Shopping for a Sewing Machine?
In a previous post I wrote about where to shop for a sewing machine and my recommendation is always to shop at your local sewing machine retailer. You will get a better quality machine as well as lessons on the operation of your machine and support!
So, in this post I am going to cover what type of sewing machine to get, manual or computerized. I specialize in Beginner Sewing Lessons and most of my students have never even touched a sewing machine, so I will be writing about machines that are good for beginners.
Manual Sewing Machines
A manual sewing machine is definitely the most affordable and you can get good sewing machines in the $200 – $300 range. Even less if you wait for a sale!
What is a manual machine you ask? Well, a manual sewing machine will have dials or buttons on the front to select the various functions like type of stitch, stitch width and length. There is a hand wheel on the side of the machine that allows you to adjust the height of the needle. When you start and stop sewing you must always be cranking the hand wheel to get the needle into the correct position.
With a manual machine you will usually have to adjust the tension every time you sew a new fabric. Manual machines also tend to stall a bit on start up so you need to crank the hand wheel to get it going.
This is what I grew up with and it is something you get used to. However, when I first tried a computerized machine it changed my life! (well, I do exaggerate a bit, but it was really amazing!)
Computerized Sewing Machines
An entry level computerized machine will be about $500; again, watch for sales!
A computerized sewing machine has touch buttons to select the stitches which are pre-set to an optimum width and length by default. You can easily make adjustments to the settings with the push of a button. The tension is automatic and rarely has to be adjusted! Computerized sewing machines also have a one step buttonhole which will automatically make a perfect button hole, the right size for your button! Another really nice feature is the speed control slider which allows beginners to slow down the speed when they are just learning.
To me, the SINGLE BEST FEATURE that makes it worth spending an extra $200, is the needle up/down button! No more cranking the hand wheel every single time you want to raise or lower the needle! You do it with a single touch of a button! Even better is the fact that it will always stop with the needle in the DOWN position. So, if you are doing a pivot you don’t need to remember to put your needle down. If you want to lift your needle you just touch the button again, and it will come right up! Believe me, when you start sewing you will really want this!
What do I use in my classes?
I am using the Brother NS40E sewing machine in my classes! I am very proud to say that I have recently been sponsored by Brother Canada and I now have a classroom full of brand new computerized sewing machines!
So, if it is in the budget, I would strongly recommend an entry level computerized sewing machine. Do visit the various sewing machine retailers and test drive the machines and find the one that you like best.