Whether you are someone who enjoys making your own clothing and quilts, or you are someone who wants to make some sewing fixes, a sewing machine is an item that you are definitely going to want to have. A sewing machine allows you to quickly and easily make a variety of stitches, which makes it a practical item to have if you are going to be doing crafting, making your own clothing or you want to repair articles of clothing that you purchase.
When it comes to finding a sewing machine, there are a lot of options to choose from, which can make finding the best one to suit your specific needs a bit challenging. Sewing machines offer a variety of features and are capable of doing so many different things. To help you find the best machine to meet your particular needs, we have put together this handy buyer’s guide. In this guide, you will find a wealth of useful information, including the different types of sewing machines that are available, factors to consider when purchasing a sewing machine, the different features these machines offers, and the best brands. All of the information presented in this buyer’s guide is designed to help you find the best sewing machine to suit your specific needs.
Types of Sewing Machines
Sewing machines offer a variety of features and range in size and price range; however, the main types of sewing machines can be divided by how they are powered and whether or not they are specialized for specific purposes. The main types of sewing machines include:
- Mechanical sewing machines
- Electric sewing machines
- Computerized sewing machines
- Specialized sewing machines
- Mini sewing machines
In order to find the best sewing machine to suit your specific needs, it’s important to understand the differences between each type. To learn more about the different types and what they can do, keep on reading.
Mechanical Sewing Machines
The first type of sewing machine, and the most simple, a mechanical sewing machine does not use electricity to power it. These sewing machines are also the most cost effective. A mechanical sewing machine has the ability to create lock stitches and chain stitches. They are best used with light to medium weight fabrics.
Electric Sewing Machines
The majority of the sewing machines that are produced today run on electricity. Generally, electric sewing machines use two threads, which are used to create a straight stitch on both sides of a piece of fabric at the same time. This type of sewing machine is operated by a foot pedal, which allows the person operating it to control the speed the machine sews at; the harder the pedal is pushed down, the faster the machine will sew. Electric sewing machines have the ability to handle various types of materials and threads, which makes them extremely versatile and able to handle all types of sewing projects. They can easily be used by sewers of all skill levels, too, from beginners to experts.
Computerized Sewing Machines
As the name suggests, this type of sewing machine contains a computer, a computerized sewing machine can handle a wide variety of sewing tasks. They offer several features that make sewing easier, including programmable settings and various stitch functions. They also boast either a touchpad or a key display, which is used to make easy selections of the settings and functions. Offered in a wide range of models and providing various functions, computerized sewing machines are an excellent option is you are well versed at sewing. They are a bit more complicated to operate than standard electric sewing machines, however, which is something that should be kept in mind, as they can be difficult for a novice sewer to operate.
Specialized Sewing Machines
Specialized sewing machines are specifically designed to complete only one specific task, which makes them extremely efficient for completing specific projects. Specialized sewing machines are usually smaller than computerized sewing machines, which makes them easier to transport. They are the ideal choice for a sewer who does one type of project over and over again, or for putting the finishing touches on other sewing projects. There are two main types of specialty sewing machines, which include:
- Embroidery Sewing Machines. Embroidery sewing machines are designed with features that allow them to specifically handle embroidery stitching. Most embroidery sewing machines are computerized, and they have the ability to handle various and intricate patterns. You can also download and scan different types of patterns to this sewing machine, which can then be embroidered onto a piece of fabric.
- Thread Sergers. Also known as over locking sewing machines, this type of machine is used to perform various finishing stitches on sewing projects, including creating seams and edges, trimming extra fabric, installing or repairing zippers and creating button holes.
Mini Sewing Machines
As the name suggests, a mini sewing machine is smaller than a traditional sewing machine, which makes it more lightweight and portable. This type of sewing machine is ideal for doing quick sewing projects, or if you plan on doing projects in various locations because they are small enough to take anywhere. Mini sewing machines have the ability to create straight and cross stitches.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Sewing Machine
In order to find the best sewing machine for your specific needs, there are certain factors that you should take into consideration when you are shopping for one. These factors include the type of sewing jobs you will be completing, the quality of the machine and the price, among other things. To learn more about the factors that we think are the most important to consider when shopping for a sewing machine, keep on reading.
