Whether you are buying a sewing machine for yourself or as a gift, you will need to ask yourself some questions to be a more informed consumer. Here are 5 tips to purchasing a sewing machine:
- Budget. Decide on how much you want to spend. The caveat is that if you spend too little, the machine will be worthless and you will never be able to get the sewing done you want. What’s too low a price? Do not purchase anything less than $100 new. Budgeting $200 will give you a good, basic machine. Sometimes you can find good machines used or refurbished for under $100. That would be fine, just don’t buy a “cheap” machine new.
- Sewing Requirement Level. Is this machine for a beginner? Or someone who only needs basic functions for simple sewing and mending? If so, look at the mechanical and more simple electronic sewing machines. Is this machine for someone who is going to run a small business or teach sewing? Look at the commercial grade, or industrial sewing machines. Is this machine for an advanced crafts person? Check out the embroidery and sewing combination machines. Is this machine for a professional tailor? Consider getting a serger as well.
- Don’t over purchase. The vast majority of sewing machine owners never use the multitude of fancy stitches available on their machines. A few extra decorative stitches is usually fine. Be sure that zig-zag stitch and some way of making buttonholes is available if the machine is going to be used for garment construction.
- Look for included accessories. Presser feet attachments, lint cleaning brushes, and the right machine oil can help you get the job done right. If you can find the same machine with accessories for the same price, get that one.
- Read the reviews. This is the age of the internet, even if sewing machines still need us to sit down next to them to do the mending. Read the reviews of the machine model you are thinking of purchasing. Pay careful attention if the same complaint comes up over and over again.
- Read the user manual. Many of the user manuals are available online, and you can download them to read. Make sure that the instructions make sense to you, because they are often what can make or break your experience.
Once you get your sewing machine delivered, re-read that user manual. Follow the instructions the first time through, even if you are an experienced operator. You’ll find it will save you time and frustration to just follow the instructions that come with the machine.
If you are purchasing a sewing machine as a gift, all of these points are exactly the same, just ask yourself from the point of reference of the gift recipient. And remember, don’t purchase a new machine under $100. You may be the lucky one to find one that stands up to decent use, but most of the really “cheap” sewing machines are too cheap to last with normal use.