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Picking The Perfect Sewing Machine

Are you trying to pick the perfect sewing machine?  I am sharing my sewing machine journey, what machine I use now, and how YOU can pick the perfect sewing machine for YOU.

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My Sewing Machine Journey

My First Sewing Machine

When I started sewing, I had NO idea what to look for in a sewing machine.  My budget felt huge at the time ($300.00).  I went to me local JoAnn Fabric store and got what the sales lady recommended.  It was a an H Class 100Q Husqvarna and I loved it!  It had everything I needed as a beginning quilter.

H Class Sewing Machine

The more I pieced and quilted, and the more I learned about sewing machines I learned of a few features my machine did not have that I desperately wanted.  Namely:

  • Automatic thread cutter
  • A warning when my bobbin was running low
  • A larger throat space to make quilting easier.

It was time to upgrade, but I had NO IDEA what machine to get.  Everyone was telling me, “Try this one! I love it!”  or “No, this one!  It’s amazing!”  I’ll be honest, I kept hearing people say Bernina’s were the standard in sewing machines and I saw a quilter I love being advertised as a Bernina Brand Ambassador.  So . . .  I got a Bernina.

 

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My Bernina Sewing Machine

This was the Bernina that I purchased.  It is a special Quilters Edition 570 and the cost was a whopping $5,000.00.  I got a bit of a discount from a local quilt shop at the time.  It runs for $5,399.00.  I was THRILLED, and wanted to love it because everyone said I should.  And dang, it was not cheap.  It DID have some of the bells and whistles I wanted.  But I’ll admit, when I sewed on it, it wasn’t smooth.  I purchased some add-ons and the prices were pretty high.  The machine was fine, but it was not the love story I dreamed of.

 

My Bernina QE570 and Why I got rid of it

 

Why I Switched

One day I had a friend over who is a quilter.  When she saw my sewing machine, she commented on the throat size.  I don’t remember the words exactly, but it made me look into similar priced sewing machines and what I could get for the price.  I had also heard another friend talk about her sewing machine and how it sewed “like butter.”  I knew I wanted a machine that was a better fit for me. DISCLAIMER: I know a LOT of people who love Bernina.  There is nothing wrong with the company or machine.  It is a matter of personal preference.  And it turns out my preference is not for Bernina.

But what machine DID I want?  I looked heavily at Juki, Janome, and Baby Lock.  All three had great reviews, so I went to some local quilt shops (and some not so local – hello road trip!).  It was important to me to sit down and try some machines to see what I liked.  What felt good.  How would it be to use the machine?  What was included?  How much would is cost to add extras in the future?

Having purchased a machine before, I knew what I wanted.  And I found it all PLUS some in the Baby Lock Crescendo Machine.

My Perfect Machine – Baby Lock Crescendo

  • The first thing I noticed about the Crescendo is how smooth it sewed.  I finally could say, “It’s as smooth as butter.”  That was an odd thing I really wanted.
  • It is SO easy to thread the needle of the Crescendo.  My Bernina had an automatic needle threader but I honestly found it so tricky I always threaded my needle myself.

    Baby Lock Needle Threader

  • The throat space was noticeably bigger than my Bernina.  I have my two machines next to each other here.  You can see the difference.  But to get technical, the measurements are as follows:
    • Bernina  – 8.5 inches from needle to machine.
    • Baby Lock – 11.25 inches from needle to machine.
       

  • The Crescendo has this amazing technology.   No need to worry about sewing a straight line or marking your fabric.  I even have used Cluck Cluck Sew’s washi tape to help with straight lines.  However, the Baby Lock Crescendo makes using any of these no longer needed.  I can simply hit the Laser Button and a red laser light appears and shows me where to sew for a perfect straight line.  I can even adjust where the line goes if I want to to be ¼”, for example.
  • Sound.  The Crescendo is super quiet.  It is smooth and silent and I love that.
  • Digital Dual Feed System.  This means my fabric is being evenly ‘fed’ to my sewing machine.  No long and short stitches.  There’s no slippage and you get perfect control of your stitches.
  • Separate Bobbin Threader.  Have you ever been sewing and you need to unthread your machine to wind a new bobbin?  No need with the Baby Lock Crescendo.  There is a separate spool of thread and winder so you never need to unwind your machine to wind a bobbin.  Game changer! 

    Baby Lock Crescendo Quilters Candy
    Notice the Baby Lock Crescendo has two spools of thread? The thread at the top of the machine is always there to fill a bobbin. The larger thread to the right of the machine is always threaded to sew with. You don’t need to unwind your machine to thread your bobbin.

 

  • The Baby Lock has these cute sad faces when something isn’t working.  They pop up and tell you what you need to fix.  Sometimes it’s the small things.  And I absolutely love this about the Crescendo.

    Baby Lock Crescendo

  • Included accessories.  The Crescendo included some of the presser feet I had to purchase at an additional cost for the Bernina QE570, namely the 1/4″ foot that I use every time I piece.
  • Cost.  I knew I could sell my Bernina and pay for the Baby Lock Crescendo.  Here are the two suggested retail prices from each company’s website:
    • Bernina QE 570 – $5,399.00.
    • Baby Lock Crescendo – Around $5,000.00
      • For the same cost, I felt like I was getting a much moue user friendly, bigger machine, plus it had cooler features.  I was sold.

What Is Your Perfect Machine?

This is my story, but we each look for different things in a sewing machine.  What’s important to you in a sewing machine?

I created a checklist that you can download for free.  Look over the features I listed.  Mark the ones that are important to you.  There’s also a place for notes.  Take notes when you look for a sewing machine.  And if possible, try them out first.  CLICK HERE to get the free Sewing Machine Checklist guide.

How to Pick The Perfect Sewing Machine


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8 thoughts on “Picking The Perfect Sewing Machine

  1. Thank you so much for this thoughtful post, and the comments. I like so many during the pandemic pulled out my old machine (Pfaff Tiptronic 1171, I think with the first IDT dual feed) and began making masks from autoclave material with a local charity, donating them to local hospitals. That led thru a series of events with my Pfaff going in for repairs along with a newfound interest in learning to quilt I was a weaver and fiber artist in my prior life) which then led to my purchase of a Bernina. I was so disappointed in the machine, it did not have a dual feed and I struggled to sew good 1/4 inch seam, and it did not have some of the basic features I came to depend upon, like a bobbin thread warning light. Once my Pfaff was finally repaired, I realized it wasn’t me, I just was not happy with the Bernina. So I’ve sold it and am looking for one that has all the features important to me. You certainly have boosted my confidence as a novice quilter and pointed me in the right direction!

  2. Thank you so much for this post! I am on the hunt and appreciated your detailed
    investigation. I have a Babylock Katherine which I love when I’m not having issues, and I would
    love to have a Babylock without issues and with some of the features you mentioned…like the bigger throat area and the laser light!

  3. Just an FYI, you reversed the BabyLock and Bernina in the throat space breakdown. I knew what you meant though.
    Thanks for a very useful guide!

  4. Does the Babylock machine have dual feed to regulate the stitching? I need nice even stitches when I’m sewing thick pouches on machine quilting.

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