View Full Version : Sewing Machine Suggestions Please

October 10th, 2017, 02:31 PM
I'm asking for advice from all of you, a bit of guidance if you will. I really wanted a sit-down long arm machine but unless I hit the lottery, a jackpot, hit it lucky with a best selling manuscript or rob a bank (lol) that's just not in my budget. The one I want, that I've tried & love is about $2000-$4000 out of my reach. :icon_rolleyes: Ugh, the budget is such a pesky pain. So I am looking for the next best thing for quilting. My budget will be $1000 or less. I might be able to squeak out a little more if it's for something really special. I already have a Singer Futura xl 400 which has been a great machine for piece work & embroidery. I have made many quilts on it, from piecing to quilting to binding however I've come to the conclusion this machine is not quilting friendly. The machine never gives me an ounce of trouble when I sew or embroidery. When I start quilting, Suzie Singer has a hissy fit. It starts out with jumping bobbin & ends with shredded thread or broken needle. Honestly, one day, 8 needles equaled really frustrated quilter! I've had it serviced & was told this wasn't the best quilting machine. I didn't think too much of it because he was trying to sell me something. That's what salesmen do, poo-pooh the equipment you have, sell you something supposedly better. But I trust the quality of work done on the machine & I've since been told by someone who has been sewing for over 50 years & has a dozen machines. She told me the same thing. I didn't even tell her the brand I have & she said, "is it a newer Singer" :icon_rolleyes: (OH Man, I'm thinking that's not a good sign). I have had the machine serviced. I clean it frequently, often times with every bobbin change & oil it according to directions. Sewing clothing, quilt pieces, etc... are no problems until I get to the quilt sandwiches.

So I am looking for a workhorse for quilting in my price range. So far I like the look of some of the Juki, Janomes, & Brothers. I do not want a Viking or another Singer. I do want a machine that will handle big thick, fluffy quilts with their seams & binding & the whole thing. I do not have access to a store (so far) with Babylock or Pfaff (though I'm told those machines generally are way out of my price range). I don't know if mechanical vs computerized is better. I do a lot of free motion quilting. For those making suggestions, I'd love to know what you love or hate about various machines, bring it, the good, the bad, the ugly. I can't afford to make another buying goof.

Thanks in advance for your time & suggestions.

October 10th, 2017, 02:44 PM
I'm a big fan of my Juki TL2010q. It is a semi-industrial lockstitch machine that sews through anything and produces a great stitch. It has a large enough harp that I can manage all but king size quilts easily, and enough room for rulers if you want them on the harp side (I'm left handed so I use them that way) unless you are quilting a really big quilt. It has a needle up/needle down function, an automatic thread trimmer and a knee lifter. It comes with a fair number of OEM feet, but there are many others available as generics on the market because it is a high shank machine. I use mine set into a sewing table, but there are feet to quilt from the side, and it can be mounted on a frame. I'm sure others will chime in about their experience. You can get it under $1K.

Carlie Wolf
October 10th, 2017, 03:16 PM
Midge do you know if it was the Juki 2010q that could also come with a Grace frame and could be place on a carriage they include (or can include) so it can also be used as a quilter you can also stand up with?

Jean Sewing Machine
October 10th, 2017, 04:00 PM
I'm not Midge, but generally those straight stitch semi industrials work well on Grace frames. The limitation, of course, is the 9" throat. Models that fit this category are Juki 2010, Janome 1600p ( and it's much less expensive clone the Singer S16, which many of us have), Brother 1500, Baby Lock Jane/ or Quilter Something, or Pfaff Grandquilter. Baby Lock has the new Jazz which has a 12" throat, and my dealer quoted it at about $900. So there are options out there within your budget. None will be as easy to use as a true longarm (14-up" throat) but they can get you the results you are seeking within your budget. Good luck!

October 10th, 2017, 04:17 PM
Why not look into a Baby Lock Jazz ? That's what Jenny Doan here at MSQC has......and she has made comments that she loves the Jazz by Baby Lock....I live in Michigan and there's several sewing machine shops that that have offered a HUGE TRADE IN ALLOWANCE for some machines. One of the gals at the Jo-Ann Fabrics sewing shop inside Jo-Ann's told me when I was looking at another machine last year when they had a sales event that I could TRADE any machine in ....for the $6000.00 trade in allowance. She even told me a lot of gals were going out to Wal-Mart and purchasing a straight stitch machine to trade it ! I told her I had an old Kenmore and she said that she would take that in trade.......But they don't sell Baby Lock machines. A store called Country Stitches is the closest store to me that would have a great sale and trade in allowance.
Well, I didn't do it. I have a Viking /Husqvarna Designer SE that's 10 yrs old, and I love it.....although it is hard to quilt on, I will admit that.
So, what I would do due to the fact that it's close to Christmas, I would wait to see what kind of SALES some of these sewing shops have.....don't purchase a machine without getting classes with it.

