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Sewing Machines Buying Guide: Which To Choose?

Choosing a sewing machine and beginning your experience in sewing does not have to be a daunting task. With a little bit of research, the machine to cater to the individual needs (such as the amount of stitching options available, manual or digital, and if the machine comes with a drop arm), and support one is sure to have success in this new endeavor. Keep in mind that every new task may start out as being difficult. However, a task that yields results requires a little patience, susceptibility to criticism, and above all practice in order to master it. Don’t be afraid to try, don’t be afraid to fail, and you will not be surprised when you succeed.

sewingmachinesbuyingguide

When buying a sewing machine, customers need a comprehensive, but clear and concise guide to ensure choosing the best model for their specific needs. However, with the various models and brands this can become a daunting task. It is for this reason that we are offering this  guide to help you along in the process of getting started with your sewing hobby, craft, or career.

Which Sewing Machine To Buy?

Of course, of major importance is finding the brand and model that offers all the attachments and operating features you desired. If you have already accomplished a certain level of expertise with sewing, you may need more complex machine capabilities and attachments than a beginner will require.

For example, if you plan to use your new sewing machine for quilting, you will need a quilting foot attachment. However, if you are a novice with very little sewing experience, a basic machine with zigzag stitching and perhaps a buttonhole attachment may be all that you really need.

Some frequent sewers prefer a frontal bobbin winder, while others still like side machine placement for this feature.

Of course, there are many factors to consider before purchasing a sewing machine. More questions will occur to you as you shop, and these basic decisions should be made before you start comparing various feature and quality details of different makes and models.

To help you decide, we list some question you should ask yourself to know more which sewing machine must you buy to suit your preferences.

Important Questions to Ask Yourself

When purchasing a sewing machine you need to ask yourself the following questions in order to make a reasonable choice based upon your needs. Where one sewing machine may be good for one person, and may not necessarily be the model you need to have the best results.

1. For what purpose will the sewing machine be used?

Depending on the functionality for which you are to use your sewing machine, you may or may not need a complex model. One needs to ask what purpose will the machine be used. Are you investing in the sewing machine to turn a profit, or are you investing in a sewing machine for hobby or craft?

For example, if you’re taking of sewing as a hobby and just learning how to sew it would be wise for one not to invest in overcomplicated machine such as the Brother PC20PRW Limited Edition Project Runway. While it may be true that the item was used in Project Runway is quite possible that using such machine would end up running you down. A more reasonable model would be the Singer Sewing Machine 7258 Stylist.

You can read our Best Singer Sewing Machine For Beginners: Singer 7258 Review post to learn more about this model and why its one of our top picks for the best sewing machine for beginners.

As stated, a machine which is catered to a craft or hobby requires far less sophistication for beginner than someone who is intending to embark on sewing as a profession.

Are you into quilting? Embroidery? Please check my recommended sewing machines that are great for these craft.

  • Best Beginner Computerized Embroidery Sewing Machines

2. How large are your sewing table and sewing room or work space?

The size of your sewing machine greatly depends on your personal taste, dominantly. However there are a few things to consider when choosing the size of your sewing machine. For one, a smaller machine may not be able to handle certain fabrics and materials or be capable of intricate design work and stitching. Smaller models may not also be equipped with versatile stitching options (basically, you will have one stitch to two stitch options). Larger machines, though generally equipped with more options, may prove to be cumbersome.

The intention is not to have the sewing machine stationary, then a larger machine may not be the best option. When determining the size of your sewing machine you need to weigh the options of mobility, functionality, and personal preference.

If you live in a spacious home with a separate sewing room and large tabletop for sewing machine setup, you have room for whatever sewing machine model you like. You most likely also have plenty of electrical outlets conveniently placed around your workroom. If, however, you have a smaller house or an apartment with limited work space and a smaller table, you will want a medium to small sized portable machine that is easy move and store.

3. How loud is the sewing machine?

Before purchasing a sewing machine is always the best practice to see how loud the machine actually performs. Most retailers will have an in-store model which will allow you to look at the different features of the machine. If asked, most of these retailers are more than happy to let you see the machine and working condition (that being that they put the machine in and let you see how it functions).

If you are person who prefers not to hear the hum of the engine from the sewing machine you need to ensure that the model you choose does not have a loud sound output. Consider also, if you plan on working at the sewing machine for hours at a time that allowed machine may contribute to headaches and fatigue. Generally speaking, most people want a soft home to their machine or a silent machine.

