Saturday, June 28, 2014

So many choices, so little sewing time!

The search begins..........

                                  Bernina 930, my first machine

     For me, this has been a looooooooong search.  My main machine has been a Bernina 1530, which I have had for about 20 years.  It has served me well, and more importantly, I know how to make it do what I want and what I need!  It still runs well (although it is probably time for a cleaning), so why am I thinking of a new machine?  I hate to admit this, but with all of the features, stitches, and capabilities that my 1530 has, (it was the top of the line at the time), I don't use most of them, so why bother?  I can straight stitch and zig zag with the best of them!

     It started several year ago (a reminder - I mentioned that this was a long search).  As I travel around the country and teach, more and more of my students had newer models of machines.  As we would work on machine techniques in class, I could not just spout off an answer on how to do something, because the machine technology was changing.  In the beginning, it was only 1 orf 2 students, but as time went on, most of the students had some type of computerized machine and I was unfamiliar with them.  

                               Bernina 1530, my current machine

     ***Let me make a note here - for most machine techniques, the only thing that is really required is that you have a machine that can do a straight stitch and a zigzag stitch.  That being said, the more options you have with your machine - the feet that are available, the needle positions, etc., - the easier it can be to accomplish the particular technique you are trying to do.  Practice always helps, but having options with your machine can help as well.  ***

      As a new machine now was a want and a need, I started doing research.  There are the 'standard' better brands of sewing machines - Bernina, Viking, Elna, and Pfaff. In addition, there is the old familiar, Singer.  In the last few years, there has also been a few brands that have emerged on the scene, giving everyone a run for their money - Brother, Babylock and Janome, as well as Juki. 

 A few tidbits - Juki has always had a big industrial machine presence, as well as for home sergers.  You don't see many of their home swing machines, but they are out there.  Brother is big in the industrial sewing machine world as well.  Janome bought New Home brand (remember that name?) and also owns Elna.

     So many choices!  This is not a decision that I was going to make overnight.  I didn't NEED to have a new machine right away, so I could take my time and check the machines out - sew on them, look at reviews, and ASK QUESTIONS from sewists that use them.

     My first rule of thumb (and I always tell my student this, especially when they ask about my favorite machines) is this:

 You buy a dealer as much as you buy a machine!

Even if the machine can cut, sew, finish and then make dinner, if you don't have a dealer that supports your machine, you are missing out.  Your dealer shouldn't just sell you a machine, they should spend time with you to teach you how to use it to it's potential.  They should keep up to date on new techniques that they can teach you.  They should be able to service it for you!  They want your business and they want to keep your business.   I know that there are a few bad apples in the bunch, but in general they are your friend! 

     My second rule (guideline) is this:   
I don't like to buy a machine at a show, for several reasons.

1.  I want to support my local dealer.  If we don't support them, then they will GO AWAY!!!  I know that you can get some great deals at the sewing expos, but if you call your local dealer and tell them the show special, many of them will match it.

2.  I want someone to teach me how to use my machine.  If I buy at a show, I go home, and I don't have that resource any more.  I can't expect my local dealer to teach me for free if I did not buy the machine from them, so this will be an added cost.  Most sewists are not aware of this, but typically when you buy a machine from a dealer, the machine company gives a credit to the dealer to cover the cost of the classes.  For example (and I am just using round figures here), if you buy a mid-level Bernina, Bernina will give the dealer a $300 credit for 9 hours of classes to teach you how to use your machine.  If you buy your machine at a show, that show dealer gets the credit, not your local dealer.  

     *****  If you do buy your machine at a dealer that is not close to you, ask them to transfer the class credit to the dealer that is close to you (or the one you will be working with)!  That way, you can still go to your dealer (closer) to learn how to use your machine, she will get paid and you don't have an extra expense out of your pocket! *****

3.  I do not want to make an impulse buy.  If I have already done the research, that is one thing, but I do not want to make that kind of decision on an impulse.

     So now that I have given you food for thought about where to buy a machine, the next thing to think about is what does it need to do?  I have already talked about the reason for this whole thing to start with - I need an up to date, computerized machine, so I can be more familiar with what my students are using.  Just as important, I need it to be able to do 'my' kind of sewing!

     I will have continue in my next post - see you soon, and 

Happy Stitching!

No comments:

Post a Comment