A standard sewing machine is a purchase that can last a lifetime. For this column, I’m focusing on one style of everyday sewing machines (other than specialty sergers or embroidery machines). Many machines with many different options can be a daunting task when deciding to buy a sewing machine.
Take your time and do your research to find the right machine for you. It also helps if you can try out the sewing machine before investing your money in a particular brand or model. Here are some other suggestions when looking to buy a sewing machine. One can start with a very basic sewing machine and then eventually move on to more stitch options and/or computerized embroidery style sewing machines.
Ask your sewing friends. What type of machine do they like? Have they heard of a brand/model that offers great value? Personally, I love the Singer brand sewing machine. I also have my late mother-in-law’s sewing machine, which is also a 1950s Singer. It has a lot of extra bells and whistles that will take me some time to learn to use. I still need to spend a few hours learning the ropes of her sewing machine.
Does the machine start/stop easily? Is the pedal easy to use? I remember a time when a few friends and I got together to sew some stuffed animals to give away at a community event. I had to use a friend’s sewing machine and the presser foot was sticking causing uneven stitching on the seams.
Does the machine jam easily when sewing the edge of the fabric? If so, it may involve frequent stopping and removing clogged stitches each time you step off the edge of the fabric or at the end of a seam.
How quiet is the sewing machine when in use? You want the machine to work properly, but you don’t have to wear earplugs every time the machine is running.
Is the bobbin easily accessible? My old sewing machine had a bobbin case located under the sewing area of the machine. I couldn’t see the bobbin case. My current sewing machine has a bobbin in the front. All I have to do is open the needle plate cover to see how much thread is left on the bobbin. It is also much easier to clean fluffy dust from the bobbin case area of the sewing machine.
Another consideration is the ease of threading the sewing machine. I can usually thread my sewing machine onto the top part of the machine (the bobbin-less area) in about 30 seconds, which was easy to learn and remember. I don’t have to search through the sewing machine manual every time I thread the machine.