Help Me Choose Between These!

weeper_11September 18, 2011

Alright, so I am a novice sewist, and I am looking at getting myself a sewing machine. I have 3 in particular that I have an eye on, though I am not stuck on them.

1 - a Babylock Grace that has been lightly used and is in excellent shape. For sale for $500 which includes an extension table or something.

2 - A Husqvarna Viking Interlude 445 selling for $700. According to the ad it has been used only once and there is nothing wrong with it.

3 - a Janome 3160 QDC or a 2030 QDC. I like the 3160 better, but I'm not sure yet what it will sell for(I'll have to buy new) so if I can't afford it, then the 2030.

I plan to use it for making baby clothes, possibly some clothes for myself, and I may try quilting. I am interested in making decorative pillows, table runners, kids costumes, stuff like that. I want a machine that has all the basic stitches, plus a few decorative, user-friendly, the ability to sew various fabrics well, and to have a relatively long life. I can't spend more then about 700 dollars. One that is easy enough to start on, but is a good enough machine that it will allow me to grow.

I live on a farm, but there is a dealership for each of the above brands within an hours drive. The two used machines are private sales though.

One more question: if I'm a complete beginner, how do I know what to look for if I try the machine out? I won't be able to compare it to anything, so I'm not sure that trying it will help me decide.(I took sewing in high school and loved it, but I've forgotten everything by now!)

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Since you're a beginner,i'd suggest googling each of the machines you have in mind,before you actually go shopping.Make notes and take them with you,also take pieces of fabric that you think you will be sewing on in the future,and do your test sewing on those.

There are some good second hand deals out there,but if you're not familiar with the machines you have no way of knowing if it's a good deal or not.

So my suggestion would be to go to a sewing machine store,tell them what you are looking for and ask them about used machines.They almost always refurbish trade in if need be,but a lot of times they don't need anything but a minor tune up,as most people just upgrade to a machine with more bells and whistles.I think that would be your best bet,and is what i would do if i were in your shoes.

beside that you'll have someone to go back to if you ever have any problems with it.Not so if you buy it through the classified ads.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 4:03PM
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Alright, so here is the new and updated information:

I agree with you, Kathi, and have had some other sewists mention the same thing about buying from a local store so that you have support later on.

So I phoned up the stores and got quotes on the machines above (which I have researched and like each of their features!). The Viking Interlude 445 has been replaced with the Emerald 183 at $700. I can get a new Babylock Grace for $500. The Janome 3160 QDC sells at

I will try out each of the machines before I buy anything. I'll also keep an open mind for good used machines that they may have available. But does anyone have any opinions over the brand or particular model?

Here is a concern I have: Since I am interested in maybe doing some quilting, which of the above machines can handle sewing through heavier fabrics with ease? All of them? I've heard that Viking's can plug through a that true? More so than the Janome and Babylock models I have mentioned?

I appreciate "JMO" as well as any other advice!

One more question: Is there a certain time of year that sewing machines are often on sale? Can you usually haggle a bit for a lower price, or should I expect to pay what is listed?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 4:48PM
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I've never had a Janome but i know a lot of folks who do and really don't have any complaints about it.I looked it up and here is what i found and it all sounds very good.

I now have a Viking Rose and have had it for 14 years,at first i had a lot of problems with it,as it kept stopping and teling me i was out of thread,i took it back about 4 times,then i posted on the boards and someone from viking contacted me and told me to take it back one more time and if it wasn't satisfactory after that that i could exchange it.Well it just so happened that i had a class coming up,that was being taught by the stores owner.
As soon as i started that machine up and sewed a few stitches,she came over and told me it didn't sound right.So i told her al the problems i had had with it,she called the repair shop(her son runs it) and he walked her thru calibrating it and that didn't work.So she gave me a floor model o use for the class,and she hand carried my machine back to the repair shop and told them it was top priority.I had it back in a few days,and never had a bit of trouble with it again.

That's why i say buy local,so you have access to services and help.

Babylocks are also good machines,so my advice to you is to get the one you can afford,that has as much bang for your buck as you can get,as they are all good machines,and you won't go wrong with any of them.JMO of course.

As for best times to buy that would be whenever where you live has their county fair,they have some good deals at those.

STAY FAR AWAY from those places that have those singer sales that they say they overbought for schools or some such thing.Those are nothing but junk,and you will never be able to find them again ,should you need help or service.After they get your money,they go POOF!!!!!

Hope all this helps.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 3:27PM
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>>STAY FAR AWAY from those places that have those singer sales that they say they overbought for schools or some such thing.Those are nothing but junk,and you will never be able to find them again ,should you need help or service.After they get your money,they go POOF!!!!!>>

When I see those, I often wonder, "what schools even have money to BUY new sewing machines?!" Our local schools gave up Home Ec classes long ago. You'll find cooking classes are now in the cafeteria's kitchen and labeled "Food Prep" or similar. Sewing machines are gone, and maybe there will be a "fashion design" class but it doesn't include learning to use a sewing machine. Sad state on High Schools. I loved Home Ec in my freshman year.

Back to the OP's thread....I will agree that Babylock is a great machine.

I will also agree to GO LOCAL and buy from a store where you can get service. I made the error of buying a serger from Price Club, years ago. I had nothing but trouble with it and of course no lessons came with it, so I had to learn on my own and deal with it on my own.


    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 10:32AM
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The reason iknow about those singer machines is because i worked in a quilt shop.The owner let them come in one weekend and use floor space for their sales.We of course didn't know much about them at the time and the owners thought it was a good way to bring in new customers.

They did sell several machines that day,but the next few weeks we had to deal with their unhappy customers who couldn't get the machines to do what they were supposed to,and when they tried to contact singer they got no responce there either.

Luckily we had a sign up that day that said we were'nt affiliated with them in anyway,nor were we responsible for what they bought!!There were a lot of very unhappy campers from that sale.So from then on we warned people not to buy and we never allowed them to set up in our store anymore.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 4:59PM
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So I've decided that the Viking is just out of my price range..there are too many other things I will still need to buy besides the machine!

So now the decision is between the Babylock Grace and the other one I've decided to go with for Janome is the 4030 QDC. It has less stitches than the 3160, but that is fine with has pretty well all the other features, as well as the quilting extras. I can buy either of them for $500. (this is Canadian price) The 4030 was listed for $600, but I convinced the lady over email to sell it for $500 so it is on an even playing field with the Babylock. So far I'm leaning towards the Janome, even though it has a few less stitches. I've been reading reviews and asking advice on sewing forums, and it seems the Janome is considered to have a bit more capability, plus it is heavier, despite having less stitches. I'll try them both out to be sure.

I'm so excited!!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2011 at 10:52AM
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