Last week, as I was working on my very first quilt (post to come once it is finished), I was working on the quilting step and the needle decided to slow down. Then it went even slower. Then it stopped and started buzzing. I’m no expert, but that buzzing sound did not give me the best feeling. It was at that point that I decided that my wonderful Singer model 1120, which was a factory refurbished machine gift from my amazing mom in 2004, was no longer with us. Yes, I could probably bring it to get it serviced, but chances are that it would cost much more than the machine was worth. I then started the search for a replacement.
After a post on Facebook, I got recommendations from friends to look at Bernina, Babylock, and Husquvarna/Viking. To be honest, at that point I thought I would still have a year to look and save up. I dreamed big. I visited the local Bernina store, and I fell in love with the Artista 650 (sewing and embroidery). Of course, this was a $5,700 machine (on sale for $4000). Yes, that was not happening. I was not going from a $99 machine to $5,700. A girl can dream, can’t she?
I then went to our local Babylock store, and I LOVED the Grace ($400) and Elizabeth ($800). I loved the way they worked, sounded, and looked. Now, the questions was just: which one? After talking with Tim, we decided to go with Grace. That would give me a machine to work towards.
Then, while visiting our families in Charlottesville, we visited Les Fabriques. I love this store! When I was in elementary school, I took a summer camp with them (and I loved those p.j. pants and shirt that I sewed there). They have the best material and customer service there. They sell Pfaff and Brother there (the Project Runway limited edition line). Turns out, the company that makes Babylock also makes Brother, and two of the machines from the PRW line are the exact same machines as Elizabeth and Grace. The Grace equivalent sold for about $600, so that was out (why buy the Brother version when I could get Babylock for $200 less?). The Elizabeth version sold for $800, but Carla (the owner), went to crunch some numbers to see what she could do.
She came back with a great deal, but she would still have to order the machine. When I explained that I was anxious to finish the quilt that I had started, she offered that we could buy the floor model. It was just used for 2 weeks of camp, and I would still get the warranty, all of the original parts, the box, and the 1 year free service for $525. I was thrilled, and the Brother Innov-is 80 is mine! I love it! Look at that beautiful machine in action!
-built-in needle threader
-auto needle up/down
-tons of different feet