Tips for buying the right sewing machine

We get asked all the time on our top tips for picking a sewing machine, so we thought we would write it all downing a blog post for everyone!

One thing to remember, is that sewing machines are all basically the same. They will all be able to sew every thing you could possible wish, from dresses to curtains. There isn’t a special machine for dressmaking or quilting, but some machines are designed with these projects in mind.

Set a budget

Our main piece of advice has always been, set yourself a budget and buy the best sewing machine you can within that budget. Our reasons for this are that sewing machines come in many different styles, shapes and prices and looking at them all can be quite overwhelming. If you set a budget you can discount a lot of machines as above of below your given price, simply cutting down the amount you need to look at and decide between.

If you make your budget realistic for you, we would advise that you spend it! The more you spend on a sewing machine, the more stitches and extras you will get. Also, a higher price means a better standard of engine in your machine, making it more of a long term buy rather than short term.

This isn’t to say that the cheaper end of the market isn’t brilliant! Rachel and I both both basic sewing machines for around £100 when we started to sew and these lasted us quite a few years.

Decide on your must have features

When it comes to the extras on a sewing machine, you should have a think about what it is you definitely cannot live without. Is it over 100 different decorative stitches? Or is it a fancy needle threader?

Whatever it is, make a list of what it is you need in a machine in order of importance. That way, you can see what you can get within your budget. The threader cutter might be out your budget but the one-step-button hole could be with it!

If you are into quilting, you may want to look out for a machine with a larger gap to feed your quilt through, or a walking foot to go with the machine. Dressmakers might want to look out for additional dressmaking stitches and feet go with your machine. You can choose whatever you like!

This also helps you narrow down which machines are going to be in your list to possibly buy, discounting any that don’t have the extras you want.

Stick with the big brands

We work a lot with Janome, we love their sewing machines and can’t recommend them enough. You can check out their range on their website here.

We are strong believers in buying the best machine you can for your money and we think that the larger brands have the experience and quality you are looking for when purchasing.

Brands to look out for are –

John Lewis in the UK have a good range of their own brand sewing machine. They also offer a 2 year guarantee when it comes to electrical items.

Another thing to look out for is any smaller local sewing machine retailers. These shops often offer a lesson on how to use your machine and can be a great source of information.

Consider second hand

It is worth checking out the normal places where you can buy second hand items, like Ebay, Facebook Marketplace, Thrift or Charity Shops. It is worth making sure that you get any machines serviced before you start, just to make sure it is working smoothly before you start.

Another thing to consider is that some friends or family may have a sewing machine they don’t use anymore or have upgraded their machine for a newer one. Even if you just borrow one for a short time it will help you get a feel of what you want for your own sewing machine.

What’s next?

Once you have your wonderful new, or new to you, sewing machine – what’s next?

Well, of course, we have have you covered! Our website is chock-a-block full of sewing courses to help you on your way. From our completely FREE Learn to Sew Course to the perfect start to making your own clothes with our Guide to Dressmaking. Check them all out here.

Happy Sewing!

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