What brand of sewing machine do you have/wish you had?

Marietta, OH(Zone 6a)

Hubby is still interested in my getting a new machine...... we started looking at a Singer Futura 250, which embroiders also. I grew up on Singers, friends have Jacome, Brother, Viking.... I had a lady at church in Indiana that swore by her Pfaff... I'm not looking to start a business or anything, but figure if we're going to lay out money for one to sew and quilt with (and a few embroidery options wouldn't hurt), it will probably be the last one I purchase and would like to have some 'yeahs and nays' to go by when I start shopping for one.
Would some of you be kind enough to share your thoughts on your machines?

Thanks in advance!


(thunder)Wildwood, FL(Zone 9a)

kizmo, if you look through the threads you will find a few that talk a lot about different machines.

I have a kenmore, old as the hills, no bells or whistles, but runs and runs...great for basic straight stitch, and zig-zag.

I have a brother, very simple basic computer model, lots of nifty stitches. runs well, haven't had any trouble with it. I like it a lot. I got a quilter's package with it, extension bed, 1/4 foot, and walking foot. I love the extension, wish it were bigger tho...

also have a viking, that is fantastic, computer model, tons of stitches. no embroidery tho, I would not use that near enough, for the difference in price. I love it !! it does have the alphabet and numbers in a couple different fonts, so you can "write" a name, but not embroider pictures....

the viking has a larger space from needle over , ( has a name, can't think of it) anyway more room for bigger quilt. so if you want to do quilting on the machine look for one with large space. extra feet are more expensive, so if you can find a "package" deal...You can get an extension bed for vikings, again...expensive, they do offer a quilter package with the extension bed, walking foot, and a few others, probably worth the price if you gonna quilt a lot......my darling hubby bought mine, and talked them into a bargain on some extra feet, he did not know about the "package",so for now I am working with out the extension.......and of course if you have a sewing table, that the machine would fit down into, you would not need an extension bed...

I did not know it, but hubby was making payments on the Viking, when I went and bought the brother, that's why I have both. They have different stitches, so for now I use them both,

probably not much help, but thats what I have.....

Fostoria, OH(Zone 5a)

I found it really depends on how uch you want to or can spend on a machine. I didn't want to spend anymore than $1000 so ended up with a Janome Memory Craft that I just put on layaway.

I also found that I probably could have gotten it cheaper on ebay or craig's but I wanted a dealer who would give me lessons, service if I needed, and one I could trust. On this one I can sew on it for a year and if I want to upgrade all I have to do is take it back and pay the difference between the two.

Take it for a test drive and see what feels best to you!

Huron, OH(Zone 5b)

I like my vikings, but I don't quilt much. I have a friend that wanted to quilt, she looked at Janome and Viking. She ended up with a viking because of more space from the needle over. Whatever you choose, TEST DRIVE!. Going to a dealer is best because of lessons and maitenance.

(Cheryl) Wilmington, MA

I have had Singers in the past they are little work horses they can take a lot of abuse. I had a very simple one for at least 20 years. My daughters friend started quilting she really wanted a machine and her family doesn't have money to buy her one so I told her she could have it. It is still going strong and she loves it.

I have a Kennmore as my backup machine my main machine is the Babylock Ellageo does everything I love it. I am not sure I will ever learn all it can do. Cher

Alamogordo, NM(Zone 7b)

I bought my first Pfaff over 20 years ago and it is still sewing perfectly with no trips to be repaired. I gave it to my DD 3 years ago and bought a new one and love it too. I think that if you buy a nice quality machine you will fall in love with it and it will last you a long time. I had an inferior machine for several years before buying Pfaffs and it was forever in the repair shop or giving me fits. I love the smooth sewing and IDT that works like none other. Check out all of the nice machine because you can only decide what works best for you by sewing on them. Good luck!

Marietta, OH(Zone 6a)

thanks for everyone's input..... just makes my machine-hunting a little harder! LOL I suppose all machines, depending on what they are used for mainly have their 'yea's and nay's', so I'll just have to figure out how much I want to put on one, and what extra's I want..
Sears has quite a few Singers and Kenmores that I want to check into. Looks like I'll be doing alot of running around 'window shopping'.
Found a little quilt shop a couple miles from me that sells Bernina and has classes. Will make a trip there tomorrow, as Joann's sale starts then, and I can mark off 2 to-do's in one afternoon. Noticed that the quilting websites have links to videos for demonstrations, so have been checking into those. I made a list of what I want in a machine, now I just have to find one that matches!
Off to sew for the afternoon, gloomy and wet out today, so no gardening....
Everyone have a nice afternoon!