Types of Projects
Without a doubt, the most important factor that you should take into consideration when shopping for a sewing machine is the types of projects you will be doing. Not only should you consider the weights of the fabrics you will be using the most, but you should also consider the types of stitches you will need to make to complete your projects. Additionally, you should consider whether or not you will be doing specialty tasks. The types of projects you plan on using your sewing machine for will determine which type of sewing machine is best suited for your specific needs.
Whether you are a beginning sewer or you have experience, you are going to want a sewing machine that is made of the utmost quality. While lower quality sewing machines are usually less expensive, they won’t last as long as high quality sewing machines. If you go with a poorer quality machine, you may spend less initially; however, because there is an increased chance that the machine won’t last as long and you will have to replace it, you will actually spend more in the long run than if you have purchased a higher quality machine at first.
Ease of Use
It should go without saying that the easier a sewing machine is to use, the better. The easier it is to use, the faster you will be able to use it, and the less likely you will have to deal with complications. To find a sewing machine that is easy to use, look for one that has owner’s manuals that feature diagrams, easy to follow instructions and tips for getting started and troubleshooting, should you encounter any issues.
How Frequently You will be Using the Machine
You should also consider how often you will be using your sewing machine. If you are only going to be using it to complete odd projects, or once in a while, then you could probably do well with a basic entry level sewing machine that doesn’t offer a lot of bells and whistles. However, if you are planning on using it regularly and for specific tasks, then you should look for a sewing machine that offers a lot of functionality, in which case a higher end model would probably be a better option for you.
Another important factor to take into consideration is the materials that the sewing machine is made out of. Generally, sewing machines that are comprised of more plastic components are lighter in weight, which makes them easier to transport; however, they aren’t as durable as machines that are constructed of metal components. While metal is more durable, though, it is also heavier, which can make your machine more cumbersome and more difficult to move around.
Though you don’t have to do too much to maintain a sewing machine, there may be times when a piece will have to be replaced. With that said, a model that offers parts that are easy to replace is a wise choice, as the machine will have a longer life span, which means that you will get a better return on your investment.
Sewing machines can vary significantly in price. Usually, more basic models that don’t offer a lot of options are less expensive, while higher end models that offer a variety of features will have a higher price tag. Do make sure you consider how much you want to spend, as you want to make sure that you don’t overextend your budget.
Sewing Machine Features
Sewing machines can be outfitted with a variety of features. These features are intended to improve the functionality of sewing, are meant to make the machines more versatile, and will make them easier to use. However, do keep in mind that the more features the sewing machine offers, the more expensive it will likely be. It is important to understand the different features that are available and what their intended purpose is so that you can determine whether or not you will benefit from having them and should invest in them.
Basic sewing machines don’t offer a lot of functions; they tend to be more straightforward and only perform one or two tasks. However, higher end sewing machines will offer more functions, which make them more versatile and will allow you to complete a variety of tasks. Some of the advanced functions that higher end sewing machines offer include the ability to perform back, straight, zigzag and button stitches; all stitches that will allow you to complete a variety of tasks with your sewing machine.
A sewing machine that features a needle threader provides assistance with threading the needles of the machine, which makes the machine easier to use, and allows you to get to your sewing more quickly.
Integrated Dual Feed
This feature will allow you to sew two pieces of fabric together without the material building up, which makes it easier and quicker to perform this task.
Sewing machines that feature twin needles will provide you with the ability to create more intricate and decorative stitches; something that can be beneficial if you plan on using your sewing machine to create more intricate craft projects.
Another handy feature that you may want to consider is a warranty. Many high quality sewing machines come with a warranty, which will protect your investment. Should anything happen to the sewing machine during the duration of the warranty, you will be able to have it repaired, replaced, or you may even have the ability to have your money refunded. Make sure you check the details of the warranty so that you understand exactly what it covers.
Top Sewing Machine Brands
There are several manufacturers that produce sewing machines; however, the following brands are the highest quality.
Perhaps the best known name in the sewing machine industry is Singer. This company has been making sewing machines since 1851. They invented the first electronic sewing machine and all of the products that produce are high quality and offer the most state of the art technologies
Another well known name in the sewing machine industry is Brother. This company’s sewing machines are made of the highest quality materials, offer a variety of features, are easy to use, and last a long time.
Janome was the first sewing machine company to offer the embroidery sewing machine. This company is highly regarded for creating sewing machines that boast the most cutting edge technologies and for producing some of the highest quality, longest lasting sewing machines.