I am not a snob, but I have been sewing on industrial sewing machines for over 30 years, so it is hard for me to use a home sewing machine. Before I brought my Singer 20u33 for its speed and power, I did use a home machine, a White machine. The body was metal and I used it for 10 years before passing it on. It did basic stitches. I made leather garments and heavy wool coats on that machine, which is how I judge home machines. Can they keep up with my type of sewing?
I have been asked by beginner sewists that I know well, what type of machine to buy. I am not one to say it depends on what type of sewing you want to do, yada yada yada. These are women I know and love, and I know they are looking for guidance. For my ladies, you don’t need to buy a fancy machine, and you don’t need to buy the top of the line. I want you to start sewing first. If you find yourself doing more and more sewing, you can always sell what you have and get a machine that better fits your level of sewing. Look for a machine that’s affordable and easy to use. Your machine needs to do straight and zigzag stitches; the blindstitch is good; everything else is icing on the cake. Your machine needs to be able to sew without the bobbin thread bunching up, which is why I am not a fan of drop-in bobbins, but there are many reliable machines with that feature. I prefer a machine that’s mechanical because it’s easier to service. I like a machine that has more metal than plastic; I don’t like my machine moving as I sew.
I am not into computerized sewing machines, but I did buy one in order to try out machine embroidery. I didn’t want to invest a lot of money in an embroidery machine, but if you know you want to do special machine embroidery, spend more money to buy a machine that allows you to design your own embroidery without having to buy expensive software. I brought an entry level machine, Brother SE-350, for $310. The reviews were good. The only thing I’ve done with the machine so far is use the twin needles to hem a couple of knit tops, made keyhole buttonholes and did machine embroidery on a hoodie I made.
I brought my daughter a Kenmore mechanical sewing machine about 6 years ago. I don’t remember the cost, but she was 11 years old at the time, so I spent more than $100 but less than $200. It’s reliable and has a metal bobbin case that does not drop in. It’s perfect for a newbie, but I personally would not buy it for my level of sewing.
If I had to buy a home machine, I would probably buy the Singer Heavy Duty Professional Sewing Machine (Model HD110) for $300. It has good reviews, power and speed, it’s mechanical, it not all plastic, and it has an extension table. It reminds me of the machines I used before the industrial machine. I learned to sew on a portable sewing machine that required two hands and a few muscles to lift it. It was all metal.
To my ladies, here are some other things to keep in mind. We are looking for affordability, which means you are not likely to find a store that will let you test drive the machine. Also, the days of taking your machine someplace local for service are long gone; you may have to ship your machine if there’s a problem. Many of you are online savvy, so check the reviews whether you are buying your machine online or at a local store. Remember, there will always be someone that loves a machine and someone that hates it. Some people will have problems no matter what machine they use and we all know someone like that. There are lemons even among the higher price machines, it just the nature of manufacturing anything, there will always be some with defects.
Bottom line my ladies, buying a sewing machine is like buying a car, as we made more money, we brought fancier cars. Keep in mind that almost all sewing machines are good starter machines; it’s just that some of us want to “drive” the fancier models right away. Pick your price point, pick the features you have to have, check out the reviews and the repair history, pick your retailer and go for it.