Whether you are just learning how to sew or you have been sewing for years, finding an affordable and dependable machine to handle your craft can be difficult. The relationship between you and your sewing machine lasts for years. With such an investment, you want a machine that has all the features you need to complete projects without diminishing the quality of your work.
There are many different features and parts of a sewing machine that impact what projects you can complete with one. Between mechanical and computerized machines, ones that embroider, quilt or just sew, the process of finding the best sewing machine stresses beginners and experts alike. The best sewing machines have automatic features that speed up the process and allow for customization to make each sewing project your own. We found that the Singer 9960, Brother PC-420 and the Brother CS6000i are the best sewing machines available. To learn more about design, features and sewing, read our articles on sewing machines.
Every sewing machine is different. Whether it is mechanical or computerized, the way it runs and works with fabric is unique to the machine. What sets apart basic machines from the top sewing machines are the features. Depending on what you are using your sewing machine for, the features determine how much you can do and how efficiently. The design also plays an important role in the capabilities of your machine. You will find that an adjustable machine allows you to complete more projects. Likewise, the included accessories and support options serve as an important factor in the purchasing process.
A strong set of features significantly impacts the performance and capabilities of your machine. A machine programmed with dozens of stitch patterns will allow for more elaborate and decorative stitching, which will in turn add more individuality to your projects. Likewise, adjustable stitch length and width not only adds style to your projects, but you can adjust them to fit the fabric you are using.
The machine’s stitches per minute (SPM) indicates how fast you can sew. For larger projects, you will want at least 750 stitches per minute. Some machines feature adjustable speeds, which can be particularly helpful when you are first learning how to sew or if you are teaching your child. The tension control of the machine is equally important. Some machines automatically adjust the tension to fit the project you are working on while still allowing manual control. Other machines have a dial so that you can adjust the tension to fit your project.
If you plan to make garments, the number of buttonhole styles and the way the machine creates them is important. One-step buttonholes require only one operation on the machine and little involvement from you, whereas four-step buttonholes require several different steps and operations on the machine. You will want a variety of buttonhole styles so that you can attach any type of button to the clothing you create. Additionally, you will want a machine with twin needle capabilities so you can make uniform hemlines on your clothes.
Several sewing machines now feature automatic needle threaders, cutters and bobbin winders. These features help you complete projects more efficiently by including all the tools you need right on the machine. If you have trouble seeing, the automatic features help immensely.
While sewing machines come in a wide variety, one of the main categories that separate them is computer capabilities. With mechanical machines, you select stitch selections with a dial, whereas with a computerized sewing machine, you select the stitch selection using the LCD display. Sewing machines run by either a foot controller or a start and stop button, and sometimes both.
The dimensions of your machine greatly affect how you can use it. If you plan to transport it, you will want a lighter machine that either comes in a case or has a handle. You also will want a machine with compact dimensions if you have limited space for your sewing supplies. If you are looking to quilt, the throat space of the sewing machine will be particularly important.
The design of a machine can help or hinder your sewing projects. Most machines have adjustable feed dogs that lower so you can sew in any direction without restraint. The best machines have a drop-in bobbin, making it easier to load it. Machines that allow free-arm sewing and that allow for extension tables help adapt the machine to fit any type of sewing project. Some sewing machines even feature a knee lifter, which lifts the presser foot off your fabric so you don't have to use your hands. Most sewing machines include a light, which can be beneficial to help you perfect the details in your stitching.
Sewing requires several different tools and accessories to complete most projects. You want a machine that offers several accessories to offset the cost. One standard accessory for most sewing machines is presser feet, which help the machine adapt to different projects. With dozens of presser feet for different tasks and fabrics, any presser feet that come with the machine can be helpful. Machines that include needles, spool caps, screwdrivers, a seam ripper and cleaning brush all help you maintain your machine and assist you with projects without having to purchase more accessories on your own. If your machine will be inactive for periods of time, you will want either a case or dust cover to protect it.
With so many different parts, accessories and capabilities, sewing machines can be difficult to run and might require maintenance. Most machines come with a lengthy warranty; however, the electrical parts and accessories usually hold different and much shorter warranties. You will want to find a machine with a solid warranty in case you need to replace your machine or parts.
For the complicated maintenance tasks, you might need additional support. Most machines come with a manual that describes common procedures, and some even list the manuals online, which makes it easy to search for specific tasks. Likewise, some company websites post how-to videos for specific machines so you can follow along, as well as community forums so you can help one another.
The sewing machine company’s website also list information for technical support. You can contact most teams by phone or email. Most sewing machine sites also list FAQs for both their company and specific machines.
Finding the perfect sewing machine can be a daunting task. With so many different types of sewing machines and each one offering different features, it is hard to know which machine will suit your needs. However, by focusing on specific features, design and accessories you know you want, the task becomes much more manageable.