She was the second generation to have used her machine. How do I know that? Our Great Grandfather kept a daily journal for years and years. There are so many entries about others in the rural area they lived in coming over to stay for a few days to get their sewing done. I found that to be one of the sew many interesting things I learned from his journals. I ask my Aunt about it years ago and she shared that in that time most farm families couldn't afford a machine of their own. ladies would spend a few days staying with our great grandparents to sew in exchange for some other tool or farm equipment that our grandparents didn't own, others might share a skill. One of the things my aunt remembered was one family made hard cheese, they would keep our great grand parents in cheese year round in exchange for some sewing time. A good sewing machine should last for generations!
At the time she went up in flames I was doing some work for a scrapbook designer who had incorporated sewn journals in her classes/retreats. I needed a new machine and I needed it fast to finish the order I was working on. I was confidant purchasing a new machine from what I had thought was a good company (I won't say who) their product had been wonderful in the past. Not sew much any more. I was embarrassed to even pass it on to Goodwill it was such a piece of crap! Lesson learned, they don't make stuff like they use to and NEVER ever buy sewing machines from a big box store.
Sew I started saving and saving, and saving some more for what I knew would be a work horse of a machine that I might even be able to pass down to our DD's. I researched on line for over a year, maybe even longer while I saved extra money here and there. I knew the ball park price of what I was willing to spend and I knew what I wanted out of a machine. I was laser focused when I went in to the shop for a test drive. However...
Once I was in the shop ready to lay down the cash I became overwhelmed with all the bells and whistles the new machines had to offer. I left the store empty handed with STICKER shock!! I eventually went back with a better grasp on what I really wanted/needed but still wasn't ready to let go of that cash. After test driving what I knew was the right machine for me I had the shop add my name to the waiting list of a used/trade in machine. With each trade in they called me on the machine that was offered was more machine than I wanted. I needed/wanted a basic machine.
Finally the day came where I was ready to just pay full price and be done with it. When I walked in the store they were running a sale, be still my heart!!! SOLD, load her up. The price? $1,200.00 ouch, but that was with $300.00 off the original price. I went with the Bernina 330. It's a basic machine that sews like there is no tomorrow!!
I was afraid to even turn it on, will I ever learn to really use it? Oh Ya baby did I ever. The dealer had free classes on Saturday mornings each month. Not only did they show you hands on what your machine would do they also let you use the shops million and one presser feet and attachments. I wanted them all until I saw the price. Holy cow, I thought the chrome hubby seems to always need more of on the Harley was expensive. Who knew presser feet could cost that much! Over the past few years I have bought a few that I knew I would use often, as a matter of fact I bought another new one yesterday :) Money well spent
After a few years with the Bernina 330 I decided I just might like to step it up a little now that we were in the grandparent stage of life. So many cute things for the grands had monograms or machine embroidery on them. Time to save and research again. I knew I wanted to stay with the Bernina brand but I just couldn't justify the price of an all in one machine EVER. Now maybe if I were too sew as a business I would feel differently but I sew as a hobby.
The best learning experience for me was taking sewing classes offered at the shop I bought my first Benina from. Ladies would lug in machines of all shapes and sizes, brand spankin new machines, as well as 30 or 40 year old machines. Not only was I learning new to me skills on my machine and taking home cute FINISHED projects I was also able to observe what the high end machines could do.
Put two ladies together with a love of anything and you know we talk. Oh how we talk. A room full of ladies with a passion? Watch out, we talk a LOT!
Here is what I picked up
1.) Some of those all in one machines weigh more than the ladies dragging them along to class.
2.) All the gizmo's and gadgets for those machines needed a U Haul to carry everything around.
3.) Many of the ladies had to pull out their user manual to remember what buttons to hit to do regular sewing
4.) A whole heck of a lot of them had more than one machine. WHAT????
OK, this is nuts. These are not inexpensive machines. Why do you need more than one? It was time to get answers from the ladies themselves goodbye goggle.
Every single one of the sew sweet to share ladies said the same thing. It's was a pain the the butt to switch over from machine embroidering to a regular sewing mode. All gizmo's and parts would be all over the place. You need to use different thread therefor different bobbins for embroidery and sewing. It was easier to have one machine to embroider another to sew.
Hummm. SEW I bought a Bernina Deco 340 stand alone embroidery machine.
