January 7, 2008


My sewing machine is feeling its age. When I bought it four years ago its only purpose was to make curtains for my new condo. My mom was going to figure heavily in that endeavor; I just planned to iron hems for her. It would then live in a closet until new curtains were needed or maybe a new set of pillows. Previous experience with sewing involved a machine needle to the thumbnail so my investment in a sewing machine was minimal, less than $100. It did everything and more than I ever thought I might want to do...and I didn't want to do much.

Over those four years I evolved from someone who never sews to someone who sews nearly everyday and wants to do more. In the last four months of craft fair preparation and holiday gift making I've pushed my poor little Singer to the edge. I now spend more time trying to make it sew well than actually sewing. I think it's safe to say sewing has become more than a passing hobby for me...it's time to make an investment.

But, oh, the choices out there! I had no idea! Buying a new sewing machine is akin to buying a new car. Every bell and whistle is available to you, it's just a matter of how much you want to spend. Being a bit overwhelmed by the options, and a big list maker, I set about deciding what I had to have in a new machine.

(1) Automatic or near fool proof manual tension setting
(2) Ability to sew on a wide range of fabrics from upholestry to
knits to sheers
(3) Power to sew through many layers of the above fabrics
(4) Automatic button holes in a variety of styles
(5) Variety of stitches or alphabets to embellish my projects - no
need for embroidery
(6) Ability to lower feed dogs
(7) Reliable, reliable, reliable!

I've taken the Husqvarna Viking Emerald 118, Emerald 183, and Platinum 775 for a test drive at the brand new sewing center in my area. (Very happy about this new store!) At three very different prices I'm not sure what to do. Even the "low end" is a big step-up from my Singer. I want to make an investment to last a lifetime and not regret or wish for more a year from now. I'd also like to take some Berninas for a spin to see how the two brands compare.

So, dear reader, I'd like to hear from you. What do you sew on? What do you love about it? What drives you crazy about it? What feature does it have that never gets used? What feature do you wish you'd gotten? Your comments will be helping me sew up a Funky & Delightful fabric storm in 2008! Thanks!


amanda said...

I bought a Bernina Activa 220 about a year and a half ago. To be honest, I found the price a bit shocking at first considering that it's one of the biggest purchases I've ever made - I live in an apartment and drive one of my parents' old cars! But I've been really happy with it. The only feature it doesn't have that I sort of want (even though I've never actually sewn a buttonhole with it except in my Bernina orientation class) is the automatic buttonhole. Other than that, it's great. However, one of the best things about it is the people at my Bernina dealer. They're great!!! So helpful whenever I have any questions or problems. There are lots of solid sewing machines out there - Bernina, Husqvarna, Pfaff, Elna, etc. Make sure that you buy it from a store you like and one that is convenient to your house or work so that it won't be a pain to go there for help or classes or presser feet or whatever.
Good luck and don't agonize over the decision too much! :) It's not a life or death decision even though it seemed like a big one when i was shopping for my machine!!!

mortimersmom said...

i'm strictly a Sears girl. Their in-house brand is really great. I have 3 Sears machines: my original 14 stitches from 1990, a 34 stiches/somewhat electronic that I bought about 10 years ago and an electronic with basic embroidery that I got 3 years ago. I sent each to Sears for service once a year and I have NEVER had a single problem with any of them. The oldest one is my cottage sewing machine now, but if I need to sew heavy duty, that's the one I use, it's a work horse!

Our Prim Nest said...

I faced the same challenge regarding buying a sewing machine just last year. I decided on a baby lock http://www.babylock.com/sewing/ellure-plus/
I have had it about eight months and I love it!!! It is a wonderful machine. I did alot of research before purchasing it. It was alot more expensive than my previous Singer machine (which I also was spending more time repairing than sewing) Good Luck with your purchase. Oh, my mom found your blog and I thought I should tell you about my machine.

kjlowrey said...

I'm a new addict as well. I bought a Bernina - the bernette 90e as the price was scarey! I love it and have found that it does everything I love. I love the needle down button, especially if you do applique. Good luck and happy sewing!

Anonymous said...


Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 850 -- love it!

Anonymous said...

I am a Viking whore...like I have 6 of them at all different price points. I believe Bernina is on the same level with quality.

I love the needle up/down feature and the "fix" button (for beginning and ending my stitches).

But what is most important is your dealer. You MUST like your dealer--it makes the difference between using your machine and loving it.

If you decide to go Viking, go with one of the Platniums.


With friendship,