Oh Brother, where art thou?
As I mentioned, I am doing some courses at Craftsy including several on quilting that I am taking along with my mom. I’m still a very novice sewer, I’ve done a crib quilt, a few bags and aprons and endless repairs but I have a lot to learn. My mother has been quilting (or more accurately, collecting quilt supplies ) for over 20 years and in that time we have watched a lot of videos, gone to many quilt shows and bought a metric ton of fabric. I’m pretty up on quilting techniques, just haven’t put it into practice very much. So with these classes on making quick quilts we have decided to do some projects together.
My sewing machine though is a Janome Sew Mini. It’s fine for really basic things but only has two stitches and that’s about it. My mother had saved for me the Singer that she had when I was in middle school, before she started quilting. It’s not an old, heavy metal one like she had when I was tiny (when she was a home ec teacher), it’s a very basic but plastic machine with 6 stitches. Unfortunately, after 15+ years in the attic, it has…. aged. The plastic is somewhat warped, and it’s not all that easy to use. (It does still run so if anyone wants it and can pick it up at my mom’s house in North Carolina, let me know!) It has also developed a bit of a smell and I am really sensitive to chemical off gassing So my mom has decided to buy me a new sewing machine.
Now she actually has two machines, but one is new and fancy and super expensive (a Babylock Ellisimo, she bought an ex-demo machine on end-of-model sale when the Ellissimo Gold came out) and so she has been both intimidated by it and not had the time to really learn how to use it (except the machine embroidery functions). I do *not* want to be in that position, so I want something that is easy and inexpensive but still has the whistles and bells that will make my life easier. (Particularly with my disabilities, some things just make life a lot easier.) I should also note that while I am looking to do a lot more quilting, my previous experience has been mostly with home dec and I also have experience with costuming and plan to do more of both this year, especially with a move and a costume con coming up!
So we’re looking. I think I know what I want but I am very open to suggestion. Here are my criteria:
- Must not be very expensive. I don’t want to be afraid of using it because I might break it.
- I want to have foot control and a start/stop button. I prefer to use the foot pedal to control speed but some days my feet don’t want to cooperate so having a button is good for other days. However I am not very confident at *only* having a button, I miss the fine control of a pedal.
- Must be able to drop the feed dogs. I really really want to start making art quilts and to do free motion quilting, thread sketching and more.
- I want more than just a basic 6-8 stitches. I use decorative stitches more for scrapbooking than sewing but I still like having them. But I don’t need hundreds.
Optional but very desirable:
- One-step buttonhole. Because I am completely rubbish at buttonholes, but I really want to learn dressmaking.
- Self-threading needle, because that can be hard when I am shaky, even with a needle threader.
Based on these criteria, the Brother brand looks to have several good options. There’s the CS600i that has been very popular for many years, has a ton of good reviews and a good price. But I’ve heard it’s being discontinued soon. There’s also the CP-7500 which is newer so not as many reviews but not being discontinued, and has a few more quilting features built in. With the difference in price less than $20, I am leaning toward the latter. My only concern is that it just doesn’t have as many reviews in general.
Am I being paranoid that something only has 40 reviews per site (both are on Walmart.com too) rather than 900? Does that really matter, since in both cases reviews are 95% good? Or should I keep looking?
Or is there another machine you’d recommend? I’m really not committed and probably can’t purchase until February anyway due to my car refurb being more expensive than anticipated. So I’d really welcome any advice or suggestions you may have!
I’d really appreciate any help you can give me on this matter. In the meantime I’m sewing on my mom’s Bernina, so I hope I don’t break anything I’ll be posting in the next week or so with the very basic baby quilt I have started.