Time to Upgrade!

My Machine is going “Wonky”, Time to Upgrade!

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This next blog is going to be about how to choose a good, moderately priced sewing machine. I am doing this for a couple of reasons. The first is I would love to have an upgrade. I would love to have a machine with a wider throat area so I can quilt larger quilts. Next reason is that my current Singer is actin a little “Wonky”. It is not changing stitches when I dial them up, and I think there is some sort of short in the machine. Sometimes I am sewing along and it just turns off, I have to slightly move it around until it comes back on. (Not good!) So it’s time to think and research for a possible replacement.

Besides the brand of the machine itself there are a few requirements that the machine and the shop where I buy it must have. These requirements are important to me from personal experience. Trust me.

Let’s start with Distance.

The shop has to be within a reasonable driving distance from my home. This is important for a couple of reasons. The biggie being “HELP.” If you have questions or problems with your machine you are going to want a local resource to help you. You might have to take it in for it to be looked at, and you are going to have to take it in (at the dealer recommended time) for it to be serviced. Also they can help you order accessories for your machine. I know you can do that online, but maybe you don’t quite know what you need. Explaining your goals to someone who is knowledgeable about your particular brand machine can be helpful.

Class or Classes Available

The shop needs to offer classes on how to use my machine. I want someone to walk me through all the things that my machine can do. I want to know how to use all those features that I have paid for. What good is all those extras if I don’t know how to use them.

Brand

I want to make sure that it a reliable machine from a brand that I can trust.

User Reviews

I want to be sure that I can get real life reviews about the good and bad experiences that others have had with the machine. If there are problems with the machine I want to know what they are. If there are recurring problems with a particular machine or brand it might make me think twice, and avoid making a poor decision.

So here is a list of the brands I have decided to research.

  • Janome
  • Bernina
  • Baby Lock
  • Husqvarna Viking
  • Brother
  • White
  • Pfaff

*You may note that Singer is not on my list. I will explain why later.

cornerstone

The first shop that I visited was Cornerstone Sew and Vac in Douglasville, Ga.

It was my first stop because of the distance. It was a nice shop and very easy to get to. The saleslady inside was very nice. I explained that I was looking for a sewing machine with a large area good for quilting. The two machines that I looked at were the Husqvarna Viking Eden Rose 250c and the Viking Sapphire 875 Quilting Machine

Eden rose 250c

Viking Sapphire 875

She showed me the feature of each and could say was WOW! These were beautiful machines that had outstanding features. The sewing was smooth and precise. They could do anything you might want and then some. She prints out a price and feature sheet for me and I head home.

So… I am back at home and I start thinking about the cost and features, and what exactly do I want and need in a machine? I think about my current Singer and it’s price, which leads my thoughts to my previous Singer. It was a Singer CE150 Embroidery Machine.

Singer Futura CE150

I really liked it, however it did have a few issues. I remember I once bought an embroidery design but the machine couldn’t handle it. I snapped about 7 needles and had the thread tangle up within the design more than once. I remember I was very frustrated that I couldn’t get the machine to complete the design so I gave up on that one. I did do an Anita Gooddesign Christmas Wall hanging that turned out well as my first project.

Santa’s Ride

 

 

Sleigh Ride

I was all ready to make this Sleigh Ride wall hanging.

Unfortunately I think that that wall hanging was too much for the machine. It was shortly after it was completed that it stopped working. I took the machine to a local shop to have it repaired but unfortunately the repair cost would have been around $400, and there was the possibility that even if fixed the machine might break again. So I opted to say goodbye to the world of Embroidery and bought a Singer Heavy Duty 4411 from JoAnn’s as a replacement.

Singer Heavy Duty

After thinking of all of that, and seeing all of the machines out there I decided that I really would love to have another embroidery machine. I knew that I would have to research to make sure that it would be of good quality, so it didn’t end up like Singer #1. It would need to be able to handle the “complex” designs, I also wanted to be sure that had at least a 5×7 hoop area, preferably 6×10 or 7×12. Also I would need to have a class to learn about all the bells and whistles, and to be close by. I figured that the quilting machines I saw were $1799 and up so how much more would an embroidery machine cost?

I headed back to Cornerstone a few days later to see what they had in the Embroidery Area. On my second trip the saleslady from my first trip was not there but I ended up chatting with the owner. I explained that I had come in a few days before and had priced some quilting machines and then thinking on it at home had decided to go with an Embroidery machine instead. I told him about my experience with my previous Singer, he was patient, knowledgeable, and I learned a lot.

I learned that the current Embroidery machines are not cheap. (they go up to $10,000 for a super mac daddy home machine.) They are much more sophisticated that my previous Singer and that in his opinion the Singer Brand is not what is used to be. I didn’t get a full feature run through of the machines but as it was way out of my budget it wasn’t a problem. He also explained his upgrade program. If I bought a machine and within 6 months decided to upgrade I would get the full price I paid for the first machine back to go toward the new one. They have sewing and embroidery classes that they offer to their customers. They seemed to want to be sure that their customers can get the most out of their machines and know how to use all of its features. They have the first service appointment free and lots of other extras. This shop seems to be focused on customers and providing excellent customer service. The machine that I looked at was wonderful.

 

Designer Topaz 20

I love this machine, but it is a little (okay a lot) out of my price range at the moment.

So next week I am planning on visiting Ashby Sewing Machine Co Inc., in Kennesaw Ga, and seeing what they have available.

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