort wondered about that.  Then I took a Martha Pullen workshop and they gave us some designs on a floppy and I got the message.  Duh.  I wondered if it would be feasible to attach and use a mouse.  I'm pretty inexperienced right now, so I'm not sure it would benefit me.  Sounds like you like having a mouse connected though -- is that right?

          9. Crazy K | | #105

            Yes, the newer SE models support a mouse......it's a cute little thing!  Some of the machines come with the mouse.......I had to buy one!  I know I should probably put many of my designs (I collect those too!!) on a USB stick but I like the floppies where I can have one or a collection on one disk.  I get most all my designs (like 99%) of them from Emb. Library and they keep my ordered in my 'history' so if I have a disk go bad, I can just go back and find the design and download it again.......no cost.  Pretty nifty, huh?

            Happy Stitching!


          10. Crazy K | | #107

            I failed to explain the use of the mouse in my last post.  Sorry........the mouse gives you a cursor....just like your computer and that saves the screen on the machine and makes it easier to change settings, go from one function to another, etc.  I didn't think I would like it but I really do.  I don't know that the screen is all that 'touchy' but it was recommended that I use the mouse..........so, I got one........and now glad I did!


          11. MercedesViking | | #108

            I see.  Well, I'm considering getting one but just haven't made the commitment yet.  Right now, I'm just remembering to use the stylus and not my fingernail.  I think the biggest thing for me at this point is the fact that I'm not organized.  My husband (the darling) is making me a study out of a spare bedroom.  He's bought a beautiful desk with bookcases and cubbies and filing drawer that will really expedite a lot of work and storage.  The SE comes with so much "stuff" and then I've actually bought more.  I wasn't prepared for the amount of things to have to deal with.  I didn't have anything much and have sort of started from scratch.  So, I'll have a sewing room and a place to store everything in a few weeks.  Maybe then I'll consider a mouse.  :-)  Thanks for your comments though -- I wondered what a user actually thought about it.

          12. Crazy K | | #112

            You.......not organized.........oh my........I wish you could see where I sew!  I take up the entire basement that isn't used for mechanicals and laundry!  I have waaay too much fabric.........racks and racks........a 6 ft. cutting table, two 6 foot tables with machines and a 4 ft. table for one machine.  I have thread racks, thread chests and enough stabilizer to keep me going for some time.........and then there is my collection of designs on floppies along with all the color change sheets which I keep in ring binders.... 

            I try to keep things slightly organized but it seems that when I start a project everything gets mess up again and I'm right back where I started!!  I guess as long as I can find what I need and it doesn't bother me it's o.k. since I'm the only one that works down there.  Oh yes,  I have  TV, DVD/VCR and small CD player/radio there also...........3 adjustable office chairs, my ironing board and iron and mustn't forget the Nordic Track!  No, I don't exercise........it's just there for 'looks'!

            I guess its just 'different strokes for different folks'.........I know some of the posters have said they can't function in clutter.......I seem to thrive in it!!  Well, maybe that's pushing it a bit but I manage.

            I'm so excited for you with your new venture.  I hope your hubby can cook.........you may find sewing and embroidery so much fun, you'll never want to quit!

            Happy Stitching!


          13. MercedesViking | | #113

            Eeeww.  A Nordic Track.  Blah!  What are color change sheets?

            Edited 9/4/2007 11:01 pm ET by MercedesViking

          14. Crazy K | | #114

            After I download (or before) the design, I print out the 'color change sheets' so I know what color thread they used in the design.  I don't have the full collection of colors so I often have to substitute but I can get close.  Go to http://www.Emblibrary.com and find a design.  Click on it and when the design comes up for purchase you will see a color change sheet area.  Click on that and you will get this:

            View Image

             Welcome                Kay!           Sign Out

            View Image Shopping Basket View Image

            View Image

            View Image

            View Image

            View Image

            View Image

            View Image

            View Image

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            View Image

            View Image

            View Image

            Thread numbers refer to Madeira rayon, 40 wt.       Thread Exchange     Printable without images    Printable with images

            Product Name: Happy Bee and Flower Trio / C4982

            Stitches: 19218

            Size: 6.85"(w) x 4.85"(h) (174 x 123.2mm)

            Number of colors used in sewout: 8

            CC1: Purple #1033 - flower petals

            CC6: Golden Brown #1056 - antennae, lines

            CC2: Light Light Pink #1116 - flower centers

            CC7: Light Golden Tan #1270 - faces

            CC3: Yellow #1068 - bees, circles

            CC8: Black #1000 - face detail

            CC4: Black #1000 - bee stripes

            CC9: Light Green #1048 - stems, leaves

            CC5: White #1001 - wings

            CC10: Yellow #1068 - text

            I hope this is helpful.........it gives the colors they used (they use Madeira rayon 40 wt), the size, the number of stitches, the number of colors and the number of color changes.

