Investing in a sewing machine can be a big expenditure. Take time to make the right choice. Before you got married, you dated a variety of men/women to see which one suited you the best. Right?! Did you snag the best one? You should do the same when selecting a sewing machine. It can become the snag you spend most of your time with. I would love to suggest a top-of-the-line machine because it will do everything but kiss you goodnight. If you do more than patch jeans and make decorator pillows, you don’t need a lot of features on a machine. I did that once and ended up trading it down when I realized it was heavy into quilting which is not my thing, so a waste of my money.
Know your needs and budget then shop to find the options available to you specifically. If you are confused, here are some guidelines…
1. If you are a beginner and not sure if sewing is for you- look at an entry-level model or a second hand model. You can trade up once you are hooked and love sewing. Stay away from off-brand or unusually cheap machines. Their unreliability alone could turn you off sewing.
2. For someone who has been sewing for some time and likes their old machine - you may be wondering about something newer. Maybe you would like an electronic machine that can offer convenience features or computerized models which include easier stitch selection and memory stitching, not-to mention more versatility.
3. If you love to sew and do sew constantly - you are a top-of-the-line customer. These machines are worthwhile for extra ease-of-operation and computer interface, even allowing you to design your own stitches. Or, if you don’t have one already, add a serger/overlock machine. It stitches, trims, overcasts in one step and at twice the speed of a conventional sewing machine. They are used on both woven and knits, and, oh, how fabulous they are for knits. They can be intimidating at first but make a perfect pairing with a straight stitch machine. Once you get comfortable with them, they might just give you that good night kiss. I will be teaching classes on Sergers and Knits in January 2022, for which you can sign up now.
New machines offer sew many more options than they did even less than a decade ago. Here are some you can look for:
1. Needle stops in an up or down position.
2. Slow/fast speed control.
3. Needle positioning moving left or right in very small increments.
4. Truly automatic buttonholes.
5. Automatic tension.
6. Snap on presser feet and a good variety of them. The best zipper foot I have ever used is a very old one. It screws on and the foot slides back and forth. New is not always best.
7. Cutter that cuts both threads next to the fabric.
8. Extension table that fits around the free-arm and has an accessory compartment. Three cheers for the manufacturers that have this feature.
9. YOU try out the machine at the dealership. If it doesn’t have what you want, keep in mind, technology changes rapidly.
Regardless of the machine you get, insist it has an instruction manual and become friendly with your new Partner. Read the manual thoroughly then practice, practice, practice. Follow the use and care instructions completely and have it serviced annually. This will reward you with a long and happy relationship. I rely on Findlay’s Vacuum and Sewing Shop in Vernon as a great source for everything machine. Tony and Lois are top notch and know their stuff.
If you do buy another machine, hang onto the old one. Your children can use it, or you can keep it threaded with white thread for quick switches and fixes. And, between projects, don’t hide your machine away. Keep it out to use whenever you have spare minutes. In my first Blog, I spoke about using privacy screens to hide your sewing corner when necessary. Good idea, if I do say so myself!
I hope this information has been helpful and wish you good luck in your search for the perfect companion. If you can add anything, please do. I want to learn also. Like, what is your favorite machine and why…