Friday, September 06, 2019

Do you have a Back Up Sewing Machine?

I strongly believe in having a back up sewing machine. I've had one for years. When I had a mid-range sewing machine, I'd keep the older machine I upgraded. So if/when something happened to my new sewing machine, I would have something to sew on while my machine went to the shop. 

Luckily, I've never had one die on me. I'm just not revisiting that time my apartment burned and I lost both my sewing machine and serger...probably when having a back up became really important to me...because I didn't sew for months!

Recently my back up machine has been living in PA because I'm lazy and don't want to carry it back and forth to Sew Camp on public transportation. So when my 8900 QCP started having challenges, I panicked. The back up was hours away if something was seriously wrong with my baby.


At the time I started looking at the Janome Skyline series. Then I took my sewing machine to be serviced at this amazing repair shop, Paramus Sewing Center. I breathed a sigh of relief when they fixed it right away. However, the machine I was looking at went on sale over the Labor Day weekend for a good price and I bought it.


It's the Skyline 3 - the lowest number and most basic of the series. However, it has all of the features I want in a back up machine...and it's a Janome. I'm just not into changing brands especially since I really like the Janome brand. My last three machines have been Janomes.

I've already taken it for a test drive and the stitch quality is exactly what I've come to expect on a Janome. There are some differences between this one and my 8900 - the workspace is smaller, there's no light underneath and there are way fewer stitches. But it does make an automatic buttonhole. I really like how they've improved loading the bobbin and winding it. It comes with a number of feet that I use constantly and if I want a few more I can always purchase them off Amazon.

BTW, I'm not hyping these sewing machines and I'm NOT encouraging you to purchase one. I just like sewing on these TOL machines which is my preference.  If you bond with another machine by all means, purchase what you love...whether it be vintage, mid-range, industrial or another brand.  

Now while I really want to upgrade to the Janome 9450, I've planned a trip to London in 2020 and want that way more than a new expensive sewing machine. Well right now that is! LOL! I'm thrilled that I have a new back up machine to pair with my main one. I don't handle not having a sewing machine well and this means I don't have to go without.

So this is the Question of the Day.  Do you have a back up machine? Is it of the same quality as your main sewing machine? Or is it lower in the series? Is it even in the same sewing machine family? If you don't have a back up machine why? Is it because you haven't considered owning on? Or what?

Talk back to me because this is the Question of the Day and I'm really interested in your answers.

...as always more later!


57 comments:

  1. I have two backup machines! No 1 is my Granny's old Singer 201 hand crank which is great for top-stitching jeans and also when we have a power cut. (The joys of living in Africa...) No.2 is an entry-level Husqvarna that was gifted to me by best friend.
    I too feel nervous when my main machine (an entry level Elna) starts misbehaving, so very glad to have the backups!

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  2. I have 1600P which I got second hand, so have a straight stitch back up to my 6700. My DD has my MC4000 so if I needed to do buttonholes it's right there, MIL also has the same machine.

    I have a Babylock Imagine serger, Janome Coverstitch 2000. Then to back up both those I have the BL Ovation combo.

    I do alterations at home as my job, so back up is essential.

    I have a Bernina 730 record that I took to live at my friend's in Mallorca. I visit there once a month through the winter and I sew for her.

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    1. ....and my grandma's 1925 Frister and Rossman!

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  3. I sure do, a few! The most common one I use is a Singer 403A Slantmatic (?) - sews beautiful stitches and comes with all sorts of feet. I also have a mechanical Viking and a computerized Pfaff, just in case. Maybe those need to move onto a new home??

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  4. My older Brother 8500 which no longer embroiders is my back up. I bought my grand daughter the Janome Hello Kitty so she could learn to sew and I used that often if my main Janome has the wrong color thread on it. I have had two sergers, one black thread, one white, for a long time. Then someone gave me a second Bernina serger... then I saw and test drove the new Janome air thread serger... now I have 4 and use them all constantly. If one goes on the fritz, I have a back up.

