Sew, What's New?

Curating sewing and quilting talent, techniques, and tutorials, since 1997.

I've been looking at new machines--every brand, every version under consideration, even industrial machines.  I've used a Viking 1100 for over 20 yrs--love the machine--but I'm having a hard time finding replacement parts--looking for Cassette A without success.  That has sent me into shops looking at the new offerings.  This purchase will probably be my last based on how long I've kept previous equipment.  I sew clothing, quilts, home dec /upholstery, and heirloom.  I'm heavily leaning towards Bernina or another Viking.  Also considering the Bernina quilting frame (ruled out a commercial free-motion set up).  I have 2 mechanical machines as backups--Viking and Kenmore--and recently sold a Singer. 

Any experience with the "latest, greatest" or other comments would be appreciated. Thanks.

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I have the Kenmore that my parents bought me when I graduated from college 40 years ago - have worn it out!  Went through a couple of Singers and then got my first embroidery - a Janome MC 9000.  Love it, the only problem was the limited embroidery field.  My sweet hubby got me a HV Diamond because he had the biggest embroidery field in the business a few years ago.  It is OK, sews well when it is not having one of its 'spells'.  It is very temperamental and I was very disappointed that you still have to turn the hoop to get the large field.  If I was buying another machine, I'm not sure what I'd buy but I'm sure it wouldn't be another HV. I'm on the HV email list and lots of folks complain that the newer models are not the work horses that the old Vikings were.  I haven't looked into the newer Janomes but as well as I love the 9000 it would definitely be on my shopping list.  I have a friend that has had good luck with a higher end Brother - not the WalMart version!  Don't know much about Bernina or Baby Lock, but have heard some good things about them and not many complaints.  I know that doesn't help much in your decision, but maybe I gave you some food for thought.  I might add that I quilt, some home dec, craft and some garment sewing.

I too have a Kenmore that is 37 years old. It is my workhorse. I can't believe it has been my 

primary machine for all these years. I don't think they make machines as well as they did back then.

Previously I had a Singer and it was terrible. But my Kenmore was the best. 10 years ago my husband

bought me the top of the line Pfaff Embroidery Machine 2040. He spent over 6,000.00 ( yes that's right)

for everything . The customer service at the store he purchased it at was HORRIBLE. Customer support

from the company also frustrating and terrible. Eventually I learned by trial and error-4years worth to use it

along with $$$$$ updates along the way.I would never buy a Pfaff again. Good luck I hope you get a "honey"

machine.

I couldn't agree more with Carol.  I traded my old Bernina 1130 in for a Pfaff 2170 and all I have had is trouble with machine and dealer.  I have to figure things out on my own.  I keep it regularly cleaned, but they keep it for 8 weeks before getting back to me.  They just say they are backed up!  When I took it in they say they are just catching up!  I have bought lots of feet, free motion quilter, magna hoops, grand hoop - all elsewhere, because I do not want to ever buy from them again.

Thanks for your comments. I'm still looking...not in a hurry to spend that much.

I guess I'll add my 2 cents worth to your dilemma, so many machines to choose from!A lot of people will tell you "buy the best you can afford" and I believe in that. Berninas are very good machines but when it comes to embroidery, their software does not play well with other software. I have seen many frustrating posts on other boards on this matter. I have 2 Babylock embroidery/sewing machines and love them both. One is 11 0r 12 years old,Ellageo, has a bazillion miles on it and still works very well, but it is noisy. The other is an Elegante 2, 2 years old and a WOW machines, 2nd from top of the line. It is much quieter and to reduce the noise, I use a piece of very short nap carpet under them as a cushion. I am glad that neither machine gives me any problems since my dealer is 165 miles away. I keep them both serviced regularly. I highly recommend the Babylock line of machines.  I also own a Janome serger, 12 years old and never had a problem with it, it is a good basic serger costing around $700. I think.  And my workhorse is a $200. Kenmore, totally non-electronic.

Another consideration is what you plan to do in the future with your machine. If I was younger I would get a 6-needle (or whatever) commercial machine, invest in tees and ball caps, and go to every dog and pony show I could find. But, not young enough to consider that kind of investment or the hauling of equipment anymore. Hope this post will help when it comes to choosing your new machine.  Carol in Montana

I have a Designer 1 and a PFAFF Creative Sensation and I love them both.
You just cannot go wrong with a Husqvarna or PFAFF. They are reliable and
overall very easy to operate, software and all.
I've had my Designer 1 over 10 years and I have never had a problem with it.
My Creative Sensation is less than a year and so far no problems.
I would consider how convenient your dealer is and what they offer as far as classes
and training. Good Luck :)

Thanks for all the input.  I've had a Kenmore for 40+ yrs and the Viking 1100 for over 20 yrs--both workhorses and no complaints.  Inherited a mechanical Viking from MIL but haven't used it.  I'm not leaning towards an embroidery machine because of all the threads, stabilizers, software...$  Had a business in the past but only interested in sewing for myself and maybe a few friends/family.  All dealers in my area are aged and retiring, leaving no authorized repair shops...Bernina is the exception to that; they seem to navigate the economy and have staying power.  I don't want to invest big bucks in a machine that I can't have serviced.  

Thanks for your input.  I'll research more before making a decsion.  

Husqvarna is no longer made in Sweden. It is now made in China. The quality has gone down and my local sewing shop no longer carries Husqvarna because of this. I have a Viking Sapphire, Viking Rose, Brother 8500, and old Singer and a Brother PR600 embroidery machine. Have enjoyed all of these machines. The Brother 8500 does great embroidery,as does the Viking Rose, though both of these machines are older models. Was in the monogram business for quite a while and the PR600 is great. I had two of them, sold one when I closed my shop, and am now selling the last one this week.

I would recommend having separate machines for sewing and embroidery. A stand alone embroidery machine leaves you free to sew whilst embroidering. Personally, I have a Bernina 170 which does both very well, but if I was buying again I ,d go for separate machines. I have since purchased a second hand Bernina 1090 for sewing. I purchased on eBay and it has been great. Cost wise, an embroidery only machine purchased new and a quality brand second hand machine in good condition would be cheaper.

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