Shalom Israel MHNCB,
In today’s post we are going to talk about the basic sewing machine that you should start with.
Now there are many sewing machines out there, but lets narrow it down to five (5) categories:
- Basic Mechanical Sewing Machine. You should definitely start with one of these⇓
- Computerized Sewing Machines. Instead of knobs and levers these sewing machines change stitches at the press of a button along with some other cool features. But are really expensive.$$ ⇓
- Embroidery Machines ⇓
- Quilting Machines and at the very bottom a Long Arm Quilting Machine ⇓
- Serger/Over lock Machine. For Seam Finishes. The 3 to 5 threads of the machine stitch 1 to 2 straight construction stitches while the remaining threads loop around the raw edge of the fabric which is cut by the machine’s knife at your set seam allowance. It gives a professional finish on the inside of a project. The stitch’s formation also allows threads to stretch, making it ideal for knit fabrics as well. But as I’ve said earlier you don’t need a serger. A lot of high-end clothes aren’t finished with a serger instead they are finished with many seam finishes which are so easy to do I’ll link a video Here on seam finishes without a serger. ⇓
For a beginner It’s always suggested that you begin with # 1 a basic sewing machine, but it also depends on what kind of sewing you are going to be doing. Are you going to be quilting then you need a quilting machine, are you going to be embroidering then your going to need an embroidery machine (unless you embroider by hand), and so on and so forth. But for basic sewing, just a basic sewing machine is necessary. And by Basic I mean not all the cool buttons and features, all you need is a machine that sews.
If you’ve read my Bio you’d already know that I started with a terrible old fashion industrial machine which by terrible I mean a nightmare (It was like trying to sew with a chainsaw). Anyways after that, I got my moms sewing machine that she had in the basement it was a Brother LS 1217,which in my opinion is a really easy machine to work with (considering the nightmare I went through with the industrial machine lol). I’m not sure you can find that machine anywhere anymore. But Brother also came out with a great beginner machine that I find is easier to work with and that would be the Brother JX 2517 and I even taught my siblings how to sew on those machines. So it really is an easy machine to work with.
Now whichever brand you choose to buy is up to you. Now me I’ve only worked with Brother sewing machines so I can’t talk to you about Singer or Janome etc. While all sewing machine do basically the same thing some machine brands work very differently.
Buying A Sewing Machine
If your buying a sewing machine online, make sure it’s from a trusted source so you don’t end up with a crappy machine.
It’s better to buy a sewing machine in store, so that you can see the machine and test it out rather than buying online and deciding later you don’t really like the machine.
Please, Please, Please, Keep an eye out for Sales at your local crafting store like Walmart, Joanns, Michaels, Hobby Lobby Etc.
There’s nothing worse than having to take out an arm and a leg for a pile of metal and plastic, look for bargains, sales, & Use Coupons (if you can).
As a beginner you should spend no more than about $60-$180 on a new sewing machine.
I bought my Brother Jx2517 Sewing Machine for $70 at Walmart. 😉
I can’t tell you which brand is the best to buy as there is no one perfect machine but I can give you some tips on how to choose the perfect sewing machine for you & what you should be considering & looking for while you’re machine shopping.
- Skill Level
- Sewing Style
- Sewing Interests
The first thing you should consider when machine shopping is,
What kind of sewing will I be doing? – Sewing Interests.
- Will I be sewing Curtains, Jackets, Rugs, Upholstery, Decor towels, Stuffed animals, Heavy Thick Fabrics, Leather, Denim, etc…
Then you will need a Heavy Duty Machine.
- Will I be sewing Clothes, Undergarments, Gloves, Cotton, Silks, etc…
Then you will need either a Basic Mechanical Sewing Machine OR a Basic Computerized Sewing Machine.
The kind of Sewing you intend on doing will determine what kind of sewing machine you need to buy $.
What is my sewing expertise? – Skill Level
If you are just getting started, and you’re not sure if you’ll really like sewing. You’re just testing it out, then you just need an inexpensive machine with just *4 Basic stitches,
*A Zig Zag Stitch
It’s best if you can adjust the stitch Length & Width on your machine & Move the Needle Position to left or right and centered.
However if you plan on developing your skills, you should get a machine that has the 4 basic stitches along with a wider range of stitches, accessories and functions.
¡Remember you can’t add Extra stitches and functions later, so think ahead!
If you already have a sewing machine, Do you like it? What features do you wish it could have? Do you want to replace your machine with a newer model or with similar features?
If you already have a machine and/or are planing to upgrade just think about what you would like your current machine to have such as,
- Built in needle threader
Automatic End-Of-Stitch Features
- Better lighting
Special Layered Fabric Feeding System
- Easy buttonhole maker
- Easy portability
- Simplicity and ease of use
- Auto-thread snipping
- Programmable stitch patterns
- Automatic rolled hems, seams, and other common sewing chores that need to be accomplished etc…
If you have been sewing for a while you know which features you would like to get on your next machine to make sewing easier and faster for more efficient sewing.
However if you are a beginner buying a basic sewing machine and sewing for a while will help you determine what features you would like if you ever plan on upgrading.
