We know: All About Sewing Machines

What's are the basic types of sewing machines on the market today?

Currently, there are basically two types, both automatic machines. One is mechanical, which is usually less expensive and with fewer features. The other is electronic. These generally use push buttons and display screens and offer a greater number of automatic features, including decorative stitching, monograms and even a computer floppy disk drive.

What is the range in cost of sewing machines?

You can generally buy a good mechanical machine starting at around $200 and increasing in price with features. Electronic machines (some with built-in computer electronics) are more expensive, starting at closer to $500 for a good machine and ranging up into $5000 for a computerized sewing machine by Husqvarna that offers 600 built-in stitches, with software that can be updated via the internet.

What kinds of features should I look for?

When shopping, these are some of the features to look for:

  • automatic needle threader
  • automatic button-holer
  • weight of the machine (so you can move it around)
  • # of automatic stitch sizes
  • # of automatic stitch types
  • # of presser feet
  • monogram feature
  • multi-directional feed dogs
  • multi-directional needle pivot positions
  • touch screen
  • floppy disk storage capacity for things such a embroidery design
  • bobbin winding
  • automatic lubrication
  • sturdy construction

What other ther things should I consider before buying?

  1. Try It Out - Bring the kind of material you sew with along when you shop and insist that you try the machine out yourself, not just watch a demonstration. If you use heavy material, be sure the machine can handle it.
  2. Warranty - Should be about 20 years for the mechanics, 2 years for the electronics and 1 year for labor.
  3. Service - Where do you send the machine if there are problems?

What about buying a used machine?

The advice we found from some sewers is that if you can't afford a good new machine, buy a good used machine.

What are the names of some of the manufacturers of sewing machines?

Manufacturers include Singer, Bernina, Kenmore, Brother. Baby Lock, Classic, Janome, and Husqvarna.

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