From budget basic to modern marvels, the hunt for the most indispensable of sewing tools.
Sewing is so different from what it used to be, and so are the machines on the market today. With so many different sewing machines, shopping for one can be daunting.
The following list of machines are worth a test drive, dividing them by the sewing skill level, the kind of sewing they are suited to for, and the pros and cons of each category. Use it as a starting point in you search, then head to your local dealer to try them out in person. The only way you’ll know which machine is the one for you.
STARTER SEWING MACHINES; They are no-frills, sewing-only machines. Most will include automatic buttonhole features and a basic selection of utility stitches. Some are electronic rather than computerized, with dials or buttons for machine settings rather than touch screens. These machines are basically for the beginning sewers, kids and anyone who plans to do only basic garment construction, mending, or home decorating and craft projects.
PROS; easy to use, affordable and capable of turning out quality clothing and decorating projects.
CONS; decorative stitches are limited or non-existent. Tension may not be set automatically. Buttonholes may require manual manipulations.
SUGGESTED MACHINES ARE; Singer Feather weight 11; Brother NX-200; Elna’s Debut 2110 or 2130; Euro-Pro’s Intelli-Sew; Bernetta from Bernina; Husqvarna Viking’s Scandenavia 100
MID TO HIGH-END SEWING MACHINES; These machines are performance oriented machines geared to garment and home decorating sewing. They handle a wide variety of projects and fabrics with ease. Some are electronic, but some are computerized. They feature a wide variety of utility stitches, automatic tension settings, self-threading and multiple automatic buttonhole settings. Some have built-in decorative stitches for embellishment. These machines are for serious sewers focused on dressmaking, tailoring and home decorating projects.
PROS; touch screens or electric settings take care of tension setting and indicate the correct stitch length and presser foot. Multiple automatic buttonhole settings and styles, precision sewing speed control, better handling of fabrics and hundreds of built-in utility and decorative stitches. Instruction manuals are stored in the machines memory and can be accessed from the LCD screen.
CONS; pricier than basic models. The wide variety of features and options may intimidate those not comfortable with computerized functions. These can be rectified with practice and lessons from the dealer.
RECOMMENDED MODELS; Singers Quantum 9940; Brother’s NX-600 Janome’s Memory craft 6500; Elna Quilters Dream Ultra 6003 QT
COMBINATION SEWING/EMBROIDERY MACHINES; these high-tech machines offer the best of both worlds. You can stitch up garments, home decor, and accessorize to your hearts content. They have a switch presser feet and snap on the embroidery attachment to decorate y our designs with professional embroidery. The designs are built into the machines memory, supplied on flash cards or similar devices. Some models you can download designs directly from the internet to the machine by way of a USB port.
PROS;Offer almost unlimited creative embellishment potential.
CONS; These machines are expensive, but as the technologies advance manufacturers are introducing lower-priced models that offer many of the same functions as higher-end machines.
RECOMMENDED MODELS; Singer Quantum Futura; Brother’s Innov-is 4000D; Janome’s Memory Craft 10001; Bernina’s Artista 200E; Artista 185 Quilters Embroidery Edition
EMBROIDERY-ONLY MACHINES; These machines are dedicated to machine embroidery. These machines are for mostly for someone starting a custom embroidery business, crafters interested in embellishing read-made items.
PROS; Since embroidery is their sole function, these machines turn out designs more efficiently. Higher speeds than combination sewing embroidery machines.
CONS; You can’t sew on these machines.
RECOMMENDED MODELS; Brother’s PR-600; Babylock’s Embroidery Professional; Bernina’s Deco330.
Now you are ready to head out to your local dealer and try out some of the machines before you buy.