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  5. I believe a back up machine is a must! When I moved last year I downsized almost everything including machines leaving just my big, heavy Pfaff and Janome serger. Just last month I purchased a basic model Pfaff that weighted only 12 lbs. so I could carry it to our community's sewing center and, boy, am I glad I did as my big Pfaff started having major tension problems. Now I wonder was she jealous because I bought a backup??? Karen

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  6. My husband loves to buy used machines -- to the point that I have translated the phrase "No more sewing machines!" into Latin, so I can hiss that at him in thrift stores whenever he spots a sewing table or portable machine.

    Thus, I can brag of at least six (mostly non-working) back-up machines. All of them are mechanical, none computerized. The machine I use most is a gently-used portable Janome we found at our favorite Goodwill location. It is the most reliable machine I've ever used.

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    1. "Nemo plus sutura machinis," in case you wondered how to say "No more sewing machines" in Latin.

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    2. Hic alicubi est - it's around here somewhere! And thanks. I do love a good latin phrase.

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    3. Thanks! That's also a good phrase to keep at the ready.

      I like the Latin because I can hiss it at him almost anywhere, and hardly anyone else understands what I am saying.

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  7. Yes, I have a backup machine, but mainly so I don't take my best machine (a Husqvarna Lily) out into the boonies when we go out camping and fishing. We have a camper on our pickup truck, set up with solar, batteries and an inverter. So that I can work on quilting and clothing projects I purchased an inexpensive Brother machine that has 50 stitches and does buttonholes. It has bounced around in the camper for over 7 years now and still works like a charm. It was a Costco purchase, $169 delivered to my door, so I feel I have gotten my monies worth. It is also very lightweight so I can take it to quilting retreats. I also have a Serger that I leave at home to keep my good machine company. Barb

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  8. Oh my gosh, ABSOLUTELY! I learned the hard way when I was without one for some time how valuable it is to have a back-up machine. I also come to appreciate the Janome brand but I did come across a vintage Brother sewing machine from back-in-the-day that is built like a tank, weighs what feels like a ton that I also cherish. It was a second hand store find, able to sew all those layers on the microwave cozies without any issues unlike the Janome machines.

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  9. Um, yes, I have several and recently bought a Bernina 830 as a potential replacement for my Bernina 930. The Bernina 930 was the first electronic machine Bernina made and all the power to operate it goes through a motherboard. After owning "Bernie" for several years the motherboard blew and my mechanic told me when he found a replacement board (cannibalized) that getting another was going to be iffy. He has been keeping an eye out for an 830, the last "all mechanical" and found one through another mechanic. I named her "Elsie" and she joined the collection. I have three old black Singers (9-15, 201 and 221 Featherweight), two Berninas (830 and 930), a Brother Inovis 40, and a serger. The 930 is my daily machine; the Singer 201 is used for top-stitching; the Singer 15-91 is set up for jacket and jean buttonholes; the Brother is used for lighter weight buttonholes and the Featherweight is my travel machine. Currently, Elsie is in the dining room being used as my backup while the sewing room is being used as the guest bedroom. I've gotten my money's worth out of all of them.
    Theresa in Tucson

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  10. My mom gave me her 1947 Singer Featherweight for a high school graduation present. That was 52 years ago, and it still going strong. I keep it permanently set up with the buttonholer attached, but it is also my backup machine. (Backing up my much-loved Bernina Record 930e...definitely old school around here!)

    At sewing retreat a few years ago, the Bernina seized up on day one. The Singer stepped into the breach, and performed flawlessly for the next four days. Retreat folks came over to my table and told me how the sound of the Featherweight brought back memories. Sure does for me, too - I feel so close to my mom whenever I am using it.

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  11. I have a Janome 9400 (which is the best machine I've ever owned), a Janome 6000 which I bought when I retired 20+ years ago and a Janome 960 that is my travel machine. The 6000 is also an embroidery machine and gets used when I want a nice label. Janome machines are the best. (for me).

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    1. Claire - I originally wanted a 9400 but they're hard to find since the 9450 came out. So I'm thrilled to hear that you love your 9400!

