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« Design Wall Monday | Main | Shop news and other stuff..... »

March 04, 2014


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I always love your thorough and honest product posts. I have the Janome Memorycraft 6600. It is noisy and the feet changing is a PITA. I have also test driven the new $5,000 Janome, while quieter and some features I like, I find it doesn't do much better or different than the machine I have and that's too much to pay extra to pay for a quieter machine. We become brand loyal. I had an older Pfaff. Lousy local shop owners so I moved to the Janome where the shop/owner/service are all close and awesome.


interesting to see how all the testing turned out! the first one you mentioned had a sales rep that wasn't very good at her job it sounds like or maybe she just doesn't know how to use a sewing machine -


I ended up googling the Laura Ashley when I got home and found out that the buttohole foot has a way of automatically measuring your button and making the buttonhole the correct length in order to get your button through the hole. That right there made me full of sewing machine envy. I wanted one. And then I remembered it is the "Year of Austerity". :(

Virtual Quilter

Brother have caught my attention recently with their Scan'n'Cut or whatever it is called ... I checked it out at the Quilt and Craft Fair ... on my want list, but the price is a bit prohibitive at this point in time, I am also a bit wary about jumping in and getting new products too early ... they usually improve heaps over a short time after they hit the market.

Linda Swanekamp

Vicki, a couple of years ago, I bought a brand new Pfaff for over $2000 because my old Viking had a fire. I had it over a year and never got the tension right for FMQ. It never had a decent straight stitch. I took it back repeatedly and was told I was using the wrong thread, wrong needle, etc. The repair bill was killing me. At a local art show I saw a woman selling exquisite quilted purses with perfect stitching. I asked her what she sewed with and she said an old slant needle Singer. I wrote down her model, bought one on ebay and fell in love with the stitiching. Sold the Pfaff, bought more vintage machines and have learned how to repair/tune them. I am not going back to new machines. I can live without needle down, automatic what ever. All I want is straight stitch and FMQ tension accurate. I quilt very densely. I just want to sew and sew and these machines work for me and with me.
Glad you found something you liked.


Thank you for your assessment of the machines you were able to try on your own. This was excellent info. I have a smaller Brother that sews a variety of stitches and bought it for it's light weight and the stitches. Have never had a problem with it at all. I also do small free motion quilting on it as well.

Pam O

Amazing what an open mind can accomplish. And a local dealer-- a big plus in my book. Enjoy the new member of the family.

Mary Anne

I've been looking forward to reading about your results. I have to say I do love my Janome, but it IS noisier than I would like. Hopefully it will hang in there for a few more years before I have to shop for another one, and I will keep in mind to have a look at Brother. Thanks!

Beth in AZ

I am glad you had a chance to try so many machines. Buying a sewing machine is kinda like buying a car...needed, but not always FUN. The Fun comes when you get home with it and can PLAY.


Interesting conclusions! Thank you for sharing them. I, too, am sorry to hear about Pfaff. I grew up with/learned to sew on one. Many yrs ago. Am feeling that way about my 14 yr old Viking, too. I probably won't ever buy another machine, but if I do, I'll investigate the Brother. I never liked the Brother typewriter, but that was a long time ago, too. I guess I'm really dating myself tonight. :-)

Paula K.

I own a janome 6500 and am very happy with it, really not noisy like you say. I do agree with you that the fabric will jam at the beginning of a seam without a leader. I will try some other machines before i invest so much $ in a machine. Thanks for your help.

Gene Black

Ah, if you don't do free motion quilting on that machine it is great. I have the previous incarnation in a Babylock (the Espire- mostly they changed the name to Symphony!)
I loved the machine, but it is terrible for free motion work.

I have the Janome 6600 as my main machine now because I DO free motion quilt on it. Yes, changing feet is a bit of a hassle if you have to remove the ankle, and the threader is a bit clunky, but I love the machine.

I think you will be happy with the Brother machine. I certainly hope so.

shirley bruner

Thank you for this review. i have 3 Baby Locks and am growing dis-enchanted with is a very expensive embroidery machine. the place i used to take them for repair now does a very poor job but i have found another dealer to service them. but it still seems the embroidery machine is not 'right'. i do have a Janome Gem Gold that i use for piecing and i like it a lot. i, too, thought Brother was an inferior brand. i will have to look at them closer when buying the next machine. i am on my 2nd embroidery machine and Brother might be my next one. i think for the price, sewing/embroiderey machines should last at least 20 years but that doesn't seem to be the case. i don't much care for this disposable world of ours. thanks, again, for your time with this project and the reporting. i really enjoy your blog.

Paula L

I have this machine and love it. It has done everything I have asked with no problems. I do most of my piecing with a vintage Singer straight stitch machine. Love your blog and your helpful hints.


So glad you found a machine you love. I love my 18 year old Pfaff so much I haven't even looked at another machine. I use to drive an hour and a half to take my machine to a Pfaff tech I trusted, but then he moved to Colorado. Since he moved I have only had to have my machine worked on once and I shipped it to him. In 18 years the machine has only been in the shop three times and the last time it was the foot pedal that was the issue. I hope you have nothing but good times and joy with your new machine!

Cheryl K.

Thanks for writing up your purchasing experience. I agree that the local dealer question is really key, especially on these expensive models (I found out when I moved). My favorite machine (I have three) is a late 1980's era that parts are no longer available for - I think I may join Linda S.'s camp and buy vintage when those parts start to disintegrate.


The machine's name is certainly off-putting! There are so many kinds of machines out there now you'd think it would be easy to get everything you want in one machine but I had to compromise when I bought mine 2 years ago. I hope you enjoy your new toy/tool.

Vickie VanDyken

Great compare :) I to have had problems with my latest Pfaff. I started with Elna, but many years go, switched to the Pfaff.
On an extended vaca I bought a Brother from craigslist for a great price. I have fallen in love with it. Great for taking to class. Sews a great seam and takes a whoopin as I leave it in the back of my car...all the time. That has encouraged me to look at the Dreamweaver. I really want the large sewing area and hey because our names are Vickie......and they are the V series...well I keep telling my husband's fate! Your assessment is welcome and helps me believe I am making a good choice. Now waiting for a sale :) Thanks!!!

Sharon MLS

Thanks for sharing. Interesting to learn of your process and tips on how to shop for a machine.


Thanks so much for writing this post! I have a 30+ year old Pfaff which is having some issues. A couple of years ago, I tried looking for a new machine but gave up. Our Pfaff dealer is also a Brother dealer but unfortunately, he is mostly interested in selling the embroidery models. I will check out the Brother machine though as it sounds like it could work for me!

Rebecca in SoCal

I know this is very late, but I wanted to thank you for this post. It gave me ideas of how to test machines. It was also a bit discouraging, because the BEST local dealer carries Pfaffs. She is an ace repairperson, and very honest (such as not charging for minor repairs) and straightforward...whether your machine is worth the repairs it needs. Oh, well.

It was also funny timing, because I read it just before a free-motion quilting class to which I took my Brother, and the teacher had the same thing! Oh, and she told of the days when she was selling machines, and her boss told her to demonstrate and not to let the customer sit at the machine! Can you imagine? (She didn't like that job.)

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