Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What to Look for When Buying a Sewing Machine for Beginners

The great sewing revival
Sewing is an ancient technique of craftsmanship that has value in both an artistic and a functional sense. Cultures can be defined by their sewing patterns. Messages of love, structures of warmth, and statements of fashion can all be communicated through both hand held sewing and the more operationalized sewing machine.

While the digital age has both standardized and modernized the world, it has also brought a renewed interest in unique items. From Etsy, to eBay, to Amazon, people are selling their own creations. The world is at your fingertips. As such, the popularity of what could be considered both vintage and handmade has skyrocketed, and the relatively ancient tradition of sewing is coming back. No longer perhaps seen as a functional necessity, it is providing an interaction between art and function, as well as a dying skill that provokes great interest amongst peers.

Who is the Sewing Machine for?
So, are you an entrepreneur looking to sell your unique sewn products? Are you a parent looking to introduce your child to crafts and sewing? Are simply someone who considers sewing a cherished hobby, allowing you to create wonderful gifts for your friends and family?

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These are questions which must be answered before you dive into buying a sewing machine. Who is it for? What will it be primarily used for? Knowledge of these factors makes selection far easier.

What is your budget?
Following on from this, what is your price range? With sewing machines, like any long term investments, it is generally worth paying the extra few dollars for a quality, reliable, sturdy product. Where may be the differences between a product used on an almost industrial scale to produce a constant flow of products, and a machine used for beginners and hobbyists?

What projects will the machine be used for?
Stitching can encompass a variety of different end results. Perhaps you wish to stitch patterns onto clothes, introducing what is traditionally sketch work onto people’s clothes, as this woman has done with her art.

Alternatively, more robust results may be sought. Are you looking to make a quilt, or a curtain? This would require different fabrics, thickness, mass etc. An accommodating sewing machine is vital in such instances, which is why careful consideration into planned projects are a must.

Are you using a denim stitch? Twill? These require careful handling with machines meeting certain requirements. Research is key in this respect, it is good to actually go to store and get a feel for a machine, learn of it’s facilities and accommodation for such different fabrics,

What is the best sewing machine for beginners?
Sewing machines can be complicated beasts- some may have just a handful of additional features offering varieties in patterns and style, while others may be loaded with hundreds. Buying a sewing machine is all about desired results. Beginner’s sewing may only demand a few features with a relatively simple machine, but as one learns and develops, there is always the craving for more. However, if you have a clear goal in mind (such as producing clothing), a simpler product providing reliable service can help save money and increase efficiency, omitting unnecessary frills for a more complete machine.

Sewing machine
Fig: Sewing machine
How often will the sewing machine be used?
The demand for unique, handmade crafts has never been higher- online stores such as Etsy have connected people with a world of inimitable products.

If you are indeed planning on starting an Etsy store, you’re likely going to spend a significant amount of your waking hours sewing your masterpieces. On the other hand, if you simply fancy yourself as Mr or Mrs. Fix it, and just want the comfort of a sewing machine to stitch up any holes and rips, usage will be less frequent.

Do you need additional attachments with your sewing machine?
If you’re looking for the best sewing machine for beginners, you must consider feet. Not those beauties dangling beneath your shins, but those that may have connections to the sewing machine. Do you need presser feet? What about a buttonhole foot, or a blind hem foot, or a zipper foot? A walking foot?

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Like much of modern equipment, sewing machines are amenable to various add-ons and attachments to offer different features and techniques. With this in mind, it is worth doing prior research as to the attachments you may need to fulfill all the techniques you desire. In addition, the initial sewing machine should have the capacity to offer these services. This is a long term investment, and knowledge of the path you wish to take is vital to understanding what kind of sewing machine you may need.

Attachments can come in many different forms, offering a variety of different sewing experiences. Check out this woman’s unique way to power her machine here.

How noisy is the sewing machine?
In addition to this, sewing machines instantly become a part of household furniture. With this in mind aesthetic features should be considered before buying a sewing machine. Stand inside the house and visualize the positioning of the sewing machine. Does it take up too much space? Is it too large for the room you want to put it in, is the shape too awkward to be consistent with the peace and energy you wish to encourage in your living space?

What about noise? If you are sharing your living space with others, this is another important consideration. This is something that is supposed to bring joy to one’s life, so don’t choose a sewing machine that is going to be the source of needless problems. If you’re in tight quarters and your roommate wants peace and quiet, talk to them first and find the solution that is right for the both of you.

Some of the best sewing machine brands for high quality equipment include Juki, Brother, Janome, and Singer. It’s worth researching what each brand can provide. For instance, Singer is a very consistent product, but may not have the quality of Juki. It’s a personal decision, and depends on your plans with the sewing machine, frequency of use, and end product desired. Be sure to test each prospective machine yourself.

If you’re a hobbyist, you may be looking at Brother as opposed to Bernina, which is often associated with professional sewers. Assess your sewing personality and see what each brand can offer.

It’ also important to understand warranty offered. For example, you can see on Design My Costume that Brother offers a 25 year limited warranty, however, this only covers 1 year for the machine, 5 years for the circuit board and 25 years for the chassis unit. Read through each products warranty and be sure you understand what you’re buying.

Servicing can vary from company to company, and it’s worth checking who repairs which brands etc. Servicing can include internal repairs, sharpening, and many other repairs. Always research to match servicing to your brand of sewing machine.

Sewing machines should come with a manual for use, and be sure to see the manual before purchasing, ensuring it is an exhaustive, clear packet allowing you to understand all different aspects of the product.

Buying a sewing machine can seem a daunting task without knowledge, so research, research, research! Be sure to test the product yourself before committing to something. This is something that will bring cherished items into the world. Joy, discovery, and art await. Do not go cheap with this, it can be a part of one’s home for many years to come, and a source of great inspiration!

About Author:
Denis Lubojanski
Sewing Machine Expert

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