            Happy Stitching!


          15. MercedesViking | | #115

            Oh, boy.  You'll think you have taken me to raise after I ask you all my questions!  What a very cool Web site.  I just recently purchased an 8 thread rack for the machine.  Looks like I'm going to need it.  I will have to go by the book to actually use one of the designs, since I have no clue what steps to take and in what order.  I have a design on my flash drive, but have never used it.  As you can see, I'm a novice, but at the same time I "get it."  If that makes any sense.  CrazyK, you are very helpful.  Thanks so much for the information.  I'm signed up and ready to order designs!  Now, if I was just sure about how to measure and place the design on a garment...

          16. Crazy K | | #116

            Emb. Library also has the Embroidery Library Projects website where they have wonderful tips, techniques, videos, and the wonderful Stitchers' Showcase.  They have guides for stabilizers, placement and all that wonderful stuff.  It is a wonderful site for guidance and information.  The link is: http://www.embroiderylibraryprojects.com/   Then look at the site.......there is a 'tips and techniques' tab at the top of the page along with different things to check out on the left side.  Have fun!

            The Stitchers' Showcase is new every week day just after 9 a.m.  Four different pictures that people have sent in............lots of beautiful work out there.........talent galore!  Wow!  It is an inspiration to me and I think you'll find it so as well.  Take a peek........you'll want to 'bookmark' the site so you can visit frequently, I'm sure.  There have a calendar where you can look back at all the photos since they started the 4 per day.........

            I find their site very helpful and have printed some of the charts, etc.  Good reference.  There is lots of good info out there.

            Hope you find this all helpful.  I am relatively new to this as well and professional by no means.........I just try to have fun with it.  I have made quite a few gifts.......done very little for myself but I hope to have more time so I can do more!


          17. Crazy K | | #117

            Just me again......hope I'm not boring you.  I just went to the Technique guide page and WOW, they have expanded and added more info.  I'm trying to paste that into this page for you.  Lots of good info for you........enjoy!

            Sorry..........it didn't allow

            Edited 9/5/2007 8:51 pm ET by Crazy K

            Edited 9/5/2007 8:53 pm ET by Crazy K

            Edited 9/5/2007 8:58 pm ET by Crazy K

          18. MercedesViking | | #118

            OHMYGOSH!  Boring me?  No way.  I've learned more about how to embroidery using my machine in the last two days with your guidance than I have in the past two months that I've owned it.  I am so impressed with the Website.  I've already printed two of the tutorials to practice with on towels and t-shirts.  I've also made a trip to JoAnn's to pick up the things that I read would facilitate the best outcome of my effort.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Any time you come up with these wonderful suggestions, I would appreciate hearing from you.  This is absolutely fabulous.  If this is boring, then bore me to death.  MercedesViking

          19. Crazy K | | #119

            Just to add a little friendly 'nudge' to get you even more excited.....I'm sending some photos of some of my projects.  All designs are from Emb. Library.  Not perfect...nor professional but I was pleased as were the recipients.  Guess that's what counts.

            Happy Stitching!


            View ImageJustin_x_Robbxs_shirts_003.jpg148KB

            View Imagebag_x_bibs_002.jpg136KB

            View Imagegarden_t-shirt_002.jpg149KB

            View Imagecurtains_002.jpg143KB

          20. MercedesViking | | #120

            Hahahaha!  Those are so awesome!  What beautiful projects.  If they look that good, I sure wouldn't worry about perfect.  You're doing exactly what I want to do -  a variety of things.  A couple of questions (now that you've nudged me):  Did you make the bag?  Do you have any pointers on how to learn to measure the projects to place the embroidery in the right areas?  Like the curtains, for example, you have the birds across the bottom.  I'm not sure I would figure the placement very easily.  I have a set of curtains to make for my new sewing room, so your timing is perfect.  I'd like to personalize them, but I'm not sure I'm up to snuff.  I know I need more practice on just working with it and discovering what sizes embroidery designs end up being on a project - like how much room will they need for proper placement.  When I look in the books that came with the SE, it's all about some things being pictured full size and others not.  I need to get a handle on that.  Any ideas on measurement and placement on the fabric will be greatly appreciated.  The tutorials on the Website are so great, too.  Thanks so much for the pics - that really helps when I can see the outcomes.  Maybe sometime I can share a finished project picture with you!

