Whether you're starting a new hobby, wanting to make your own clothes, or alter clothes, here are a few things to consider when looking for a sewing machine. I'm not a sewing machine expert, but I'll share some of the features I like. Also, where to find a sewing machine when you are in the middle of a pandemic!?
I often get asked what sewing machine I would recommend. There can be so many options when selecting a sewing machine. So how to choose? It would depend on what you want to sew and what's available. I started sewing using my mom's sewing machine. We shared it until I got married and made a home of my own. Here's a picture of my very own first sewing machine!
My husband and I made a trip to our local Walmart, and this is the one I picked. I have to admit I mostly picked it because I liked its appearance and price. It served me well. I used it for many years for various sewing projects. It has all the main features like a straight stitch, a zig-zag stitch, a buttonhole maker, reverse for a backstitch, needle threader, free arm, and a bobbin winder. I also liked that I could move my needle to the left, right, or center. This was handy when sewing zippers. It had a few other fun stitches as well.
Eventually, I tried to do some things that this machine just couldn't handle. Now the needle bar is misaligned. I considered getting it fixed but at the time the cost of fixing it was about the same as just buying a new one. So that's what I did. By then I knew I really wanted to sew. I remembered Mom's machine was amazing, never any trouble. That's what I wanted. So my husband helped me do some research and we got this one.
It has a lot of the same features: a straight stitch, a zig-zag stitch, a buttonhole maker, reverse for a backstitch, needle threader, free arm, and a bobbin winder. Right away the main difference I noticed was the weight of it. It felt heavier and sturdier, although the exterior is plastic. It has a dedicated space in my sewing room. It can handle lots of layers like when working with denim. I liked that it included different kinds of feet. For example, the blindstitch foot. It also came with a hardcover case. My favorite part is that no oiling is required. Nice feature.
This one was gifted to me. My first time using a computerized sewing machine. It's very easy to put the bobbin in at the bottom. Ever get started sewing and then all of a sudden you lose your threads and have to start all over? That's not an issue with this machine. It automatically always puts the needle down. Then you press a button to put the needle all the way up so you can get your project out. When you start to sew the next time, the lever is all the way up and you don't lose your thread. I also like that it can embroider words! Fun little feature. It has all kinds of other stitches and buttonhole options. I prefer to do my main sewing with the Janome machine, but I use this one for the more decorative things. If you are new to sewing, you might appreciate the speed control. You can set it to slow or fast. No matter how much you press on the foot pedal, it only goes as fast as you set it. This one goes reverse with a push of a button instead of pulling down a lever. If you prefer not to use the foot pedal, you can do that. Just press a button to start and stop sewing. It definitely had a learning curve for me since I'm used to mechanical machines. It's useful to write down some notes of your favorite settings for future reference. This one was from Costco, but they don't seem to carry it at the moment. Here is a comparable one from Cleaners Supply. Disclaimer, I've not tried this version. Do some research before getting a sewing machine.
I searched online for sewing machines, but there doesn't seem to be very many options right now. If you are looking for a sewing machine, you might start by asking friends or relatives if they have a sewing machine they are not using. Perhaps they can pass it on to you or let you borrow it. You might also try your local Sewing & Vacuum shop, thrift stores, Craigslist, or something like that. In the past, I have found some pretty awesome machines and supplies at estate sales. Personally, I think the sturdier and heavier the machine the better. It means the inner parts are made of metal, less likely to break down, and easier to repair. A lighter machine might be better if you need to move your machine from one spot to another. These are just my thoughts, but I hope it can be helpful.
You can also check out this video by Evelyn Wood.
Have a lovely day.