Quilting Sample

Sewing Machine Service


I have been doing my best to get along with my sewing machine, but I think it is fair to say that tensions between us are pretty high. I purchased this machine specifically because of its large throat and free-motion quilting features. However, since the day she came out of the box, she has been fussy about quilting (at best) and down-right beastly about it (normally). I have spent the better part of the past year researching what could possibly be wrong with my machine. I took her in for servicing. I changed needles. I changed thread. I adjusted everything I could adjust (tension, stitch length, and on and on and on…). I visited other quilt shops that specialize in this brand of machines on vacation to talk to even more people about possible things I could try. After much frustration, I got back in touch with the woman who sold the machine to me. I was at a conference at the time, so it goes without saying that she is not really local. I really appreciate that she took the time to respond to my emails. After much back and forth, I decided to take my machine back to the local dealer / technician for more discussion and possibly servicing on Friday.

As it is an hour drive for me to get to the closest technician who can work on my machine, I took my husband with me, and we talked a lot about my sewing machine and my level of frustration on the drive there. We agreed that I have no reason to be personally upset with the people we were about to interact with, but my level of sadness and frustration with my machine is such that I did not trust that I could necessarily be calm and rational. So, he did a lot of the talking initially, and we spent a good amount of time with the shop owner and technician reviewing why we purchased the machine and everything that we had done to date to work around the problem. The shop owner and the technician agreed that, based on what they could tell from us, there is likely something pretty wrong with my machine. We did leave it with them for a day to allow them the opportunity to inspect and work with my machine.

Today, we stopped back by the shop to pick the Beast up and bring her home. She still quilts (or doesn’t quilt, in my opinion) like this:

Quilting Sample
Quilting Sample

While at the store today, I was able to use my quilting foot and exact same thread on a sister machine to show that it SHOULD be possible to have continuous, gorgeous quilting. My machine… well, she just does not want to quilt. So, after discussing options, a new hook mechanism is on order (and is thankfully under warranty). At this point, I am fairly pessimistic about my machine, but it would be nice if a mechanical problem and solution could be found.

Lessons Learned

  • My husband is an invaluable resource. He can help defuse intensely emotional discussions in productive and constructive ways. I will take him with me when we bring the Beast back for her new parts.
  • Talking to someone over the phone (which is how I have interacted with the technician/shop due to their lack of proximity) is not the most ideal way to transmit information. By being in the store in person, I was able to make connections with people, and I am much more confident that we all agree there is something wrong with my particular machine.
  • Go with your gut! I have felt that something has been really wrong with my machine for a long time (and I know it is getting worse), but I kept chalking it up to my lack of knowledge / skill. It can be hard for me to be assertive, but I need to learn to speak up sooner when I know something is wrong. I can always count on the fact that my husband is on my team and take him with me to help!

Thankfully, I have lots of piecing work for the near future, and my sewing machine doesn’t complain about that work! Hopefully I will have a much more positive outlook in a few week after her new parts arrive and get installed. Heck, it would be good to finally get to know her real name. I’m sure that underneath that tough, Beastly exterior, she is a sweet and loving machine who just wants me to know her name.


  • It really sounds like you are me. Me and my Juki. (I know that was bad grammar but whatever). Did you cry? I cried. There is no way that my Juki is not a lemon but I simply don’t know what to do about it. I bought it way out of state. I called the Juki corporation and they were more than rude to me. Accused me of breaking my machine. Like you, I can piece on the machine. I honestly feel as if I would be further along in my FMQ skills if it were not for the beast. But…what to do. I feel for you, truly.

    • Debbie, I have a Brother PQ1500S which is a similar high-speed straight-stitch machine. Many people in a PQ1500S group I belong to have complained that FMQ can be difficult and stitches often skipped. However, a solution that have helped most of us is to use stretch needles. Not the needles you use for stretch fabrics, but a needle that has a deeper scarf and longer eye. They are miracle workers for these machines. When I quilt, I always pop one of those in and have no issues with my stitches. Not sure if this is your problem, but I tell everyone that has a high-speed straight stitch machine about these needles just on the off chance that they are the solution the person needed! I use Organ brand and the part number of the needles are: 15x1SP. You can also get them in ballpoint and that is 15x1SP BP.

      • Christine, Yvonne sent your reply right to me! She is so good like that. I am absolutely going to try these needles. Honestly, it does remind me of one thing the tech said, and it was to make sure that the eye of the needle was down far enough into the bobbin case. It didn’t make sense to me. As if I needed to contort myself every time I changed my needle, get a flashlight, watch the needle/bobbin case movement to see what was happening before I could even sew. On a Juki it is not an easy thing. Your explanation is so much easier. And here I was at the store just today! Thank you SO much.

        • I really hope it is a solution that works for you! I’d love it if you would update me and let me know. You can email me at christine81474 (at) gmail (dot) com. Best wishes!!

  • Oh my gosh! I admire your perseverance and am so glad someone is finally trying to help you. I hope the new part fixes the Beast’s problem and you get to finally meet the real machine!

  • Yvonne, my fingers are crossed. . . toes too!! I really hope this fixes the problem for you. So glad your husband was able to be the calm for you 🙂

  • My husband is also a calming support in times like this. So glad yours was there for you. And I hope that the new part will do the trick. Have you thought about upgrading your machine? My mom just upgraded hers,

  • I had similar feelings about my Janome. Spent over a year and 4 trips back to the dealer (an hour away and at least 2 days wait each time) before they replaced a $30 part. Went back and forth between this machine SUCKS and I’m a moron cause I can’t get a sewing machine to sew! Works like a dream now – but it took MUCH frustration to get to here. She still is a princess and won’t sew well with cotton threads though!! Give her nylon, rayon, metallics or polyester and she’s a dream machine! I chose the big harp for quilting, and I couldn’t ask for more room! I’ve decided to dedicate this machine for quilting and binding and the past 8 months I’ve had no troubles – yay!! So try to bear with it – this machine might yet be The One!

  • Matt is the exact same for me, funny to hear how similar they are sometimes! I’m so sorry you got a lemon, and have been having the worst time getting it diagnosed. I do hope the new part fixes it, and at least you know the how the machine should work.

  • I find it hard to approach ‘experts’ about technical problems too, especially if I’m not 100% sure on a topic, but my gut tells me I’m right! Good on you for sticking to your guns and here’s hoping for a positive outcome 🙂

  • My sewing machines have not given me grief, but I had a similar problem with my computer. After 6 months of banging my head against a wall, I got the CORRECT tiny, inexpensive missing cable and have had no problems since. Hang in there. All things must pass.

  • Ugh. It is so frustrating to have a machine that you are constantly fighting to get to work right. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this will fix the problem and your machine will run like a dream for you!!

I really appreciate the time and thought you take to comment, and I look forward to conversing with you. :)