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To Sew or Not to Sew: How to Choose A Sewing Machine

By admin / January 31, 2019
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Worldwide, the sewing machine market is worth over $62 billion dollars. Sewing experienced a resurgence in 2017 as more people joined in this timeless craft. 

Does the idea of sewing your own clothes entice you? If you’re ready to give up low-quality big-box store clothing, it’s time you learn to sew. 

But do you know how to choose a sewing machine? There are many options and a wide range of price points. If you’re in the market for a sewing machine, choose one that’s right for you. 

Read on for a comprehensive guide on how to choose a sewing machine. 

Know Your Budget

Answer some questions for yourself before walking into a sewing store.

Are you new to sewing? Do you plan on sticking with it or is this a trial to see if you like it? Are you ready to turn your passion into a business?

If you’re new and not sure about sewing, look for an inexpensive beginner’s sewing machine.

You can buy a used machine for $50 or less. You can even buy a new beginner’s machine for about $80

If you’ve been sewing for a while and are moving to a more complex machine, you’ll need a bigger budget. But you can keep your budget to $500 or less and still get a great sewing machine. 

Sewing machines run the gamut from under $100 to $3,000 or more. Don’t worry about having the most expensive machine. Buy what works for you on your budget.

Shop Local

Unless you opt for a mechanical model, your sewing machine will need maintenance. Look for a quality local dealer when buying a sewing machine. A good dealer can help match you with the right machine for your needs.

She’ll also have a great maintenance department. She can keep your machine maintained and running well. And if your machine ever needs repairs, you’ll already have a good service department.  

Stitching Profile

If you’re a beginner, stick with an easier machine. Don’t be enticed by a fancy machine that offers hundreds of stitches. Chances are, it’ll be a long time before you’ll need anything beyond basic stitching. 

You want a machine that handles the basic stitches well. And at the end of the day, there are only a couple of stitches that matter the most. These are:

  • Straight stitch
  • Zigzag stitch

The straight and zigzag stitches work for most sewing projects. Look for an adjustable straight stitch between 0-5mm. This allows for basting and gathering of fabric.

Stitch width and length should be adjustable for the zigzag stitch. 

There are a few more stitches that’ll make your projects easier:

  • Utility
  • Buttonhole 
  • Knit or Stretch
  • Blind hem

Utility stitches usually include stretch or knit stitches. Utility stitches make securing a seam or doing a decorative stitch easier. 

A buttonhole stitch is a zigzag, but it’s automated for ease. Most machines have this feature. But some work better than others. Have someone demonstrate the feature and let you try it before you buy the machine.

If it doesn’t work well, try a few more machines. 

If you’re sewing with knits, the knit or stretch stitch is handy. But it’s not necessary. You can sew knits with a regular zigzag stitch. But the stretch stitch allows the knit to stretch without popping the threads after they’re stitched.

The blind hem stitch helps when hemming pants or skirts. It creates a hem with invisible stitches on the outside.  

Some machines have 50 different types of stitches. While it’s tempting to buy the machine with the most stitches, you might never use more than a few of them.

Think about the type of sewing you’ll do before you decide on which machine to buy. 

Feet and Attachments

What are feet?

The foot rests on the fabric while the needle is stitching. Are you sewing garments? You’ll need a foot for zippers, overcast stitching, buttonholes, and button attaching. 

If you’re buying a low-priced machine, you might not have a variety of feet. But you can often buy them separately. More about purchasing separate attachments here.  

Higher-end machines come with more feet and attachments. Some sewing machines are specific to the task.

If you’re only sewing quilts, look for a machine with a “Q” next to the name. The machine is specific to quilters. It has specialized feet and attachments that quilters need. 

Mechanical Sewing Machines

The main job of the sewing machine is to run the needle up and down as it stitches the fabric. But there are many ways of accomplishing the task. 

The first is mechanical. These are light and simple machines. They’re not computerized. Because they’re simple, they don’t need a lot of maintenance. These machines have a long lifespan as well.

If you’re new to sewing or don’t plan on doing a lot of sewing, a mechanical machine is a good choice.

Computerized Sewing Machines

Many sewing machines are now computerized. They sew straight lines with ease. Most have a touchscreen for ease of use. Computerized machines are more expensive.

They have more powerful motors and handle heavy-duty projects well. If you opt for a computerized machine, have it serviced by a professional on a regular basis. This keeps it running in tip-top shape. 

Hybrid Sewing Machines

A hybrid sewing machine is mechanical, but it features a computer screen. The computer is for stitch selection, needle position, and needle up and down. A hybrid machine needs maintenance but lasts a long time. 

You won’t have embroidery functions on a hybrid. But you’ll have an acceptable number of stitches. 

Now You Know How to Choose a Sewing Machine 

Now that we’ve discussed how to choose a sewing machine, it’s time to shop! Pick your budget first. Decide what types of sewing you’ll do most. Look for a quality local sewing machine dealer. 

Look for a sewing machine that matches your current needs and skill level. If you plan on advancing your skills, pick a machine you can grow into. 

Enjoy your hobby! Read more articles about hobbies, technology, travel and more here

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