Longboat Key, FL(Zone 9b)

many sears models are made for them by Janome. I have one from them, but at the time they labeled it Janome. however, had to by add'l pressure foot and parts from sears. Canot use any Janome downloads or anything with this. From waht I am gathering, because I am shopping for more sophisticated machine, hard work, no one experienced enough to tell you anything and so it goes. All want to sell the top of the Line Janome 11000 $6000. +What's with that? in a year outdated. Now I am looking at Brother. This too is very confusing. Their embroidery has capacity for 6 Spools on top very intriquing.

Marietta, OH(Zone 6a)

yes, some of the prices for these machines are really out there! But, if I were doing business sewing, it would be more of what I needed. However..... the embroidery machines are nice, but they won't work with Vista 64, and that's all we have here at home. The Futura is supposed to be coming out with an update to be compatible, but haven't heard for sure yet. I talked with a lady today that has a Janome, she really likes it, uses it to make fancy dog accessories. But also has a Singer for other things. Brother makes really nice machines, haven't found a place to check those out yet.
Checking out the Bernina place tomorrow, but leaving my cards at home...LOL

Longboat Key, FL(Zone 9b)

LOL, I have to return the CD for janome embroidery that the fabric store lent me to watch,taking your advice, leaving cards at home HD

Huron, OH(Zone 5b)

Viking has a program that works with Vista.

Marietta, OH(Zone 6a)

thanks, Jumper! I love these fancy machines, but can't afford to have hubby rebuild one just for sewing.... you know the drill == he gets to get all geeky for me, then he comes up with all kinds of ideas to upgrade his computers! He had 5 when we got married, all his, all used for different things: email, gaming, work, extra, gaming... lol Then when I moved up here, I brought mine, that made 6, plus the laptop, =7....... Plus his dad gave us his, =8... I called Time Out!!!!
We are now down to 3, and the laptop for travel..... finally, room for furniture and my stuff!!! So you see the need for a machine that works with Vista 64...... some of them are compatible with Vista 32, but there isn't a driver available to patch in for the 64 programs. :-(
OK, off to check machines today and will put Vikings on the list.....
Have a good day, everyone!

Victoria Harbour, ON

Janome 9000 and purchased the computerized scanner to make my own designs..love the machine..easy to learn...would recommend to anyone searching for a dependable machine...have done boat tarps, clothing, fine sewing and I've been impressed...


Marietta, OH(Zone 6a)

Betty, does this one set up like some of the others, where you can download more designs off the Internet onto a memory stick, then use it on the machine.. or is it just with whatever designs are loaded in the cards that are available? How do you like the ones you have? are they different sizes and types within each memory card or do you purchase the card by theme?
Just came back from the quilt shop.......... wow, it's really nice and spread out! Only Bernina machines. The quilter is around 3900, the next one up is around 6000..... all serviced there, owner gives embroidery/quilt classes. Nice fabric, of course I had to buy a few yards for my Eagle wall hanging... LOL
on top of the $$ I spent at Joann's for a few sale things.
Sooooo, I'm still looking. Have another to hit up soon.....

Huron, OH(Zone 5b)

Kizmo, the program is their 4-D software. It works on xp and vista.

This message was edited Jul 2, 2009 4:27 PM

Marietta, OH(Zone 6a)

Jumper, Vista 64 - correct?

Fleming Island, FL(Zone 9a)

What ever machine you get, make sure the internal parts are made of metal, not plastic. I wore out a SInger a few years ago. Found out the gears were plastic and it was more to fix it than buy a new one.
Unless you "know" you are going to do embroidery, don't spend the extra to get an embroidery machine. I've had mine for 5 years now and have never even hooked the embroidery part up.

Now that the fancy new Bernina is out, you should be able to find a used 550 Quilter. I know the shop here takes trades then sells them at a reasonable price. The 550 is great for quilting up to a twin size. After that, you really have to fight with the bulk.

