Buying your first sewing machine

When deciding to buy a sewing machine, you probably have particular sewing projects in mind. Do you want to sew clothing, craft items, quilts or reusable shopping bags? A good sewing machine will last a long time, so think about how you’ll use it before you buy. Also consider your budget as sewing machines range from a few hundred dollars up to a few thousand dollars.

Types of sewing machines

Mechanical sewing machine

For an occasional job like hemming pants or making repairs, a reasonably priced basic sewing machine will suffice. It will give you straight, zig-zag and reverse stitches and maybe a buttonhole attachment plus a couple of sewing feet. You’ll be able to adjust the thread tension, width/length of stitches, wind a bobbin and choose the sewing speed.

Computerized sewing machine

Computerized sewing machines are in another class entirely. A low-end machine will have push-button stitch selection, easy tension adjustment and several basic embroidery stitches. Some have auto threaders for the sewing thread as well. Computerized machines are available with a variety of features from fairly basic to extremely complex. The price rises with the increase in features.

Specialty sewing machine

All the well-known sewing machine manufacturers produce machines intended primarily for one type of work – embroidery, quilting, or a combination of both. The best quilting machines have a stitch regulator that ensures even stitches. For some computerized sewing machines, optional embroidery modules are available if you decide to try your hand at this later on.

Factors to consider when buying a sewing machine

Affordability: Trouble-free sewing requires a quality sewing machine. Buy the best sewing machine you can get in your price range. It doesn’t have to have loads of features you’ll never use, it just has to be well-made with quality parts.

Road test: You wouldn’t buy a car without driving it and you shouldn’t buy a sewing machine without doing the same. Take a bag of various fabric samples to the store and test the stitching on any models you’re considering. Ask lots of questions.

Source: When you buy a machine at a dealership, you’ll often get an introductory session on getting to know your machine. Dealerships also have knowledgeable sewers to answer your questions and they often provide service like occasional cleaning and repair.

Portability: If you plan to take regular sewing lessons or join a sewing guild, a portable sewing machine will make life easier. Many manufacturers offer machines that are smaller and lighter and have a made-to-fit carrying case.

There are so many options available when buying a sewing machine that it pays to take your time. Choose quality over quantity of features and your machine will last a lifetime.

Buying your first sewing machine
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