I’ve received many questions about purchasing a new sewing machine and asking me to recommend a certain model and/or brand. Obviously, I can’t really do that, but I can offer some guidelines for the selection process.
Firstly, look for a reliable dealer in your area–one who offers instruction on the new machine and perhaps classes specific for the brand you’re buying. Sometimes dealers offer brand-specific clubs to teach projects using the machine’s features. Having a good dealer is important for service and follow-up questions.
Second, be realistic about your sewing needs and wants. Some machines today cost more than my first car! Assess what features you will really use and how often you’ll need them. As with any purchase, it’s easy to be oversold, and that can bring regret later.
Thirdly, sew on the machine using fabrics like those you commonly sew on. Bring a selection with you of everything from jeans denim to sheer chiffon if both are in your repertoire of projects. Thread the machine yourself and sew away…don’t simply watch someone else sew on it using heavily starched demo cloth that every stitch sews perfectly on.
And lastly, talk to friends before you buy to see which models/brands they’re happy with. American Sewing Guild members are great for this networking process.
Take a look at used machines your dealer may have in stock, especially if you’re a beginner, or if you can’t justify a high-end machine with the current sewing you do. Lots of great machines are taken in on trade, and you could be the winner. In most instances, you can trade in a machine purchase on a model with more features later.
For more information about buying a sewing machine, check out Sewing Machine Basics. If you’re in the market for a new serger, check out the information in What to Look for in a Serger. Just remember, do your homework so you get the right machine for your needs!