We’ve put together our 10 top tips for buying a sewing machine for a beginner! let us know in the comments what your first sewing machine was – do you remember it? We have picked out a few essential features that we think all sewing machines should have and a little extra advice on how to choose your first sewing machine!
10 Tips for buying your first sewing machine
Budget – spend as much as you can afford
A sewing machine should last you for years, so think of it as an investment. You can buy very basic beginner models but it’s worth looking to buy a machine that you can ‘grow into’. If your budget won’t stretch very far you could think about the second-hand market.
Read the Reviews!
It sounds obvious but it’s a surefire way to find out if there is a problem with a particular machine when you see lots of reviews mentioning the same issues about quality or customer aftercare. Don’t just look at reviews on the product page, go to sewing forums and communities and read real accounts of the machines.
Don’t be wowed by 1000’s of stitches!
Chances are you will only end up using about 10 stitches! The huge list of stitches looks so enticing but in reality you usually use a straight stitch or zig-zag stitch! Having a buttonhole stitch and buttonhole foot is a great time saver though, so keep an eye for that one. All the other stitchers are likely to never be used by anyone other than the sales person demonstrating it.
Needle threader feature
I don’t care how good your eyesight is or how steady your hands are having a needle threader feature on the machine will save you so much time, you just wrap the thread around the guide and it’s threaded in seconds. This is a must have feature for most sewists!
A built-in Light is a must!
Another must have! If it doesn’t have a built-in light you will find that sometimes you struggle to see the detail when you are sewing. Even having a lamp next to you is no substitute because of the shadow cast by the machine itself. You’ll have to replace the bulb maybe once a year max and it will come on automatically and illuminate every stitch! Just check the bulb fitting before you replace the bulb!
This is such a useful feature for when you are circular sewing something like a sleeve or a bag. You simply take away part of the machine and it makes this kind of sewing a whole lot easier!
Twin Needle Function
This is really useful when sewing more stretchy fabrics like jersey, especially if you don’t have the budget (or skill level) to be looking to invest in an overlocker. The twin needle itself is just inserted into the usual needle area, however, you need the function to be able to use two spools of thread, one for each needle.
For beginners being able to slow it down is important – double check that you can do this before you buy. If you are looking to buy a sewing machine for a child it’s really important. Most modern sewing machines have this function, but do check if buying second hand.
A really handy feature is an extra area of sewing table that often comes with machines, it just gives you extra room to manoeuvre the fabric, especially handy for bulky fabric that can drag with its weight. You need a table that is made for your machine so getting one that comes with a table included is usually a big saving.
Borrow a machine from your friends before you buy!
If you have some crafty friends then ask if you can ‘have a go’ on their machine and ask them what they find best about it and why, there’s nothing like trying something out yourself – some nice friends may even let you borrow it for a few weeks. Once you understand what the features are for better you will realise that the machine itself while being important that it sews consistently, the biggest variable factor in the results you get are your skill and like everything, that just takes practice and a little patience!
You can shop our range of sewing machines in the Simple Sew Shop – Sewing Machines
My first was a treadle with a handle as well, v useful, but with a bullet-shaped spool that was the devil to line up right!