          21. Crazy K | | #121

            Yes, I made the bag.  I usually 'fly by the seat of my pants' but it's good to kind of lay things out.  It is often recommended to print a template (copy of the design) and lay that on the fabric to get placement.  I have done that when placement is critical.  With the bag I kind of laid things out and marked the fabric with a chalk pencil and went from there.  For the curtains, I cut my fabric and then did the embroidery before hemming..........that gave me a little 'wiggle' room if I was off!  For the men's shirts I used a placement guide and measured over from the center and down from the shoulder seam and then marked my center point.  Probably not perfect but then I'm not a professional.  My military son (former Navy) and grandson (current Nat. Guard serving in Iraq) loved them.  Then I made two for a son-in-law presently serving in Iraq.  He was home on leave at the time of his birthday so I took them when we went to visit.  He proudly wore them that weekend!

            Another site that has good information on stabilizers is RNK distributing.....I don't have the link handy but if you do a search on RNK distributing......or try http://www.rnkdistributing.com.  They sell stabilizers but they also give some recommendations for different uses and different fabrics, etc.  I still like Emb. Library for all there info..........good stuff!

            I hope you do share........... I would love that!



          22. MercedesViking | | #122

            Embroider before hemming.  Perfect hint.  Those are the kinds of things I need to know.  What a nice idea for your family men.  I can't wait to get started!  I've a few more days of other commitments and then...I'm ready to sew!  As usual, you sent me a great Website destination.  Many thanks.

          23. Crazy K | | #123

            Glad to help!

            Happy Stitching!


          24. Crazy K | | #124

            Me again.........always thinking of something else!!  I have found that I really like the pre-wound bobbins for embroidery.  I got the NEBS brand through Sewphisticated Stitcher.  Well, first I bought a few locally from the Viking dealer.  When I found that I liked them I bought a gross when on sale......much more economical......  Some don't like the prewound but I do.  The thread is fine and very strong.  The pre-wounds last much longer, too, which means less fussing with changing bobbins when a design is stitching.  It is something to consider...................  One time I do not use them is for freestanding lace or toile designs on flour sack dishtowels, etc........I try to use the same color bobbin thread as top thread for two-sided appearance.

            Always something, huh?  ha ha

            Happy Stitching!


          25. MercedesViking | | #125

            I did the same thing - I bought a bag of prewound bobbins from my dealer when I bought the SE.  They were expensive, but since I was just beginning the first of my "collection" of stuff to use with my new machine,  I thought it would be a good idea to have extra bobbins and they might as well have thread on them since they cost so much.  I did, however, make a mental note to not do that again or to try to find them cheaper.  I'm so glad to hear that there is a place in which I can do that!  Way to go!  Keep those ideas coming!  MV

          26. MercedesViking | | #126

            Me again.  I went back to look at your pictures one more time.  (I'm still so impressed.)  I'm thinking about fabric.  I don't know the names of many fabrics, but I'm learning.  I also bought the book, More Fabric Savvy (Sandra Betzina), which describes the fabric, tells which foot to use to sew it, what interfacing and thread to use and so on.  It's a great resource for me.  All that being said, what kind of fabric did you use to make the curtains with the birds on them?

          27. Crazy K | | #127

            I got it at JoAnn Fabrics and it is called 'weavers cloth'.........it comes in white, blue and maybe some other colors but not many.  I got the white and prewashed it.......glad I did because there was lots of lint from it in the dryer screen.  Lovely stuff to work with and for me just perfect.  I wanted something to filter the bright morning sun in my sewing room but still allow some light to come through. 

            Hope this helps you.


          28. rodezzy | | #160

            Not perfect?......just awesome.  Beautiful work. 

          29. Crazy K | | #161

            Thanks for your kind words.  Having wonderful equipment makes it fun......


          30. MercedesViking | | #109

            My husband just asked me if one could use a wireless mouse with the SE.  I have no idea.  Do you?

          31. Crazy K | | #110

            Yes, I have one but I like the one with the wire........I think its operator error with regard to the wireless!!  But in a word, yes, you can use one.

          32. MercedesViking | | #111

            Huh.  Imagine that.  What's not to love about the SE? Thanks so much for the info.

          33. Sofi | | #101

            Hi, It's not that I do not like the SE,the fact that the pfaff has the IDT, when I sew I also like precision of my stitching, have only had the SE for 2 months. Many thanks Sofi

          34. Sofi | | #133

            Hi, I like the SE for the embroidery side but for the dressmaking still not 100 percent , mabe I need to do more sewing to get my self familia with the Designer SE happy sewing Sofi.

