Starting to sew clothes, either your own or for others is a serious decision. While learning to sew can be intimidating, for many people, the real challenge is choosing the right sewing machine. This is mainly because there’s a big difference between a good sewing machine and a no-so-good sewing machine. Keeping that in mind, the following lines are going to be your guide to choosing the best beginner sewing machine.
RELATED: Cultivating a Capsule Wardrobe
Types of Sewing Machines
Sewing machines fall under three main categories, manual, mechanical and computerised. The following is some information to help you tell them apart.
Manual Sewing Machines
Another name for this type of machine is a vintage sewing machine, and this is the one your grandma probably used. These sewing machines could be considered the first-generation of all modern sewing machines with the only difference that these manual sewing machines do not need to be plugged into an outlet to work. While some vintage sewing machines can be operated by using a foot pedal others can be operated by hand.
These sewing machines are usually found at thrift stores or in yard sales. While the vintage sewing machine is a nice tool to have, it is not recommended to get one if you are just starting out with your hobby of sewing. This is mainly because these manual sewing machines come with fewer stitch options and can be difficult to control by someone who is inexperienced.
Mechanical Sewing Machine
The majority of people who use the mechanical sewing machine are those who have upgraded from the vintage sewing machine and find the computerised sewing machine too complicated to use. In many ways, using a mechanical sewing machine is going to be your best choice as a beginner. It’s no surprise that most of the modern sewing machines used by beginners are mechanical ones.
There are quite a few reasons why beginners are often advised to use a mechanical sewing machine. One of the main reasons for this is because they are affordable. The mechanical sewing machines are also easy to maintain, although you can easily find just about any part for any type of sewing machine on this site.
Since you wouldn’t want to confuse yourself with too many controls, another reason to choose a mechanical sewing machine as a beginner is that you are going to need one as a backup for a computerised sewing machine. That’s because unlike a mechanical sewing machine, a computerised machine is going to require lots of maintenance that you won’t be able to do yourself. This means, while your computerised sewing machine is away, the mechanical machine can act as your backup machine, which is why it should be the first machine you invest in as a beginner.
Computerised Sewing Machines
The third option you will have with sewing machines is the modern, computerised model. These sewing machines have plenty of functions and come with all the bells and whistles that could sometimes be intimidating for the first-time user, especially if you are a beginner. That said, using a computerised sewing machine is going to take care of pretty much every aspect of sewing.
While this is a great option if you do not want to bother with producing consistent stitches or adjusting tension, but starting off with a mechanical sewing machine is the preferred option since it allows you to use your brain as well. Besides, what’s the point of learning how to sew if you’re going to let the sewing machine to do everything for you?
Apart from that, another reason why using a mechanical sewing machine is recommended for beginners instead of the computerised one is because of the obvious price difference. These latest sewing machines tend to cost a lot more than the mechanical sewing machines. Since they also require regular maintenance that you cannot do yourself, going with the mechanical sewing machine is going to be your best option.
Features to Look for in a Beginner Sewing Machine
Regardless of one’s skill level, there are a few basic features that every sewing machine should have. But, sadly, some of them don’t, which is why beginners need to make sure the sewing machines they invest in have the following features.
How hard can it be to thread a needle, right? Since you are going to be threading the machine every time you want to sew, its best to get one that has a built-in needle threader. What about when you have to change threads? Rather than having to thread your needle dozens of times while working on your sewing project, having a sewing machine with a built-in needle threader will make the process a bit easier. It is also going to save you a lot of time that goes into threading the needle manually. Even if you have 20/20 vision, having a built-in needle threader will get the job done a lot faster.
A Well-Designed Drop-In Bobbin
One of the most frustrating things of working with a sewing machine is a poorly designed bobbin system. You will want to get a sewing machine that has a well-designed bobbin system. Preferably, one that is not concealed under the machine itself, which will require you to first remove the front cover and the casing of the bobbin. The last thing you would want is to realize that the machine is running without thread midway through sewing. To be safe, make sure that the sewing machine you purchase has a top-loading bobbin system, which is much easier to operate, and you will always know when you are running low on thread.
While this is one feature which is often overlooked by beginners who are purchasing their first sewing machine, the free-arm function plays a vital role in your sewing prowess. For starters, it enables you to sew narrow and round pieces of fabric, such as pant hems or shirt sleeves. If your sewing machine does not have this feature you can forget about doing any of those things. Besides, the ability of free-arm sewing is a must-have for a beginner sewing machine.
*Do connect with me on Instagram at @DesignTheLifestyleYouDesire for behind the scenes, daily updates, inspiration and more!