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  12. Ah, my Kenmore is from 1970; my Singer from 1985, and either one qualifies as a backup. My dear neighbor gave me a Singer industrial machine, but you need to be an engineer to figure the thing out. Went online just to learn how to wind a bobbin!

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  13. Hi Caroline, my newest machine is a Janome S7. It does what I want it to do and I'm happy with it. But it seems to sometimes have a tension issue. My "backup" machine is a Viking Mega Quilter. This is a straight stitch only semi-industrial machine. I really like it better for quilting, which is my main sewing projects. But as I said, it only does a straight stitch. I also have an older Elna 6003 sewing machine which rarely gets used but will be moving to another state soon to use when I visit my son. And one more, I have my mother's old Singer 15-90 machine which still works great, but rarely gets used. But it's there for backup if and when necessary.

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    1. Kathy - I had some tension issues when I first got my 8900 and realized that I wasn't threading it correctly. Not saying that is your challenge just sayin' otherwise I would take it to the dealer for servicing.

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  14. I bought a very basic brother to have as a back up machine when mine was having major issues. I now loan that one out for SewCamps so it gets used at least twice a year. I also have Krystle's machine here and now a lovely, Janome to figure out how to use. g

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  15. I finally got my 20+ year old Husqvarna Lily serviced to use as a backup to my Singer Quantum 9085. I love my Singer so much that I put off needed servicing for it, and now it might not be ready to take to sew camp in a couple of weeks. :-( The Lily is heavy, a little clunky, and doesn't produce nearly as nice a buttonhole, but it will be fine.

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  16. I kept my 16 year old Viking Platinum 750 which I use to wind bobbins for my coverstitch machine that I use for the needles via a Bob n serge. I also wanted to keep it for when my Bernina 740 has to go in for the annual tune up. Considering that it took almost 4 weeks to get it back I'm glad I have it! It makes lousy buttonholes, the light doesn't work, and the board for the fancy stitches died long ago. But, it it sews and does utility stitches. I tried to find the Skyline 7 to try when I was looking for a new machine, but while Janome had the most dealers on LI no one had the machine. I also have a vintage Viking which I have used for topstitiching but I don't enjoy actually doing regular sewing on it.
    I wish I had an extra serger since I have to take it in for service. But as soon as I start my lined jackets, I won't need it and I'll take it in.

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    1. Nancy - I've used several Janomes so I never think about test driving it, another reason for staying with the same brand. A Skyline 7 is pretty advanced with a lot of the things covered by my 8900 along with the price tag! But I think you would have loved it! BTW, I say the same thing about my serger - cause it's due for a servicing too!

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  17. I bought a Bernina 740 about three years ago when I got back to sewing seriously. The dealer suggested I keep my 30+ year old Bernina 1130 as a backup as there was virtually no trade-in value. I had to take the 740 in for service and was glad to sew on the 1130. I will admit that I have not bonded with my 740 (I think the main issue is the 9mm) so I purchased a Juki industrial straight stitch. So, now the 740 is my backup machine (and one I use for anything other than straight stitching) and my 1130 is the backup to my backup. I have attended two sewing workshops, renting a machine the first time and taking the 1130 the second time (having purchased a travel case). Once we get into a sewing mood we gotta sew, so having at least two machines is important. Mary Jackson

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  18. Yes, of course. It seem almost not being able to breathe to not have a machine when you want to sew. Both my pre-computer Viking and Pfaff died at the same time and couldn't be repaired so I got a new Pfaff quilt expressions 4.2 which has been in for repair and back to the factory more than at home lately. Featherweight to the rescue. I'm been using it since May and am enjoying using it for more than just classes and traveling. Small but mighty with beautiful stitch. I'm so very glad I have her that I've been talking to her and she has been "Singing" for me. She makes me smile.

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  19. If you make it to London in 2020 (and I envy you if you do...) be sure to take MUCH money for visiting Liberty of London!

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    1. No if! I've purchased my tickets and have my date. Paying down my fabric credit cards now so I can shop until I drop! Oh did I mention we're also stopping in Paris for 2 days to fabric shop too!

