Ask Mimi #3:  What sewing machine should I buy as a new quilter?

As an avid sewer and quilter, I own 3 sewing machines.  My favorite by far is my good ole Kenmore, given to me by my dear mother-in-law in 1976. It chugs away, serious and steady.  When I started quilting, I bought a universal walking foot for my old girl, and produced some nicely pieced and machine quilted projects. I am teaching my grandchildren how to sew using my tried and true machine.

The features of newer machines can make your sewing life so much easier though.  As your skills grow, you will look for added features to assist you in “quilting your dreams”.  You may even venture into the short and long arm world(Another topic for another day).

At Mimi’s we offer beginning quilters’ classes and are often asked which machine is best.  There are many choices.  A basic machine will get the job done, and as with many products, sewing machines can be very expensive.  Here is some information aimed at helping the beginning quilter to make a sensible purchase.

 If you fall in love with quilting, as we suspect you will, you may want to upgrade to a higher quality machine in the future. When you get to that level, we at Mimi’s suggest that you to go to a brand dealer to see the many options available. (i.e. Bernina, Jenome, Baby Lock)  Local dealers offer classes and workshops designed to teach you the specific features of the machine you buy.   Local experts will help you with any problems you have while learning, and maintenance can be easily arranged.

But, in the meantime….let’s get started.  These beginning machines fall between $100 and $400.

Brother manufactures a number of machines.  The XR3774 is a full featured machine with 37 stitches, 8 sewing feet, a wide table and instructional DVD for about $120.    The CS6000i sewing machine has 60 built in stitches, 7 buttonhole stitches, and a wide quilting table for about $150. Rounding out our Brother selections is the HC1850, a computerized sewing and quilting machine with 130 built in stitches, 9 presser feet, sewing foot, wide table and instructional DVD at about $200.

Singer has been making sewing machines forever.  The Singer 7469Q Confidence Quilter Computerized Sewing and Quilting machine is an excellent example.  With its automatic needle threader, 98 built-in stitches, fully automatic buttonholes, and programmable needle up/down make quilting fun and easy.  This machine will run you about $270.  The Singer 9960 600-stitch Computerized Sewing Machine with extension table, bonus accessories and hard cover may be just what you need.  This machine has a plethora of quilting features you will love exploring.  The cost is about $350, but worth it.

Janome makes a nice little starter machine.  The Janome 2212 has a front loading bobbin and free arm.  We like the free arm feature for tight sewing.  The snap on presser foot and built in thread cutter make this a good choice for beginners. The 2212 costs about $150.

The Laura Ashley Limited Edition CX155LA Computerized sewing and Quilting Machine is another interesting choice for beginners.  It’s built in font for basic monograming is an appealing feature. The CX includes 11 sewing and quilting feet and 155 built in stitches.  An extra wide table makes this machine ideal for king-sized quilts. For about $200, It’s a good choice.

Quilt you dreams!


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