One question that I get asked A LOT is what kind of sewing machine I am using and which model I recommend to someone who is buying their first sewing machine. And trust me, I get your confusion. Choosing the right sewing machine is something that most beginner sewists struggle with and it’s only logical. With the plethora of models and offers out there, it’s ok to feel overwhelmed. So today I thought I’d share my top tips on how to choose the right sewing machine for your needs. Let’s get started!
The first piece of advice I can give you is to decide on a budget right from the start. How much money are you willing to spend on your sewing machine? If you are just starting out with sewing, you may not wish to spend a lot of money on buying a very expensive model. At least until you know that this is a hobby that you’ll stick to. What I would do, if that’s the case, is ask around for a sewing machine that I can borrow or search for a used model on Ebay. Most likely you will find a good one to get you started. On the other hand, if you really want to buy a new one right from the start, search for the entry level models that all brands have. These cost around 100-150 euros and are perfectly good for dressmaking. I started my sewing journey on a Silvercrest sewing machine from Lidl and although I’ve upgraded twice since then, it still works like it did the first day I bought it.
1. Define your needs. It’s easy to get excited with all the fancy models in the shop, that have a million different stitches and flashy lights. But be realistic! Do you really need all those features? It is true that in dressmaking, 9/10 times the only stitches that you are going to use are the straight stitch, the zigzag and the buttonhole, so spending a ton of money on all those extra features that you are never going to need doesn’t make much sense, right? On the other hand, if you do lots of quilting, consider looking for a model that has a longer arm to fit your quilts.
2. Be practical. Sewing is a hobby that takes up a lot of space. If you don’t have a dedicated sewing room and instead you’ll have to carry your machine from room to room every time you wanna sew, maybe buy a model that is not too heavy and not too big, hence easily transportable.
3. Mechanical or computerized? Computerized/electronic sewing machines are very popular these days, but they are also more expensive than the mechanical ones. When I say mechanical, I mean the old-fashioned sewing machines that use knobs for the tension, stitch width etc. instead of a computerized screen. If you are just starting out, choose a mechanical sewing machine. It does a perfectly good job and you can always upgrade later.
3. Check out the reviews. It is not always easy to know if a sewing machine is going to be good just from the product description. Checking the online reviews is extremely helpful to determine whether a model is going to suit your needs. Amazon is a good place to look, but there are also hundreds of forums where sewists exchange opinions about the machines they are using.
4. Choose a well-known brand. Although there are many little brands that sell sewing machines, trusting a well-established brand is always better, even if you are buying the cheapest model in their range, for three reasons. First of all, you know that you will be buying from someone who is an expert in their field, from a company who has been producing machines for hundreds of years, like Singer, Brother, Janome, Husqvarna. Secondly, it will be much easier to find spare parts in case something breaks. And last but by no means least, you will be able to take your machine to a certified dealership for service or repairs.
Having said all of the above, if you are not a beginner and know that sewing is a daily part of your life, you can always go crazy and invest in a higher end sewing machine. I am currently sewing on a Husqvarna Opal 670, which is a semi-professional, computerized sewing machine and I LOVE it! It has tons of extra features that make my life easier, like the one-step buttonholer, the automatic needle threader and cutter etc.
Choosing the right sewing machine is certainly not an easy task, but don’t forget that it is also supposed to be a fun process.
Don’t stress yourself out and don’t overthink it! You can always upgrade to a better machine later on or sell the one you have to get something else, if you weren’t satisfied.
I hope you found this post useful. I would love to know what sewing machine are YOU using these days, so please leave me a comment below.