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Need a recommendation for a low cost sewing machine for quilting

by Mark

As a boy I worked in "Grandma's quilting sweatshop"...LOL..I cut pieces out and hand stitched pieces together.

Looking at some of those quilts again, I have the urge to make some of my own...I have done upholstery sewing for may years with my Riccar rotary machine. It is shot. The straight stitch was ugly from day one, but it worked well, very few jams or breaks. The slight offset was acceptable.

I taught my daughter to sew and bought her a Janome about 10 years ago, again not a real pretty stitch, but ok for general purpose use.

I like the look of Bernina stitches, but find the machines out of my budget. I had a stroke and don't get out much to compare machines anymore. Do any of the "budget" machine makers have a good looking straight stitch now?


Hi Mark!

Your question brought a smile to my face today.

My mother was a dressmaker and worked from home before working from home was 'cool'. I'd sit on the opposite side from her as she sewed. My job was to snip the threads from the pieces as she sewed them together. I picked up a really nasty habit though...when I'm deeply involved in sewing, I hold my tongue between my lips to the side...JUST like she did!

I'm going to put this question out to my readers. I've been lucky enough to have higher end machines and can't make a personal recommendation. You can find some reader-submitted thoughts and experiences on the Sewing Machine Review page. Links to the reviews are found towards the bottom of that page.

Readers, if you're using a lower cost sewing machine, please let us know if you'd recommend it for Mark and why. Also, if you've purchased a used machine, would you recommend that as a way to reduce the cost to get a more heavily featured machine. Thank you for your assistance, I certainly appreciate it!


Julie Baird

P.S. Big Kudos to you for teaching your daughter to sew!

Comments for Need a recommendation for a low cost sewing machine for quilting

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I can tell you what NOT to get
by: Pat H

Avoid machines that have mostly plastic parts.

I have a Brother SE-270D that I got for a good price on It was a re-manufactured machine so the price was terrific. It is no longer made and I can see why.

All the parts are plastic--even the shuttle. I have been using it a lot as I am working on a quilt and I will be surprised if it is still working when I get done. It has an electronic memory so you can't get magnets near it. I bought it because I thought I wanted to try machine embroidery. It is too much trouble for too little results.

There are articles on the internet about how it is better to find old machines that are all metal because they last longer. Of course as that becomes more widely known the price of used machines is going up but maybe you will get lucky and come across a good buy.

you do get what you pay for
by: Anonymous

Janome 1600 DBX
smoothe and easy to operate

Bernette (by Bernina)
by: Heather @ Keep It Thimble

What a great question. I just answered something like this on my blog.

If you don't mind, here is the link:

I recommend the Bernette by Bernina. You can get it for about $199, it is mostly mechanical (ie, no electronic settings), and it can sew through lots of things. I have been using mine for years and am very happy with it.

Used Berninas
by: Anonymous

My mother bought me a used Bernins 830 when I graduated from college. I used it for 15 years. Then I bought myself a new Bernina, and gave my old 830 to my sister, who still has it.

Two years ago I bought a 40 year old Bernina 830 for my son for $600 (for a Bernina, that's low). I took a chance and got it on e-bay. It still sews great.

I have nothing but good things to say about used Berninas (at least the old 830).

Singer 7469Q Confidence Quilter machine
by: Rustyavenger

I really like my Singer 7469Q Confidence Quilter machine. It runs about $250 - $300. It's great for learning as there is a good mix of manual and electric options, 98 built-in stitches, needle up/down option, and it comes with extras for quilting like the 1/4", walking, and free motion quilting feet and the extension table. And it's pretty easy to use as a travel machine.

There is a good write up on it at Amazon ($235.45 at the moment, too)!


by: Maria

Can you look for an older, mechanical or electronic Bernina?

They are so dependable and work so well. I have a 930 Record from 1985 and love it. Join the Bernina ThirtySomething Yahoo list to ask any questions you may have. This is the link...

We'll be glad to help!

From the Editor: Thank you for supplying the link to the group! ~Julie

Low end sewing machine
by: Candy

I have found the Singer heavy duty machines found at JoAnn Fabrics to be a really good deal and often on sale for less than $200

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