Tips for Buying a Sewing Machine?

So, you found a new hobby and you’re saying to yourself, I want to take this sewing thing up a notch. I want to make pillows, I want to make cat costumes, I want to make dresses.

I want to buy a sewing machine. Probably the question I get asked the most from new sewers is “What sewing machine should I buy?” I get it.

You’re new, a lot of that information is overwhelming, and while I’m going to go over the sewing machine purchasing process,I’m not going to recommend buying a particular machine or model. Why? Because there are a ton of different sewing machines out there and, to be honest, I’ve only used a handful of machines, so there’ sa lot of sewing machines that I’ve never sewn on before. But I will go over things that will hopefully make shopping for a machine easier.

As a disclaimer, Professor Pincushion is sponsored by Spiegel sewing so I do own a Spiegel sewing machine, but I’m going to talk about purchasing a best embroidery machine in general terms, regardless of the brand.

The first thing you should consider is what kind of sewing do you want to do. While most machines can cover a variety of projects, knowing what kind of sewing you plan on doing is helpful information.

If you plan on doing home decorating, garment sewing or simple quilt top designs, you can probably get away with having a basic machine.

If you want to do more involved quilting,such as sewing through a whole quilt, you’ll want a long arm sewing machine.For embroidery embellishment, you need an embroidery machine.

And for sewing through heavy projects like denim and leather, you’ll maybe want to look into a heavy duty sewing machine.

My recommendation, if you don’t know what type of sewing you’re going to do, maybe start with a basic machine around $200 or less, so you can get comfortable actually sewing on a machine.

If in a few years, you feel like you need something a little fancier, you can always upgrade because by then, you’ll be more familiar with what your sewing needs are.

With a basic machine, you should have the straight stitch, zig zag stitch, buttonhole stitch, some utility stitches and probably a few decorative stitches. Even at this level, the machine should be able to take care of the majority of your everyday projects because 90% of the time you’ll be using basic stitches.

Before you even shop for a sewing machine,decide how much you want to invest in your machine, give yourself a dollar limit.Machines can vary from under a hundred dollars to thousands of dollars so there’s a wide range.

Why is there such a wide range of prices? There are a few things.

First, could be the capability of the machine and second is the brand of the sewing machine. If you look for a sewing machine in a big box store or online you can find Singer, Brother, Janome and Spiegel.

Some of the more expensive sewing machines are going to be Husqvarna, Juki, Baby lock, Pfaff, and Bernina.

These machines are going to cost more and you can’t necessarily find them in any of the big box stores. Instead, you’ll have to go to their website and find a local vendor. In these cases, it’s like going to a car-lot for a specific brand.

Yes, you’ll be paying a lot of money for these machines by going this route, but you’ll be buying a high end sewing machine, get to talk to an expert on the machine, and get to test sew the machines on their sales floor,plus they usually will offer a free class to show you how to use your new machine.

With a big box store, you’ll simply go,pick a sewing machine off the shelf so you won’t have access to those same services. Try here

But you’ll be paying a lot less.Even if you don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on a machine, doesn’t mean you can’t get a really nice one. There are two options when buying a sewing machine: new and used. There are pros and cons to both options. With new, you’ll have a new machine with a warranty and you can start sewing on it as soon as you bring it home.

But if you get the cheapest machine that you can find, it might cause more headaches than it’s worth. If you buy used, you might be able to get a better machine with more bells and whistles, for a lot less, but you’re taking a chance that maybe you might have to pay for maintenance or repairs.

Let’s talk about used machines.There’s actually a lot of places where you can find them. If you want one for cheap, keep your eyes open at yard sales, craigslist, thrift stores and ebay. So many people get excited, buy a sewing machine,decide it’s not for them, and then just get rid of it.

Every time, I go to a thrift store, I probably come across at least three sewing machines. Other people’s loss can be your gain.

But just because you’re clicking your heels and are super excited about getting a great deal for $10, doesn’t mean that’s the end of it.

Usually it has been sitting in someone’s closet for a few years and even if the machine seems fine and works, it’s usually still a good idea to pay for a maintenance.

This means, finding a local sewing and vac shop and paying for a machine cleaning, where they open the machine up, give everything a good clean and make sure it’s all in proper working order.

The average price for a basic maintenance is going to be about $120 and if there’s anything wrong with the machine, you’ll have to pay extra.

So if you want to start off on the right foot,I would add this to the cost of the machine.But the benefit is that maybe you’ll get lucky and find that really fancy machine for $10 and still make out ahead because you didn’t spend a $1000 for a new one.

There won’t be any warranty with this type of purchase. Also, a lot of sewing machine manuals are online, so you should be able to find it for your machine even if it’s used and didn’t come with one.

You can also find manufactured refurbished machines online on websites like Overstock. This means that the machine is used but it goes back to the manufacturer to be certified. It’s pretty much a new machine and will probably look like it.

It should also come with a limited warranty.If you’re really determined to buy a high end machine but looking to save a little money, call the local vendors and ask them if they sell used machines.

Like cars, sewing machine vendors want people to upgrade to the newer, fancier machine, so they offer to take trade-ins of older models.

The vendors are particular in that they’ll only take the same brand of machine and it can’t be too old. But you can buy the traded in machine which is refurbished like new and still high quality, but usually at a discounted rate.

Plus, you’ll probably get all the benefits of buying a new machine without paying top dollar for it. Once you have chosen a machine that you’re interested in, start looking at the reviews.

You can find them online and this will give you a better idea if the sewing machine is worth the money and if people tend to like it.

What better way to tell if a sewing machine is good than to read from actual owners of that machine. Hopefully, this will give you insight into purchasing a sewing machine and make it a little easier to get started with your new hobby! And if you have any tips for people who are looking to buy their first sewing machine, leave a comment below.

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