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    2. The Golldhawk Raod Carolyn - the Goldhawk Road. I went today and bought beautiful, special fabrics in Misan West they have a good sale room. I love fabric shopping in Paris - sometimes you find something very special indeed.

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  20. I have my one main machine and 2 back ups (all Bernina's). I am in the process of selling my B530 to one of my friends and my B350 is my travel machine. I haven't ever had a time when I didn't have at least something.

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  21. Would you believe a dozen sergers, all Pfaff - each with a different color thread, ready to go. A few coverstitch sergers as well. My Mom's Featherweight, a Pfaff 7570 as my main machine, a mechanical Pfaff with dual feed, and an even older one without. A portable compound feed with zigzag..... and a bunch of Elnas, Necchis and (place just about any brand name here) as fixers. Looking forward to retirement and more time to play!

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  22. I recently purchased a back up. It is a 1960s Kenmore and is similar to my first sewing machine. I found it at Salvation Army and I was able to purchase some of the missing presser feet online. I really love it and it is a good compliment to my Bernette 80e by Bernina. I have been through the no machine heartache, but no more!

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  23. Yes always had one and then I decided I only needed one and that's when the one machine I had, had a major failure and it took weeks for the part to come in. I thought I would die. Luckily my dealer gave me a machine to use while my machine was waiting. Right after that I bought another machine.

    Currently I have the Janome 15000 and the Janome 6700. Now I am lusting after the new Janome M7 and it is just a matter of time before I get it.

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    1. JosephineSews - I've been watching the Janome M7 videos but it's not speaking to me the way the 9450 is...so that's on my wish list. Hope you get the M7 soon!

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    2. I was interested in the M7 because they touted all the layers of denim it would go through. I went to test it out this weekend and thought the Janome HD9 did a better job with multiple layers of denim so right now the M7 is on hold even though it is a sweet piece of machinery - I will get the Janome HD9 instead. Dealer did admit they had not had time to play with the M7 just yet and said it could have been the settings they chose. I thought about a commercial single stitch but I just don't have the space and I like moving things around too much. The great thing about the getting the HD9 is that it will save me thousands of dollars over the M7. I know eventually I will get the M7 - it just won't be now.

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    3. JosephineSews - thanks for the update! While I love the space the M7 has, the design does nothing for me...so I've still got my heart set on an 9450.

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  24. I have a back up... I love my Bernina, she's not new but was up the food chain when she was new. My back up was mainly bought to take to classes, holidays etc,(not heavy) she doesn't get a lot of use, she's a lower end Pfaff. Mechanical so not too fussy but with a great stitch quality. ,

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  25. Perhaps the question should have been how many back-up machines do we have! My fleet is a Bernina 830 embroidery machine (the newest); it's predecessor a Bernina 180; a Bernina Activa 210 (lives in a different city where I am during the week); and a Singer Featherweight 221. The latter born in 1953 is currently the one used most. The 830 went to the doctor's for an extended period last year and has never regained it's number one spot. The Featherweight is also fantastic to travel with. Only one serger and I dread having to take it for a service (felt physically sick the day I ran over a pin and new major surgery would be required). Do we use our machines to their full potential or are they another collection like our fabric?

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    1. Ha, ha, that's a good question. I know I definitely suppress the urge to buy any machine beyond a full featured lower end machine to preserve my ability to continue to purchase fabric, and to a lesser extent, new patterns.

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  26. I have several machines, my main one is a Bernina 1080 which I adore, next backup is a Kenmore (made by Janome), then Singer 500 (the Rocketeer), Singer 401, Singer Featherweight, Janome Coverstitch and a Kenmore serger. I am on the lookout for a second serger, it makes me anxious not to have a serger backup. I can't imagine not being able to sew whenever I want.

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  27. I have a herd of vintage machines that I like to call my backups, but really, it's my crusty White from 2000, that's an actual backup. I dislike it, but it still sews, & buying something new just isn't in the cards right now (it spent a decade in an unfinished cellar getting rusty & it still runs the same!)

