One of the questions that I see a lot on the UK Quilters site is “I’m looking to buy a new sewing machine, what should I buy?”

And the replies just flood in………

Everyone has their own personal favourite brand and model of machine. They swear by their Bernina or Janome (and many other brands) stating that they are real workhorses and last forever without ever having a strop!

What I dislike is when they then go on to pour scorn over any brand that they themselves consider to be inferior or unworthy of a mention.

I recall a person asking about a machine that they were interested in buying and people’s opinion of it, I own that particular brand and model and it has always proved to be very reliable for me apart from when I do something wrong and it throws a hissy fit until I correct it. So, I thought that I would give my honest opinion, which I did. Some of the comments that then followed were very dismissive of this machine, saying that it was unreliable and of a poor quality and was not of the standard that this brand had previously been known for. When asked if they had actually used this machine the response was “well no, but it is just not very good, and I wouldn’t buy it, I would only ever buy a Bernina”.

From this exchange I realised several things, firstly, some people are commenting on machines that they have no experience of, based on what they may have read on other posts and taken as gospel.

Secondly, they just want to promote their favourite brand and are dismissive of other brands as they see them as inferior.

Thirdly, they do not seem to understand that not everyone has the budget to buy the latest all singing with bells jingling model of their favourite brand and lastly, they just want to come across as knowledgeable regardless of whether or not they actually have factual evidence or experience of what the original poster has asked.

I would always suggest to anyone that is looking to buy a machine to list the “must haves, the would like to haves and the deal breakers” on a piece of paper and take it with them to their local sewing machine shop and then to try out as many of the machines that they like, with their must have qualities that are within their budget. Also, very importantly, make sure that you are happy with the training and after sales service offered, before spending your hard-earned cash.

To a certain extent we are probably all a little bit guilty of being machine snobs in some small way…..

The other point that I wanted to “chat” about is are we turning (or already turned) into machine addicts?

When I read some posts, I am always surprised by the number of machines that we seem to own, and I am curious as to where we store them all.

I began my quilting journey three and a half years ago and, in that time, I have bought 4 machines. My first machine, a Singer Modern Quilter, I bought when I didn’t know what I should look for and it was a brand that my mum had used, back in the day, and I have to say that I love it and it is still my most used machine and I have managed to piece and quilt super king sized quilts on it.

My first machine and still my favourite

My second machine, a Juki TL-2200QVP Mini, I bought 7 months later after visiting the Festival of Quilts and deciding that I needed to buy a frame, this machine was to be used on the frame. This machine is a dream to sew with, but it only does straight stitch, so I use it when chain piecing or sewing through multiple layers as it doesn’t struggle with these.

Despite having these two reliable machines I bought a third machine so that I could make nice labels for my quilts, I bought a Brother innov-is V5. This is a really large machine which doesn’t fit in my sewing cabinet, so I have it on a table to the side in my sewing room.

My Brother  Innovis

Lastly, I bought a Britannia instyle 200 to take with me to classes as the other machines were too large and heavy to lug around. This machine also sews like a dream and is so easy to use.

Even though I have all these machines, I still find myself drawn to sewing machine stands at shows or when visiting my local sewing shop. I think I might be a little bit addicted to machines and if storing / displaying them was not an issue I think I might be in real trouble!

Recently, I find that I like the look of some of the vintage machines that people find at charity shops, I’ve never been lucky enough to find one myself but I think this could be a step in another direction for me and I’d be in danger of outgrowing my sewing room if I allowed myself any more machines.

How would you describe yourself, as a machine snob, a machine addict, a machine collector or…….???


  1. Sheena Stubbs

    Interesting. I’m definitely not a machine hoarder by this account. I have one that does all my every day work (Husqvarna), an overlocker and lastly the “wee beastie”. The latter is a 1950’s Singer 20lk and to describe it as a workhorse doesn’t do it justice. Nothing it can’t sew through and will no doubt outlast my modern machines. Can’t beat some of those vintage machines and I also FMQ on it

  2. Julia Pattison

    I’m possibly and anti-snob. I have a 19th century singer treadle which was passed to me when I was 7. What more do you need to quilt ? . I did recently splash out £60 on a 1930s handcrank so I could piece in the garden on nice days. If I need zigzag, I borrow my mums Janome. I’m with you with the brand snobbery, it feels unattainable for those with limited incomes. You only need needle, thread and fabric after all.