Thinking of upgrading your existing sewing machine or buying your first? A bit perplexed by all the options?
I remember when I first started sewing, I found all the different features and options intimidating. I mean, a sewing machine is a pretty key investment. You want to be sure to get it spot on, right?
So I’ve teamed up with John Lewis to put together 5 things you should consider before choosing a sewing machine. Think of it as a handy guide to help you get the best machine. Nice one.
Buying a sewing machine Q1: Sewing experience
Beginner sewers won’t need more than a few basic stitches, and will probably really appreciate a machine that’s straight forward and easy to use. Learning to sew can be challenging enough without having to also navigate a fiddly machine.
Experienced sewers on the other hand will be looking for a machine with more advanced features and a greater range of control over how their machine sews.
Younger sewers (heck, even some adults) might want a machine that’s child friendly, light, and colourful. I wish I had had one of these when I was little. How snazzy of that?
Buying a sewing machine Q2: types of projects
You can use a sewing machine for so many different projects – anything from dressmaking and alterations, to home decorating and quilting.
If you’re looking for a machine for dressmaking, alterations and basic home decorating projects (like pillows and curtains) you can get away with a basic machine with a few simple stitches.
You may want to add in nifty features like a one step button hole and the option of lowering the feed dogs (both super handy when sewing buttons). But these aren’t essential. I sewed most of my clothes, including two ballgowns (and a couple of curtains) on a simple machine like this one.
If you’re looking for a sewing machine to quilt or use for embroidery, then you’ll need a machine that can deliver a wide range of stitches. And you may want to consider a digital machine with the option of uploading designs.
If you think you’ll be working with heavy fabrics then you’ll probably be better off investing in a more robust machine – something that can hold its own against those bulky fabrics.
Buying a sewing machine Q3: how much sewing will you be doing?
It’s a simple one really, if you plan on using your machine a lot you would probably benefit from getting a sturdy machine, something with a metal frame. Nice and robust.
But… if you don’t plan on sewing a lot and would have to lug it about (see point below) then you probably would be better getting a lighter machine.
Buying a sewing machine Q4: where will you be sewing?
If you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated sewing space, well then you don’t really need to worry about this so much. You go ahead and get yourself the heaviest machine. And then throw in all those extra accessories. Lucky thing.
But, I’m guessing a lot of people will be having to pack theory machine away after each use. Some people might even need to take their machines to classes. If this is the case, then you really want to factor the weight of the machine into your decision.
When I first started sewing we lived in a tiny one bed apartment. I’m so glad I went for a light sewing machine that could easily be tucked away.
Another thing to think about is where the machine is going to live. If it’s likely to get knocked about a little then you may want to consider getting a hard cover or a machine bag to keep your lovely new machine safe and sound.
Buying a sewing machine Q5: try things out
If you can, I think it’s actually best to get yourself to a shop to try out the different machines before you buy one.
Plus, I’ve always got really great advice from store staff. I actually still have a sample that I was given after buying my first machine – showing me how to use a blind hem foot (such a tricky foot to use!).
Are you considering buying a new machine? If so what’s been catching your eye? Or maybe you have a machine that you love that you want to recommend. I’ve just got this beauty of a machine and can’t wait to finish my first project with it.