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  28. My sewing machines are my prized possession, a Janome MC6600p, that no one in my home can barely look at, much less touch, a basic Husqvarna I bought for $55 at a school board auction and my original Necchi, complete with original console table I got for my 17th birthday. I got Husky for taking to classes and such because my Janome is so heavy and not really portable. She’s also my top stitching machine, along with Necchi (before the belt shredded on me..). I sew all my seams in either black or white thread, depending on fabric colour, and keep the other machines threaded with matching threads for those stitches that will show on the right side. And now after moving to FL and being faced with hurricanes and power outages, I’m hoping to add a treadle to the mix, I see Janome makes one.....

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  29. I am enjoying the different machine stories here! In shopping for a machine for a pal, I ended up buying a second Bernina Activa, in the same run as my first, from the same year. Mostly because it does a stretch stitch and most importantly, it uses the same feet and I have so much money tied up in those suckers. The original back up was my 3/4 Kenmore 140, which still travels with me when necessary. There might be a junk Bernina London in there, but it's destined for the pal's house.

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  30. Caroline, she's purty! I just bought the new Brother Stellaire a week ago cause I love embroidery and it has a bigger hoop. That moved my Brother 4000D to backup position. But I sew on a Bernina 530. Then there is an Babylock serger and coverstitch. Ultimare backup is a Singer Featherweight. I don't actually like that machine much, but I will certainly user her if needed.

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  31. 1.Do you have a back up machine? Yep. Several, in fact.
    2.Is it of the same quality as your main sewing machine? Yes and no. My main machine is a thirty year old Brother. I have a used Bernina (among others) that has way more bells and whistles.
    3.Or is it lower in the series? I have at least two that are lower priced models, including a Brother that really belongs to my youngest.
    4.Is it even in the same sewing machine family? Some yes, some no.

    I would add that if I were to purchase a brand new sewing machine, I'd get an industrial. They're far less expensive than the TOLs in every brand, and built to withstand a lot of use.

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  32. Oh yes. Having a back up machine is essential. I do alterations from my home. Usually when I upgrade my old machine becomes the back up.

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  33. I have 3 backups. Seriously. One is the fairly expensive Singer I bought in 1998. Another is a $75 Singer that I bought while the 1998 Singer was being serviced at one point. One is an old Janome that I bought because I found it for $50 and couldn't leave it feeling lonely for $50. And when I thought my 1998 singer had actually died on me in 2012, I bought my Janome that I haul around to Sew Camp; Jan at the White Sewing Center in Scranton told me that was TOL at that time. Plus, I have 2 sergers because you know I hate to rethread those puppies. Oh! I almost forgot about my 1979 Brother which is upstairs in my bedroom. It was my first sewing machine (I'd used my grandmother's and mother's prior to that), and it was the first present my husband ever bought me (we had been dating 3 weeks; I told you it was love at first sight, right?). Congrats to the new addition to the Cave.

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  34. Hi Carolyn, I just returned from a trip to Pars where I did considerable fabric shopping. You will love it, but you have to plan how to bring it back because fabric is very heavy and you will be overweight before you know it. I took an extra suitcase that was essentially emply on the way over and full of fabric on trhe way back. Worked great!

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    1. Karen - that's my plan cause I'm the Queen of the carryon. And to ship some from London if I need to...but thanks for confirming that I'm on the right track!

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  35. I had a Singer Prelude, an inexpensive machine I bought at Target about a dozen years ago that did everything I wanted at the time. I bought it using a gift card I received for Christmas. When I purchased a Brother 6000csi - another inexpensive machine that does everything I wanted at the time, and more - I put the little Prelude away as a backup. However, a colleague at work did me a nice favor several months ago, and I gifted the Prelude to her. She is interested in learning to sew, but has no mentors, and I didn't think she would be able to make some progress on that desire without the little push that a free, good machine would give her. She was really pleased to receive it. So now I have no backup. But I think if something went wrong with my current machine, I would probably just buy it's upgrade, and use that for the next decade. I have many accessory feet, and it still does everything I want, especially since my sister gifted me her wonderful HuskyLock 1002LCD, which I would likely only replace with a Brother 1034, which is pretty much all that I want to afford.

