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Sewing Machine help– to purchase

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    ljmonchik @ljmonchik

    It is time for a new sewing machine- mine keeps breaking and making me crazy.

    Here are my options and would love anyone’s opinions!

    These are the choices:

    Pfaff Hobby 1132

    Pfaff Select 4.0

    Janome 500 Sewist

    Pfaff Tiptronic


    my mother-in-law can give me here Singer 66-16 —

    any thoughts?

    Tamara @justsewit


    I wrote this really comprehensive post and lost it!

    Anyway, a shortened version will do.

    I would recommend, if you can get there, to go personally to a Janome and a Pfaff dealer and check these machines out. I had a brief look on the Pfaff website and out of all the Pfaff machines you listed, I would consider the Pfaff Select 4.0 simply because there are more features which will allow you growth in your sewing life.

    The Janome website says that the 500 sewist is retired (but I looked on the U.S one thinking you live there). I would still look at the Janome machines because there are great machines which will allow you room to grow and change with your sewing skills and that’s what you will probably require – something that can go the distance with you instead of running to the shop in a year saying you’ve outgrown your machine.

    I’m a bit biased with Janome as I have one and learned on one and am now on my third (the Horizon) and they have all been fantastic. I think though the trick to looking for a great machine is to check them out personally. You need to figure out which would suit your needs the most and have a bit of a play (the dealers will allow you to do this). It’s got to feel right for you.

    Take your time in deciding, get the pamphlets and things and take them home and compare to really sort out what one would suit you. You could always borrow your mother in law’s machine while you are making a decision.

    Hope this helps and good luck with your purchase.

    Liesl Gibson

    Very well put, Justsewit. I agree that it’s always best to test drive a machine. We all have our own preferences, so you need to find the one that you’re most comfortable with. I think it also helps to make two lists: one that describes what you want to make and do with the machine, and one that describes your wish list or what features you’d like to have on your machine. And also think about the maximum amount you want to spend. I think it’s worth spending a little more to get a machine that you can grow into. That doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of money, but if you’re serious about sewing don’t buy something temporary because it will cost you more to upgrade in a year or two than it would to just go up a model or two for a few extra features that you might want soon.

    I’m also partial to Janome, in part because I love the ease of the drop-in bobbin (I dislike the front-loading bobbin case on many machines because I think it’s fiddly). When I bought my high-end Janome about five years ago I purchased it sight unseen but knew exactly what features I wanted. I knew I wanted top-notch buttonholes and didn’t give a hoot about embroidery options. That list of requirements (my list was a little longer than that, but you get the idea) helped the dealer to pinpoint the machine that would fit my needs. It’s a great machine, and I feel spoiled with all the extra features it offers.

    I also have a Janome Jem, which is an entry-level machine. I do all sorts of sewing on it at home (I’m working on the fall samples for Quilt Market right now) and love it. It’s perfect for travel, which is the real reason I purchased it, but if I had the luxury of purchasing another machine specifically for home or could have just ONE machine I would look for something one or two models above the Jem so I could adjust the stitch length and make better buttonholes.

    Hope that helps!

    Violaisabelle @Violaisabelle

    Besides those good tips already given, I would strongly suggest looking at what your local dealer or the dealer you plan to establish a working relationship with, sells. I believe having a good relationship with your local dealer is part of what you consider when purchasing a machine. Why? Because having a good relationship with your dealer, means that when your machine does give you fits, or you have broken something, you have built a relationship with a trusted person who is going to look after your sewing needs. Also, on the off chance you might just want to upgrade your machine or purchase another machine, your dealer will be able to assist you and know what you are looking for and will do their best to meet your needs with a good price.

    I am in the process of purchasing two machines, long distance, but they are not for me, they are for two other women. I am using a local dealer to their area, so that I know these women will be taken care of, should they need further assistance with their machines. I could not make this purchase without the help of a good local dealer.


    meleliza @meleliza

    While I know the conventional wisdom is to test drive machines in person – and I’m sure that is the ideal way – we don’t have a single solitary sewing machine dealer in Philadelphia! Very annoying. I would have to drive over an hour out to the suburbs each way to get to a store, so it would take an entire day to try out sewing machines. Even more annoying. Since I have three small children, including a nursing baby, I simply don’t have that kind of time. So, I read lots of reviews online (Amazon, sewingpatternreview.com, consumer reports, etc.). My hubby bought it for me as a Christmas present from AllBrands.com. They had a good support and return policy and they offered free shipping. I bought a Brother Project Runway model, which is a tiny bit cheesy, but it came with *lots* of extra feet and accessories. I have two complaints about the machine (the needle doesn’t have a right position and the needle plate only has metric markings), but otherwise it has been working wonderfully for me and has been a great moderately priced upgrade from my very basic frustrating model.

