Choosing your very first sewing machine opens up a whole new world of possibilities. You will be learning a new language as you study different brands and features. One thing you will quickly learn is that there is a wide range of machine types, from “starters” designed for young sewers to the kind of advanced machine that seems like it comes from one galaxy over.
Sewing Machine Basics
At its most essential, your new sewing machine should be able to do one thing well – sew basic stitches. If it can sew a straight stitched line, this is the foundation of what you need it to do.
You will also want it to have a “jam resist” feature so you can keep sewing without constantly pausing to unravel knotty thread. And you want the “stop” and “start” features to be intuitive and accessible – hand buttons and/or foot pedals are ideal for this.
Other basic features you might enjoy having include these:
– Buttonhole stitch options.
– A free arm design to more easily move fabric during sewing.
– A portable design so you can take it with you.
– Compact design with accessories stored within easy reach.
– Option to vary stitch types and sizes.
– Variable stitch speed options.
– Easing threading and bobbin loading.
– Easy and reliable tension dials.
– Intuitive interface.
– Access to phone or email customer tech support as you are learning to use it.
– A good warranty!
To Get Fancy or Not to Get Fancy?
From here, the feature options will get fancier. The price will also get correspondingly higher as you add extra features that are non-essential to the basic task of sewing.
Here are some examples of fancier options:
– Digital programming interface.
– Digital stitch design for custom stitches.
– Option to use external third-party software and stitch patterns.
– Serger option (produces ready-to-wear stitched seams).
– “In cabinet” design that gives you an entire sewing surface to work from.
– Coverstitch (gives the option to use up to 3 needles simultaneously).
– Larger variety of presser feet
– Automatic threader options.
– Automatic tension adjustment and control.
– Automatic waste collection (for extra thread/material).
– Fancy LCD digital display screen.
Too Basic and You May Abandon Ship
If you are both new to sewing and not feeling confident about learning, you may be tempted to invest very little into your new hobby by buying a “young sewer” model machine. This may seem like a smart move financially, but it can backfire for other reasons.
When you buy a machine this basic, you also sign up for the frustration that comes along with it. Common sewing issues like tangled thread, broken needles, impossible-to-adjust tension knobs (if you even have that option) and a flimsy design can cause you to abandon ship well before you would with even a more basic adult model.
A Sewing Machine to Grow With You
Ideally, your goal should be to choose a sewing machine that is basic enough to get you started out sewing with confidence and competence, yet just challenging enough to grow with your skill level as you continue to learn about sewing.
Example: The Brother CS60000i. This model sewing machine has the ease-of-use features that will get you up and running and sewing quite quickly. Yet it is still simple enough that you won’t have to spend a lot of time studying the manual or attending classes to take advantage of its features. Best of all, the price is reasonable for a sewing machine that can grow with you, meaning you should have extra in your budget for sewing supplies as well!
By following these helpful guidelines, you can confidently select a sewing machine that includes the features you most need and want while still keeping your overall sewing budget in mind. Then, before you know it, you will sewing like a pro!
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