Today is Day 7 of 31 Days of Sewing School.
I know many of you are starting from square one when it comes to sewing, and one of the things you’re most scared of is buying a sewing machine (and then using it, of course).
The thing is, there isn’t one easy answer for choosing and buying a sewing machine. Well, actually, there is. But it might not be what you expect.
My best advice for those who want to buy a sewing machine?
Talk to friends, family members who sew (find out what machines these people –and bloggers you read– love), and if you’re serious about buying a new machine, visit your local sewing machine shop, where you can try out and “test drive” various machines, and see what you like and what fits your needs. Many sewing machine shops even offer free classes to learn your machine after you buy it.
Brand new to the craft? Ask around and see if someone has one you can borrow while you figure things out. Lots of people have a sewing machine collecting dust in a closet so it can’t hurt to ask. We’ll talk about different stitches on another day, but as long as the machine does a straight stitch and a zig-zag, you’re in business.
Buying a sewing machine is not unlike buying a car. We all have different needs, and a different budget. So unfortunately, I can’t sit here and type a list of the top ten machines. I can tell you about my own experience though. As can others.
Old does not mean obsolete, but new can be a nice treat
I recently listened to my friend Tsh’s podcast with Maggie (from Gussy Sews), a successful blogger and sewista, and one thing Maggie said was that the machine she loves best is her old, metal Kenmore machine.
I loved that because I learned to sew on my mom’s old, metal Kenmore and it totally got the job done for many years. Later, when my mom finally upgraded, she handed me down her next machine, a much more advanced Pfaff. I loved it, but it did more than I even needed.
After a long life (around twenty years), the mother board (something you don’t have to worry about with a simpler, non-electronic machine) on the Pfaff crapped out, and I had to trade it in… for my first brand-new machine. A high-quality machine retains its value, too. I got a great trade-in on the broken one which helped me afford my new sewing machine.
That was five years ago, and I’m still very happy with my Brother (mine is an older version of this one) that I got when Gigi was a newborn. It has a lot of stitches, and is a bit fancy in that it’s electronic and has a variety of special features, but it’s also simple– it’s not too computerized and it’s easy to use. Basically, it does everything I want (and more!), and that’s what matters.
With regular maintenance, a sewing machine should last many years, maybe even multiple generations.
I recently read about the machine Amanda Soule’s children use (my heart is full just thinking about giving Gigi her first sewing machine– what a happy day that will be!), and oftentimes crafty bloggers are as passionate about what sewing machine they use as a photographer is about her camera.
If you are shopping for a new machine, Sew Mama Sew! has an amazing resource for questions to ask about sewing machines.
If you have a machine, let’s hear about it! Leave us a comment and tell us what make and model you have and how you like it. Tomorrow, we’re talking about my secret weapon for sewing with a machine.