A sewing machine is the biggest investment you will make in your sewing repertoire. From simple hem repairs to bringing your own creations to life, a sewing machine, no matter how basic, will make clothing maintenance that much easier.
All modern day sewing machines are electronic, with the obvious exception of the latter day computerized models. Regardless, these machines need electricity and a foot pedal to operate.
The challenge you face is choosing the right machine for you in a market that is simply overflowing with different machines, makes, models and features. You need to make an informed decision when purchasing an electric machine. By making the right choice, you will save yourself hours of frustration.
Asses Your Skills
If you are a seasoned sewer, you will know what to look for in basic electric machines. But what about those of you who have never used a sewing machine before? Before you even consider making a purchase, you need to learn as much as you can. Attend a couple of beginner sewing classes, if only to learn about the machine and the parts it uses.
The wise choice would be a sewing machine that will be able to do everything you expect of it, and a little bit more. However, the machine should not overwhelm you with a combination of buttons, knobs and stitches that you will hardly use. All the basic parts should include;
- A few different stitch selections
- A few different feet, like a zipper foot
- A built in light
- A buttonhole sizer
- Adjustable speed control that allows you slow down when needed
Other Nifty and Convenient Features Include:
- Backstitch and lock stitching which will keep the stitching in place at the beginning and end of every seam
- Automatic threader
Stick To Your Budget
Decent and straightforward electric sewing machines can go for anything between $100 to $250, depending on the added features and accessories. Again, honestly consider what you will mostly use the machine for. Having a few added extras is a good idea, as you will start using these features as your skills increase.
Know The Dealer
Different dealers offer different benefits. The best choice is a specialized local dealer with an in-house repair shop. The benefits of purchasing through a local dealer are numerous:
- Help is a phone call away, and they will usually call the manufacturer on your behalf if needed
- Personal service
- A repair department, so you eliminate an excessive waiting period for repairs
- Many stores will offer a trade-in policy, that allows you to trade in your old machine for an upgrade
- Specialized stores will usually offer basic sewing classes
Test Before You Buy
The best machine should be able to handle at least a couple of different fabrics and textures without tearing the material. In spite of great claims from the manufacturer, test the machine yourself to see if it works for you. Any outlet should allow you test the functionality on different scraps of material.
At the end of the day, you have to love the machine you are working on, so take your time in the decision making. Join a couple of sewing forums, look at sewing machine reviews and ask for advice. Don’t be shy to shop around and blatantly compare prices and features.