Marietta, OH(Zone 6a)

That was the big thing the owner talked about yesterday; making sure you get something with metal parts, not plastic. She made the comment that Singer parts were getting hard to find and that alot of hte machines were not sold by the original companies anymore, which I had researched before I went to the shop. But isn't that the way with everything today? Too many companies selling out and combining...
She said she didn't have any trades to sell, I asked about that too.
The Quilting model was really nice, can't remember whether she said there was something I had to purchase for that one or not. I liked the idea of using a memory stick instead of hooking up to the pc, even though we have a computer in the sewing room. She had 2 other embr. models besides that one; one below, one above.
I don't know that I would be doing alot of embroidery, but it would be nice to have. I read on one of my sites somewhere, that one lady used small embroidered hearts, etc to basically 'tie' her smaller quilts, rather than machine quilt or tie off. Thought that was a cute idea, especially for baby quilts or in borders. It's not the deal breaker, but to spend that much $ on a hobby machine, I want as many options as possible. Also checked the machine reviews on Betty's link she posted above. There's alot of info on there, really nice site.... Thanks Bettypauze!!!!
I located another Bernina dealer, but it would be a road trip of sorts. Not too far, but not exactly a morning trip. Will check into it to see what they have available. Right now, I'm thinking of buying a portable that I can take to classes, and work my way up to the right machine. The embroidered quilts this woman had on her class walls were absolutely gorgeous. She said " We can teach you how to do this." And I said " I'm still working on squares and triangles....." She just laughed and said "we can do that too, come back for our beginners class." Very nice lady.

Huron, OH(Zone 5b)

Don't know what vista 64 is. I've only heard of vista. Sorry.

(Cheryl) Wilmington, MA

Kizmo not sure if you know, you mentioned you liked the Brother machines. Baby Lock and Brother are manufactured by the same company and the machines are almost the same except for the names. I have a Baby Lock and I use PE design it works fine on Vista. Hope that helps Cher

Huron, OH(Zone 5b)

Kizmo, I just installed my 4-D program, and yes it works on vista 64. I found it in the booklet.

Marietta, OH(Zone 6a)

Cher - Thanks for all the info! Wow, who would've thought Baby Lock and Brother were related??? You wouldn't by the price difference...... That's a nice surprise, I bookmarked a Brother a while back just for reference, because of what it included. What do you mean by the PE design?
Jumper, thanks for checking on the Vista thing... I really wouldn't have thought about it, but I just happened to marry a computer programmer who has this 'geeky' personality (LOL) and we have Vista 64 (instead of XP or Me or Vista 32) because he's also a gamer.... at any rate, someone suggested the Yahoo group for Futura and in the process I read that the Futura 250 wasn't compatible with 64, also that there were some others, but can't remember which at the moment. That's why I asked about yours. The Bernina I looked at didn't actually have to hook up to the PC, you could just use a memory stick with designs you had saved on your computer from other sources. I didn't mean to make a big deal out of it, just wanted to be sure on the facts. I appreciate you looking into it for me!
This is why I posted this question here..... you all are full on info on all sorts of things, I just knew I could make a decision after talking this over with this Group!
Thanks, All have a great weekend holiday!

Marietta, OH(Zone 6a)

Do you own the Bernina Quilting model, or did I misunderstand?

Fleming Island, FL(Zone 9a)

I have the Bernina 550 Quilter - not the new one. I do love the way it does the free motion quilting, but do 99% of my piecing using my Viking Lilly. The stitch regulated, free motion quilting, is amazing. I think the Viking does regular sewing much smoother, it's "stitch-in-place" doesn't take an extra stitch, and it is much quieter than the Bernina.

But, I know it is all personal preference. I had the opportunity to sit and sew on each, for quite awhile (on & off for months on the Lilly) before I decided to make my purchase.

(Cheryl) Wilmington, MA

PE Design is just the designing software for embroidery. But you can get ready made designs and load them to the machine. Brother and Baby Lock use (pes) design files and other machines use different ones.

Marietta, OH(Zone 6a)

Duh, that should've registered...... (!) Guess I was overwhelmed thinking of all the different machines and their pros/cons. Good that you can download designs from other sources, that would always come in handy! Thanks, Cher!

(Cheryl) Wilmington, MA

I love Embroidery Library they have nice quality and reasonable prices

North Plains, OR(Zone 8a)

Other than my cherished featherweight, I am a Husqvarna Viking sewer. I have a wonderful old 6690 that a friend gave me and it goes with me when I work on quilts, take classes, etc. away from home. Most of my piecing and all embroidery I do on my SE. A absolutely love it. I've had it for about six years, when I upgraded from a Designer 1.

I've tried out a Bernina and Pfaff, but found I did not like them as well as my Vikings. Perhaps it is just what I am used to, but I found the Bernina wanted to walk on the table and the Pfaff, for me, was loud and not user friendly, but then I've been sewing on one Viking or another for about 40 years.

I will say, however, the Husqvarna Viking website leaves a lot to be desired and I find the staff at the local dealer less well versed in the various products. I travel about 100 miles for service on my machines in order to have excellent quality work. Thankfully, they have only needed routine cleaning and maintainence, for the most part, so that has not been a major problem.

