So, I think I’m unofficially, officially shopping for a new sewing machine. Anybody got any suggestions?

I hate you right now.

As much as I really, really love my sewing machine, I think the problems that I’m having with it are outweighing the good. Emma, my machine, went in for a tune up earlier this year, and she ran much better for about 2 months. I’m having the same problems that I did about this time last year though–sloppy, uneven length stitches, sliding out of tension in the feed dogs, and weird jamming up problems. I would consider taking her back in to be serviced again, but I they had her for almost 2 months because they had to re-order a broken part. With Renegade coming up, I can’t be out of a machine for that long. Plus, I just can’t justify spending $150 every six months for a tune up. Buying new just seems to make more sense.

My next step is to start shopping. I’m looking for a machine that can be used everyday and not be worn down quickly. I think my current machine was meant much more as a hobbyist model and I’d like something a little tougher. I’m also looking to do quilting with it, but I don’t need any of the fussy embroidery stitches and functions. Emma is a Husqvarna Viking, and I’ve been really happy with the ease of using the machine, but I’m certainly not committed to that brand. I want to test driving some models, but if there’s something super good that I should look at, I’d be interested to know about it! I need any help that I can get.

19 Thoughts on “I think we need to break this off…

  1. I am interested too, and will be following the comments here avidly!
    Keep up the great blog!

  2. Hmmm…sad about your old machine, and at the same time very exciting to go shopping for a new one :-)
    I have a Bernina 1008. It is very reliable, it does not have a built-in walking-foot, and you can’t get the stitch-regulator for it. And it doesn’t have a lot of fancy stitches…
    It sews through everything! I have hemmed jeans on it, sewn in leather, paper, cardboard….it just sews through anything.
    I love it, I have bought a walking-foot for it, and an embroidery-foot for free-motion quilting, and I’m all set. My only problem is, that this machine will probably never need to be replaced, and I won’t have an excuse to get one that sews the fancy stitches! LOL!

  3. Go have a look-see at some Berninas (even a used trade-in would be a great workhorse). Fellow sewers also love their Janomes–they seem to have great models for quilters. Hope you can find a great machine in short order!

  4. Between my mom and I (same household), we have a Pfaff, a Brother, two Janomes, an old Kenmore, an old Singer, and a very old Necchi. I piece on the Pfaff, Mom pieces on her Brother, and we use a Janome 1600P-DB on a quilting frame. The others are used infrequently.
    If you’re looking for a workhorse machine without a lot of bells and whistles, check out the Janome 1600P. There are no fancy stitches – not even a zigzag – but it is an industrial machine that will sew forever. It has a 9″ arm so there’s room to stuff a lot of quilt under it. It has a needle up/needle down button. The bobbin is a challenge to reach especially if your hands are larger than the average six year old. We’ve learned to adapt. There are three versions of the machine – the 1600P, 1600P-DB and 1600P-DBX. The first one uses regular needles and the other two use special DB needles that are harder to find. The 1600P-DB is the cheapest of the three, at around $600. The Pfaff Grand Quilter and Viking Mega Quilter are identical to the 1600P (exactly the same machine). The Brother PQ1500S and Juki TL98QE are similar. They range in price from $600 to $800.

  5. jenessa on August 9, 2008 at 2:48 pm said:

    i have a janome harmony 2049 (which is no longer available) which i love. i use it almost daily making quilts and other crafts. i’ve had it for about 4 years, but haven’t been using it everyday since getting it… just in the past 6 months or so. the best thing to do is to go to a sew and vac and try out the machines… also ask the tune up/fixer what brands come in for what and how long they seem to last. they’ll have the most well rounded opinion since they can do it based on what they’ve seen. i’d even check out a few different ones because different areas of town will have more of a certain brand (at least that’s true with cars, that’s how i figured out what type of car i wanted).

  6. I have a pfaff 2027 and it’s a complete dream.
    It comes with IDT (Integrated Dual Feed), a free motion foot and a quilting foot. I really couldn’t be happier. This machine also includes some overlock stitches – if you sew with knit fabrics and don’t own a serger, this is very helpful. Here’s info from the pfaff site:

  7. What can I say except Bernina. I bought my first an 830 mechanical over 35 years ago. It still runs like a top even though I sewed so much on it I have had to replace the brushes in the motor twice. I wore them level. That is a lot of stitches. Other than an occasional tune up nothing else was done. I recently retired it to back up machine when I bought a Aurora 440 (bernina). I wanted the Stitch regulator and the embroidery feature. I am oh so happy with it. Now that they are coming out with the Super Duper does everything at warp speed 820/830 the prices on the 440 and other high end machines is going down and the option of getting a machine from some one who has traded up is very good. Did I say it sews like a dream. I love this machine. I will not be trading up. Along with my Bernina Serger I have all I need. Check it out and sew a test seam or two, you will be hooked.

  8. Check out this website… it gives good reviews.

  9. love your site, came across it the other day…so great.

  10. Another Bernina vote here. Mine’s an Activa 130, a pretty basic lower end model, but it still managed to sew through 14 sheets of cardstock (I probably didn’t make it happy with that one).

  11. And another Bernina vote! I bought a 440QE a year ago last spring. The price was a big gulp, but I can’t tell you what an improvement it was over my Singer Futura. And the BSR is fantastic! They’ve been around long enough you can probably find a good used one. Good luck!

  12. Hi, I always recommend Pfaffs. I have one that is over 20 years old, never needed repairs and my daughter now uses it as I wanted a new Pfaff. They are wonderful machines! The IDT can’t be beat.

  13. I too have a Bernina… and I love it, mine a virtuosa 153 QE and in 6 years I have never had any problems at all.
    I vote for Bernina anytime!!!

  14. Hi Sarah … I’m a big fan of your blog and have a quick question for you. Can you email me ( or stop by my blog? Thanks!

  15. No updates yet? You must be too busy playing…

  16. Hi – I found a picture of one of your bags from Happy Little Life blog and I love them! I’m a fan.
    Also – about the sewing machine. I went to a Bernina store and actually ended up buying a Brother. It’s really great and was a much better price than the comparable Bernina (and with more feet). My only advice would be to get it at a sewing machine store rather than Costco or someplace because I hear those ones aren’t quite the same.

  17. ps – could you tell me the name of the multi colored number fabric you’ve used a lot? I LOVE IT, but I’m having a hard time finding any online.

  18. A sewing machine break, not a blogging break! Where’d ya go? :)

  19. debbie on January 31, 2009 at 9:21 pm said:

    I have had my Bernina 830 since 1982. It is a great machine and am very happy with it. I have recently taken up quilting and want to quilt on my 830 but do not have a walking foot. Is this needed or not?? The quilt is all cotton and am using low loft batting. I plan on making a test sandwich and trying it out. If any have used 830 for regular quilting please let me know what results you have gotten. Thanks a lot.

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