A good tip would be to borrow a sewing machine from a friend or relative, and practice sewing to see what features you would like your sewing machine to have. Also ask the person for their advise on purchasing a sewing machine.
What is my Price Range?
Whatever your budget, there is a machine that will give you hours of sewing satisfaction and suit your wants and needs. You can always start out with a modest machine and trade up as your sewing skills improve. If you have your heart set on a particular machine but can’t afford the newest version, check out the classified ads, garage sales, tag sales, estate sales, yard sales, online auction sites for bargains on a used machine. Get to know the machine before you shop so you will know if there are missing parts or feet.
Again Keep an eye out for Sales at your local craft store.
- Get the best machine you can for what you can spend: Quality & Durability
- Get a machine you can grow into, but not so big that you feel intimidated to use it or feel baffled by unnecessary features
- Gather as much information as you can and choose the right machine for you. Don’t feel rushed or pressured. (As sometimes someone at the store will try and pressure you to buy a machine, don’t let that happen)
Where can I find out how to get the best from my machine?
The Sewing Machine’s Manual is key to getting to know your machine and get the best performance.
If your manual is missing, contact the manufacturer for a new one. To ensure that you get the right manual, include the model number of your machine with your request. The number is usually stamped on a small metal plate secured to the machine. On a free arm machine, the plate is located to the back of the machine; on a flat bed machine, it is located on the front.
In fact, sewing machine manufacturers estimate that 80% of all expensive repairs could be avoided if owners would read and follow the guidelines in the manual.
Tip: Visit a specialist retailer for advice on buying a sewing machine and take the chance to try out as many different models as possible. Testing the machine’s buttonhole function is a good way to check that it makes even, balanced stitches in all directions. Take a variety of fabric swatches with you when you test-sew.
Buying A Serger
Don’t Buy a Serger just yet!
If you don’t plan on sewing in the long run you don’t want to waste money on investing in one that you don’t plan on using. Again most professionals don’t even use a Serger. Using a serger is an easy way to finish raw edges but it does take away from you learning a whole bunch of other edge finishes.
- Self bound Fabric edge finish
- Bound seam ( Hong Kong seams) Finish
- Zig zag seam Finish
- Picot edge Stitch
Here is a video on Seam Finishes without a serger.
Here are some things to consider when deciding if you should buying a Serger:
- A Serger will not replace a conventional sewing machine. However it will save you the time that you would otherwise spend finishing off raw edges and is useful for creating special effects, so it is worth investing in one if you plan to do a lot of sewing.
- Some of the less expensive sergers may stretch the fabric and pucker as you stitch. This is quite a common problem so be sure to try out several models before you buy.
- Some Sergers use standard sewing machine needles, but many models use special needles, so make sure these are easy to find and purchase.
- For more sewing options, choose a machine with differential feed. This will enable you, for example, to adjust the feed when working with knits to obtain a good flat seam, to speed up the feed to create a ruffle on single layer of woven fabric, or to create a waved edge effect.
- There are now several lightweight inexpensive sergers on the market, but be very wary of these. A serger is designed to sew at quite a rate, so it needs some weight to keep it firm and steady on the table. A very light machine may start to jump around as you speed up, which can be dangerous.
Don’t buy a Ginormous sewing machine if you don’t have the space for it in your home. Make sure you have every thing organized.
You need a place designated for sewing, it doesn’t have to be fancy and elaborate but you have to have your sewing machine set up and ready to go whenever you feel like sewing. I remember when I began sewing I didn’t have a designated space so every time I began sewing I had to steal a table from somewhere and pull out my sewing machine from it’s case and it just became burdensome. So now that I have a designated sewing space my sewing machine is all set up and ready, so I can just get started on my project with no delay.
Also If your moving your sewing machine around a lot it could get dings and bangs and slowly wear out, so have a place for your sewing machine and don’t forget to cover it so it doesn’t get dusty. (We’ll have a class on Sewing Machine Maintenance)
- Have good lighting
- Set up your Iron & Ironing Board nearby
- Have your sewing kit handy nearby
- Find a comfy convenient corner where you can keep out your equipment and work in progress without disrupting the rest of the household.
- Convenient electrical outlets for sewing machine and your iron, are essential.
- Do hang up garments under construction between work sessions so that they do not crease, and use padded hangers to avoid hard creases and folds.
- Ideally your working area should be chosen so you have the benefit of as much natural light as possible or use a lot of artificial lighting.
- Keep your work space tidy and organized at all times use plastic bins, baskets, rolling carts etc..
Features to look for when machine shopping:
- Free Arm
- Automatic button holes
- Assorted Presser Feet
- Adjustable Foot Pressure
- Adjustable Thread Tension
- Adjustable Stitch Length & Width
- Adjustable Machine Needle Position
Choose a machine within your price range, skill level (keeping in mind you can’t add Extra stitches and functions later), & Sewing Space.
So now that you know a little bit about Sewing Machines, hopefully that will help you in your machine buying process.
If you have any questions, or if there’s anything I forgot to add Please Comment down below and share your nuggets of wisdom with me.