Yes, it's true—I've got myself a new sewing machine! That's worthy of a two-post day on the blog, am I right? : )
The old machine
Buying a new machine was not something I had expected to do any time soon. But on Wednesday, my almost 5-year-old Baby Lock Decorator's Choice went lame on me, for the second time in less than six months. It simply would not feed the fabric. The feed dogs were up, but you wouldn't know it to sew on it. I could get it to (kind of) work, but only by using the walking foot and really cramming the fabric through manually.
This was the same problem I experienced earlier this year, and at the time the repair guy got it up and working again, but at a cost of $110 and a week of down time. And now here I was again, with the exact same issue. Anyone else ever have a problem like this, and know how it might be fixed permanently? I've got a potential buyer lined up for my old machine (my mom is interested in buying it as a back-up), but only if she thinks it can be fixed for real this time. So if anyone has insight into this issue, I would love to hear about it. (I should note that, just like last time, there was a gradual process of decline in how the feed dogs were working—I guess it just suddenly reached critical mass on Wednesday.)
And when my machine crapped out again on Wednesday, I decided it was time to take action. So, tomorrow I'll be posting a full run-down of all the machines I considered, what I ended up buying, and why. If you think you may be in the market for a higher-end machine soon and want to know more about my process, stay tuned.
But I have one piece of advice to leave you with before tomorrow's machine round-up: If you're a newish sewer/quilter who's thinking about buying a machine, but you can put off your purchase for even a little while, I recommend doing so. When I bought my Decorator's Choice almost five years ago, I remember feeling completely overwhelmed by the buying process and sticker-shocked by the prices. $500, $750 for a sewing machine?? When I wasn't sure what I wanted, or whether this hobby would "stick" for me? It was a tough process, and I should have realized it meant it wasn't good timing for me to buy at that time.
If I could have held out a little longer with the hand-me-down Kenmore that I started out on, I would have known that much more about sewing and machine features when I did go to buy one, what I really needed, and what I didn't. I don't know for sure that I would have ended up with anything different, but at least I would have felt more confident in my choice. This time around, my buying experience was totally different—I felt well-informed, completely in control, and comfortable investing in a better machine, because I know I'll use it. LOL. At any rate, check back tomorrow for all the machines I considered and how I weighed them against each other.