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What sewing machine to buy?

CN | Posted in The Archives on

I am looking to buy a sewing machine. Most probably a Bernina. Two of my friends will probably buy at the same time. We dont know whether to go with a 150,160, or 170. Of course, with all of us price is a factor. But we all are avid quilters who spend anywhere from 6-20hrs a week at the machine. Helpful tidbits of advice anyone?


  1. barb_c | | #1

    Good choice with Bernina. I have sewn with a bernina for the last 14 years. When my mother told me to buy one I really didn't appreciate the quality, but to not have sewn on something that was frustrating really made a difference in my sewing through the years.

    If you sew clothes you might want to get one of the models with more buttonhole styles. Also I guess the needle up or down is very handy.

    1. DH | | #2

      *I have been a devout Husqvarna person for the last 20 years. They have sewn well. My mother is now usingmy first Husqvarna. That being said, Bernina is certainlyworth a look. They are known for quilters (althoughHusqvarna is making definite inroads in that area as well).I know from friends that purchased the top of the lineBernina's about 5 years ago, that they were nothingbut trouble. This was when they changed the bobbintechnology. (rotating versus oscillating bobbin).The older style machines still used the old bobbin technology and still sewed great. I would really check outthe latest on the Bernina's before buying given what myquilting friends went through.

      1. bonnie_paff | | #3

        *Since you already sew, you must already have a machine available to you. So, the first place to start is to consider your reasons for upgrading. Keeping that in mind, I caution you not to let price be the motivating factor in your decision. I went through the same debate 5 years ago. I purchased a viking 500 (now comparable to the 550 I beleive) and love it! The quality was well worth the money I spent. Now, I sew more than ever! However, I do regret not getting the more expensive model - which had more stitching options available to add that special touch to my quilts. So my advice to you is.... if you are going to invest in a quality machine don't settle for second best. Choose one that will grow with your talents. It just may save you from having to buy another.Good luck in you decision, I hope you find the right one for you!

        1. Michael_Coates | | #4

          *I am a professional tailor and I own only Bernina machines. The sewing machine being the Artista 180 and the overlockers being the 2500DCE and 006D. I know for a fact that the inner workings of a Bernina sewing machine, from the Activa 140 to the Artista 180 are identical so which ever you choose it will work perfectly. The only difference is that the Artista 170 is touch screen and with far more functions, it also has the option of the embroidery module. The Artista 170 is known as the quilters edition, I recommend Bernina machines only because in my opinion they are what professionals use, Do not buy a Singer.From Michael Coates

          1. Catherine_Guarducci | | #5

            *I have used Bernina for years and love them, too. But I have a question for you since you have the Artista: How does it compare with the 1630, as far as easy and stitch quality? I rarely use all of the "cute" stitches in the machine, so that is not really an issue. Many thanks!

          2. Catherine_Guarducci | | #6

            *If you get a Bernina, don't overlook the models with the knee-lift. Once you learn to use it, you will never want to sew without it.

          3. bonnie_paff | | #7

            *I was just looking over some of the archived discussions to see if I could find some interesting /useful info and came across two indicating they had problems with the Bernina 180. (You may want to check with those folks while you are still in the decision process.) Good luck on your machine shopping! Let us know what you finally decide.

          4. Pat_Woodard | | #8

            *I would like to buy a new sewing machine, but I am not able to afford the lowest line of Bernina. With that in mind, does anyone have any knowledge of other machines on the market that would be under $500.00? I do not quilt, and I do not emboider. Sewing clothes, scarves and accessories are my interests.

          5. eli_dunn | | #9

            *Elna, babylock, and newhome/janome all have mid-range machines in this price range with features like auto buttonhole, needle threader, 15-30 stitches, etc. I expect I will buy a new home excellpro 5124 this weekend. I just got email back from new home/janome saying they are having a price promotion on these for $549. There are definitely good models below this one that may be better for your needs and finances. Good luck.

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