Wednesday, May 12, 2010


#1 What kind of sewing machine do you have?

I keep buying machines and never seem to find what I want or need. I do not want bells and whistles; just a machine that works well! Where the tension stays where I put it, it does not skip stitches, the needle does not move; I have a machine every time I set the perfect ¼ inch seam. I turn the machine off, when I turn it back on the needle is in a new position!!! Grrr…
I do not care if the needle stays up or down. I like a foot pedal. I need straight and zigzag. I have a machine with a ton of stitches, never use them!! Any ideas?

#2 What kind of thread do you use for piecing?

I have always used Coats and Clark 100% Cotton, what do you think. I am afraid to try anything else, but I bet there is something better out there?

Thank you!!!!!


  1. your best bet for a new machine is to go to EVERY dealer around you and test drive them. Tell them what you want and make them listen. I used to have a Bernina 1008 Mechanical. It was wonderful, basic, and sewed like a dream. Wish I still had it.

    I use Aurifil thread. Love it.

  2. I use Aurifil thread also - love it. For colored thread, I use DMC machine embroidery thread.

    I love my Pfaff and my little Janome. I do want needle down but not much else.

  3. Hi Jane-- My machine is a Pfaff and the main reason is the built in walking foot. It pieces so accurately it is amazing. I even bought a Bernina QE and although I liked some things about it, not having the built in walking foot made a huge difference. So I sold it and bought a new Pfaff! I, too, use Aurafil and love it---

  4. I do love my machine but it might have "too much" on it for you. I have a Janome Memory Craft 6600. LOVE it. Janome does has less expensive machines with fewer bells and whitles. I actually want a smaller lighter weight Janome also. Undecided on the thread.

  5. I have 3 Janome's and love them all...a Janome Gem Platinum (small, lightweight to take to classes), my Memory Craft 4000 which I've had for 14 years and which has never broken down, and a Memory Craft 6600 that my husband surprised me with for Christmas. I love Aurifil and Presencia but also use Masterpiece by Superior...

  6. Hey there! I have a good 'ol Singer, and looove it! As far as thread goes, mom has got me hooked on thread from Connecting Threads ( It's a good price, wonderful quality and a whole bunch of colors!


  7. My machine is a Singer, about 26 years old, all mechanical, with one step buttonhole, bobbin winds inside machine right in the case, a few different stitches. I've had it serviced maybe a handful of times over the years and replaced the light bulb once. It's a dream machine. Don't know what I'll do if it ever stops working!

    I've always just used Coats all purpose thread and I've never tried anything else, so I'm sure there is something better.


  8. i have a used Viking in very good condition. it seems that when a new model comes out the ladies turn theirs in and buy the new one. so you could check for a used machine with bells & whistles. i don't use my embroidery features. just wanted the push-buttons. i love Guitermann thread for regular sewing. but have been using small spools of DMC for my piecing. there are other good threads out there. and i should try some of them.

  9. Oh Karen, I have a Janome 6600 which I absolutely love, but the best part of the machine is the table that came with it as a birthday gift. It's absolutely the best thing!
    I don't know how I ever sewed without it. So easy and it does keep regulated stitches.
    I love the needle down, the automatic cutter, the easy cleaning of it, and me being pretty clutsy when it comes to machinery, this was made for me!
    But again, the table that it fits in is the best thing about any machine I would buy.
    My friend has just bought a table after trying mine.

  10. I have a very basic Singer that was on sale at JoAnn's when my Brother went on to sewing machine heaven. The Singer is a dream. It does have about 18 stitches, which are fun to use for embellishments, but the needle always stays in position, and the only time I have to change the tension is when I use one of the complicated stitches.

  11. Sewing machine I have only janome 6500. If that gets uuumm, its like my right hand being cut (but then I am starting on a lace, make it two lace craft if you exclude hand dyeing threads).

    For piecing, I use exclusively Superior So Fine.

