Picking the perfect sewing machine

About 13 years ago my mom bought me my first sewing machine.
It's a basic Kenmore from Sears.
You can see it here in my craft closet that my husband built me.
It works great when it isn't working and just sitting in my work space, but when I have to use it, I remember every time why I need a new machine.
I kept up with yearly tune ups when I first got it, but once the three  year warranty wore out, I stopped getting the machine maintained.  I took it in once to be fixed and it cost me $85 for a new bobbin casing.  I should have bought a new machine rather than invest in fixing it.
Recently while shopping for a new machine, I was told by a salesperson that sewing machines have a shelf life of 10-15 years.  If that's true, then this baby has hit her shelf life and she needs replaced!
Sometimes I think that I would like a fancy sewing machine with embroidery stitching and computer programming, but then the reality sets in and I realize that over the years I have become a creature of habit.  I like my machine to thread a certain way, I like to see the bobbin in it's case and I need about three different stitches on a good day.
What I do know that I want is something that will stand the test of time.
A machine that will last for decades and not need replacing every ten years.
A machine that will stitch through thick fabrics and then turn around and stitch up thin cotton.
A machine that doesn't need me to mess with the tension every time I use it.
A machine that is basic enough that I can sit in there with a screw driver and some patience and fix it if it gets stuck.
Nothing fancy.
So the hunt starts.
Here are the few that I have been looking at and have narrowed down.
Husgvarna Viking Emerald 118
Cost: around $350
Pros: basic, very good at thick fabric, good reputation, handy tension chart, needle threader
Cons: not great at sheers, maybe too basic?
Janome HD3000
Cost: around $350
Pros: solid construction, strong reputation as a workhorse, heavy duty, good with thick fabric
Cons: not great reviews for the needle threader
Brother HC1850
Cost: around $250
Pros: top rated sewing machine on Amazon.com, many of the same features (sewing speed, 130 stitches, monogramming   that are in much more pricey machines but at a fraction of the price, good for the casual seamstress
Cons: doesn't have a reputation that it is meant to last, meant to be a basic machine and may be "outgrown"
I did look into Pfaff machines but I am told there is a learning curve since they function in a very specific way.  I'm not ruling it out because lots of people have said they love their Pfaff, but I'm narrowing down my options unless I get a strong argument to reconsider.
Any other recommendations?
Any machines I should look at and consider?
I'm not being compensated by any of these companies.  This is my own research.  If any of these companies would like to contact me and give me a machine to review I wouldn't be against it!


Carolyn said...

I have a brother XR1300 and I love it. I received it for Christmas this past year. I o not sew super heavy things on it, just the occasional quilting. I kept my old machine (Simplicity American Denim) for heavier things because it sews heavy things well, but piecing on it did not work well anymore. Have you looked at any Singer machines? They have some good ones in the same price range, just bought one for my mom to replace her old Singer.

Betty said...

Any of the three are good. I am still using a Kenmore I bought in the late 70s (and it's ALL metal) which does everything, including serging. I was given a great tip years ago: have the salesperson show you how to operate the machine completely. If s/he has problems, you can be guaranteed to have issues as well. Good luck in your search! (I don't recommend current Kenmore or Singer machines at all.)

Unknown said...

I really know nothing of sewing machines (I'm super novice!) but I did want to share that I *love* your craft closet! It's darling and I love the storage set up and how neat and pretty it is! I also enjoyed learning about the different machines, I've been wanting to upgrade but I too tend to be a creature of habit so even the 12 or so stitches on my current sewing machine are "more than enough" for me to use!

Unknown said...

Thanks for all of the tips! My husband has been doing the research for me and I think we have settled on the Janome. I will get back to you all once I finally make the purchase but I appreciate the tips and advice

Morgan said...

I got what I think is an older model of the Brother machine that is on your list at Costco a few years so. Have you looked there? They had a great deal on them when I got mine. They might have this model that you are looking into.

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