Marjie asked this question:
"I need a new machine, and the lady I work with here is highly recommending Janome. Have you any words of wisdom for me?"
Marjie, I hope you don't mind that I turned this into a post but I think every blogger faces the sewing machine question sooner or later, so let's talk about it. Personally I love Janome machines. In my sewing history, remember I've been sewing since I was 11, I've sewn on a Sears (starter machine), a Singer (purchased in college - a middle of the line machine) a Brother (lower end machine purchased from JCPenney's when I first got married), a used Viking (bought when my DDs were small and I sewed almost everything for them) and finally the Janome 8000 (also bought used) and now the Janome 6600.
What do I love about my Janome? The stitching, the way it handles, the up/down feature, the extra high lift of the foot, the snap on feet...I could go on...but I truly believe that each sewist develops an affinity for a sewing machine line. That's why there are sewists who swear by Bernina, Pfaff, Singer or Husquverna Viking machines. It's how the machine works for each sewist especially since these days there seems to be only two or three manufacturers of sewing machines instead of the many different manufacturers back when I learned to sew.
So my actual advice to you is if you are able to, go to a sewing machine store and sew on the machines. Don't use the flimsy pieces of fabric that the sewing machine store provides, bring some of your own swatches and sit down and put the sewing machine through it's paces. Try out the stitches, see how easy it is to thread...does it have enough light for you to see...can you work it easily or do you constantly need to refer to the manual...or does it just feel weird to sit in front of and use or do you feel like you're home in front of it?
Before you go to try out a machine, do your homework. Know exactly what features you want in a machine. Do you want embroidery? Do you want an automatic cutter? Do you need embroidery or 150 stitches? Do you want computerized or mechanical? Or are you a vintage sewing machine woman?
Finally, what did you love about your old machine? Make sure that any potential new machine makes you feel the same way you presently feel when you sit in front of it or you will never use it.
I know that I didn't exactly tell you to go out and buy a Janome but that's because I believe that each sewist needs to figure out which sewing machine works for them. Just like each driver figures out what car works for them. You are going to spend a lot of time with this purchase, so it should be comfortable and do the things you need it to do especially if you are going to part with a lot of money for it.
Now I know that I haven't even discussed dealerships and repairs 'cause that's a whole nuther can of worms. All I can say is take friends recommendations, your desires, the things you love about your present machine, a couple of fabric swatches and go out and test drive some machines. I would love to know what you finally decide upon...because I'm a Janome girl...but the person who gifted me with my baby...just didn't like using my beloved!
If you have any other words of wisdom, please be sure to leave them in the comments. I don't want to give the impression that I'm the end all, be all of sewing machine buying. I know which line works for me. How much I love my machine and how it makes me feel as if I can create anything while sitting in front of it.
...as always, more later!