  12. I have a Juki TL98Q . I love it to pieces, however have had some of my own tension issues..the dealer outright told me NOT to trade it in, but to get it serviced and it will be a gem again.
    Aside from the tension issues which were assured to be just a tuneup it needs here's what I adore:
    1/4" scant piecing foot - amazing.
    fast fast speed
    thread cutter button on machine and at foot pedal
    larger throat area and table top to fit large quilts
    Free motion quilting is beautiful.
    It is only a straight stitch machine and I do most of my work on it.

    I also have a little Janome 8080 that has lots of neat stitches that I've kept for just in case....not needed it yet, but maybe some day!
    Now - here's what I've learned in the last while - needle size makes a difference - if freemotion quilting, you may need to to a larger needle size, say a 14 or even a 16. Thread is a major factor - I can't use my cheapo guterman or coats. I buy Aurifil 50wt 100% cotton thread and its beautiful.
    Needle quality - buy good quality brands like Schmetz or Organ (I'm sure there's even better than this)

  13. I have a Babylock Espire. A lot of bells and whistles but a wonderful machine. It has a built in 1/4" setting that you can set the machine to default to. Thread...I like gutterman, use coaks & clark all the time, have never heard of Aurifil...I'll have to look for it.

  14. Jane,
    You've asked the right person about thread! I HIGHLY recommend MasterPiece by Superior Threads for piecing. It's a 50 weight cotton that sews like a dream. About 30% of all problems sewing can be resolved by using a high quality thread.

  15. I love my Janome 6600 - it's been my primary machine for 4 years. I have a Janome Jem Gold that I use for classes. I've found both machines to be major work horses. I also own a Bernina (it's on a shelf) a Bernette (it's on the same shelf) and a Singer Featherweight Centennial machine I use on occasion.

    I primarily use Aurifil (a spool last forever) and Presencia threads.

    I suggest you visit dealers and give many machines a try.

    Good luck!

  16. I brought my Jenome Memorycraft about 15 years ago and I love it. Never have any trouble with it. It's a work horse. It takes a licking and keeps on ticking!

  17. I have a Pfaff and a little daddy pfaff I got off ebay and love them both...totally. Little daddy didn't cost me much money but he works like a charm and is an older version.

  18. My machine is a Janome 10000 because I do like the fancy stitches in some things. It sews like a dream with no tension problems. I use Aurifil or Gutterman threads.

  19. I use Mettler thread which our local quilt shop teachers have suggested. I like it. Not very familiar with sewing machines. Hope you find the one that suits your needs best :)

  20. I use and love Rasant thread.

    Hm machines I have my Bernina Aurora 440, but also a Janome Jem (Gem) small trusty machine


  21. Oh dear...I have a Janome 6500 which served me well for many years, then I bought a Viking quilt designer which I love for it's sensor , no walking foot required, and I have a Pfaff grand quilter which is great for it's wide throat and free motion quilting, needle down and thread cutter. This is the machine I use mostly..
    Thread, I use Rasant, great on the machine..would love to try the others mentioned..
    Julia ♥

  22. Hi Jane, I have Viking's and love them!! They are work horses and come in a variety of models from no frills to all the bells and whistles. Several things that I love about them is that they have the best lit sewing area of all the manufacturers. As I age, I find that that is of utmost importance. I also love the sensor foot. It can tell when fabric gets thicker or thinner and adjusts the pressure accordingly.

    Now thread that is a specialty of mine. I did a podcast all about thread. You should give it a listen. But being a long arm quilter, I have used many threads and can really tell you which are better and which are not so great. But for piecing, I definitely recommend Superior threads. Their threads truly are fabulous, low lint and strong. A finer weight is great for piecing and you can find that in Superior's Masterpiece line of thread by Alex Anderson. Strong and light, perfect for piecing. Aurifil is another wonderful thread to use! I recommend you go out and get some small spools of each you want to try and then just give it a go!

  23. Jane,
    I have two OLD sewing machines and I wouldn't trade for either of them. The one that I use most of the time is a 25 year old Pfaff. Love the built in walking foot and the needle down. The other machine is my moms Singer. My dad surprised her with it in 1958, she felt like a Queen. She was the only one of her sewing group that had zig zag. I have had my Pfaff cleaned every few years. But the Singer is so easy to clean and service.....only have had to change a belt a couple of times.
    If I was looking for a different machine, I would try out all of them......more than once.