          35. Crazy K | | #134

            I do a lot of sewing with my machines aside from the embroidery and have been happy.  I am not a dressmaker so possibly not quite as particular about some of the stitches.  I do feel that my machines do a fine stitch.  I had a Pfaff circa 1950's, then several Janomes........last one being Mastercraft 9000 and then the Designer 1 which I traded up.  I guess I feel that the SE has every bit as good a stitch, or possibly better, than any of the rest...........JMHO.  I love the automatic foot up, down thing and the thread cutter.  I always hated fidgeting for the pressure foot lever while trying to hold something together and in place.  Just lots of little things about the SE that I like. 

            Happy Stitching!


          36. Sofi | | #135

            Yer it does have some great features, thats why I bought the SE,I guess I have to get used to the machine as I had a Bernina 950 Industrial entirely a different machine.Happy sewing Sofi.

          37. Crazy K | | #136

            That makes lots of sense.  I've never owned nor sewed on an industrial but I'm sure they're a totally different breed.  Yes, it may take you some time to adjust.  Do you use the 'sewing advisor' to help you with things?  If you select your fabric, i.e. weight, knit or woven, etc. it will change some of the internal settings.........makes a difference. 

            Happy Stitching!


          38. Sofi | | #140

            Hi, yes I do use the sewing adviser,find that it does help a lot , sometimes if I am topstitching I find that the bobbin thread seems loose have changing needles cannot pin point as yet . Happy sewing .Sofi

          39. jgrue | | #158

            I am addicted to Vogue Patterns--they have a lot of detail but they also give you very clear directions. Start with their easy patterns first.Jgrue

          40. MercedesViking | | #159

            Really.  Huh.  I've actually stayed away from Vogue thinking (I know not why) they would be far too difficult for my skill level.  Thank you!  I'll check it out.

        2. jtsadler | | #90

          I sew everday clothes for Plus Size women.  Right now I am doing baby quilts.  I also make napkins with and without my serger.  I embroidery tea towels and bath towels for gifts.  I am getting ready to do Christmas stuff.  I finally have a room which can be used just for sewing.

          1. sassylassy660 | | #166

            What kind of serger do you have?  I have had one from sears for a few years and have not been happy with it from day one

  63. Mobleygirl | | #74

    I sew with my new Viking Sapphire 850, and I am in love with it. I recently sold my old Bernina 801 to a good loving home. I've never owned a Viking before, and I've never owned a computerized machine, so I'm in heaven. I've had this machine for about 2 months now. I'm working on a knit top from a Vogue pattern right now, and it's like sewing through butter.

    My next planned purchase is a serger, but I have a lot of saving to do before I have the funds to go get one!

    1. Stitchwitch | | #81

      Dear Moblegirl,

      I bought the SAPPHIRE 830 about a month ago. In general I LOVE this machine it is so easy to use and the big harp space is lovely. The one problem I have is that when I sew with Gutterman thread all is fine but when I sew with Mettler my tension is completely out. I've had it at the dealer again to check and it is the same. Have you sewn with all kinds of thread? I also have a BERNINA and my stitch quality on the BERNINA is EXCELLENT whether I use Gutterman or Mettler. I don't ever need to do any tension adjustments on my BERNINA.

      Edited 8/27/2007 11:28 am ET by Stitchwitch

      1. Mobleygirl | | #85

        Hi Stitchwitch,

        I had some tension troubles very early with the machine (funny you should mention the Guterman-Mettler dilemma -- my dealer said she always sews with Mettler on her SE and has no trouble). I've sewn with Mettler and Guterman, and both have worked fine. My dealer was able to tweak the tension on my machine, and it seemed to make a big difference. I also find that my machine sews better with the spool lying down instead of straight up. If your machine is bugging you, take it to your dealer and have it checked out. I did, and I'm really glad I did that...as much as these machines cost, you should be thrilled to use it with various good threads!! I still have to take the "free" class, so I know I'll learn more about my machine (what is standard, and what is my machine's unique personality)...no two are alike.

        Good Luck,


  64. sewsuz | | #75

    I have several. My 1971 (top of line) viking Husqavarn helped me earn my undergraduate degree in clothing/textiles and my masters in Textile Arts. I pushed it hard in late 1970's with free motion embroidery, quilting, sewing weird- non-traditional textiles and it performed GLORIOUSLY. However, in pursuing textile artwork and commissions I found the regular embroidery stitches lacking in quality- satin stitch to be specific. I bought a Bernina 180 artista and use that now. So currently in my studio I have: pfaff 4 thread serger, Bernina 180, viking (my mom's 1975 top of line -my 1971 finally "died")/ As well I have a singer touch & sew I inherited from my mother in law (top of line 1960's?) and it still works fine. I am teaching basic sewing out of my studio too and we actively use all four machines.I like having the base line of Bernina, viking & serger for my artwork. sewsuz

  65. dramaqueen55 | | #78

    I own two Bernina machines, and I love them both.  One is 15 years old and the other is 7 (the newer one is an embroidery machine.)  If money was no object, I'd get the newest Bernina embroidery machine with ALL the bells and whistles available to purchase! 

