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I am trying to get back into sewing (former 4-Her) and would like to start quilting, too. First things first, I need to purchase a sewing machine but don't know what is going to work the best and grow with me. I grew up using a singer but came across a brother today while shopping. Any suggestions?


Also, suggestion on where to find refresher courses and courses for quilting?




Edited by Jori
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We-ell..as far as machines go, I'd strongly recommend you buy from a reputed dealer and get one that comes with a good warrenty and tech support. Meaning - Do NOT by a cheap machine from Walmart. :)I'll refrain from recommending a brand. You will most definately want to test drive several makes and models to find one that feels good to you. Find a dealer that will let you play and ask questions.


For sewing and quilting classes, that's easy: Pick up the phone book. Most quilt shops offer classes, and if they done't have any, they'll know who teaches them. There are plenty of good books availible as well. If you're Ok with self learning, you might try the local library.

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My best Idea for you is 'keep it simple' if you don't plan to use all the fancy stiches (most don't ) why pay for a fancy machine. A good one that does straight stiching andig-zag as well as backing up (my treadle doesn't) is good enough for most of us. If you plan to quilt with it you will be using mostly straight stitching.


as for Quilt classes -

start by going to you local Library and getting out all the books you can find on Quilting. That way you can see what is being done as well as learning the words and phases that are used in Quilt making. That will help you when it is time to lake a class or two.


and good luck.



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I am trying to get back into sewing (former 4-Her) and would like to start quilting, too. First things first, I need to purchase a sewing machine but don't know what is going to work the best and grow with me. I grew up using a singer but came across a brother today while shopping. Any suggestions?


Also, suggestion on where to find refresher courses and courses for quilting?





I got a Janome 6600P for quilting. It has a wide throat area for machine quilting. The machine is a dream to sew on. It has a built in walking/even feed foot. Such a great machine. It is not cheap, but to me it was worth the money. I have a White machine, which is good, too, but not meant for the quilting like the Janome is.

It would be better to get a used machine that was more expensive to start with than a cheap new one.

I like to use the sites online for quilting help. http://www.victorianaquiltdesigns.net/QuiltingLessons.htm

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As for a sewing machine, you will need a heavy duty type if you are going to use it for quilting, I should think. :) Sounds like Violet has a very good machine. :)


I do have a Brother machine and have had it for probably around 20 years now. I've made blankets for the kids and grandkids, I've made curtains as well as a lot of other things on it. So far it seems to be a good machine. But, you know the saying, 'They don't make things like they use to". And this is really sad, things just don't seem to be as good now days. :(


You would probably be better off going to someplace like 'Joan Fabrics' or someone who deals in sewing machines to get one.


Here are some sites that have information on classes. :)








This is the site you register for classes. :)














There is a place up town where you can take your quilt after it is made and do the quilting. :) I have no idea how much it costs, but, I might just find out sometime. :) I don't know how many different designs they have to use, or if they have more than one. I just remember seeing someone quilting one day when I was in there.


Let us know what you get and where, also let us know if you take any online class and which one. :)


I'm sure there are more people out there who would like to take classes too. :)




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If you are going to machine quilt it will need to be heavy duty enough to go through the layers and not bog down. It will need an even feed or walking foot, too. That was why I chose the one I did. It was meant for that job. I have a walking foot for my little BabyLock machine, but it sure is not the same. I used to use it, but it was so slow and the stitches were not as even.

JoAnns here is expensive on machines. I looked there. They have a Viking sewing center, but they were not nearly as competitive in price nor in the functions I wanted.

I went to a local sewing machine center and got mine. I got to see all the different brands and models. I got to sew on machines before making my choice.

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I agree with the others. You need a machine designed to do quilting. Normal machines dont feed the thickness through so the stitching puckers. Im looking at getting a quilting sewing machine, and as far as I can see they have a bigger shelf to lay the material on as well as a differnt foot and feed underneath. Most arnt that expensive either.

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oh goodness me... a sewing machine...


buy one you will grow into! one that has way more then you think you will need because you may want to do more then quilt!


ok, let me be honest here... how many quilts does one need? one for each child? grandchild? sister? brother and his kids.. so you have made 100 quilts... now you are really into it but when family sees you coming... they run! no more quilts!!!!


so you are now quilting wall hangings! christmas, easter, summer.. ....


let me break down a quilt... are you interested in the piece work and having someone else quilt it for you? are you interested in also doing the quilting.. free motion.


back to buying a machine that does more then a straight stitch because that is all you need for quilting. Perhaps you will decide to do wearable art.. making clothing by piecing it together as you do a quilt.. you will want more then just a straight sewing machine.