I love the quality of embroidery on my SE and the stitches for piecing and quilting are consistent. They don't make this machine any more, and the new top of the line is very expensive. Were I looking for another machine (which I doubt I ever will), I'd search for a used SE or Designer I, both of which are easy to use and offer both sewing and embroidery. The SE just has more bells and whistles.

Marietta, OH(Zone 6a)

thanks Soldiersong, I have not yet checked into the Vikings/Husq. machines, trying to get caught up on the household things that get put to the side when I sew instead of my daily lists...LOL but I have it on the 'to do' list!
Have a good day!


Taylor, MI(Zone 5b)

I have a Janome 6600, Gem Platinum for classes and camping...and a Juki on my frame.
The 6600 is my baby..she is a workhorse..(and pretty too ! lol)

Fostoria, OH(Zone 5a)

Tell me more...I have a Janome 4800 on lay away but can move up if I decide to anyime within the first year. I will not be doing any embrodiery but I want a good quilting machine. Does your 6600 have free arm for sewing pants cuffs (not that I do that anymore but use it for other things)?

Alhambra, IL

I have a Pfaff that is my favorite machine and well it is ancient but works like a dream and never skips a beat....no balled up thread, no skipped stitches. I have several other machines. I am sad to say I grew up on Singer as well and they are not what they use to be so I wont touch a new one...plus I still have the old one my grandma had. I have a newer brother and if you get the nicer models they seem to work great but I still want more out of a machine, I have to say I hve had issues and getting mine to tune just right with the tension and all can be a pain. Well I guess I not need to give my opinion on all my machines lol I only have 12 and still want more...giggles. I have been looking and I have found in my hunts for you rmoney the Bernina has alot to offer for decent price atleast in this area, I want the 440QE with BSR. I know your thinking why another machine but I use most of em for different things and I am truely addicted to my sewing and if I don't sew I guess I will have to find a place to hide the bodies cause I get little grouchy.....so I usually look and try several machines out before I get a new one just cause I dont want another to sit and look at me to remind me see what happens when you think you know what I am and I am nothing you wanted really.
So I guess with all my jabberings I say go try em out sit and sew several things and check out all the features make sure you can make use of most or all of them I forgot with the Bernina you get FREE classes for the life of your machine and sometimes that comes in handy. So I hope you have fun looking for a new machine and sewing when you get home with it. Happy Hunting!!!!!!

Marietta, OH(Zone 6a)

2Many,,,,,,, what in the world do you use 12 machines for, if all of them are for different projects, if I may ask? Do you do projects for other people or just yourself? My aunt had quite a few also, but she just used them for alterations, general sewing, quilting and serging. But she put them in different rooms, depending on what job she was working on, or if she wanted to get away from the noise of the house.. LOL She worked for a lady that made uniforms for the theme parks and such, so everytime a machine was replaced, she had first peck at it. If it was better than something she already had, it found a place in her house, regardless of whether she had room for it or not....
She also had a small TV in every room, never wanted to miss anything going from one room to another! When she passed, I had a heck of a time trying to find someone to take the machines. They were older models, Singers mainly, but I couldn't even sell them. Her sergers went to some of her friends that stayed with her in the last days, as she was teaching some of them to embroider by hand and simple sewing. There were 3 sergers and 4 machines. If she would have had a treadle, that would have been the one I would have wanted.

North Plains, OR(Zone 8a)

I've noticed sewing machines, especially high end embroidery machines, have done up in price on Ebay. I wonder if it is because, with the state of the economy, people are not willing to invest a large amount of money in a top of the line Bernina, Pfaff or Viking and are, instead, turning to used machines on Ebay. I do know Viking Husqvarna is closing ten of its stores across the country (inside Joann Fabrics). I don't know where the stores are closing, but suspect deals will be available at those locations as they move out the stock before shutting down the stores. Perhaps the information is available somewhere on line.

I do know Husqvarna Viking is only going to be making its embroidery sewing machines in Sweden and all the other will be made in China or Taiwan.

I believe all Singers are already made in China. Bernina continues to make all its machines in Germany.

