Do you know how hard it is to take a photo of a sewing machine in a dark basement on a rainy day? Pretty hard-- here's the best I could do. Sew Mama Sew is hosting sewing machine month for June, so today I'm answering their sewing machine meme. All questions are from the Sew Mama Sew site.
What brand and model do you have? My machine is a Bernina Virtuosa 153 Quilter's Edition.
How long have you had it? I (with much help from my mother) purchased the machine in late 2001 or early 2002, secondhand from a Bernina dealer.
How much does that machine cost (approximately)? Bernina doesn't make this machine anymore, but it ran about $2700 new. I paid about $1750, if I remember correctly, for an almost brand new machine. The woman who bought it new had turned it in for an even spiffier model soon after she purchased it. I've seen this model on eBay for $1200 - $1300 recently.
What types of things do you sew? I have sewn almost everything with this machine. I think the strength and sturdiness of a Bernina its greatest asset. I've done quilts from start to finish (piecing, quilting), clothes for me and my family, handbags, slipcover projects, a fair group of fake fur and fleece items for the horse and his equipment, paper for greeting cards and paper piecing, and much more. This machine has even sewed double-thickness split cowhide to heavy-duty Carhartt insulated coveralls (not that it was a walk in the park, but the machine came out unscathed). Basically, if you have the right needle and the right foot, with this machine the sky's the limit.
How much do you sew? I sew whenever I can, up to two hours a day after the baby goes to bed, but I've been known to sew a weekend away with two twelve-hour stretches.
Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name? No name, but I really do love this machine. It's quality.
What features does your machine have that work well for you? I like the automatic buttonhole feature. The blind hem stitch is very handy when time is tight. The adjustable feed dogs and the stop-needle-down feature see a lot of use. The bobbin is incredibly easy to wind and replace. The computer screen is not complicated. It simply displays the choices I've made with the buttons on the machine's face.
Would you recommend this machine to others? Absolutely. Without hesitation. It's such a strong and versatile machine that I don't see myself needing another.
What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine? I learned to quilt in college on a vintage Singer Featherweight that belongs to my mother. It did everything I needed then; it sewed beautiful rows of straight stitching. I made quilt blocks and stayed up late making dresses for beach week.
When I first got the Bernina, it was probably more than I needed. More functions and buttons for someone who really only knew how to sew in straight lines of straight stitches. But now I use almost all the features, and I can really do whatever I want to do with it. I think it's important to look for a quality machine above all else. Look for something that doesn't intimidate you but that does a little more than you think you'll need. I've grown as a sewist because of my machine.
Do you have a dream machine? Have you seen this new Bernina 830 that supposedly costs $12000? I haven't seen it in person, but I've ogled it on the computer more than once. Although I'm definitely not into the machine embroidery stuff, I'm a loyal Bernina user now, and this machine seems to be the only one with extended neck space. That's the one thing that I wish my machine had: a longer neck so that I could quilt larger, bed-sized pieces with ease on my home machine. There's a fair amount of wrangling to quilt a twin size piece now. Oh, and it'd be way cool to have the automatic scissors to cut the threads at the end of a seam. And a bigger bobbin. But I can't see spending twelve grand on a sewing machine!
I look forward to reading about other peoples' machines this month.