Sewing Machine Saga

So last night, as I’m finishing two commissioned pieces my sewing machine decides it doesn’t want to do buttonholes for me anymore.  This is a problem since my dog ribbon quilts need 5 buttonholes each if I do them the usual way.

So I think I’m going to have to re-do the fabric I was using as the flaps for the buttonholes since the bias tape wasn’t feeding well through the machine to do a buttonhole.  It was something new I was trying and it didn’t work.  That’s ok – it just got me so frustrated with my sewing machine I wanted to toss it into the street.

So I’m doing more research into a new machine to purchase.  Right now, I’m using a Janome 415 which is a really basic sewing machine.  I do my quilting on a Singer 201-2 and most of my piecing on the Singer 201-2.  The Janome is used whenever I need to do a zigzag stitch for appliqué or what have you since my Singer can’t do that.

I’ve decided that I just can’t afford a machine that does quilting and embroidery.  Way out of my price range and to be honest with myself, I don’t think I’d use the embroidery as much as I’d have to to justify the purchase.  What I really need is a good machine for quilting.  Bernina makes a great little quilting machine called the Bernina Aurora 440 QE.  You also have the option of purchasing an embroidery attachment separate if you decide you want to do embroidery.  So that is probably my top option since you can expand on it.  The problem is I just can’t afford it being that my local store sells it for $3200.

Babylock Quest Plus

More than likely I’m going to be stuck purchasing a Janome, Babylock or Viking machine as those offer more features in a price range I can afford.  

Babylock Quest Plus – has lots of features on it.  My local store has a price of $1500 on it but it is backordered until March.  Not a big deal if it turns out to be the best option.

Janome Memory Craft 6600P – Decent features.  Kind of meh about it.  Called my local dealer and they said the price is $1699.  She also mentioned their top of the line Janome Horizon which is $3000.  That one is definitely OUT of my price range.

Viking Sapphire 855

Husq. Viking Sapphire 875 Quilting – Lots of useful features.  MSRP is $1999 at my local store.   You can get versions with less features at a cheaper price, the 835 version is $999 and the 855 version is $1299.  I like the features offered in the 855 as well as the price so might go try that one out.

So right now the top contenders are the Sapphire 855 version and the Babylock Quest Plus.  I’ll have to compare those two side by side and sew on them before really getting close to making a purchasing decision. 

Wasn’t planning on doing a big purchase like this but it is becoming more and more necessary.


  1. Hey Katie! I've been meaning to comment for awhile…I'm a veterinarian, but I also love agility (I have a golden and 2 aussie/border collie cross babies that love to do agility). Love your podcast 🙂 As for the sewing machines…I struggled with the same decision (spend more for the Bernina or get something I can "afford"). If you have a local Bernina dealer, check with them. They're always running specials with X months no interest. That's how I got my 440 QE. I bit the bullet, financed it and then paid it off over 18 months. I don't regret it one bit and am so glad I went with the one I really wanted. I have no experience with Janome, but haven't heard very good reviews on their machines recently. I'm sure you'll love whatever you decide though 🙂 Excited to see what you end up with!

  2. Hi Lori! Yay for another agility person that does quilting! I've got you coming out of the woodwork now!

    I've read rave reviews on the Bernina 440 QE. My local store only offers the financing Bernina offers which right now the best is 12 months no interest. Still, right now can't justify that kind of expense for a hobby so I'm going to get the next best thing I think. Unless a gift falls from the sky looks like that is it!

    Will probably be trying out the Viking Sapphire 855 this weekend and see how I like it. Anything is an upgrade from what I have right now.

    I wish I could find a trusty place to purchase a used machine.

  3. I've had a Viking Sapphire 870Q since Sept. '09 and LOVE it. I looked at the Berninas too and nearly fainted from Sticker Shock, so the Viking is a much more affordable option to be sure! The great thing about the Viking: the long arm space to the right of the needle. It's much larger than almost any machine I've seen. It makes a huge difference when quilting! The automatic tension is also a great feature, no more fiddling around with a screwdriver! Anyway, have fun trying out machines!

  4. Recently won a refurbished (?) BL Quest Plus on eBay.
    I wanted it because it had a built-in walking foot plus many other features that appeared to be similar to my Pfaff 7570 (which I love). In addition, it came with a clear acrylic extension table and 15 accessory feet.

    Bonus…The Quest Plus accepts my 7570’s snap on feet. The Pfaff feet do look much smaller, but so far, the Pfaff IDT feet that I’ve tried do work on this BL model.

    The Quest Plus is very intuitive for me to operate because its features are extremely similar to the 75xx model Pfaffs….plus it can stitch up to 1000 spm!

    I’m very pleased with my purchase!