I did try to find out what the cost of a BL JAZZ is but I couldn't find any info online with prices !

IF I were to purchase a Machine to do my own quilting, I probably would purchase the BL Jazz.......

October 10th, 2017, 05:02 PM
Midge do you know if it was the Juki 2010q that could also come with a Grace frame and could be place on a carriage they include (or can include) so it can also be used as a quilter you can also stand up with?

As Jean wrote, yes the Juki can be attached to a Grace frame, and there are packages I've seen from time to time with sale prices for the package. And with the alternate orientation free motion foot, it can work. I don't have room for that at my house, so I make do with my table set up, and for my goals, it's terrific! Of course, others have different goals, so maybe nothing but a real long arm will do.

The other similar machines that Jean notes are very close in all respects to the Juki, and in fact, if you purchase some of the Janome brand high shank feet, the packaging clearly states it is for the models Jean mentions.

The Babylock Jazz is a different type of machine. It has a longer harp distance, but much lower height. I had a chance to sew on one recently, and I had a hard time seeing the needle area. But that's me and my arthritis. The Juki has better visibility and a bigger total harp area when consider height X length. Also the Jazz has built in stitches - it is a zig zag machine, where the Juki and it's cousins are straight stitch only, lockstitch machines. Finally, if I remember correctly from sewing on my friend's machine, it does not have a needle up/down function. For me that is a deal breaker if you want to use it for free motion quilting. You really need that function.

October 10th, 2017, 05:56 PM
I've posted before but I love my brother 1500. It's fast and sews through multiple layers with ease. It has thread cutter, knee lift, table extension, needle down and lots more. It's cheaper than the Juki and that's why I chose it. I don't do any fancy fmq, mostly meander or loops, but I have done several large king size quilts start to finish on this machine. I keep my singer for zig zag or other stitches. It does a great straight stitch, does not seem to be finicky about thread and has not given me any problems. The only thing it does not have is speed control but I'm okay with that. You can usually find it for $600, sometimes less.

October 10th, 2017, 06:02 PM
Don't forget Craig's List. Sometimes you can get a great deal. Just don't go to somebody's house by yourself. If you get a mechanical machine it would be cheaper to service it. I vote for Juki.

October 10th, 2017, 08:12 PM
I have the BabyLock Jazz....and what a workhorse! I love it!


Here's some of the projects I have quilted on my Jazz.....

October 13th, 2017, 12:10 AM
Shemur, beautiful work.

Any of the folks who sew with the Baby Lock Jazz. Have any of you found the machine has trouble with big thick seams? I read a review of a woman who had an awful time with hers but it was some time ago. And also tension issues?

Right now my list is:

Baby Lock Jazz
Juki 2010
Brother 1500

It will come down to locating one's I can sit at. I'm worried about the height on the Jazz. Got to drive a few hours to find a dealer for baby lock.

Redcaboose, if I could find a shop that's doing a trade in like that. That would be awesome.

Thanks to everyone for your input. I am glad to have your help. I have so much fun making things but it's better with the right tools

October 13th, 2017, 07:13 AM
Looking at the first few replies it looks like I'll just be echoing folks recommendations. Juki is a work horse. I've not used the 2010 but when I was looking before it had more features than some of the others that did the same thing. I had a Juki H300 and loved it. It was a real work horse and had a lot of decorative stitches. In fact I used one once to straight line quilt an entire quilt. LOL
Good luck in your search.

October 15th, 2017, 10:50 AM
Folks I have some very exciting news to share.

I got to meet a BabyLock Jazz. A woman had hers in for service, heard I wanted to see one & offered up to let me sit down at hers. While I did like the machine, I had a little trouble seeing. I believe this is all because of what I am used to, not because it's a problem. I've learned over the years, I adapt to whatever but it would take awhile. But oh what a nice machine it is. I had an easier time with the Juki & did not get to meet a Brother. (LOL, that just sounds funny). Anyway, the shop owner came to talk with me. He asked me a lot of questions about what I was looking for in a machine, what I hope to do with the machine. I got the sense that he was feeling out if I was a fair weather quilter or someone who was all-in. When he found out I'd done so many huge quilts on my Singer he told me "that's dedication". But I would never sew if I had to send my quilt toppers off. Not because of the expense or I don't trust good companies who quilt but because I love doing the quilting part of the process. LOVE that part.

