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any experience of the following sewing machines?

(12 Posts)
KevinFoley Fri 02-Nov-12 11:38:44


I've been recommended the following machines by 2 sewing shops as ideal for both primary age DD and me to learn and develop on.

My asks were simple to start learning sewing on, robust, well built and easy to trouble-shoot, able to tackle quilting and heavier fabrics (denim or several layers at most), scope to develop skills (i.e. don't want to need to upgrade quickly).

Do you have an experience of the following and can recommend / advise to avoid? We will of course visit and try them out too.

Brother: 350 and NV35
Janome: DCX30 and 601
Husqvarna: 100q
Bernina: 215


patchworkchick Fri 02-Nov-12 19:49:06

No experience of those models, but would recommend Janome. My first machine lasted for years and was brilliant.

nipersvest Fri 02-Nov-12 19:56:15

no experience of those specific models, but do have a lot of experience with sewing machines in general. my preference of brand, in order of first to last would be

husqvarna or janome

i currently have a bernina activa 240.

babesdontlie Sat 03-Nov-12 13:56:58

I have a brother xl-2230 - its about 6 years old, gets used on a weekly if not daily basis and I've never had a spot of bother with it.

I also have a temperamental Janome 300E embroidery machine

QueenOfToast Mon 05-Nov-12 13:06:35

I have a Janome 2050 which is their entry level model and cost me £99.

It was recommended at a sewing class that I went to. The teacher said that she uses her Janome 2050 all the time and it has everything she needed to make her own wedding dress. You may need something more robust for heavier fabrics but I genuinely have no idea confused If you're already sewing, using a machine regularly, and doing quilting (admiration envy) then you probably know more than me anyway.

I think that when you're fairly new to sewing it's hard to know what model is going to work best for you. I decided not to spend any more than I had to, and not to get too many fancy functions (that I wouldn't know how to use!)

Fizzylemonade Mon 05-Nov-12 14:18:38

Dh has just given me an early Christmas present of a new sewing machine grin

I had a 15 year old clunky temperamental one and I have now got a Janome SMD3000 which is from Sewing Machines Direct. I would say that my 9 yr old son could easily use it.

It is hearty, I have been quilting on it this week!

Sewing Machines Direct were recommended by other MNetters. When you order it, it comes the next day, they text you to tell you what time it will be delivered and they give you a 5 year guarantee. Oh and they give you a load of thread, and scissors. Janome ones.

Lemonylemon Fri 09-Nov-12 16:05:45

I have had a Janome for about 20 years and have never had any trouble with it.......

BigBoobiedBertha Sat 10-Nov-12 16:15:12

I've got an older mid range Janome and whilst it is OK and does the job, it can be a bit temperamental. It takes a dislike to certain types of threads for example, so I alwaysneed to use good quality thread and make sure it matches top and bottom or it starts misbehaving. It is a bit of a pain as you don't always want the same threads on the back as you do on the front for things like quilting.

A quilting teacher I had a few years ago swore by her Brother and I know others who love Bernina. I think it very much depends on the machine itself. You would be best off making your mind up after trying a few out.

KevinFoley Sat 10-Nov-12 21:34:55

Thanks everyone very much for sharing stories and advice. We went to the lovely old fashioned sewing machine shop today (been there for 40 years and they repair on site so I got great advice). We demo'd all except the Husqvarna, they had a different model but I wasn't that keen on spec or the look. Verdicts on those we did actually see in action below:

Bernina 215 £499: I had my heart so set on this model, but....I really didn't like the Bernina. It wasn't intuitive at all, and was difficult and fiddly to both thread the needle and insert the bobbin at the side, no speed control other than the pedal and the computerised key pad was relatively difficult to understand. This entry model was an ugly looking beast <shallow> with rubberised keys (urrgh) and nasty cheap looking handle, also quite noisy. Although in it's defence I have to say the stitch quality was superb. I thought it was much too difficult for us relative beginners so we ruled this one out quickly. The man told me that to get a Bernina actually made in Switzerland these days you were looking at a 3K plus model (gulp). I thought this one was trading on it's name and not really worth the price. You didn't even get a hard case for the money. I'm sure the higher cost Berninas are lovely, they certainly looked it, but this bottom of range machine just wasn't great value compared to it's competitors.

Brother Innov-is 35 £429: This was a new model, very nice looking and compact (had handle and hard case for transfer) but also a nice sturdy machine. Very intuitive with a easy dial selection, good range (?60) and quality of stitches, one step buttonhole, easy to thread, a drop in bobbin. No stitch cutters and quite a noisy machine however.

Brother 250e £599: Also a new model. About 170 pounds more expensive than the other Brother. For that you got hundreds of stitches inc simple embroidery options inc letters, and quite a few buttonhole options, all 1 step. It was easy peasy to thread and drop in bobbin, even easier than the other Brother. Had a knee lift too and stitch cutters. The stitches were nice and this was a very very close second. What let it down was the noise (same as other Brother) and it's bulk. I am going to need to carry this up and down stairs and it had no carry handle and was quite big. I also didn't feel we really needed all those stitch options. To be completely shallow the other Brother looked much more modern.

Janome DKS30 £499: A very new model too. I wasn't keen of the photos of this one and couldn't really be bothered to test it. The chap told me it was his mum's favourite which piqued my interest.
Boy...was my first impression wrong!! What a beauty. It was a much more attractive specimen in real life with a lovely glossy orange panel and modern matt body. Lovely and compact with a carry case and nice handle and while sturdy (8kg) I can transport it fine. Does about 30 stitches and 1 step buttonholes (plenty for us beginners). Lovely lovely stitch quality and so noticeably quiet it just purred (perfect to not unnerve my small daughter) with an easy graduated switch speed control. Had stitch cutters, auto thread and drop in bobbin. More complicated to auto thread than the Brothers but not difficult. The light quality was superb, it just lit up. No knee lift but we don't need that. We got it a bit cheaper than the RRP so that is great too. To be honest once I tried this the others paled into comparison but I took time to weigh up against the Brother 250e with all those great stitch options. In the end the quietness and ease of transportation won out.

I asked the man (who fixes them himself) to be honest about build quality and he felt they were all reliable and easy to repair and Bernina no better or worse than the other models. All have metal insides (they won't stock basic Singer anymore as too many plastic components).

Anyway, a very long post but I hope it is helpful for anyone who might stumble across it.

piprabbit Sat 10-Nov-12 21:37:59

I bought my Bernina 20 odd years ago (first pay packet when I started work).
I love it. It's completely reliable and very easy to use. The few times I've spoken to them (including the free one day course when I bought it - do they still do this?) the customer services have been fab.

KevinFoley Sat 10-Nov-12 22:08:45

That's great Piprabbit. The higher range Bernina models looked great and I'm sure they are fab. I couldn't afford those and only tried the entry model (the 215). Performance was fab but comparatively noisy, basic and ugly machine and the set up was really really hard for us relative beginners to master. I think they are scrimping on their lower end model and yet I was so determined to prefer the Bernina...

piprabbit Sat 10-Nov-12 22:14:56

I must admit that mine was a basic model at the time - it was all I could afford. But it sounds like they've changed their approach from what you've said sad, which is a huge shame.

My DM recently bought a new machine and I went shopping with her - I did like the look of the Janome ones but she ended up getting a very good deal on a Brother machine. I'm sure you'll be happy which ever one you finally plump for.

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