It's perfect for my needs (wants is a better word) The largest design I will ever be able to do is 5.5 X 7.9 which for me has worked out great! I have done some upgrading with fancy computer software that I will never learn all there is to know but I am a happy girl. Cost of the machine? If I remember right it was around $1,500.00
What the heck is yet another sewing machine box doing on the kitchen table? I have been researching once more. The first thing I looked up was "Addiction", I am thankful to report I do not fall in that category yet!
Here is what I thought was a problem for me (excuse to buy another machine). I use my sewing machine.... as in often!! Sometimes I think by golly these machines are so good they could build a house. I'm not really sure about that but I know having one will cause a house to fill up with fabric pretty fast!
I sometimes sew on the go. Taking classes hasn't been a real problem as my 330 isn't terribly heavy but there has been a lot of times when I am making something decorative for the DD's that it's easier to just take my machine the their house to do the work. Once a year it along with more supplies than anyone should have is loaded into the baby SUV for a long GF's weekend of creating. Someday I have visions of going to a sewing retreat. Vacations? Ya, I throw my lady in (just in case).
I wanted a lightweight machine To Go. I was also interested in knowing what a beginner machine would do and feel like. Sew many of my friends and friends of our DD's are beginning to get the sewing itch. It's hard to tell them when ask that an good entry level machine costs between $1,200.00-$2,000.00. See what a good friend I am...I am willing to buy a THIRD machine just so I can pass on good information and tips! Ha
And Sew I am now the proud owner of a Bernette London 7. I will be giving her a workout today with some scraps (30 item scrap challenge remember) I will share in the near future what I like/dislike with this machine. Right now what I know I like is
1.) The price! $449.00
2.) Additional presser feet are reasonably priced
3.) Very simple to use
4.) Has a needle up/down function (is that what it's called?)
5.) Small and lightweight.
6.) A manufacturer who stands behind its products
7.) A store that goes above and beyond on customer service
8.) A store that has a wonderful service department
Well is this a long post or what! Maybe I should be a spokesmen for the Bernina company.
I am not here to knock other brands or manufacturers but you do get what you pay for and where you pay for it!
Here are some things NOT to do when buying a sewing machine
1.) DO NOT buy from a big box store!!
The brands and models sold are for the most part so low end that you will spend what should be a pleasurable time of creating in a mess of trouble with plastic crap that just won't work.
2.) DO NOT buy the cheapest machine you can find because you are not sure you will really enjoy sewing. Trust me you will not enjoy sewing on them!!
3.) DO NOT buy on line. first off you need to test drive the machine. Second, that box of plastic might not hold up well in the shipping process.
4.) DO NOT buy a machine that can't be serviced. You may be able to have the cheaper machines serviced but beware, the service, parts, and repair's may cost more than you paid for the durn thing to begin with!
5.) DO NOT buy what you can afford. What? No really you need to buy more than you can afford but SAVE up for it!!!!!
1.) Research different machines and manufactures, it's free!
2.) Know what you want from a machine!! A GOOD basic machine from a local dealer is worth it's weight in gold. How many ladies really use all of those million and one decorative stitches?
3.) Visit as many local shops/dealers as you can to test drive the machines. Is the shop/dealer friendly and informative? Do they service the machines on site? Take along some fabric to test drive with, if you know you like to work with heavyweight fabric, upholstery and such bring it along, cotton fabric? yep throw some in you would be amazed at how many machines will chew lightweight fabric up. Quilting? take along a quilt sandwich
4.) Don't buy on your first trip!! It will be hard to walk away once you fall in LOVE but keep on walking anyway. Once home list all the things you loved, now list any questions you have that you forgot to ask. Get on line and check out reviews. Ask friends and relatives what feature they wish they had or what is there must have feature in a machine. A good shop/dealer won't mind you bugging the snot out of them, they want long term happy customers
5.) Make sure the shop/dealer offers classes on the model you choose. With many of the higher end machines classes come free!! Take them! In addition check class schedules for additional pay as you go classes. You might be amazed at what all that basic machine will do and you get to take home something super cute.
6.) Be willing to save for your girl. Many/most of the high end manufacturer's offer financing. DO NOT DO this!!! There is no reason to go into debt for a sewing machine!! Get your name on the gently used list, the work horse machines are worth the wait. Keep on saving for what you want!
Sew that's my story and I am sticking to it. I am in LOVE with my Bernina's. I Love my local shop just as much. I say local shop but really there are other shops in our area I could have bought from that are just as close if not closer to our home. I went with the shop that I found friendly, knowledgeable, and who LOVES what they do. It's not just a store it's a passion of theirs its contagious...and I have the products to show for it :)