How To Buy a Sewing Machine: Choosing The Right One

If you are looking to buy a sewing machine, you know, it can be a daunting task, even for those that have sewing experience, and even more of a challenge for beginners.

There are so many choices regarding sewing machines, and so many features offered that it becomes confusing. There are mechanical machines vs computerized, embroidery/sewing combos vs standard sewing machines, quilting machines vs embroidery machines, heavy duty machines vs basic sewing machines, table top models vs portable versions.

Sewing Experience: Narrowing Your Options

Buying the Right Sewing Machine for Your NeedsAnother important consideration is your experience. Are you a beginner, or more advanced? Are you planning on taking sewing classes? You will end up frustrated, if you buy sewing machine that’s a high end machine, that you don’t know how to use. I have been sewing for a good portion of my life, and have owned several sewing machines, and I must admit that there have been some that I had more features than I needed, or used. A couple of years ago, I stepped up from a sewing machine to a sewing/embroidery machine because I wanted to explore embroidery. I purchased the affordable Brother SE 400, which provides everything you need to get started with embroidery. I have learned a lot, using this basic embroidery sewing machine, and am now ready to upgrade again, to something with more features and a larger embroidery area, but I still won’t jump into the most expensive embroidery sewing machine out there. I am researching, and comparing, all of the features based on my needs.

Key Questions Before Purchasing a Sewing Machine:

  • What is my budget? What am I able to afford? Technology for sewing machines has moved rapidly, and todays high end machines run in the thousands of dollars. Be sure you are dedicated to your sewing before you spend that kind of money.
  • What is my experience? If you have previous experience sewing, you probably have a good idea of what types of features you would like on your new machine, and will enjoy the learning curve that comes with a new machine. If you are a beginner sewer, it’s wise to stay with basic features, that allow for some creativity. Most newer machines have many stitch options to allow for customization of projects. If you find that you enjoy sewing, work your way up to buy a sewing machine with a wider range of features and options. Chances are, that you may decide to lean towards more quilting or embroidery after you learn the basics.
  • Am I willing to take some classes to learn about my sewing machine? Most sewing machine dealers provide classes, which is a great option for those that are new to sewing, or those that buy sewing machines with the feature-heavy embroidery/sewing combos.
  • What type of projects do I want sew? It’s important to ask yourself what type of projects you are interested in, such as general crafts, quilting, embroidery projects, clothing, or home decor? All of these things require somewhat different features on a machine. For example, if you want to make drapery, you would want a machine that can handle heavier fabrics and thickness. This would also be the case for quilting. On the other hand, sewing baby clothes can be done with your basic machine, or an entry level sewing embroidery machine. If quilting is what you intend to do, then a quilters sewing machine with a long arm, quilting feet, and available quilting stitches would be the type of  machine to focus on.
  • How much time will I spend sewing? A large investment would not be wise for someone that is only going to do a couple of mending jobs here and there, or a couple of projects.
  • Am I familiar with computer technology? A basic understanding of computers would be helpful in operating any of the computerized sewing machines.
  • Do I have the space for a sewing machine? You must consider where in your home, you will be sewing. Do you have a dedicated space, or do you need a portable machine that you can set up on the kitchen table when you want to sew?

As you narrow down the answers to these questions, you will have the basic information that you need to buy a sewing machine that fits your needs.

A Few Suggestions:

  • Visit forums and message boards regarding machines you are interested in, or sewing forums to get a feel for what others like about their machines. Granted, you will find varying opinions but certain things will stand out to you, and help you sort things out.
  • Visit your local sewing shop; most will let you try out the machine. Remember, they are there to sell you a machine, and will steer you to the more expensive models, so buyer beware! Don’t buy a sewing machine that is more than you need or can handle!
  • Make a list of features that appeal to you, that would help make your projects shine.
  • I know it’s hard, but stick to your budget!
  • Ask questions about different types of sewing machines.
  • Consider sewing classes to get to know your sewing machine better.
  • If you are considering a computerized  embroidery/sewing machine, be sure that the software is compatible with your computer, especially if you use a Mac.

Some of the most common brands that you might consider exploring are Brother, Janome, Babylock, Bernina, and Viking. Prices can range from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. Choosing the right sewing machine can be educational, and very rewarding.  Knowing the facts before you buy a sewing machine is well worth your time, so make the effort to do it right.

Happy Shopping!


2 Responses to How To Buy a Sewing Machine: Choosing The Right One

  1. Dianna March 13, 2013 at 7:41 AM #

    It’s actually a great and useful piece of info. I’m happy
    that you just shared this useful information with us. Please stay us informed
    like this. Thanks for sharing.

    • Bonnie March 13, 2013 at 8:12 AM #

      Thanks Dianna. I’m glad the information helped you. Choosing a sewing machine can be very daunting, so it’s important to consider your needs, your abilities, and your desires before purchasing a sewing machine. Many people end up purchasing sewing machines that are a major investment, and just too complicated for the average “home projects.” Keep it simple, but leave room to grow. :)

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