  66. Betakin | | #79

    In the past, I only owned one good Singer machine and a Babylock serger that served me sewing for my family for many years. I promised myself an embroidery machine when I retured. I do now have a stand alone embroidery machine that I have enjoyed using especially making items requested by my dear grandkids.

    My sewing machines include a mechanical Pfaff, a computerized Kenmore and a computerized Viking and a Brother Quilt Cub computerized machine. I enjoy both the mechanical and computerized models and use them for different projects. I have a basic 4 thread serger and an Elna coverlock. I purchased all of my machines at sale prices or just as they were being discontinued and paid less for all than if I had purchased a top of the line machine at dealer price. I have never been able to afford a Bernina but if money were no object and I had only one machine I think I would be interested in the new Bernina Aurora Anniversary Limited Edition with all the extra accessories (including embroidery) for it.

  67. gloduerr | | #84

    I have an old Bernina 1130. Love it but I loved my older 930 even better--can't beat a Bernina!

    1. moira | | #86

      In all the postings I've read, yours is the first to mention a Bernina 930. I recently replaced mine with a Bernina aurora 440, as the motherboard on my 930 had given up the ghost and isn't made any more. Repair was the other option but would have been very costly and the machine was 20 years old. They would have had to send the original board to Switzerland. I can't bear to throw the machine out as it was a WONDERFUL friend for all those years, but it's no use for anything any more. Yes, the new one is great, but I'd love to still be using my 930.

      1. gloduerr | | #88

        So sorry for the loss of your dearest! I taught sewing for years at a little shop here and still have never managed to age the thing--what a work horse--a truly wonderful one! My 82 yr. old mother still loves hers, too, and swears she'll never give it up for anything else.

  68. robt43 | | #87

    My first "good" machine was a Bernina 830,which I loved and after that
    would never have a machine without the kneelifter. After approx. 15
    years I got a Bernina 1031, a fabulous machine. Just last year I got my
    first electronic machine, a Bernina 440, which I also love and there are
    definitely features of electronic machines I like. But if I had a choice I would buy another Bernina 1031, wish they still made it.

  69. User avater
    busy91 | | #89

    I sew on a Kenmore from Sears. It is a later model. That is what I do basic clothes on. When I need to do something heavier like a coat or something, I will probably pull out my Singer from 1972.

  70. Ckbklady | | #91

    I sew on a clunky metal White 1710 I bought at one of those "rip-off" sales ("we have surplus home ec machines for $100 but plan to upsell you to a $400 model.."). I love the old beast. It's a manual that I can take apart and repair and tune up myself and I've been using it for 20 years.

    I serge on a Janome 534D, which I also completely love. I bought it used from a customer in the fabric store in which I worked in my 20s. She had never taken it out of the box. It is so easy to thread and takes the same needles as the White. Priceless.

    If money were no object, I wouldn't replace either. I'd buy more FABRIC! :)

    :) Mary

  71. jjgg | | #92

    My next machine (when I move next year) will be a plain jane straight stitch, no frills, mechanical (industrial) sewing machine. No more fancy schmancy embroidery, 1001 stitches, machines. I just want one that will sew a beautiful straight stitch and do it a bit faster than home machines.

    1. vickianne1 | | #156

      I bought a lovely brother semi pro and I'm thrilled with it.  So fast, straight and a good sewer.  You do need to manage the tension yoursefl though.  A good thread cutter too.

      Judy in a windy Toowoomba (queensland, Australia)

  72. Quilter | | #94

    I use a Husqvarna Quilt designer I.  I love it.  If money was no object I'd upgrade to the Quilt Designer II - I think I'd like to be able to do a bit of embroidery, and I'd really like the convenience of the thread cutter.  Maybe someday I'll splurge and upgrade, but I don't feel any urgent need because what I have really suits me very well.

    1. User avater
      Nik-ki | | #167

      Hi, Quilter:

      I use the Viking Quilt Designer II and love the embroidery capabilities.  I guess my dream machine is the Viking Designer SE, which I hear they are getting ready to upgrade soon.

