Friends, after buying a car, is there any purchase more fraught than that of a sewing machine?
And I'm not just talking about one's first sewing machine. Choosing a sewing machine is often more difficult for the experienced sewer; there's often more at stake and we're (usually) willing to invest more money (which widens our choices).
I think you know where I stand when it comes to sewing machines. Today's post isn't about my preferences, however. It's a guide to help clarify what kind of sewing machine you need.
The more thought you give to your own preferences, the easier it will be to decide.
Here are some questions I've come up with. Please feel free to add to the list in your comments!
1. What kind of sewing do you do most often? (i.e., mainly garments, leather bags, automobile upholstery)
2. Do you need elaborate embroidery stitches, and if so, for what?
3. What kind of fabric (or other materials) do you usually sew with?
4. Do you need a zigzag stitch or is most of your sewing straight-stitch?
5. Are you open to owning multiple machines or are you limited to owning only one?
6. Do you own a serger? (This can eliminate the need for a zigzag stitch for knits)
7. Do you prefer a new model or are you open to vintage sewing machines?
8. Mechanical or computerized machine -- do you have a preference?
9. Do you want a machine that makes decisions for you (i.e, tension, recommended stitch length, presser foot pressure, etc)?
10. Will you be having your machine serviced regularly or do you prefer a machine you can service yourself?
11. What is your budget?
12. Do you care about the potential resale value of your sewing machine?
13. Do you need your sewing machine to include instruction/classes at the store where you purchased it?
14. Do you need a machine you can easily lift and/or carry or is your machine unlikely to be moved?
15. How long do you expect your machine to last?
16. What are your "deal-breaker" features?
There are a lot of things to consider before making a sewing machine purchase. Most of all, you need to know yourself.
Reading other people's blogs, I'm sometimes surprised to hear how often sewing machines can't handle a sewer's projects, require constant servicing (or the purchase of expensive accessories), or are just incredibly fussy.
And what can be more unfortunate for someone just starting out than to struggle constantly with a machine that's not up to the job -- you don't know if you're causing the problem or if it's your machine.
In closing, readers, I ask you:
1. How did you choose your sewing machine and are you happy with your choice?
2. Are there any questions from my list -- or other questions -- you wish you had asked yourself?
3. For you beginner-level sewers, is there anything you've learned about your sewing style so far that, had you known this when you purchased your machine, might have led you choose a different model?
Coming Soon: Recommendations based on my sewing experience.
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!