Advice on a new machine

connie99July 24, 2011

Hi, my name is Connie. I am new here. I had a Brother ult2001 sewing and embroidery machine that I just sold only because it didn't get used enough for embroidery. I have started trying to make my own quilts and I love it! I have been doing some research on machines and now I am more confused than ever.. The only dealer near me sells Brother and Pfaff. I only want to spend between $200.00 and $400.00 since it only a hobby and that is really all I need to put into right now. Does anyone have any suggestions or advice on buying a machine. When I go the dealer I fall in love with all the high dollar ones! But, I really need to stay at my price point right now. Thanks

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Hi Connie and welcome to the forum. You'll probably get some very specific recommendations but I can make a couple general statements. For quilting, you just need a machine that will do a few basic stitches, not a bunch of fancy ones you won't use. You will need a machine that allows you to drop the feed dogs so you can do free motion quilting. You may not want to do that right now, but after a while being exposed to this group you'll want to give it a try so you might as well have a machine that can handle it. I think most machines in the price range you are looking at will also let you adjust the position of the needle. This is very handy since it allows you to set it 1/4" from the fabric edge for a perfect quilting seam. Really, that's it. Everything else is just 'fancy stuff' and probably not needed for quilting or most sewing.

Hope that helps!


    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 8:05PM
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How about needle down? That's a good feature to have.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 8:12PM
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Thans so much Kate and Theresa! I need all the advice I can get.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 8:41PM
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Hi Connie....Just the basics is all you really need to sew a quilt together. But, like Kate mentioned, if the needle position can be adjusted it is a big help to getting that scant 1/4" seam.

Welcome to the forum and hope to be seeing some of your work.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 9:15PM
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I have 2 Brother machines. One of them is a new upgrade (embroidery). The other is out of the price range you mentioned, but if you could find a used one, I would highly recommend it. The Brother shop by me sells their used trades, so you might be able to get on a list? Anyhow, the one I'd recommend is a Brother PQ1500S. It is what they call their "quilting" machine. It only does 1 stitch, but it does it very well. It's a very simple machine with no gadgets and it is not computerized and I think it's all metal as well. They are known to last and don't get traded in very often. When I bought mine, I was looking for one just like you described, and loved how this one works, especially the long throat (9") so it makes quilting so much easier.

Have fun shopping!


    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 9:06AM
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Hi, Connie - like Robbi, I have 2 Brother machines. My "fancy" one is a PC8500 sewing/embroidery machine. It also doesn't get much use for embroidery, but I do use it a lot for regular sewing!

I recently purchased a "lesser" model Brother (can't remember the number) from It is new, came with the full warranty, and only cost about $150, I think. I looked at the Singer machines at JoAnn's in the same price range and chose the Brother b/c I knew what to expect with Brother.

This machine has about 60 decorative stitches, it came with 6 or 7 feet, and it works great! It's also really light weight, which is a plus b/c I wanted a smaller, lighter machine to take to classes and guild sewing days.

So, I guess the point of all this is, check out!


    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 9:25AM
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There are a zillion patterns! Overwhelming for sure. I have used the Bali pops ( or strips) for 3 quilts recently.
Look at Hoffman's website, Missouri Quilts (Summer in the Park is one I want to make) and Cozy quilts - see link below.
You don't need the ruler if you have a 12.5" square for the tube quilts, but someday I may treat myself to one, as I keep buying the Bali Pops! Not only did I use regular fabric in addition to the Bali Pops, but I pulled out strips that weren't the perfect colors and cut my own, or I mixed some up.
I especially like Tradewinds (which I was able to find free on the internet by looking really hard)
I find the Strips are great for people like me who do not have much fabric stored.

Here is a link that might be useful: Strip Quilts

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 9:56AM
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Robbi's right (and I think Marsha got the wrong thread) the Brother machines are quite good. They are same machine as my Baby Lock and the Juki but a bit cheaper. I have both Brother and Baby lock of same machine, one I leave on a frame, and they are great. It is only a straight stitch machine but with needle down and drop feeds which is all I need for quilting. I piece on a different machine but they also do that. I bought my Brother used on eBay and my Baby Lock from the dealer when they replaced floor models. So, get to know your dealer. Having service from them is a big plus.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 10:50AM
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Oh Darn - toolgranny is right - My post is on the wrong thread -so sorry! Wonder where my sewing machine post went???
Pfaff makes a less expense machine - it is small and I believe may be in your price range. I am a multi Pfaff owner, and while the machines are not the same as they used to be (company is different, manufacturing is different)I do think it is still a reputable company. I also urge you to get to know your dealer, and buy a floor model or trade -in provided it has been serviced and has a warranty from the dealer. Make sure you test the actual machine. Needle down, drop feed, needle position in mm is essential for accurate piecing if you are new.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 11:41AM
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Thanks ladies for all your help! I went to the dealer this morning. The only used one she had at this time is a Pfaff Hobby Matic 935 ($275.00). They have a Brother Innovis 40 PRW for $349.00. Pfaff Select for $699.00 (more than I really want to spend). I may have to look around a little more to see what I can find. I was hoping to able to get something from this dealer. I purchased my Brother ULT from them and they are great there and 5 minutes from my house.
At least with your help I know what to look for in a machine. I will keep searching there's one out there with my name on it!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 2:55PM
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I believe that as important as the machine is it is equally important to have a dealer that is helpful and stands behind their machine with good reliable service.
There are several good low priced machine and the suggestions mentioned are on the mark. Good luck and welcome.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 5:34PM
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Ladies, thanks so much for the warm welcome and the much needed advice. I haven't decided on one yet. I did go to a repair shop yesterday that had some older used machines. One was and all metal Fleetwood, just straight and zig zag, but it stitched liked a dream $40.00. The other 2 were singers One was a asinger Futura 11 and aSinger Touch and Sew the 700 model. They stitched very well also. I wanted to do a little research on these as well. Are any of you familiar with any of these machines?
I thought this was interesting, this was an older man and he said he helped design the first Babylock.
Thanks, Connie

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 3:30PM
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I'm not familiar with those machines, but I think you found a gem in the man that is selling and working on them. Have fun test driving!


    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 8:38AM
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