Whether you’ve been inspired by shows like The Great British Sewing Bee or have just been bitten by the sewing bug, when it comes to choosing a sewing machine there is a lot to think about…
This advice, taken from our FREE sewing machine buyer’s guide, is worth a read whether you’re thinking of getting your first machine or upgrading to a smarter model:
One of the most frequent questions I am asked is about how to choose the right sewing machine. It’s a hard question to answer because, in some ways, which machine is right for you is subjective, and in others, it doesn’t make a huge difference. The differences you’ll see in most machines on the market are in how many and what types of functions they perform and in the interface.
Most people brand-new to sewing don’t need a top-of-the-line quilting-and-embroidery machine; it’s just a whole lot of machine to get to know, and so many are already intimidated by the mechanical-ness to begin with. More options are not necessarily better, especially if you never bother to use them. I know I might ruffle some feathers by saying this, but it’s OK to get a starter machine to begin with, and then move up later once you really know you love sewing (which you totally will). Think of it like when you get your first place after moving away from home: Hardly anyone ever moves out and into a huge house with seven bedrooms and a chef’s kitchen; most of us start with a small apartment and our own bathroom (oh, luxury!). Your first machine is kind of like that.
Now, I’m not advocating getting a cheap, poor-quality machine that won’t work past the first week – far from it. There are several great models on the market that are reasonably priced, that will last you five or ten years and that you won’t have to feel guilty passing on to someone else when you’re ready to graduate to another, fancier machine (assuming you even do – some people fall so in love with their starter machine that it’s the only one they ever buy). You do want to look for some features, though, that will make your first machine great and help you avoid frustration.
This list of essential features, taken from our FREE sewing machine buyer’s guide, explains what you should be looking for in your next sewing machine:
- You’ll want to be able to independently adjust the stitch length and stitch width. Some machines – usually the least expensive model manufactured by a particular brand – have preset stitch selections and don’t allow you to adjust the length and width of your stitches by mixing and matching them. You really, really want to be able to do this!
- You want a machine that offers additional presser feet. At a minimum, look for a zipper foot and a buttonhole foot. More feet are nice but not necessary.
- Most machines offer you a free-arm feature, which allows you to remove a portion of the work area to make a smaller space that’s more suitable for working on sleeves or cuffs. Steer clear of any machine where the work space is too wide to allow you to comfortably stitch smaller projects.
For loads more information on the various features of sewing machines, and a detailed overview of some of the most popular models, download our FREE sewing machine buyer’s guide. Once you’ve read the guide, go and browse our fantastic range of sewing machines to make your wish list!