Thursday, July 23, 2009

What Sewing Machine to Buy

What Sewing Machine Should I Buy?

This is tough question to answer, and there is no right or wrong answer here. One thing I can tell you for sure is that you need to do your research. And here are some pointers as to what you need to ask yourself, and the shop owners.

  1. Ask yourself "What type of sewing will you be doing most?" General sewing, quilting (free motion or straight line). If you do craft or general sewing, what types of fabrics will you be working most.
    1. This question leads to the type of feet your machine needs to come with, and how does it handle the different types of fabrics, like denim verses cotton verses silks etc.
  2. What features do you like and what features must you have/or can't live without. Make a wish list here. Look online at the various machines and see what they have to offer.
    1. As you start looking at machines, and your wish list you may find not all features are available on all machines. So categorize them by highlighting the feature in order of importance to you and the type of sewing you will do.
    2. Do this research before entering the store. Once you get into the store, you may find a fast talking pushy sales person who will tell you anything to get the sale. So be sure you know what you want first. And the internet is full of great resources.
    3. Check the manufactures websites, and then see if you can find forums or online groups where you can ask actual owners of the machines you're interested in. You will quickly get a feel for who likes and why or who doesn't why.
  3. Ask about warranty and repairs. I know when you get a new machine repairs are the last thing you want to think about but this is an important one. You need to know if the shop does their own repairs or if they send the machine out. If they send it out, check out the reputation of the repair person or shop they send it to. Find out how long it takes on average to get it back for cleanings and repairs.
    1. Knowing how long can help you plan around your projects better. No one likes to be without a machine, but cleanings will help you keep it off the repair table or at least less often.
  4. Find out about classes. Do they offer them? How often and where do they hold them? Many shops hold basic or new machine owner classes, but what about more advanced classes or learning to use special feet and options your new machine came with?
    1. If you have questions about your machine, can you get free answers, either over the phone or in person?
  5. Make sure you can test drive the machines beforehand. And really try out the features you want on your machine.
    1. If you use specialty fabrics, then bring scraps in to try and see how the machine handles them.
    2. If free motion is what you do most make a quilt sandwich to test out. (a 10 to 14 inch sandwich should be good)
    3. Try out all the feet you know you will use.
    4. Try out the embroidery options if that is what you are interested in. Make sure you know how to hoop your fabrics, and how to adjust pattern sizes.


     

    As you can see there are many things to consider when purchasing a new sewing machine. With the cost of machines ranging from hundreds to several thousand dollars, research is important if you want to invest in the right machine for your type of sewing.


     

    Don't just buy a sewing machine; check to be sure the manufacture/company will be there to support you and your machine for the life of the machine. The company behind the machine is just as important as the machine it's self.



Updated: 11/25/09 with a really helpful link to a website for sewing machine reviews. Check out Best Sewing Machines Reviewed.

1 comment:

Jackie said...

I just got home from looking at a machine. Funny that your blog post is one of the first ones I saw. I missed a few asking a few things that I didn't even think about. Thank you!

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