Not so long ago sewing machines seemed to be going out of fashion, but now, perhaps due to a desire to spend less and save more, they are undergoing something of a revival. Now you have decided to buy a sewing machine, you need to know what to look for. There is an array of different sewing machine models available that fall into three different categories; electrical, mechanical and computerized.
The industrious sewing machine has long been textile industry’s dependable work horse. Every year, sewing machines contribute to the production of millions of items of clothing from across the world. Due to its simple mechanics, the sewing machine is easily available and affordable in every society in the world, at all levels. Sewing machines are incredibly versatile too, and so they have forever changed the face of our modern day manufacturing processes. It’s not only the clothing industry in which they are a vital tool, but also the mattress industry, the automobile industry and even the food industry.
As with most big purchases, when considering a sewing machine you need to identify what your requirements are. Consider what it is you want to do. Do you plan to sew your entire wardrobe from now on, or do you just want to repair some of your older dresses and shirts? You need to choose the right sewing machine in order to make your clothing maintenance job that much easier. There are also other factors to consider, such as your budget and what kind of features and services you will want. This sewing machine guide is intended to help you identify exactly what kind of machine you will need.
Electric Sewing Machine
These are the most common type of machine in households today. Electric sewing machines have a single electric motor that sends an electrical impulse to the needle, making it work together with the machine’s feeding mechanism. Both of these are controlled using a foot pedal, meaning that the user’s hands are free to manipulate the cloth, so it can be guided accurately and the speed adjusted as necessary. With electric sewing machines you can select the stitch type you want using a small dial. Most home users will find that an electric sewing machine is capable of meeting all of their needs, such is the huge variety of models available.
Computerized Sewing Machine
The next most popular sewing machine is perhaps more of a luxury. Computerized machines are targeted towards experienced sewers who would like the use of a more specific and versatile machine. These machines employ several different motors that work in tandem to control the machines different functions. This offers the user extremely precise control that cannot be had with ordinary types of sewing machines, including the ability to sew hundreds of kinds of stitches. Some computerized sewing machines even feature micro chips that can remember previous jobs and repeat them, and further still, it’s possible to connect some to a computer and download new styles from the internet. While the cost may be prohibitive, a computerized sewing machine offers a wealth of options to explore and can make you a much better sewer.
Mechanical Sewing Machine
Most mechanical machines are somewhat more difficult to use, although often they are less expensive. They are mostly used for stitching hems and seams, though they can also perform some decorative stitches too. A mechanical sewing machine is able to sew seams, finish edges and cut away any extra fabric, all in one easy step, making them useful machines for sewers who want to perform easier jobs like taking up hems or making curtains. However, they do not offer the versatility of electric and computerized sewing machines.
There is an enormous range of sewing machines available now, from low-cost models that can only perform basic repairs and stitches to high-cost computerized machines that can produce intricate embroidery patterns taken from an image, at the touch of a button. Of course it’s pointless to waste all that money on a high-end machine if you only want to stitch a few hems, so consider the following points first.
For people who only intend on sewing from time to time, then the most suitable machine might be a standard electric model. Good quality electric sewing machines can be bough for under £200, and will provide you with all the features you need.
When choosing an electric sewing machine, a model that comes with a choice of foot attachments is a good choice, as it will allow you to perform many basic tasks. A nice selection for first time users might be a buttonhole foot, zipper foot and plastic foot (for soft fabrics).
Try to find a machine that offers a few different stitches. Ideally you should have several lengths of straight stitches, some zigzag stitches and a buttonhole feature. While decorative stitches look great, you may want to consider how necessary they really are, given the added cost.
If you are going to use your sewing machine more frequently, perhaps for such tasks as dressmaking or sewing cushions then you may want to look at mid range sewing machine models that can offer some nice little features and make your job easier.
More complex garments will require additional features if you want to save yourself a lot of time and effort. For example, a model with a free arm is a great help for producing anything with pockets and sleeves. Another useful feature you might want is an overlocker stitch, for neatening hems and seams.
Meanwhile, if you will be sewing thick and heavy fabrics, a sturdy machine will surely benefit you, as it will be easier to feed the fabrics without them getting stuck in the machine.
Other useful features include a wider machine feet selection. Some useful feet you may want include a blind hem foot, zigzag foot, narrow hem foot, concealed zipper foot and a piping foot.
For serious sewers, investment in a hi-tech computerized machine may be worthwhile. These machines can come with a range of patterns pre-programmed into them, enabling you to create embroidery with intricate and colourful patterns.
Computerized machines can also be programmed with many new designs which are available to download from the internet, meaning that there are many thousands of possibilities in store for the professional sewer, all of which can be performed easily.
For anyone who is using their sewing machine for business, computerized machines are really the only viable option, as they allow for many repetitive tasks to be done automatically, saving you time and money.
Bobbin - A small spool that holds the thread in place, at the bottom of the sewing machine. Usually located under the needle in a small compartment.
Feed Dog - The small metal plate located under the needle. It’s job is to help feed the fabric through the machine
Free Arm - A cylinder located on the bed of the machine, this feature is for assisting in sewing things like pockets onto your garments.
Presser Foot - This is for holding the fabric in place underneath the needle, in order to stop it moving around while you are sewing.
Sewing Bed - This is the lower section of the sewing machine, the part that holds the bobbin.
Spool - The plastic cylinder that holds the thread.