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  36. I have three machines, 2 Janomes and a New Home. I had a New Home for over 30 years and when it died I guess I went crazy. But I have a heavy duty, a computer stitcher and a vintage. Now all I have to do is learn to work my serger.

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  37. I have a TOL Viking and a nice mid-line Pfaff. My first “real” machine (ie not big box) was a top of the line Pfaff. I love toys and the lady at the dealership told my husband it was my “bass boat”. Lol. About 23 years later I treated myself to a new high end Viking. I went with Viking because that’s what my local dealer carries and I believe in that dealer support. About 3 years later the Pfaff died (and I cried as I buried my friend of 25 years). By that time my dealer had added Pfaff to their line, so I picked up a nice middle of the road one. I’ve always loved the Pfaff integrated dual feed.

    Like you, I wouldn’t take a chance of not having a working sewing machine in the house. ��

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  38. Yes, thanks for asking!
    I have several machines (it's kinda like a little stable in an amoire in my sew-mahal). My main machine for sewing right now is a 24 year old Bernina 1630--computerized, very nice machine that is still working fine. The one I use for buttonholes is a Pfaff 7550 (also computerized, and makes a mean buttonhole with very little fuss, but doesn't have as pretty of a straight stitch as my Bernina). I also have a lovely featherweight, and a Pfaff 7570. 3 sergers: my original Bernette 334D (great, basic workhorse), an Elna 645 (love this workhorse, but it isn't too fun to re-thread; I'd recommend this as a backup for anyone who is looking for one as it does cover stitch, too) and a Babylock Evolution. I also have an older Brother embroidery only machine that needs to be purged from the sew mahal--I just never use it.

    I have no real commitment to any particular brand, it has more to do with the dealerships I am near when I purchase. Now that I'm up in the hinterland in Northeastern PA, and the closest dealerships are in Ithaca & Binghamton, NY and Scranton, PA., I don't see myself getting a new machine anytime soon.

    I have discovered that it isn't worth it to buy a lower end machine, since I use them so much. I broke a lower end Babylock sewing machine 5 years ago and was never very happy with it originally (it made a lot of noise and didn't stitch that well).

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  39. Machines are much on my mind at the moment.
    Like you I love Janome machines. My back up machine was my main machine until the hubby bought me a Bernina a couple of years ago. I didn't get on with the Bernina, and swapped with a friend for a lovely Husqvarna. I'm now giving serious consideration to selling that and replacing it with.....a TOL Janome!
    They make such good, reliable machines, and they're very intuitive too! I think, also, having sewn on a Janome since I was 16, I'm a bit stuck in my ways! We shall see. I'm giving the Husqvarna a good try out, but it's got to prove itself soon or it'll be off to the shop!

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  40. I definitely have backupS! But they are so different from my everyday Pfaff. One is a vintage, 35 pound monster that makes the world's best buttonholes and the other is a Singer Featherweight. So, both are enough to get me through but quite different my my computerized Pfaff with IDT.

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  41. I have two sewing machines a Singer 503A and a Bernina 1000 designer. Both machines are mechanical machines. I'm getting back into sewing and I'm using the Singer because I like the way it does buttonholes which are important when making a button down shirt :). I don't consider either a backup really because the Bernina has special feet which make some sewing processes easier so I will use it when I need it.

    Carla

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  42. My main machine is a Babylock Ellisimo, a few years old. I bought a backup babylock, lesser grade than the ellisimo. I bought this to take to classes and to bring on my camper. I also have my moms vintage Elna, but i don't use this, i only have it for sentimental reasons. I do wish I had kept one of my Pfaff machines, which I had traded in. I may invest in a backup Pfaff, because I truly miss the IDT system they have on their machines.

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  43. So, my main machine is a Janome Slyline S5. I do love it! My back up machine is an older singer that I've had for years! I did have another machine in between these two but it was a Viking my mother in law gave to me. For the most part it worked, but the cams gave me a great deal of headaches. So, if all else fails my Singer works and that's all that matters. Plus I can only afford one amazing machine (expense wise) at a time. I also have a couple really old vintage straight stitch machines to quilt on. Variety is the spice of life! :)

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