Sewing Machine ReviewsWhat brand and model do you have?
I have a BabyLock Ellegante 2.
How long have you had it?
I have owned my machine for 3.5 years.
How much does that machine cost (approximately)?
New it was in the $4,000 range. Now they are available for around $2,000. I bought mine for about $3,000 as a floor model with a new warranty.
What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)?
I mostly sew quilts and do machine embroidery. I also make pillows, stuffies and bags when the mood strikes.
How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?
I sew almost daily. The guy who cleans and repairs my machine frequently comments that I have a LOT of stitches on it. I didn't buy it to look pretty or be a doorstop. I bought it to sew.
Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?
I LOVE my machine. Her name is Ellie. (Original, I know.)
What features does your machine have that work well for you?
I love the embroidery functions
- A color screen big enough to see the design and know what you are stitching
- Ability to combine designs and add lettering on screen
- Ability to do some basic edits on screen
- The ability to jump colors or numbers of stitches by 10's or 100's rather than one at a time
- The design is saved where you are if/when the power is cut off
- Automatic cutting/trimming
- Large hoop size. I ALWAYS use the 5x7 hoop. I like having the 8x10 hoop. I wouldn't be as advanced in my embroidery if I only had the 4x4 hoop
- Simplest buttonholes I've ever made
- Sews on buttons
- Easy adjustments for stitches
- Lots of stitches
- Great feed system
- Automatic threader
- Bobbin winder works independent of machine functions
- Automatic cutter
- Drop in bobbin
- Bright Lights
Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?
She's developed a few hitches in her giddayup after three years of hard use. But I have had great luck with the local Babylock repair man. I expect that I will be able to sort out the latest batch of minor annoyances (dull cutter blade-- probably my fault) in short order.
It is a bit of a show pony and doesn't like to stitch through really heavy materials... like multiple layers of denim on an upcycled bag.
Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?
I would recommend the machine to others. It isn't the top of the line but it has enough of the features to make it a pleasure to use. I have often commented that I was glad I bought this one versus the lesser models but seldom wished for the next model up.
On a side note about buying an embroidery machine, I was originally of the notion that I would buy a small embroidery machine to see if I liked it and would use it. I ended up with this one because of a great deal. Subsequently, I have purchased a second embroidery machine (Babylock Ellure). It isn't the entry level. It is a workhorse machine. I love what it can do but ONLY because I already know what machine embroidery can do. I am absolutely convinced that I would not be into embroidery and wouldn't have embroidered badges be the major item in my etsy shop if I'd started with the lesser machine. It would have been too frustrating. In fact, I know several people who have 4 inch machines who seldom use them or who sold them because of the frustration factors.
I would say that if you are thinking of getting into embroidery, you hang out at the local shop and try to embroidery an entire design on each machine you are considering. See if they will rent or loan one to you. Attend make and take events or whatever method they have that lets you get your hands on the machine.
What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?
For embroidery, see the list of features I described above. You need a screen you can work with. You need to have the ability to connect to your computer or have a USB input of designs. DO NOT BUY a machine that requires a card reader or purchased cards unless you get an awesome, amazing, deep discount deal on a fantabulous never been used machine. Then only buy it if the card reader/printer equipment and software are part of the deal.
For general sewing you need to know what kind of sewing you do. If you are going to be sewing denim and leather you probably want a heavy duty commercial machine with fewer functions. If you are going to be doing heirloom sewing, you want a fancy machine with sporty feet and lots of stitches. For Free Motion Quilting, you probably need to move up a step or two from the basics (Doesn't work on my entry level BL9).
ASK lots of questions. Try things out.
Do you have a dream machine?
I am drooling over the BabyLock Ellisimo Gold with the tablet for drawing designs to be stitched directly on the machine. But it will wait for another day.
Bonus: Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it!
My machine is pretty much a state of the art 2010 model. Spud 1 was greatly intrigued. He sews. He wanted to play too. He is also a tinkerer. I didn't want my new investment to become raw materials for one of his projects so I banned him from touching it. In the same room is my state of the art 1910 treadle machine in a fancy case. Spud 1 decided to demonstrate that 'his' machine was just as good. He opened it up, oiled it. Tightened the belts. Figured out how to fill the bobbin and thread it. Got it sewing and then started playing with all the different feet. He ended up making BEAUTIFUL ruffles. I mean absolutely gorgeous perfect ruffles. Far better than anything I can produce on my machine with the feet that I have. Collectively we have started making what we call Century Aprons because they are sewn on two machines built a century a part.