Ok, I confess, I got a new sewing machine. A while ago. Actually, almost 6 months ago is about right. I didn't really feel like posting on it right away, especially because I didn't know much about it myself. So I've been busy breaking it in, testing it out, and sort of figuring out all the doodads.
I decided I was in need of an upgrade from my free machine when I wanted these things: a buttonhole setting, variable needle position, and a needle up/down function (really handy for free motion quilting with your darning foot).
Here's the low down.
Still can't figure out why I keep forgetting where the backstitch button is.
I now know why people fuss about getting a new machine so much, it's a big change!
The tension is perfect.
It chugs through just about anything I throw at it except my brother's jeans with about 8 layers of denim.
Read on if you feel inclined to do so...
Okay, I might have mentioned it before, but my uncle is a sewing machine repair man. I know, how did I get so lucky you ask? Well, I married my husband and he came fully equipped with a super handy uncle! Not only does my uncle repair machines, but he's an avid sewist himself.
Here's a little summary of what things I've learned from him:
To get a quality machine, you should plan on spending around $300. Now, that doesn't mean the less expensive models won't work for you, but if you plan on sewing a lot and need something reliable, a machine in the $300 range is probably the ticket.
He didn't recommend buying any of the Bernina Bernette models, unlike the higher end Berninas which are made in Switzerland, the Bernettes are made in Asia.
Keeping a clean machine is really important. I had been getting an error with my janome and it ended up that I just needed to clean out under the needle plate. The needle plate on my machine is attached with one little screw (see pics below). I unscrewed it, lifted off the metal needle plate and underneath the bobbin was a giant mess of lint! I should have taken pictures for you, but it was really nasty. And that's with only 6 months of sewing. My uncle recommended that I clean out this area every 3 months or so. To do this, he recommended using a vacuum cleaner and the lint brush that came with my machine, just wipe with the brush and the vacuum will suck up all the gunk. Worked like a charm.
The only other machine that I've looked into extensively is the Bernina 330. I got to try it out at my local quilt shop and it's really nice. My memory craft has tons of stitches and memory options (which I haven't really used much yet), but the Bernina would be a machine that I think I could sew pretty much anything I'd ever be interested in sewing.
So there's my two cents, take it or leave it. I'm no expert, but just someone who loves to sew. Feel free to leave any notes or tips you have about sewing machines in the comments section. I'm sure everyone would enjoy learning something new!