Upgraded Sewing Machine Help
September 8, 2022 6:31 PM   Subscribe

I need to go another step up for home sewing. What do you like?

Currently have this Brother.

Looking to upgrade, don't have a brand preference.

Price: $500 to $1000

Must Haves:
-Start/Stop button with variable speed options to use WITHOUT a foot pedal (I can't stand using a foot pedal)
-Good variety of stitches (zigzag, overlock, blind hem, etc)
-Heavier duty sewing, mine just doesn't have the power for most thing I need to do.
-Larger arm for quilting/thick fabric options but doesn't have to be a full quilting machine.

Really Wants:
-Button hole options (though I can hold onto the current Brother for button holes if I must.)
-Snap on foot compatible would be great, as I have a good handful of those already
-Easy to maintain/clean/oil
posted by Crystalinne to Shopping (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Janome and Juki get rave reviews. Make sure you can get bobbins without having to go to the actual dealer. (Viking is bad for that)
I'm hoping to upgrade, too. The summer edition of Threads has a sewing machine checklist.
Sewinng machine stores often have reconditioned machines worth looking at, if you are budget strapped.
posted by Enid Lareg at 6:39 PM on September 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: This Janome 3160qdc is looking promising, if anyone has experience with that one.
posted by Crystalinne at 7:02 PM on September 8, 2022

Best answer: My Janome Magnolia 7330 has all of this, provided the arm is long enough for you. Also it is an extremely lovable machine. I just want to pet mine.
posted by HotToddy at 7:03 PM on September 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: My Janome is a basic model that will not do what you need but I want to express my love for the brand. The thing just works. I have an ancient computerized kenmore that always had quirky issues. Last year I came across a mechanical Janome (hd3000 be) on sale for $290 and I love it so much. After owning Singer and Kenmore machines I just thought all sewing machines were super fiddly. No, the janome just works.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 8:30 PM on September 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Here are the patternreview reviews for the model you mentioned
posted by trig at 10:51 PM on September 8, 2022

Best answer: I have had a Janome quilting machine for a long time (though I don't quilt) and have been very happy. I'd look for the number, but they probably don't make that model anymore.
posted by pangolin party at 4:20 AM on September 9, 2022

I have two Husqvarna Viking machines that I have used for almost twenty years. Absolutely no problems. I agree with the Janome recommendation too. I bought my son's girlfriend a midlevel Janome and it's a sturdy little machine!

In addition to what you mentioned, I would also make sure you have free arm and drop feed capability (most do, but good to check). Look for machines that are mostly metal not plastic. Good to consider maintenance/repair. I live near a place that specializes in Husqvarna Viking machines. I think I had my machine tuned up once (never had to repair), but it's better than having to ship it away for repairs. They also have classes on how to use the machine.

I know you were just asking for machine recs, but I will add that if you treat your machine well (read the manual and follow the maintenance/cleaning instructions) and use good supplies (like good thread!), you can keep a machine going for a long time.
posted by jraz at 4:30 AM on September 9, 2022

I have a Babylock machine that I got on sale years ago that I absolutely love. Mine is the Elizabeth and I upgraded from a vintage Pfaff (which I kept) to this one, and I love it. I still pull out the Pfaff for fussy fabrics or things that I think would benefit from the integrated walking foot, but this Babylock is IMO amazing.
posted by Medieval Maven at 5:43 AM on September 9, 2022

Juki, Juki, Juki!!!
I have this one: HZL-F400
The HZL-F600 is the upgraded version, but it's just outside your price range.
posted by XtineHutch at 6:04 AM on September 9, 2022

I've got a Bernette B37 that I'm very happy with. Its functionality seems mostly similar to your current machine with a few extras like the start/stop button and speed adjustment. The next upgrade is the B38, which looks like it would meet your needs and more. I would also trust most models sold by my local machine shop, as I know they're curating based on longevity. Here's a link to their page for the B38.

I'm a new sewist. In various online sewing groups, people are always complaining about skipped stitches and various troubles with their machines. I've never had any issues - my Bernette has worked like a dream! (knock on wood!)
posted by hydra77 at 8:54 AM on September 9, 2022

Best answer: I have the 4120qdc from janome. I love it! I also have the magnolia 7330. The 4120 is a computerized machine and 7330 is a mechanical machine. Idk if that's the right way to say that, it's how my local shop described them to me. I love them both but for different reasons.

I started with a singer that was very weak. The 7330 will sew through just about anything, it was a definite upgrade. The 4120 is an upgrade from the 7330 and it is so smooth. Aside from first turning it on when it makes a loud sound. Which is normal for that machine. It too can sew through anything. It has a wider throat, so bigger quilts fit.

I picked the 4120qdc over the one you were looking at because it has an extension table. I feel like that makes sewing bulky things easier. And I make a lot of bags, so for me it's perfect. Both of the janomes make excellent buttonholes. The 4120qdc has all of your must haves and your really wants! If you want to talk more memail me!
posted by shmurley at 10:48 AM on September 9, 2022

Best answer: I just saw the one you are looking at also comes with an extension table, so I say go for it!
posted by shmurley at 10:51 AM on September 9, 2022

The Brother PS500 should do all of the things you want! I have the Brother PS700, which is the more expensive version of the same base model, with a couple more features aimed at quilting and a few more included accessories. Both machines have all the features you asked for, although to be fair I don't know how to judge a machine's capacity for heavy-duty sewing; I haven't tried making jeans, but I have made some bags and quilts. There is a start/stop button and a speed control slider. The buttonhole foot may be an optional accessory on the PS500, not sure. It definitely can do buttonholes though.
posted by henuani at 11:31 AM on September 9, 2022

Response by poster: I went with the Janome 3160qdc, with a set that comes with some extra goodies. I also considered the 4120qdc, but I think it just has extra features for extra cost that I won't use as often. They're very similar machines, so that helps me feel confident. More answers still welcome for others or if this one doesn't work out. Juki was definitely second place as far as brands. Very excited about the upgrade since I've been doing more sewing!
posted by Crystalinne at 1:55 PM on September 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

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