  24. I have several machines but love my Bernina the best. She is a real work horse. I like and use needle down all the time as well as a blanket stitch for fusible applique.

    I use Master Piece thread by Superior. It is a 50 wt thread and so just a little thinner. I really love the product and I really LOVE Superior Threads. The company is family owned and they are just really, really nice people to deal with. Their customer service is outstanding.

  25. GOOD question! Probably best question EVER next to "What is the meaning of life?"

    I have a none too fancy Kenmore that I bought for $300 12 years ago. It's NOT the machine I WANT but it does the job! And I know how to fix it!

    As for what thread I use in the machine, Star thread in a neutral color! NEVER had a problem!

  26. I have three Janome machines. One is a sew mini that I use for papercrafts. I have an older MC3500 that I've been sewing on for 11 yrs and I just got a 6600P that I haven't had a chance to try out yet (still waiting for dh to alter my table to fit).

    I've only just started quilting but so far I've used wonder-fil konfetti thread and connecting threads thread (which I don't recommend).

  27. Pfaff~ love the walking foot and the quarter inch foot! ;-) Most dealers have trade in's at reasonable prices.. or they can look for what you are looking for. ;-) Good luck!

  28. I have a Brother Innovis 1200 that I love, although I don't use the embroidery feature as much as I could. It replaced a well-loved Kenmore I'd had for over 25 years.
    I've only used C and C thread, too, so I'll be interested in what others say.

  29. I have a Janome Memory Craft 4800 Quilter's Edition. I also bought my daughter the Janome Magnolia one about 9 mo. ago. So, needless to say, I've had great luck with them. Yes, do go sit and take your time and test drive them... Don't buy the first one you see. I use to use Brothers when I had my upholstery workroom for that. I had a pfaff also, but those were industrial.
    I'd say your budget is a factor too. I'm happy w/my janomes... XO

  30. Jane ~ I use to sew at a factory with an industrial machine... for years. When I went home to sew it was like sewing on a toy. That's when I set out to find the best home machine. In my findings the Pfaff was head over the others for what I wanted a home machine to do. I love the built in walking foot. It has a wonderful needle threader. In all of 30 plus years... I have owned 5 Pfaffs (loved everyone, just had to have the new models...never wore them out) I have only had a problem with the tension a couple of times in all of those years and it was a thread that had gotten caught, honestly! These machines are carefree. I love how quiet they are. I now have the model.. Quilt Expression and LOVE it to death!
    I have just gone over to using Superior Thread and love it!!!

  31. I love my Janome DC2007LE. It has all the stitches I need, a SUPER-easy buttonhole function, needle down, instant locking stitch. The thing I love most of all is that I can do all my free-motion quilting on it!!!

  32. Hi Jane, I loved reading all the answers about everyone's machines. Such passion about the machines they use. I have several machines including an older brother, a Singer 301 which is great for piecing or sewing industrial fabric. A new low end Kenmore, (was told it's made by Janome) got it for carrying to class or sew day, it has some great features for a low end machine, up/down needle position, (love this feature) and plenty of great stitches. I also have an embroidery machine a Babylock Esante, it has so many wonderful features, locking stitches, ( love this for machine applique) thread cutter, knee lift and I use it for free-motion quilting with the embroidery foot. I would like a machine with a bigger throat for free-motion quilting so I recently looked at 3 new Babylock machines. They have some great features and are reasonably priced. Check out the Quilters Dream it has an extension table. Good Luck and I hope you'll give us a review of what you buy. Happy Stitching!!

  33. I have a Necchi that I got at good will that is ove 50 years old. It is sweet! Such a wonderful stitch, but, can not get parts for it and my repair guy has warned me that one day he will not be able to fix it so I live in fear. I do all my piecing on this machine and use my Bernina 1080 that is 10+ years old for walking stich and free motion.

  34. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


I always love to hear your thoughts!