Perhaps a grand daughter comes to you and says... granma can you make me a dress? you may want to do a little embroidery stitch and many of the machines have a couple of pretty little stitches.


some machines stitch like this








and others








the latter is what you want for quilting.


still have your old singer? keep it, use it. you will need to .. depending on the machine, drop the feed dogs, raise the needle plate or cover the needle plate to do free motion stitching.


I am a buy a machine you can grow into rather then buy a simple machine.. I do have a however to this... (oh Rita!!!!!) look at the Singer 301, a little but sweet straight stitch for traveling. Weighing in at 16 pounds it is easy to take to quilting classes.


for around $125... I still stand by a Singer 401 all metal gears and does free motion quilting nicely.


Check for a Local Quilt Guilde.

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Oh, Westie! I learned to sew on Mom's Singer 401 and I'm glad to know that you agree that it's one of the *best*. I like mine! Mom and Dad found one at a garage sale just like hers, and bought it for me because they knew I liked hers best.




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these 401's sew through the finest silks ... change the needle and sew through 6 layers of commercial denim, another needle change and sews through leather like it was cotton.


I like them so much... I have several of them.... 401A, 401G, 431G... not sure how many 401A's I have



for the money a Singer 401 or 500 is my choice.


Cat...best machine ever built!!!! 50 years later and still running!




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Sewing is my business and what I do for $$(Its going slow right now, but I hope it wil pick up!). Now I will agree with getting an oldie pre-1960's machine. I have a Pfaff hooked up to an industrial moter and an old singer, LOVE them. I also have a 6600 which is a lot of fun too if you are looking for a newer machine. If your planning on doing a lot of sewing would for sure get either the pre-1960's machine or an industrial one. Industrials are amazing and sew like a dream. They sew like a dream and you can't compare them to any of the new machines on the market right now. Industrials will last you forever, are made of solid metal and I got mine cheaper than I got my 6600, and I like it better. Although keep in mind that I sew all day, every day for work, so I need a machine like this. ;)

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I'll toss in my few cents here since I also sew for a living.


Since you have a basic knowledge of sewing already, you might be fine with doing something like I did this past week.


I was helping a friend find a sewing machine. She is just learning how to sew and just needed a basic machine - one that could be around kids and not fall apart.


She posted an ad on Craig's List like this: "WANTED: Sewing Machine. I am learning to sew and need a basic machine for around $30. e-mail...."


We weeded out the nutjobs...like the trucker who replied stoned out of his mind, "Yeah babe, Ive got a machine for you. It's been kicking around in the bed of my pickup for a month or so. I'll drop it by." Umm. No thanks.


Another lady had a Singer Golden Touch-N-Sew. Good machine, I learned on it, but they were prone to issues as they aged. The lady was NOT open to me sitting down and sewing on it for a few minutes. Absolutely refused. We moved on.


So, finally, one panned out. A lady called who had a old model White, 1950s model that was built like a Sherman Tank. She sewed service dog capes and just didn't use this one much. Had it serviced in December for $10. She wanted $10 for it. I sat with her, dusted it off and sewed with it. It had 3 stitches and did a buttonhole. It was everything my friend needed. I thanked her (we also cut a deal on some embroidery work for her future needs) and took the machine to my friend.


She was thrilled. Her 9 year old daughter was thrilled to be able to actually USE and TOUCH mom's machine without fear of breaking it. Her 3 year old son was cautioned about it and promptly pinched his finger in the pedal and learned NOT to touch things. Everyone was happy (except the 3 y/o).


I also second the opinion to AVOID Walmart and JoAnn's like an ugly holiday sweater. Wally's has cheap over-priced machines and they dont' stand behind their warranty. The JoAnn's where I live sends all their machines out for servicing to one particular guy who hires cheap labor and doesn't stand behind his work.


Find a small, independent sewing mechanic - possibly someone who works on/ sells Janome, Pfaff, or Bernina. They all have very high standards and lots of used machines for reasonable prices. You will be invited to 'test drive' any number of machines and find one that suits your needs. You will be a person, an individual, NOT a nameless face in a crowd.


Good luck finding one for you!

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