  73. sewsilly60 | | #95

    I have a Brother Innovis 4000. It's my second Brother sewing/embroidery machine. My other is the 7200.  I love it's touch screen. Very user friendly..the friendliest of the ones I tested.  I also have a Baby Lock Evolve serger. Love the self-threading feature but glad I learned on my little old Bernina serger.  I don't drink or do drugs..I buy sewing machines!

  74. Tortus2 | | #97

    I have an Elna Super (1985) sewing machine. 

  75. User avater
    [email protected] | | #102

    I have a Bernina 1530 that I wouldn't trade for the world.   If I had to have a new machine, I'd buy another Bernina - probably one that is focused toward quilting.

    I also have a Viking.  It does great embroidery stuff according to the manual.  As you can probably tell, I haven't touched it yet, but I will real soon.

  76. DeeND | | #106

    I am a Bernina lover. So far I've owned three Bernina sewing machines (810, 1090, 1630) and each one has been a work horse.  My current machine is a 1630 and I love my 1630!! 

    I also have a Bernina Deco 340 as an embroidery machine.  It reads the EXP format but wish it would read the PES format which is the most popular.

    I did own a Pfaff 76?? embroidery/sewing machine and hated it.  It was so "unfriendly" to use. 

    I also owned the Brother 2003D ULT which was an embroidery and sewing machine.  Wow, what a machine; but I was not happy with the embroidery stitching.  Don't know if it was the operator or the machine.  The machine was very user friendly.  

     If I could have any machine I'd go for the current top of the line Bernina.  I don't dare get a demo --- "no" isn't in my vocabulary when it comes to sewing machines: if I saw, I'd have to buy.  

  77. GailAnn | | #128

    Right now, I'm using my old Featherweight 221.  It used to be my back up/traveling machine.  I love it but it's not the workhorse I need, right now.  So this a very interesting thread to me.

    I learned to sew on an old Kenmore portable with a buttonhole attachment.  Great little machine, I used it hard in high-school.

    In 1976, I bought an Elna mechanical.  Used it every day for years, loved it, what a workhorse!  Never broke down, it was in the shop ONLY for cleaning and adjustments.

    By 2004, I'd kind of stopped sewing.  Wanted a new machine anyway.   When I heard about a young wife in financial distress who wanted to make some curtains, do a little mending, and a few new skirts, I gave it to her.

    Then I bought a Janome.  AM I ever sorry!  It is flimsey and clumsey.  The quality is just not there.

    So, here I am, at 56 years old, just getting back into sewing again, and NEEDING a new machine.  I don't need embroidery, or computerization.  Just a good, sturdy, mechanical, workhorse of a machine that will stay out of the shop.  I'm thinking of looking on the secondary market for something used. 

    I feel as if I'm dating!  I don't want the sort of machine that hangs out in bars. 

    Any Suggestions Ladies?


    1. mac426 | | #129

      I would ask all of your local dealers to please call you if an old Elna SU or whatever model you loved so much  happens to come in on trade.  Also Ebay always has machines for sale, but you never know what they are really like because you can't see them in person, so you have to rely on the honesty of a good seller.   If you are in the market for a Featherweight, there is none better than seller April1930s.  Also a seller called DeskDave sells Georgeous Featherweights done in beautiful colors and original colors.  Seller called Lotathings sells old machines in really great shape.  But  myself, I think you will get a machine a lot cheaper off your local dealers, because Ebay is ridiciously high.

  78. deni | | #130

    I have a Bernina 440 quilters edition and I love all the features that this machine has. I did not buy the embroidery  feature at the time and I regret  not purchasing it at the time. 

    I had a Necchi that I used since 1974 and I loved that machine.  However I am now using my mother in laws Bernina 830.  This machine is a workhorse.  I find the new machines are sometimes a bit finicky  The older machines are much more forgiving.  I have to admit I use both of my Berninas  for different projects.  I am very very fortunate. 

    I also have one of the orginal Janome sergers.  I still use it but only on selected fabrics.  I can not get it fine tuned as before.

    The serger I bought is a huskylock 936.  It is a wonderful machine. Definitely more difficult to learn how to use than my previous serger.  I am getting the hang of it now. 

    I expect my sewing machines to work for me as I have been sewing for all my life.  I can not work with a machine that does not function the way it was designed.

    Sewing is a wonderful way to tap into the creative part of my mind. I absolutely love sewing. 

  79. jtwety1 | | #131

    I use a Viking #1.  I would never go back to a manual!!!!!!!!!!  I use 2 Viking sergers, a 534 and a 734DW.  All my machines are 12 years old, but still in great shape.  Money prevents me from upgrading now, but all 3 are used daily for personal and business sewing.

