Buying your first sewing machine is really exciting but can also be a little overwhelming. Where to buy, the best brands, the desired features. There is a myriad of options out there so it really helps to narrow down your selection. Consider the type of sewing you’re going to do and the money you want to spend. Read our top tips below for buying your first sewing machine.
Where to buy
Taking a new sewing machine for a test run can help you figure out if it’s the right one for you. Can you navigate the different features? Is it easy to use? Try visiting your local machine stockist for some advice. They can help you narrow down particular models that are suitable for the type of sewing you want to do and your skill level. Of course, buying online is another option. Suppliers will usually list the machine’s features for you and provide a description of the model highlighting its particular strengths. Contact the supplier with any additional questions you may have. Additionally, try looking for videos and reviews online which discuss some of the particular features in greater depth.
Plus, check out Love Sewing magazine for helpful machine reviews and how to master certain stitching techniques.
The amount you want to spend on a sewing machine is an important factor you need to be clear about before diving in to all the options. Set yourself an amount that you’d be happy to spend then narrow down the machines that fall into that price category. If you can’t afford to buy a brand-new machine, don’t worry! There are still some great second-hand options available. Try searching for second-hand models on eBay or Gumtree, ask family and friends if they have a machine they no longer use or pop into your local charity shop.
Furthermore, your budget will very much depend on how often you’ll be using the machine. If, like us, you fall head over heels for dressmaking it’s likely you’ll use your machine quite often and in which case you’ll need one that you can grow into. However, if you don’t envisage using your machine too often or prefer taking on more simpler tasks you can find some fantastic models for under £150.
When it comes to features, you’ll need to figure out what you’re hoping to use the machine for. Is it predominately dressmaking, embellishing garments, quilting or home-furnishing makes? If you’re taking your machine along to classes you’ll probably want something that’s lightweight and easy to carry. If a machine boasts 200+ stitches, do you envisage using all of these? Make sure you do a bit of research and ask questions so you can ensure the model that you buy is relevant for the projects you want to sew.
Below we’ve rounded up some of our favourite beginner-friendly sewing machines to help get your sewing journey off to a flying start!
The Bernette 33 is a budget-friendly, mechanical sewing machine that will help you become familiar with popular utility stitches and common machine settings. At first glance, you’ll notice easy to navigate features with common stitch patterns and measurements displayed on the hard body. Use the two knobs to easily adjust settings and select any of the 15 built-in stitches. We’re particularly fond of the 2-step foot lift which makes sewing through thick, or multiple layers of fabric a breeze!
Janome: Sewist 725S
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use machine that can take on your first sewing projects with ease take the the Janome 725S for a spin. This ergonomically-friendly model boasts 23 built-in stitches with the most popular usefully displayed on the machine’s body. There’s also a built-in needle threader, jam-proof drop-in bobbin and extra high foot lift to help you avoid any mechanical faux pas and let you get on with all the fun parts of sewing.
Brother: Innov-is A50
Compact and lightweight, the Brother A50 is ideal if you’re looking for a machine that’s easy to transport and store. There are plenty of foundational features that will enable beginners to take on a range of projects. These include 50 built-in stitches, intuitive electronic jog dial, five styles of one-step buttonholes as well as a twin needle setting to give your garments a professional-looking finish.
Janome: Model DKS100 Special Edition
The DSK100 by Janome is a fully computerised machine making it really easy to activate different features at the touch of a button. The machine boasts 100 built-in stitches and 6 styles of buttonholes giving you the confidence to master a range stitches and finishes. Plus, sewists will appreciate the quick and easy set up thanks to the easy-set bobbin, automatic needle threader and automatic thread cutter which all contribute to a fluid and time-saving sewing experience.
PFAFF ambition 620
Not only do we love the modern look of this machine but it boasts some fantastic, intuitive features to help build your confidence and skills. PFAFF prides itself on cutting-edge design, hence why this 620 model boasts extra special features that will seamlessly take your sewing to the next level. Achieve maximum precision thanks to the 29 needle positions, start/stop button and mirror image of your stitches. There are 136 carefully selected stitch patterns, plus two built-in sewing fonts so you can add some fun embellishments to your makes!
For gorgeous dressmaking patterns, visit the Simple Sew website.
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