Tuesday, 21 July 2015


Last week the people of Instagram were a wonderful help advising mum on her choice of new sewing machine.  Now its my turn please!

My machine is a Janome 8077.  It has about 30 stitches, of which I use straight and zigzag...  It has a speed control, which I love but admittedly mostly keep on fast.  It has a needle threader which I could not do without now.  It has a needle up / down button, which I most definitely dont want to do without!  Its a top loader, and has a start button for sewing without the foot pedal. 
I love it, but I find it a nightmare for quilting.  The throat space is larger than average but still too weeny for comfort.  It has an extra lift on the presser foot, which has lead to the presser foot being too heavy and not adjustable.  This makes curves tough!  

For the last few years I've been saying I want a no nonsense straight stitch only tough machine thats designed for quilting.  No fancy stitches, just an even feed and the ability for FMQ.
I also fancy a machine with a knee lift for the presser foot.  And I dont want to be without the few features of my current machine that I love.

I was looking at the Janome 1600PQC.  Seems like what I was looking for....
But I'm now being tempted by the Pfaff Expression 4.2.  It does so much more than I wanted but it has a wider throat and frankly seems less scary!

Janome 1600PQC

Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2

I dont really live anywhere near somewhere with enough machines to go try some.  I'd end up getting one 'sold' to me and I dont want that.  So peeps, any advice?  I dont want to get the straight stitch only and find that the 9" throat is still tiny and the machine too utilitarian.  Its not like I will ever get a frame to use it on.   However, I dont want to get a very expensive machine that does hunners of stuff (200+ stitches!) and still say "I just need a good straight stitch machine..."!
If I'm honest, all that I've read about the Pfaff has me more or less sold...  especially the even feed and the 11" throat.

So, if you have a machine that you do all your piecing on, that also does your quilting, and you'd recommend it, what is it?!

I'll try to make the next post less boring, honest.  


  1. If it's mostly for quilting then definitely the Pfaff because it has a built in walking foot as standard (IDF). Jxo

  2. I will be very interested in the comments as I want the same as you!:)

  3. I think that Krista (Poppyprint) might know about Pfaffs, you could send her an email (or I can if you don't know her). I have been eyeing the Juki straight stitch machines.

  4. Consider a juki. It's basic but it sew like a dream ( and it's fast). I've not does much fmq with it, but so far so good. I can tell you more if you're interested.

  5. My Brother (about £350 I think) has all that you ask for (the knee lift came with the table extension I think) BUT as I don't quilt much I'm not able to comment on that!

  6. Just don't get a Husqvarna Viking…. Three of us at the EMMQG meeting had one and all three were in the shop being fixed! My Pfaff was better, I miss it a bit.

    1. I have a bare bones Viking Freesia 415 (I think that's the number) small but sturdy....have had it for over 15 years and knock on wood (which I just did) it has never been in the shop. In fact I was thinking it's about time I gave the poor workhorse a servicing!:) I have sewn everything from costumes to drapes, quilts to prom dresses with it. But I sooooo want something with a bigger throat!!

  7. Have you considered the Janome MC6660P? It is a similar price point to the Pfaff but looks more "heavy duty".

  8. You do have room for more than one machine now...

  9. Although I agree that the Pfaff has a great walking foot, and I loved it for straight sewing, I had a lot of problems with FMQ. I had it repaired a few times trying to get the tension to hold, but they could not do anything that would last. I have heard of several others who have had issues with a Pfaff and FMQ.
    I finally got frustrated and bought a Janome Horizon....and I LOVE IT. Cant say enough good things about it. I even went out a bought a smaller version to travel with.
    Anyway..my vote is for Janome! :)

  10. Hands down, the older Juki's like the TL98. $400-$500 U.S. I have a speed regulator on mine. It goes fast if I want, for piecing. I slow it down a little for quilting. I FMQ a lot with it. It uses regular bobbins and needles. I say that because I got a sit-down long-arm machine with a larger throat and it uses the larger M bobbins and specialized needles. The bobbins load underneath at the end of the bed, not on top. I think there is a newer version of the Juki that is maybe a 98Q?

    Also, be wary of buying newer Pfaffs. I have a Pfaff 2042 Quiltstyle that is about 15 years old. Pfaff was sold off to another company and many have complained about the quality going down on them. I know I looked for a replacement for my Pfaff as it is getting worn and the new ones seemed like cheap junk to me, plus they now have the drop in the top bobbins too, like the Janomes.

    Good luck!

  11. I'm afraid I can't help as I have a Bernina (small throat space but I love the machine). Happy hunting!

  12. I agree with Flo about the Janome. I recently moved to a small cottage so couldn't bring my lovely FM quilter. I decided to sell it and move to a machine which would allow me space to quilt on it. After a lot of research I went with the Janome Horizon, haggled hard and got it a lot less than the RRP. It's beautiful and has a massive 11" throat. The straight stitch is terrific and I got a stitch in the ditch foot as a (free!) extra and it's amazing. I've never mastered it until now but that foot makes me look like a quality quilter! Good luck

  13. Last year I bought a Janome 7700 and it's been brilliant. It has 11 inch throat which didn't even flinch when I FMQ'd a 90" x 90" quilt on it earlier this year. I couldn't have contemplated making something that big before. It's not industrial in the sense I suspect you're looking for, but it is GREAT for quilting. I had never used a Janome before I bought it and really like the features like dictating whether the needle stops up or down (which I spot is also available in the one you're looking at). I can't speak on the Pfaff as I've never used one, but I can highly recommend Janome.

    Since I bought mine, I put together a list of sewing machine reviews from other bloggers which I read to help me (I think I read the whole of the internet....) which I've never got round to publishing. I've just hit the button so you can see it as it includes Jukis which I was interested in for the same reasons as you've described - tough, no nonsense!

    If you can't get to a shop to try a machine, I would recommend watching videos of people using them on Youtube, as I found this just as helpful as having a go on the one I bought in the end.

    Best of luck choosing!