    I just wanted to mention that there are other options for purchasing in case you don’t have a local dealer. If you have specific requirements, you should be able to see which machines meet those needs online. Probably a good salesperson could help you more, but if you can’t you can’t.Hopefully the next time I’m in the market, I’ll be able to test drive things myself so I can get exactly what I want, but for now, I’m happy enough with how things turned out.

    Violaisabelle @Violaisabelle

    My next suggestion would be to look up a sewing machine repair store, because when the day comes that you need repairs, you want the repair person to be able to work on your machine.

    I just did a quick search on “Philadelphia sewing machine repair” and got lots of good leads. Here is one link to a fabric store that sells machines, including Pfaff machines. http://www.fabricsonthehill.com/index.html I would contact them directly, and ask what machines they do carry and if you can book an appointment to see their machines. Personally, I love Pfaff machines. I have been using Pfaff machines for the past 16+ years, all of which have been very good. My serger is also a Pfaff, which I have had for 12 years. I have one very old Pfaff that I picked up second hand for a replacement when my main machine might be in the shop. I owned, second hand, one of the first computerized machines, that now belongs to my eldest daughter…still going strong. My current Pfaff I have had for about 5 years, and it is very good, with the exception of the buttonhole, which is a real bummer for me. I do believe it was this model, which is a 2054 that had problems. They have tried to repair it, and it isn’t always bad, but I have had issues with it. Other than that, the machine has been wonderful.

    Having someone who can service your machine and give you a good turn around time, is really, really important. If you have to wait longer than 2 weeks to get your machines back, I would think twice about things. Two weeks can be a long time when you’re in the midst of important sewing.

    I feel for you with regards to not getting to a dealer easily and having children to cart, that does make it more difficult. You are doing great with researching and asking questions. There is a lot of ground you can cover that way. I wish you all the best in your purchase.

    Happy sewing,


    Tamara @justsewit

    Carol you know you so right. It is key to have excellent customer service from the machine dealers. I personally had a bad experience with the lady who took over the business where I bought my previous machine. I took it in because it was needing a service paid the money and waited a whole week to drive back to town (a 3hour round trip thanks very much!) only to get it home again and a few weeks later having the same problems.I took it back and waited another 3 days (at my insistance of picking it up sooner). I came back to collect it and was met with “I haven’t had time to look at it” (yet she was reading a magazine when I came in). I told her that I will wait (with my two small children) while she did what she said she would do.

    Two hours later, I walked out with my machine and a grumpy look on my face. I didn’t bother paying her for this as that was all covered. For such an ‘expert’, she didn’t service my machine just got a little bit of caught cotton from the bobbin area that I’d missed and tightened a screw that I was told not to touch. Hugely inconvenient to drive all that way and only be told it was me causing the problem not the machine itself.

    I promptly took the machine down to the city (450km away) and had it serviced properly and it ran fine until I traded it in 3 months later. And if I count up how much time wasted it would have been close to a month of no sewing – and yes I was doing my head in!

    Needless to say, I don’t think that woman is a certified Janome dealer anymore than you and I are and she didn’t care a hoot that I had to travel nearly 1000km (to town and back several times) just to get her to actually look at my machine whilst I sat there making sure she did – she was only after my money.

    So the moral of this story is to make sure the relationship between you and your dealer is a trusting one. Had Mr Q not retired I’m sure I would have received 100% better service than that (he was the person who sold me that machine).

    Tamara @justsewit

    I just had a quick check on the Janome website and there are 28 listed dealers in Philadelphia. Just jump on the website to find one near you. SURELY there would be one near you with that many. Oh and some are internet dealers also so if you manage to get to a dealer to test drive and go away and think about it you could purchase on online!

    I’d love to have 28 Janome dealers in my state – the largest state in the Great Southern Land and only 4 dealers all city based!

    Kim @kmac0107

    Bumping this up

    Nicole @motherof5


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