Sewing Machines

“What sewing machine do you recommend?” I get asked this question all the time, and honestly it’s a tough question to give just one answer to, as there are many factors involved when one is looking into buying a machine. 


Obviously, price is a big factor. I personally own Bernina Machines and I love them. They are quite pricey for the novice; though most times you get what you pay for, there are machines out there just as good for a fraction of the cost of Bernina. 


Machines

I am going to list my personal qualifications that I look for in a sewing machine. These especially apply for beginners and young children. I’ll also list some machines I’ve used that would meet this criteria, to give you a starting point. Ultimately, the final decision is up to you. A sewing machine investment is always a good idea, but it’s important to research and make an educated decision. Have fun! 

 

Important Machine Must-Haves:

 

Speed adjuster. So many machines have pedals that are prone to unruliness. It’s frustrating for beginners to learn how to sew on a machine that is faster than a race horse. 


 

Automatically lifts the needle and thread take up lever into position, or has a button a student can press that will lift the needle and thread up take lever into position. When you finish sewing a project, it’s essential to cut off your work with the needle up and the thread take up lever in it’s proper upright position. Otherwise when you start to sew again, the machine will think it’s halfway through a stitch, the thread will come out of the machine’s needle and frustrate the sewer. 



 

“That’d be Nice” Additions

 

Upper bobbin insertion. For beginners, threading the machines is daunting enough, and learning how to thread a bobbin (lower thread) when it is loaded under the machine is a lot more difficult than upper bobbin threading. 


 

Automatic needle threader. Most people think this is THE best thing ever, but truthfully, the automatic threaders on machines can be anything but automatic 5 times out of 10! When they do actually work, however, they can be a dream come true. 


 

Several Stitching Options: a special bonus would be stitches that include a “serged” (zig zag stitch with a straight stitch along it) and “knit” stitch (tight, slanted zig zag stitch). The stitch you will use the most will be the straight stitch, with the zig zag stitch a far second. If a machine has those two, you’re golden, but there’s nothing wrong with having more to play with! 

 

 

Sewing Machines

 

$100-$200 range

Brother SC9500 Computerized Sewing Machine 



Pros:

  • Good PriceWith some searching, you could find this wonderful machine for $100. That’s hard to beat.
  • Speed Adjuster 
  • Automatic Thread Take Up Lever
  • Upper bobbin insertion 
  • Automatic Needle Threader
  • Several Stitching Options 

Cons:

  • Needle always stops down: this can be a good thing or a bad thing. It’s a good thing when sewing over curves or flimsy material. It’s a bad thing when one is trying to sew over pins. You must take all pins out when sewing with this machine. 
  • Not good with thick fabric: it’s a struggle to sew over thick fabric. With the right machine needle (and lots of patience), it could manage. If you are planning to work with lots of denim or leather, this machine’s not for you! 


Singer Stylist 



Pros:

  • Good Price: I spied this listed new for $167, I am sure with some research you could find one for even cheaper
  • Speed Adjuster 
  • Automatic Thread Take Up Lever
  • Upper bobbin insertion 
  • Automatic Needle Threader
  • Several Stitching Options
  • Needle Position Button: This is great for beginners especially. Not only in finishing a project, but also to put the needle down for corners and curves.

Cons:

  • Plastic or metal bobbins? Singer machines typically come with plastic bobbins, but I’ve found this machine does better with metal
  • SLOWBeginners won’t complain, however this machine’s fastest setting is still only medium speed for most machines


$250-400 range:

Brother Project Runway Sewing and Embroidery LB6800PRW 




Pros:

  • Speed Adjuster 
  • Automatic Thread Take Up Lever
  • Upper bobbin insertion 
  • Automatic Needle Threader: This machine has the best automatic needle threader I’ve seen. 
  • Several Stitching Options
  • Embroiders: Embroidery on this machine is for small designs. It does a fabulous job, however, the machine’s thread holder isn’t the best when using large spools of thread. I’ve found that just setting the thread on the table next to the back of the machine and then threading it through normally, works like a charm! 
  • Self cutter: Aka, you press a little scissor button and your work is cut off for you and the needle is lifted. So cool! 


Cons:

  • Frustrating Presser Feet Change: Obviously you’ll want to Embroidery if you purchase this machine, and to do that, you have to change the base of the presser foot. Doing that is a PAIN. It’s inconvenient and badly designed, but good news is if the regular foot is on the machine, changing to other feet (like a zipper foot or buttonhole foot), is a walk in the park.
  • Confusing Touch Screen: It takes a good bit of time to figure out how to work this machine- mainly just for the embroidery part. Prepare to invest the proper amount of manual reading, or you’ll be frustrated. 


Project Runway Computerized Sewing Machine PC420PRW



This machine is almost identical to the LB6800PRW embroidery machine discussed above, but without the embroidery option. Therefore, it runs a tad bit cheaper. If embroidery is not your cup of tea, here’s your baby! 


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