If you are new to the world of sewing or you are looking to upgrade your old machine after many years of faithful service, you might be surprised just how advanced modern sewing machines actually are.
From beginner sewing machines to top-spec models with all the trimmings, there's no shortage of models to choose from. Sewing machine prices range from $100 up to several thousand dollars.
Our guide will show you how to compare the options that fit your budget and stitch up a deal on the best sewing machine for your needs.
Compare some of the best sewing machines
Whether or not a sewing machine is worth the money really depends on your personal circumstances, but there are several reasons why buying one is a good idea:
Why shouldn't I buy a sewing machine?
Sewing ain't for everyone. While some people love sitting down to stitch, create and mend, others find it to be a repetitive and frustrating chore. If you fall into the latter category, how likely are you to ever want to use a sewing machine on a regular basis?
Before you part with any money, think about how much you will realistically use your machine.
If you prefer to buy your clothes rather than make them, and if you're happy tackling basic mending tasks with a needle and thread, you're probably better off saving your money.
And if you ever need clothes altered in any way, take them to a tailor instead.
What types are available?
There are four main categories of sewing machines:
|Mechanical sewing machines||Controls are manipulated by hand.|
|Electronic sewing machines||Use a built-in motor operated by a foot pedal to control the needle.|
|Computerised sewing machines||Features a microprocessor that is pre-programmed for different stitch styles.|
|Sewing/embroidery machines||These models take all the features of a computerised machine and add the ability to do complex embroidery.|
How much do sewing machines cost?
The cost of a sewing machine depends on the features you need:
- Beginner sewing machines. A beginner sewing machine should offer a basic selection of stitches, at least one buttonhole setting and solid construction. Prices in this category range from $100 up to around $800, with computerised models usually starting around the $300 mark.
- Mid-level sewing machines. Machines for intermediate sewists offer a wider range of basic and decorative stitches, embroidery patterns, more attachments and an automatic needle threader. They are capable of tackling a much wider range of challenging and ambitious tasks, and are generally priced anywhere from $700 or $800 up to $3,000.
- Advanced sewing machines. Top-level machines offer the widest selection of stitches, presser feet, embroidery capabilities and customisable features. Please note that these are only for experienced sewists, as many of the advanced features and options will be a waste of money for anyone new to sewing. If shopping in this category you can expect to spend several thousand dollars.
Whatever type of machine you are shopping for, make sure you try before you buy. Take along a variety of fabrics to test out how the machine performs, how easy it is to use and whether it's a good fit for the type of sewing you do.
How to compare sewing machines
Once you have thought about the type of sewing you want to do and how much you are willing to spend, consider the following essential factors:
Which sewing machine is best for me?
The best sewing machine for you depends on your skill level, the type of sewing you want to do and how much money you can afford to spend. For example, a machine that excels at basic mending and hemming often won't be the best choice for someone who takes on complex tasks like quilting. Similarly, while a top-spec machine with all the bells and whistles may be perfect for an experienced sewist, many of its features may be overkill for a novice.
To find the ideal sewing machine for your needs, compare a range of options and the features they offer. As an example, we've weighed up the pros and cons of five popular sewing machines in the table below:
|The good||The bad|
|Singer Fashion Mate 3333|
|Singer Heavy Duty 4432|
|Elna eXcellence 730PRO|
|Janome Skyline S9|
|Janome Sewist 780DC|
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