Buying a new sewing machine is exciting but can be a bit overwhelming. There are so many choices with a wide variety of features and functions. To find the best machine for you and your sewing interests, it will take some research and thought on your part. Once you’ve decided to shop for a new machine, ask yourself these eight questions and make notes about what you want to investigate when you go sewing machine shopping.
1. What do you like and dislike about your current machine?
If you find certain features on your machine useful, make sure you have them on your new machine. If you don’t like something about your machine (drop-in bobbin, no freearm, etc.), don’t make the mistake of purchasing them again.
2. What machines do your friends have?
Talk to your friends and find out what they do and do not like about their machines. Do some research on the Internet to see which machines are popular. Don’t go overboard on this because it’s easy to get overwhelmed before you even start to shop!
3. What features have you heard about and want to explore?
If there’s something you are curious about, now is the time to try it out and decide if you need/want it on your new machine.
4. What is your budget?
If you haven’t shopped for machines in a while, you may have sticker shock when you see today’s prices. Just know two things:
- You get a LOT more with today’s machines than even just a few years ago. They are easier to use, more automatic, and have more features and functions, as well as WAY more stitch choices so the value has increased with the price.
- There is a machine for every budget. Yes, machines are more sophisticated and more expensive than in the past, but you can still buy simple inexpensive machines.
5. What kind of sewing do you like to do and what types of fabrics do you sew?
Especially if you sew with unusual materials such as stiff leather or delicate tulle, you’ll want to be prepared when you shop. Take swatches to sew these materials on various machines to see how they handle them. And, always sit and sew at any machine you are considering. It needs to feel and sound right to you and the only way to know if it does is to test drive it.
6. Where do you plan to shop?
You may want to plan a marathon day of shopping and check out several brand at different locations. Or, go to one location that has multiple brands. If you have already selected the brand you want, the only thing left is to choose the model that‘s best for you. Make notes as you shop because it will start to run together if you don’t and you’ll be more confused than ever.
7. What extras are included with the machine?
Every machine comes with presser feet and accessories and it’s great to find out what’s included. But, you also need to investigate the extras that may come with the machine. It’s always a good idea to shop at a brand-name dealer that offers pluses like free instruction classes, extended warranties, and factory-trained service. When you buy from a reputable dealer, you have a resource to learn more about your machine, a place to take sewing classes to learn more about sewing, quilting, etc., and access to a well-run service department to keep your machine in good shape for many years to come.
8. When will you make the decision?
Take your time, especially if you have looked at multiple brands and/or models. After shopping, narrow it down to 2-3 choices and go back for another look if needed before you decide. You will have this machine for many years so give it some thought before you purchase. It’s wise to buy a machine that has more features and more creative possibilities than you have now to allow yourself to grow and expand your creative pursuits.
Once you purchase your new machine, you’ll be ready to stitch your first sewing project with it. I’ve found a fun site that has a lot of needlework info as well as beginner sewing patterns to get you started. Have a look because their free needle craft newsletter ‘Yarnie’ is a great way to get free sewing patterns for beginners.
Have fun shopping, good luck, and enjoy your new sewing machine!