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I haven't gotten my machine in for a service yet. I assumed I was looking at another $50 visit like usual. My mom told me today (its her old machine) that the last time she had it serviced for the issues it having now was over $100.
My BIL is giving me $300 towards a new machine and I'm going to make him some dipes when I get it. They were part of the massive sewing pile I've given up on currently.
So, it looks like I'm sewing machine shopping! I found this and I'd love your input. I think I really like it, especially because I would LOVE the embroidery functions, but I hate spending money without doing a ton of research.
Between the $50-100 I would need to spend for a service plus the $300 from BIL, the price is right.
Every brother I have ever sewn on has been crap (about 4-5 different models over the last 8 years). Tension issues, not strong, cheap parts.
When I bought my Bernina, one of the dealers also sold brothers. According to them the higher end ones that are only sold through dealers are made in other factories with better parts. I didn't sew on any of the ones there, so I don't know. They said for basic embroidery functions they were good solid machines, but they still started at $600-ish.
With the basic machines available through mass merchandisers, I really think your best bet is to keep it simple. The less it does, the less that could break.
If you are looking in that $400 range, and really want a machine that is going to last, I would look into a used Bernina, babylock, or Pfaff. For that kind of money you can get a machine that will be a workhorse as well something with resale value should you change your mind. Some dealers and shops will sell used ones that have already been tuned up and have warranties.
I also have used and think that the Bernette by Bernina's (they sell them instore at Hancock if you have one of those) are better basic machines. They have some nice higher models with great stitches, and they run very smoothly, no clanking noises.