  80. Bernie1 | | #132

    I have a Designer 1 which I love (still uses the floppy) because it sews great and does beautiful embroidery, and a Bernina 165E which also does terrific stitches. I haven't done much in the way of embroidery with this one. I also own a Pfaff 1540 mechanical. It's a great machine and does a lot of different stitches though it's not as versatile as the other machines. But then I don't quilt so I really don't use all the stitches available on the D1 or the Bernina. I own the Viking 900 serger which I use mostly for knits.

    Pfaff is coming out with a new machine - suggested retail is $8,500. If money were no object I might look at that because it has a much wider throat plate and bed. I'd love to upgrade to the Designer SE with the USB port but I bought the software upgrade instead - the 4D professional - instead. I have looked at the Bernina TOL 730 but can't see spending the money when I have the D1 and the 165E. I'd love to own a stand alone embroidery machine. I think if the Pfaff is successful Viking may come out with a new machine next year that has the same features.

  81. wagonlady | | #139

    I purchased another Elna machine about 2 months ago.  My first was an Elna Supermatic given to me in 1966 as a high school graduation gift.  I made my clothes in high school, college and later my family's clothes with it.  It used cams.  When the stretch stitches became popular, I purchased the new cams and kept my machine up to date.  I am an accountant.  I use a computer each day.  I thought I did not want to sew with one and would not purchase a new computerized machine.  A few months ago I began to plan for retirement and decided I would purchase a new machine, one that also had embroidery capability.  I tried Bernina, Baby Lock, Viking, Janome, white, Brother, Singer and Husquavarna.  There were some things I liked about all of them but overall I like the Elna Exquisite II the best.  I am very pleased with it.  I wish I had purchased it long ago.  I think if you purchase an electronic machine you should purchase a high quality one.   Money was not an object when I purchased the Elna.




    1. shanteau | | #141

      I'm looking for an old elna super so if you ever decide you want to sell yours, please think of me! I used to have one and just loved it and want to replace it.

      1. wagonlady | | #142

        I had not thought of selling it but I will certainly keep your message.  I will think about it.  I will also keep you in mind if I run across another one.  I think once a person has sewn with an Elna, nothing else really has the quality.  Thanks for your message.

    2. jgrue | | #162

      I think we had the same Elna SU sewing machine--mine was model 62 with an open arm. It was so good for hemming my kids jeans--no problem sewing through double thickness of denim. I am also looking for a new machine now--started going to dealers but the Elna dealer close by has closed but there are others in the area. Does the Exquisite II have the same power as the Elna SU 62? Do you do a little embroidery--I have done some but mostly I sew garments. Have you made buttonholes on your new machine--do they look professional?You must live in a large metropolitan area that you had so many dealers to check out all those sewing machines. I live in So. CA--San Diego area.Joanne

      1. wagonlady | | #163

        We probably did have the same machine except mine was not a free arm.  That is one thing I really enjoy about my new one.  I think it is as strong for denim.  It has a lot of automatic adjustments that compensate for thickness and tension.  I have made buttonholes with it and they are very nice.  There are several kinds to choose from.  i also make garments, a few baby quilts as gifts, but the main thing is garments.  I have been putting the embroidery on my grandchildren clothes. 

        I live an hour from Waco, TX and about an hour and half from Dallas and Ft Worth.  I purchased my machine from the Waco dealer.  They had to order the machine.  They are mainly Bernina.  They really tried to sell the Bernina but it just wasn't as strong a sewing machine.  I think you would be pleased with the Esquite II after the Elna SU.


  82. maggiecoops | | #143

    Hi Deana, I stitched on  an old Singer hand machine at school as the teacher was convinced I'd never master the art of sewing (four years to make an apron) then at Art College was introduced to a top of the line Necchi, a fabulous machine, to do free motion embroidery work, and then in 1964 my husband bought me a Singer 328K, an all dancing all singing mechanical machine with stitch pattern cams. That's the year I started to learn about garment construction and how to sew. It's a fantastic machine and has a punch like a heavyweight boxer. It can handle the thickest of fabrics with ease,can stitch for 24 hours without getting warm or tired. I've since added a Pfaff 112E, disappointing, a computerized Brother Super Ace 11, nice machine but not as powerful as the Singer and it's straight stitch isn't as consistent. A Brother PE embroidery machine, fantastic workhorse. A Janome 10000 computerized sewing and embroidery machine, wonderful machine with superb all round stitch quality, a Janome 644D serger, how I wish they'd been around years ago. Then to satisfy my desire to do large embroidery designs I purchased a second hand Toyota 850 EXP 12 needle single head industrial embroidery machine. Then for Christmas last year purchased a new Chinese made 12 needle industrial embroidery machine. That one is wonderful, the stitch quality is superb and the sewing field enormous.