Personally, I think the Brother CS6000i is one of the quietest new models out there. A friend of mine likes her Singer 7258 as its quiter than her Kenmore. My grandma and mother love their Singer Featherweight and Singer 301.

Sewing machines that are overly loud of performance should be examined for manufacture defects or avoided altogether unless the brand is known for producing loud sewing machines.

4. Will you be carrying this machine when you travel?

If you are a clothing designer, a sewing teacher or an avid sewer, you may need to carry your sewing machine with you when you travel or commute to conferences or work. If you will be transporting your machine often, you should consider purchasing a mid-sized to small portable model that is easy to carry with you.

Sewing machines, attachments and accessories are now composed of lighter weight materials than those manufactured in previous years. For this reason, you can buy a small, compact, lightweight portable model that provides you with excellent quality sewing action, speed and durability.

I recommend BERNINA 350 Patchwork Edition as your travel machine if you are into Bernina and having no presser foot pressure is no biggie for you.  The Janome Sew Mini 2-Stitch Sewing Machine is also a good option if you are looking for a not so expensive “class/craft events” machine.

Read more about  lightweight sewing machines on my Best Mini Sewing Machines post.

5. How many stitches and thread options do you want?

If you’re going for simplicity then you may be happy with a sewing machine which offers one to two threads. In terms of stitching, again you need to consider with the overall functionality and purpose.

One of the best all-around starting machines for novices would be the Brother CS600i and Janome 2212.

6. Are you computer savvy enough to handle a computerized sewing machine?

One very important factor to consider when buying a sewing machine is whether or not you possess basic computer skills (or at least are somewhat tech savvy). If you find that you’re quickly frustrated with computers and a technological device, than a computerized machine is probably not the option for you.

Do not be disheartened though; there are many manual sewing machines available. Singer and Kenmore both have great mechanical sewing machines.  Janome HD3000 and Brother XL2600i are great if you like a newer model but still want a standard machine and simplicity.

On the other hand, if you want to embrace the computerized sewing machine with all the buttons and whistles and digital options, the Brother SE 400 certainly has all the challenge and technology you are seeking. Keep in mind that as a beginner more options available, the more complex the device becomes and the more likely one is to become frustrated with his or her learning.

Check out our Computerized Sewing Machines post to learn more about the different models out in the market.

7. Is the sewing speed of your new machine very important to you?

If you are a beginning sewer, speed is not something you should be overly concerned with. However, as you progress in your skills or if you already have intermediate or advanced sewing skills, sewing speed may have much greater significance for you. Especially for advanced sewers and those who regularly do moderate to heavy amounts of daily sewing, speed can be quite important.

If you are not ready yet to invest on an industrial model like the Juki DDL 8500 (which is really fast), you may love the Brother PQ1500S High Speed Quilting and Sewing Machine.

8. How much can you afford to spend on a new sewing machine?

If you have a modest amount to spend for a new sewing machine, choose an inexpensive model that offers the features and attachments you need and desire the most.  I have written some reviews about the best sewing machine for the money you may want to check to give you a clearer picture of what you can get out of your hard earned money.

If cost is not an issue, you are free to choose your new sewing machine based on any criteria you choose. You should focus your attention on which machine offers all the features and functions you are looking for to meet your sewing preferences and needs. If you are prepared to spend a moderate amount for a machine, choose from the best priced models in the mid-range, still focusing on machines best equipped to enable you to accomplish all your sewing needs and ambitions.

Apart from the sewing machine, one has to also budget in the cost of fabrics, needles, threads, and learning material. This is not meant to discourage anyone from “selling” but rather to encourage an individual to approach it in a serious manner so as not become disappointed by the financial obligations associated with taking on new hobby or profession.

9. Will other members of your household be using this sewing machine?

If other members of your household will be using your new sewing machine, this may influence your decision about which machine to buy. If only you will be sewing, you will base your purchase decision on your own preferences and needs.

However, if other members of your family or household will be using this machine for sewing projects, you will want to consider their sewing abilities and needs as well. Especially if your children with different levels of sewing skills will be using your new machine, you should choose a model that offers the widest variety of features and functions within your price range.

Please read our Best Sewing Machine for Kids post to learn more about the sewing machines that can be used both by your children and you.  If you and your kids fancy Hello Kitty, we have some cute and great starter sewing machines listed in our Hello Kitty Sewing Machines post.

