Whether you’re new to sewing or are an old pro, choosing the best sewing machine that suits your present and future needs can be a tough call to make. You want a machine that strikes a good balance between affordable pricing and quality features.
Are you in the market for a sewing machine? This post explains 8 key factors you should consider for quicker and more informed decision-making.
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As a general rule of thumb, always go for what you can afford. This is no different even when purchasing a sewing machine whose price can range from as low as $100 to several thousand dollars depending on features and brand.
The good thing about it though is that there will always be a best-in-class option for whatever budget you have – all you need is to dig deeper into research and choose one that comes with durable parts, ample guarantee time, and is made by a reputable brand.
On the other hand, you can also look for a decent second-hand machine at a discounted price or buy one on hire-purchase from a trusted dealer. As you can see, there are numerous ways to go around the issue of limited finances.
When it comes to sewing machines, brand really matters. You reckon that not all machines are made equal and this includes differences in the type and quality of parts used during assembling.
Some of the most respected manufacturers of good sewing machines today include Singer, Huqsvarna, and Bernina among others. These are brands that have stood the test of time and are popular for their consistency in providing the market with high-quality machines. Of course, you’re allowed to check out others albeit while conducting due diligence.
3. Mechanical versus computerized
A majority of high-end machines being released these days are fully computerized and come with advanced features like touch screen dashboards and programmable stitch sequences among others. These machines come with extra power and motor as well as superior stitch lines. Also, the fact that they can be programmed means they’re able to produce quality and uniform pieces with minimal errors. However, this comes at a price and therefore with a constrained budget, you might want to consider going the mechanical way.
On the other hand, mechanical sewing machines cost less and tend to be lighter than their computerized counterparts as they have relatively fewer parts. This makes them easier to carry around and therefore ideal for people without designated working stations or those who have to carry their tools to classes. Servicing and general maintenance is also more affordable for the latter.
If either or both of the two categories above don’t seem to meet your needs, you can choose to go for a hybrid of the mechanical and computerized variants. Normally, these types come with a computer screen but have everything else working mechanically on the inside. Unfortunately, while you can enjoy decent selections of stitches with hybrid machines, most come with limited embroidery capabilities.
Once you’ve set your budget for a sewing machine, a key aspect to consider is the stitches available on your preferred machine. A caveat here is to avoid being blinded by the numbers alone but the types of stitches available. Primarily, you need a machine that comes with both the straight and zigzag stitches. Others that could come in handy for more advanced tasks include blind hem stitch, buttonhole stitch, and sketch or knit stitch.
As your skills grow and demand for more sophisticated stitches increases, you might choose to upgrade to newer machines that are capable of sewing tougher fabrics such as blankets.
5. Special features
If you’re already an expert and want to move your sewing to the next level, it’s important to consider going for a machine with more advanced features as follows:
- Needle threader
This feature can either be automatic or semi-automatic depending on the level of the machine.
- Walking foot
Also known as dual feed foot, this part is key in making sewing smooth and particularly when dealing with multiple layers of seam.
- Free arm
With this part, you can sew bags, sleeves, and any other circular projects much easily.
- Knee lifter
A while ago, knee lifters were only available on high-end machines; however, this feature can now be found on most modestly priced machines. It enables you to stitch on curves and sharp corners.
- Adjustable speed control
Just like the name suggests, you can adjust how fast or slow you sew using this function. It’s common in computerized machines.
Others features to look out for include:
- Needle up/down
- Needle position adjustment
- Motor power/size
- Feed dog up/down
The amount of noise that a sewing machine produces when at work should be a factor when buying your ideal device. If you’re like most people, the appropriate time to sew is early mornings or late evenings (before or after work). This means there’s a likelihood that your machine will be disrupting the sleep or comfort of others in your household or even your neighbors.
If this sounds like your case, consider going for quieter machines which are quite a handful on the market today.
7. Frequency of use
When it comes to use of sewing machines, you can either be categorized as a heavy or light user. For example, if you’re in the business of sewing and therefore have to use your machine practically every day, you possibly need a heavy-duty tool that can work on your numerous projects with minimal maintenance. On the other hand, you’ll possibly need a simple machine if all you’re looking for is a tool to help you occasionally hem a few clothes or make some new cushions.
8. Attachments and feet
The type of projects you’re planning to work on help determine the kind of attachment or feet to go for. For example, if you’re a quilter, you’ll require a machine with a spring action foot, walking foot, and a ¼ inch foot. Alternatively, for garment sewing, feet such as overcast stitching foot and buttonhole foot are a must-have in a machine.
Picking the right sewing machine for your needs doesn’t have to be a tough decision. If you’re able to take care of these eight factors when shopping for one, the rest will fall into place. We wish you the best in your sewing endeavors.