The holding company that owns Singer also owns Pfaff and Viking as of last year. That company is based in the Far East so that may explain it

Marietta, OH(Zone 6a)

Isn't it amazing that with all the know-how and brilliant minds we have here in America, that we still depend on other countries for some of the best machinery? I have worked for both German and Swiss owned companies, and they were very diligent on their quality. Here in America, we have many companies that produce quality items, but most of the products I see have another country stamped on them..... sad..
Our Joanns here sells only Singer and a couple Brothers. There is one Brother that does embroidery that is more in my price range, but I'm still comparing. The Bernina dealer here said Singer parts were getting hard to come by, and if more and more of the companies merge, that may be true for other machines. I know I want all metal insides, which may cost me more, but at least I know they won't strip out very soon. I wasn't aware that Singer, Pfaff and Viking were all together either.. but then again, many companies overseas have sewing as their mainstay.
I am a little leary of buying machines off Ebay or Amazon, simply because I do not have a 'meat and bones' person to go back to for questions and complaints, if any. That sounds silly, I know, but experience tells me that 'Push 1 for English.....' is not what I want to hear for Customer Service! LOL I do buy quite a bit from Ebay and Amazon, but nothing that costs alot of $$$. It makes sense, though, that if a line is closing out, that selling it on Ebay may clear their inventory faster than selling from a store window, especially if they are in a small town.
Thank you much for the info..... every little bit helps in my search!

New York City, NY

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Brooklyn, NY

Im a seamstress and has several sewing machines. For leather works I use Tippmann Boss machine. It punches through even very thick leather. And I also have an embroidery machine Janome MB-4S. I like to create unique outfits and usually, my friends receive named scarfs, hats, handkerchiefs as a Birthday or Christmas present. They always remain happy with such gifts.

Kailua, HI

If you're looking for a machine that will be 'the last one you purchase', perhaps one that isn't computerized at all may be a good option. Computer systems change every few years and then pretty soon the computers won't talk to your sewing machine anymore. An embroidery machine that uses computer patterns but can't talk to the current crop of computers may have you out there searching for a new machine ten years from now.

I'm not sure how many sewing machines are around here but I've thinned the herd a bit. There's now only two treadles, a 1985 White which sews a beautiful seam but doesn't reverse or zigzag. The other treadle is off in the storage barn at some point I'll drag it out and check it over. $10 at a yard sale, it was worth stashing away. There's still a Pfaff which is waiting to be cleaned, but I may move that one out since I don't have any accessories for Pfaffs. There's two Kenmores, they're just machine heads and not set into cabinets so they're easy to store. I'll probably keep them for awhile. The newish Brother was given away since as a new and mostly plastic machine it didn't sew well at all. The Viking was tossed out since it was unfixable, but since it was found at the dump, it just went back to the dump.

If you're looking for a DURABLE machine, mid century machines are pretty rugged. If you can find one in good shape, they'll stay working for decades. My first machine was a '74 Kenmore, it's still working but has been replaced by a '61 Singer 401A. All metal, direct drive, built in the United States and has a lot of different stitches that can be accessed by turning a few dials. There's even more stitches available if the drop in cams are used.

It's a 'Slant-O-Matic' and one of the easiest machines to thread that I've ever owned. Just poking the thread near the needle seems to thread it half the time.

This wasn't a machine I originally meant to own. I'd bought it inexpensive at a yard sale with a cabinet and had it in a resale shop for awhile, but most of the customers of our resale shop are tourists and a heavy all metal sewing machine isn't gonna fit in their luggage. The Singer Featherweight did sell pretty quickly, but it was while researching the Featherweight that I realized what I had in the 401A.

It's an old vintage machine, but it wants to work with you on your sewing projects. There's no having to get the machine to work issues, no feeling of pushing the machine past it's boundaries. It sews really nice seams effortlessly and there's all kinds of little make-it-easier to use things done with it's design. This is the blog post about getting it set up and working:

Mostly it was cleaning it and oiling it which was necessary, although someone had installed a part backwards in the cam stack, but that was an easy and pretty obvious fix. For a machine found at a yard sale for $20 that even came with a cabinet, it's become my 'go to' machine.

About a year after getting that one functional, another Singer 401A was found at the dump. This one is in a handy carry case and other than weighing about 35# is a perfect machine. It now has a small wheeled luggage rack/carrier so it's the 'traveling' machine.
If you want to see pictures. Having two matching machines is lovely since now all the accessories for one fit on the other.

But what works for one person may not work for another. Depending on what you want to sew, you may want an entirely different machine. Most of my sewing is clothing and general purpose household items. Some upholstery work, some delicate work but most of it is cotton and batiks. I've got a swimsuit project with really stretchy fabric that will probably require one of the Kenmores to be deployed since the older machines don't usually have stretch stitches. Other than that, I've no complaints of the Singer 401A machine.

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