    I have to confess though, if I could buy a brand spanking new mechanical Singer 328K I would, it is so easy to maintain and repair, though spare parts are getting scarce, the cams are worn, but the straight stitch is perfect. No electronics to cause problems, I can set the foot pressure manually, fine tune the top tension perfectly to the fabric I'm using and strip the machine for its clean and oil and lubrication. I can reset the timing if needed, something my other machines need a technician for.  I look at my computerized machines and wonder if they too will still be as reliable after 43 years as my wonderful mechanical machine is. The only additional feature I'd want on it, a one step buttonhole as I never mastered doing a buttonhole with it.

    My old needle class teacher would be amazed if she could see just how well I took to sewing once released from the tyranny of having to do endless futile scraps of sewing seemingly unconnected to constructing a garment. I still can't sew a hem the way she insisted we all had to. Now I do blind hems as a matter of course, bag linings,  and can do all those touches that finish a garment properly. It took a very patient Greek Cypriot neighbour who spoke no English to teach me, with a lot of hand gestures, laughter and in exchange I taught her English. I think I got the best end of the arrangement.

  83. ate | | #168

    Hi! I sew on a Bernina 1630, and embroider on a Bernina 180. If money were no object I would want the Bernina 730. I've had Berninas for 22years and have had very very few problems with them (5 machines).

    1. Meexhibits | | #172

      I have 8 machines.  (2) Berninas 830/831.  Old but wonderful.  Work very well.  n(2) Phaffs. 7570/360.  (2) Sergers Phaff788/Babylock(new), both 4threads. (1) hemmer.(1) old singer chainstitch,  Does excellent work.  (1)industrial nakajima280L,with atced walking foot.  I use them all at various times.  For clothes, I use the 7570,and both sergers. I forgot I have a singer embroidery machine,and the 7570 has a embroidery machine. The other machines I use for my purse making.  I make purse/bags all the time.

      1. beebuzzled | | #173

        I have a Bernina 1230 that has been an excellent workhorse for the past 15 years.


    2. LindaAnn | | #175

      Hi! I'm new to this site.  I have a Bernina Virtuosa 160.  Like several of you I believed Bernina to be the best machines on the market so was somewhat disappointed to discover that the automatic buttonhole foot is almost impossible to use when sewing buttonholes at right angles to a seam.  I was told by someone in the know that Bernina were aware of this problem when they brought out this range and as it cost £1000 in the year 2000 I was somewhat gutted.  Apart from this particular problem I love everything else about the machine.  If anyone else has a similar machine and has any tips I would like to hear from them. 



  84. MsMouse | | #174

    I use a Viking 1+ for most of my garment and home dec sewing.  It is truly a workhorse and has the best stitch quality of any machine I've ever used.  I also have a Viking Designer SE, which is my dream machine.  I use it for garment construction, too, as well as embroidery, etc. Before I purchased each machine I "test drove" the TOL machines of the major manufacturers, using a variety of fabrics that I brought to the dealers, and the Vikings suited me best.  Also, nearly all Viking feet fit all of their machines, and I have invested a small fortune in machine feet over the years. 

    My serger is a Viking 936, and I love it.  I use it to finish seam edges before they are stitched together; for adding pearls, sequins and other embellishments; for pintucks; and especially for the cover stitch.

    I recently had a dealer demo of the new Designer LE and found that the enhancements are marginal for SE owners:  the top cover is grey rather than white; the button lights are blue rather than orange; there are 75 more built-in stitches (most of which I probably wouldn't use); and for $65 the SE can be upgraded to have the jump-stitch cutting feature.  There weren't enough upgrades for me to trade in my SE. (The SE cuts all threads at the completion of an embroidery; the new feature cuts each jump stitch as it occurs.)

    Although I cherish my Vikings, I think that most of the major manufacturers have excellent machines, and the only way to choose the best one for any sewist is for that person to test drive a variety of them.  It is essential to take a variety of fabrics that are typical of what you use.  Most any machine will sew well on the heavily sized fabrics that dealers provide, so you need to test them with your own fabric, and to be wary of any dealer who won't let you use your own fabrics.

    Happy sewing to all!





  85. SAAM | | #176

    I sew on a Singer Futura 2000 that I received as a wedding present from my inlaws in 1978. It has only needed repairs twice in all these years. With it I have dressed my husband and three daughters as well as myself, plus I've made wedding dresses, suits, baby blankets, etc. for friends and family members.

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