10. Will your new sewing machine get heavy daily use, be used moderately or lightly?

If your new sewing machine will get heavy daily use, of course, you should choose a sturdy, durable model that will stand up to steady, professional level sewing. However, if you plan to use your machine moderately, a less commercially-oriented machine will suit your needs.

Most of today’s quality brand portable machines are built to withstand moderate to light use for many years, so you can choose from a broad spectrum of brands and features. Convenient, lightweight mini sewing machines are excellent for both moderate and light use.

11. What fabric weights do you plan use for sewing projects most frequently?

Some sewing machines are better designed for sewing on heavy weight materials, while others are best for working on medium to lightweight fabrics. Machines designed for commercial use can accommodate fabrics and threads of all weights and textures.

Smaller portable and compact machines are built primarily for use when sewing with medium and lightweight fabrics and threads. Of course, varied needle sizes can be used on all machines. However, those sewers who sew mainly with thick, heavy or variable fabric and thread weights will need to purchase sturdier, larger machines designed with heavier textures in mind.

Are you working with denim? If you are looking for the best sewing machines for hemming jeans, read our Best Sewing Machine for Denim post.

My Favorite Sewing Machines

The following sewing machine models are recommended choices for their varied features, functions and durability:

Brother CS60001

This attractive, highly functional portable sewing machine is very versatile and user-friendly. Offered at a moderate price to suit your budget, this model offers 60 built-in stitches from ornate, decorative sewing stitches to single-step buttonholes in seven different styles. It includes nine separate presser feet for use on different weight fabrics and an oversized, detachable sewing table for extensive projects.

This portable sewer has a convenient backlit LCD panel, an automatic, handy needle threader and variable sewing speeds. This machine is ideal for sewing, quilting and crafting projects.

Your new CS6001 will arrive packaged with the following features and accessories:

• Sturdy protective storage case and detachable sewing table;

• Accessory feet, including: monogramming foot, zigzag foot, zipper foot, buttonhole foot and blind stitch foot;

• Accessories: needle set, seam ripper, cleaning brush, spool caps and pin, bobbins, and eyelet punch;

• Power cord and bilingual operating manual.

Two features of the Brother CS6000i sewing machine that are especially helpful to sewers of all skill levels are its stop/start control that enables sewing without its foot control and the machine’s quick action drop-in bobbin that is jam-resistant and a joy to use.

If you are want to know more about this model, read our Best Beginners Sewing Machine: Brother CS6000i Review post.

Janome Magnolia 7318

This sewing machine has a very appealing combination of high functionality and features that are simple and easy to use. It can accommodate sewing garments, quilting and a wide range of crafting projects. This Janome has 18 utility and decorative stitch options and is easy to operate.

This unique machine is full-featured, yet easy to transport. It is perfect for both a versatile home sewing machine and as a companion machine to carry on trips or to a sewing class or craft club. Janome machines are known for their precision sewing and durability, and this model is a fine example of both these qualities.

The new Janome 7318 will arrive boxed with the following attractive features and accessories:

• Zipper foot, sliding buttonhole foot and blind hem stitch foot;

• Extra bobbins, needles and lint brush;

• Screwdriver, seam ripper and felt cushion;

• Large and small spool holders and additional spool pin.

The Janome Magnolia 7318 is one of the most lightweight, easy to handle portable sewing machines available on the market today. At the same time, it is a full-feature model appropriate for sewers of all levels of experience and expertise.

Summary

There is, for sure, a sewing machine available for each and every sewing enthusiast. No matter what your skill level or degree of sewing experience may be, you can purchase a model that will provide you with many hours of sewing enjoyment while you improve your abilities and gain expertise.

Especially with the great interest in sewing and crafting of all types today, why not shop for the perfect sewing machine designed for your specific interests, desires and needs. Sewing is a practical, creative and admired skill that can bring you whatever you want it to, whether the enjoyment of new artistic, handy talents or working skills for satisfying profits.

I hope this guide will help you find the perfect sewing machine for you.

1 thought on “Sewing Machines Buying Guide: Which To Choose?”

  1. Avatar

    You make a really great point about figuring out whether you will be carrying the sewing machine when you travel. Although I’m not a clothing designer, I do like to visit my mom fairly often. She absolutely loves to do crafts, so I could definitely see myself traveling with a sewing machine. I’ll be sure to limit my search to lightweight models. Thanks for the advice!

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