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(not quite) fantasy sewing machine shopping

(25 Posts)
stealthsquiggle Mon 14-Sep-09 10:29:12

DH has finally twigged that, however sad it seems to him, what I want most in all the world for Christmas is a new sewing machine.

He says I need to give him precise instructions. So what do I want? When I stop lusting over £5000 "worth" of Husquvana Viking, what I need is an excellent straight stitch (quieter than my current rattly one, but that would not be hard), capable of sewing quite heavyweight stuff as I do quite a lot of curtains/upholstery.

What I would like would be some silly stuff like embroidery - but not at the expense of the above.

Any ideas? I am guessing anything up to £1000 is a possibility, but £500ish might be more realistic...

millenniumfalcon Mon 14-Sep-09 10:36:09

you can get straight stitch only machines that are semi industrial but you don't want that do you? you need zigzag, buttonhole etc?

stealthsquiggle Mon 14-Sep-09 10:40:19

Yes I think so - I did look at the semi-industrial ones, briefly, but although I use straight stitch 99% of the time, I wouldn't want not to have the option of others.

Miamla Mon 14-Sep-09 10:42:45

i love my janome... hang on and i'll find you a linky...

lucykate Mon 14-Sep-09 10:43:55

i got a new sewing machine last year, spent a day at the festival of quilts going to every stand trying out all the machines, these were my top 3,

bernina activa 240, husqvarna sapphire 830 or the janome memory craft 6600p

i bought the bernina, wish i had gone for the husqvarna instead. the janome was lovely but that model was a bit out of my price range.

Miamla Mon 14-Sep-09 10:44:07

here she is

millenniumfalcon Mon 14-Sep-09 10:44:12

it might be worth looking at some of the machines that are marketed at quilters - they have to major on a solid/fast straight stitch, but the "home" (as opposed to semi-industrial) ones usually have a selection of fancy/pretty stitches too.

millenniumfalcon Mon 14-Sep-09 10:45:36

that janome is serious money isn't it? there's a model a couple of steps down that i was considering, will look it out.

stealthsquiggle Mon 14-Sep-09 10:48:13

<<jumps up and down excitedly>>

Miamla that was the exact one I found last night.

Thanks, lucykate. What is it that makes you wish you had gone for the husqvarna instead of the Bernina? Specialist quilting stuff or general quality? Although I have an unfinished scrap quilt in my pile of projects blush I guess I really want a jack-of-all-trades machine rather than a dedicated quilting or embroidery one.

stealthsquiggle Mon 14-Sep-09 10:49:57

That's exactly where I got stuck, MF - I found the one Miamla linked to, and then started wondering what you lose by coming down the range, and how far down it was sensible to go [dither]

lucykate Mon 14-Sep-09 10:52:19

at the time, i really couldn't decide between the two, so flipped a coin blush. although i do like the bernina, and for what i do, the fact that the light is a daylight bulb, is fab. but i did love that husqvarna. it had a much larger working area, two lights, and an automatic finishing button, one press, and it secured the thread at the end of your sewing. that appealed to the lazy stitcher in me!

millenniumfalcon Mon 14-Sep-09 10:53:39

i haven't been window shopping for machines for ages, but this was the last one i was considering (back when it was only £500, mind hmm). i remember reading a lot of machine reviews from the states and the babylock quest was getting very good feedback and i think this is the same machine under diffferent branding.

it has a larger throat than standard, which was a big selling point for me.

stealthsquiggle Mon 14-Sep-09 10:56:33

Automatic finishing sounds good to me too! Do any of the others (the Janome, for example) do that, does anyone know?

lucykate Mon 14-Sep-09 10:58:28

best advice i can offer is, find a smaller dedicated sewing machine shop (i drove to one i found in northhampton), rather than places like john lewis. spend as long as you can in there, and try the machines out, have the ones you are interested in side by side so you can compare.

where abouts are you?

millenniumfalcon Mon 14-Sep-09 10:58:33

the thing about a quilting machine is it will (should) have a) larger throat b) built in feed mechanism similar to walking foot c) fast straight stitch d) you can usually get extension tables for them too, all of which would be useful for home dec.

i guess if you were looking for something primarily for clothes you'd need e.g. free arm, stretch stitches, a different set of priorities, but for mostly flat/big things quilting machines should be fine, the home models all have buttonholes etc.

lucykate Mon 14-Sep-09 11:01:59

stealth, a lot do all kinds of little nifty things now. i was amazed when i was looking. i bought my previous machine in 1990, that was a huskystar, and i did me proud over the years, survived being dropped down the stairs during a house move as a student!

millenniumfalcon Mon 14-Sep-09 11:07:55

oh i just remembered babylock/viscount has an independent bobbin winding motor/front loading bobbin that seems like such a luxury

Miamla Mon 14-Sep-09 11:49:03

yup, mine does auto finishing! its one of the best features grin

i've got a walking foot too, DP said it came with it but i still suspect he bought it as an extra.

stealth, you're welcome to pop round to play if you're anywhere near me

bobbin winding... there's a start/stop button that works if you unplug the foot so you can wind a bobbin whilst you go off and make a cup of tea! i'm so easily pleased!

feel free to fire questions my way if you want to know more about it

sorry for random comments! i leave you to put them in a more sensible order when you read them!

stealthsquiggle Mon 14-Sep-09 12:09:34

Sadly, having just looked at your profile, Miamla, I am not anywhere near, but Thanks for the offer.

I think auto finishing closes the deal for me on a Janome like Miamla's, if I can persuade DH. I will slightly guiltily go and have a play in an independent shop (if I can find one - I haven't been window-shopping since we moved) but I know that being able to buy it from John Lewis will be a major plus for DH - he finds specialist craft shops very scary (he still has the (mental) scars from trying to buy me cake-making toys for my birthday grin)

moocowme Tue 15-Sep-09 20:46:15

i bought my janome memory craft 9000 off ebay for £400. i had drooowled over one for a few years but could not afford a new one. i sew just about every week so i knew i would use it. its about the best thing i ever bought. in very good condition with lots of etra feet and needles and things. i did spend a few months looking and waiting until i purchased it in late january (when nobody had any money left).

don't rule out second hand as you can sometimes get a reeeeeaaaly good model for a decent price.

stealthsquiggle Thu 17-Sep-09 00:09:36

moocow if I was buying it for myself I would absolutely be there hovering for a good secondhand deal. However, DH doesn't really "do" eBay, so if I want one for Christmas it will be a matter of finding one somewhere he is comfortable with hmm

My ancient (and cheap in the first place) machine took a further step towards shaking itself to bits tonight - I just hope it can hang on until Christmas.

miamla Thu 17-Sep-09 16:32:07

stealth, you just wait until you get your new machine! my sewing improved dramatically! DP's comment was 'blimey, thought you were just a bit crap at sewing things but realise now it was your old machine'

my old toyota was a workhorse and a half but it very quickly got relegated to the attic smile

I warn you now, the janome i linked to doesn't sew, it hums!

stealthsquiggle Fri 18-Sep-09 16:57:01

envy at humming. It's still an 'if' I get it - DH could easily change his mind before Christmas.

<<crosses fingers>>

moocowme Fri 18-Sep-09 20:47:36

get him to give you the money or a gift card saying he will pay for the machine of your choice up to a certain amount.

at the very least get to try out a top level janome at a sewing store or john lewis, you will love it

i d love my janome 9000 and its definately a hummer!

miamla Sat 19-Sep-09 11:55:08

{smile} moocow, don't think you're making Stealth feel any less envy!

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