Input Needed: Sewing Machines

Jason mentioned yesterday that he'd like to get me a good sewing machine for Christmas. That works ... I had every intention of getting one anyway and now I don't have to feel so guilty about spending the money. I think it's a win-win situation ... I get a new machine and he gets to not listen to all my repetitive whining and complaining about my sewing machines.

Right now I have two machines.

First, a Pfaff 1222 that's over 30 years old. I've had her for about 20 years and she's been very good to me. But she's showing her age ... won't sew anything but a straight stitch, I can't use the wheel at the end to stitch, and she's loud enough to wake the neighbors. But she has been a heck of a workhorse ... I love that she has a built in walking foot, and is great for handling small quilts (as long as they only use a straight stitch). One really interesting thing about this machine is that if it worked well I could sell it on eBay for what I paid for it ... that, to me, says a lot about the machine!

And then there's the Brother. Waste of money. There are some things I like about him - the decorative stitches, the ease at threading the machine, it's great at sewing buttons on, and the automatic thread cutter is decadent. He's good for the kids as he doesn't require a presser foot and the stitch speed can be predetermined on the machine. I like the display screen and the ease and consistency with setting stitch length and width that way. It also does embroidery but I've only tried that a few times, with mixed results. What I dislike ... he has no power to feed the fabric, the feed dog is as useful as butter, I always have to have my hands right there to feed the fabric or it gets super uneven and gross. Also, the opening in the needle plate is too big and he swallows fabric, not good when trying to do small quilt squares. And the markings for 1/2", 5/8", etc. are impossible to figure out ... I have no idea how I'm supposed to sew a 3/8" seam with the thing. While I love the decorative stitches they look awful on the backside so I can't use them after sandwiching a quilt. Also the arm is too short. And he's so testy ... constantly screwing up stitches and requiring major cleaning. I've had him for less than a year. I firmly believe he was designed by a man who'd never tried to sew but was looking for a niche in the sewing machine market, it has cool electronic features but isn't functional, at least not for my needs.

So I need sewing machine input! When it comes down to it I couldn't care less about embroidery, except that I love the decorative stitches, and I need something that will do quilts and sew through layers of fabric. I want a machine that will last for a long time. And it has to be easy to figure out.

I've been looking at Pfaff and Bernina for the most part. I have no hesitation buying another Pfaff.. There are, however, some industrial machines available locally on Craigslist as well as a well-reviewed Janome (at what appears to be a great price). Any thoughts/loves/hates would be much appreciated! Also, anything I may not have thought of that you "couldn't live without" in a sewing machine.

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3 Comment

  1. I'm a big fan of my 5 year old Pfaff. It is a mid level model and has several decorative stitches and sews great! I've never had any trouble with it. My Mom also has a similar Pfaff and loves it. My Grandma has a newer Bernina and I've sewn on it, but I don't like it as much as my Pfaff. It seems to be noisier and not as smooth.

    If I were looking, I would highly consider a Janome - I've heard really great things about them, although I've never tried one.

    Good luck!

  2. I have to comment! (lol)
    (Just to show you how diverse your "viewers" are!)

    I own a machine. I bought it at WM new for $88. My poor mother had to use it to recover my couch AND sew that big divider curtain in my old house. I haven't ever touched it other than to move it for my Mom. :) I DID hand sew two patches on my son's Lowe's apron though!
    Feeling rather out of my league reading this blog...

  3. I can't say this is the one...or two to buy, but I have a Kenmore and a Janome. The Kenmore has 88 different stitches and some really cool decrative ones. I've been really happy with her so far. The Janome is a MyLock serger and I have to say I LOVE her!!