Keep it simple. Stick to the basics when buying your very first sewing machine.
When shopping for a computer, you want every feature that you can possibly afford. Not so with a sewing machine. Too many bells and whistles can be utterly distracting and even frustrating when you’re learning to sew. With complicated models, you can spend more time getting acquainted with the machine’s features than sewing.
Price Range and Features
For most first time buyers, an inexpensive, all-purpose machine is just fine. Basic, no-frills models are available for around $100. For perhaps $150 to $200, you can get a slightly more versatile model with some additional, helpful features. The ones within this broad price range will have more than enough capability for beginners to learn all of the basic techniques. Typically, they offer a number of fancy stitching options. Most of these will also be able to handle buttons and buttonholes as well.
Where to Buy
A wide selection of starter machines is available at retail stores and online. If you’re purchasing a machine online, buy from reputable sources. Be sure the machine is new and in its original factory-sealed carton with the original packing materials. Otherwise, there may be a concern about the warranty.
Even if you plan to buy online, visit local stores. This allows you to actually see display models of the machines you’re considering. Some local shops even include free sewing classes with the purchase of a sewing machine. So, be sure and check out the different options available in your area before making a final decision.
Do Some Research
Before deciding on a brand and model, do some research. A good place to start is Consumer Reports. By all means, check out their recommendations for sewing machines. These reports will reflect a number of factors, such as the repair history, reliability, overall customer satisfaction, and price.
Check local sewing machine repair shops to be sure that they can fix the brand you have in mind. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying a hefty shipping charge to some distant service location if something goes wrong.
Once you’ve learned all the basic sewing techniques, then it’s time for an upgrade to a premium model with many extra features so you can advance your sewing skills.
If you’ve caught the quilting bug, you’ll definitely want a quilting model with extra features, such as a walking foot and an extension table. In most cases, a specialized machine, such as a serger, isn’t intended to replace your regular sewing machine. However, some mid-priced models for around $400 have expanded embroidery options so that you need not necessarily buy a specialized embroidery machine.