HOW DO I CHOOSE MY SEWING MACHINE?

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Before you can learn to sew you will need to choose a sewing machine. Below I give you tips on how to choose a sewing machine. If you already have a machine, go ahead choose from the drop down menu above or follow the links below  and start learning to sew!

 Choosing a Sewing Machine

Before you learn how to sew, you need to first understand how the sewing machine can help you sew better and achieve the results you need. For the last 30 years I have had Pfaff sewing machines in my workshop. I have also worked with Janome, Husquana and Brother when teaching sewing classes. While you can get a good sewing machine other than Pfaff, for a beginner the 'Pfaff Select' models are great.

Don't get blinded by shiny buttons and electronic machines because they sound and look cool. Whilst they may have wonderful embroidery stitches and 6 different buttonholes, you may find yourself not using them very often anyway. Plus when you use a mechanical machine you have much more control over your work.

Electronic machines will always sew a full stitch, but often you need to hit a specific point for example if you only need half a stitch. To do that you can use the hand wheel located on the side of a mechanical machine. I have both types of machines, but use the mechanical for almost all  of my teaching videos and only use the electronic for buttonholes or pretty embroidery. Oftentimes an electronic machine can over complicate the process of completing basic stitches. 

 

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So, lets have a look at why I really like the mechanical Pfaff machines, available from around $500. First of all, the Pfaff machine has IDT (Integrated Dual Feed). It transports evenly whether the fabric is smooth and thin, or very thick and rough. If you have tried a narrow rolled edge hem on a basic machine without IDT you will know what I am talking about. It's a nightmare!

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Secondly the front loader, which is used in a mechanical machine, is much more robust than the top loader typically found in electronic machines. The top loader of an electronic machine can get damaged very easily. 

If the bobbin is not correctly thread into a top loader it can jump out of its case. This can damage the metal grip holding the bobbin which is very sensitive and once damaged needs repairing, which isn't cheap.

This rarely happens with a front loader. Even though the front loader looks old fashioned! It is robust and won't let you down. You can also easily adjust the bobbin tension yourself if need be. 

 

My advise is the following. Arm yourself with delicate flimsy fabric as well as thick robust fabric and visit your local sewing machine dealer. Try several machines to see what feels comfortable. Make sure the dealer shows you the machine works on the fabrics you bring along. Usually they will provide some cotton of medium thickness which will no doubt work with any machine regardless of quality. It's tricking you into a false sense of security!

 

Before making the final decision, lift the machine. The heavier the better. Cheap machines often lack the metal casing and are just plastic! This is not going to last you 5 minutes. Reputable dealers won't sell those anyway but your larger retailers might. If a new machine costs around $175 there is a reason for that. It's not worth any of your money, and you will end up upgrading later anyway. Save and get a decent model. Brother provides quality machines for around $300. There is a huge difference in quality once you reach this price point.

In my experience the price points which give you true tangible benefits, in terms of the quality of the machines are; $200, $300, $500, and $800. For example if you are looking at buying a machine for $280, I would recommend spending the extra $40 for a $320 machine. 

 

Hope this helps and welcome to your new hobby! :)