He asked me to sit down at this beautiful Janome Artistic Sit-Down machine. I guess my eyes lit up but I told him, "I'd love to have one of these but I absolutely can not afford it... so don't dangle that carrot". This all started because I was wondering about the differences between computerized & mechanical. I've never had anyone at any quilt shop spend the kind of time this guy did with me. It was like getting my own one-person sit-down longarm class. When it was time to sew, I'm not certain but maybe I sighed a little bit. It was a lot of fun. I had no idea I'd left my husband so long in the car. He came in as I was telling the quilt shop fellow that I'd have to talk it over with my husband, it's out of my price range. My jaw dropped when the guy told me the price. It was half what I expected. They're wanting to sell their floor model & put something different in, they've had several instances of people promising to come back in to pay for the machine, they hold it, then the person never comes back. It was still bigger than my budget but not too badly.

You probably already know where this is going. My husband dickered with the quilt shop owner & bought the long arm machine for me. It cost more than my budget however my husband said I don't complain about his boat, his gun collection, or hot rod cars & he said in all the machines I'd looked at, that was THE ONE & he could tell. It doesn't have some of the bells & whistles that the models I was looking at do but it is the most comfortable I've been! I still can't believe it & pinch myself every time I look at it.

So Santa Claus came a couple of months early at my house. I am over the moon. Sometimes the thing you think is waaaaay out of reach is closer than you think. My local quilt shop made this possible. After the machine was loaded up & I told the guy there was no way this could have happened if he hadn't worked with us (he came off his sale price quite a chunk). He told me sometimes getting a customer the right tool rather than a tool in their price range is important. I kept my singer. Sewed on her all day yesterday piecing together a new quilt, no broken needles, no boogered up thread. She just doesn't like quilting. I rearranged my sewing room & the new machine fits in perfectly. I'm so happy I'm beside myself but I want to thank you for all your suggestions, I really thought a long arm was impossible for me until Friday when they loaded mine up :)

October 15th, 2017, 07:45 PM
Congratulations on your new machine! I'm a big Janome fan so I'm anxious to hear what you think after you've had a chance to quilt on it a bit. Keep us posted.

October 16th, 2017, 08:00 AM

Good choice, sweetie! I have tested the Janome Artistic as well, and it does have good qualities! If memory serves me correct, it has a 16" throat and you should be able to quilt to your hearts desire! I can't wait to see what you create!

October 16th, 2017, 08:10 AM

Is this the machine? It's a beauty! But most important - you have a wonderful DH!

Jean Sewing Machine
October 16th, 2017, 09:14 AM
So happy for you! You will really enjoy this new adventure! That salesman knew what he was doing! And he knew his numbers, so he could work with you on it. I had a machine dealer who did that for me, and that is how I got my long arm and a whole bunch more great machines. I am so sad he retired and closed his business last June! Hope your dealer supports you well in your adventure with your new machine! Have fun!

October 16th, 2017, 04:03 PM
Congratulations on your new quilting machine! You'll have a lot of fun with that. Did it come with any table extensions? If not, you can create more surface area for holding your quilt by using an ironing board or a card table next to your machine/table. I've been very satisfied with my Baby Lock Tiara II table LA. It also was a floor model, so I got a good discounted sale price on it. I did not buy the stitch regulator since I'd already been FMQ for 3 yrs. on my DSM & did not feel the need for it.

October 16th, 2017, 04:19 PM
Sherry....I really like the grey quilt....it's different and colorful ! :) ....not saying I don't like the other ones...( I really like the leaf as well....) I just really like the grey quilt!


October 23rd, 2017, 10:11 PM
This is so exciting. I've only done a few small things with the new machine. I'm having a little trouble breaking thread but figure that's due to not having my tension set just right. This is completely foreign territory for me. We made a trip to a fabric shop to get masses of fabric & batting. I like to make everyone's Christmas presents if I can so... away we go! I will share pictures as soon as I have something to share. I've now two quilt tops waiting to be sandwiched & quilted so hopefully soon I'll have something to show you :)