Compbrella Guide to The Best Sewing Machines
Sewing is a bit of a lost skill these days. Our grandparents and parents knew how to use a sewing machine to patch clothes, sew buttons, and even make whole garments. Today not as many of us know how to perform this useful skill but if you have a family or if you just have a habit of tearing your clothes and losing buttons, a sewing machine can make an invaluable contribution to your home.
What is a Sewing Machine?
Sewing machines are home machines that let you make simple clothes, sew buttons, and fix clothes. Since they were invented they’ve been staples of every family’s home and although they have gotten more complex over the years they still perform the same function.
What types of Sewing Machines can you find?
There are four types of sewing machines and whichever you buy will depend on your needs.
- Mechanical Sewing Machine: Depending on your age, some of you might remember seeing these in your grandparents’ home. This is the basic sewing machine and it’s not powered by electricity, it runs on your own physical effort, usually with a dial on the side or with a foot pedal. Although mechanical sewing machines are mostly considered vintage items nowadays, they’re still useful for basic projects with thin materials. These machines are made from metal, so they’re durable and will last, and have already lasted, a long time.
- Electric Sewing Machine: Electric sewing machines are run by single motor engines. You control the speed with a foot pedal and the length and style of the stitch with a dial on the side of the machine. Common features that come with electric machines are automatic tension setting, thread cutters, and a set buttonhole stitch. More most home users this is the ideal choice. It’s powerful, reliable, and has the ability to handle a wide range of materials and stitch patterns.
- Computerized Sewing Machine: If you’re branching out into becoming a professional seamstress or you have many projects that require embroidery, consider a computerized machine. These machines use LED, LCD, or even touch screens so you can program the sewing to your exact needs. These machines are capable of elaborate embroidery patterns and if you get a model if with a USB slot you can even plan your designs on a computer, hook them up and let the machine do the work for you. These computerized sewing machines are more than most home users need but a worthwhile investment for semi-professionals.
- Over-locker Machines: Over-lookers are not sewing machines per se, but they can be extremely useful for professionals. Overlockers create high quality seems and hems while nipping away the extra fabric. They’re less useful for everyday work but they can work at twice the speed and are an excellent addition to a specialist.
What to look for when shopping for Sewing Machines?
Now that you understand why you should have a sewing machine is useful and what kind is right for you, it’s important to have a good idea of the most useful features and factors to consider before making your final decision.
- Automatic Buttonhole: This simple feature will save you so much time and hassle. This feature allows you to sew a buttonhole in one easy step so you don’t have to stop and move the fabric around. Some models even have slots you insert the button in so it sews right on.
- Feed-Dog Adjustment: This allows you to lower the toothed mechanism beneath the sewing surface so you can freestyle your embroidery and adorning.
- Ergonomics and Control: The machine should be able to handle thick fabrics and multiple layers with ease and not stall. Controls should be easy to reach and use, and you should look for a model with more room to the right of the needle so you can move your hands.
- Lightweight: Unless you’re buying a vintage machine that will double as an antique or you’re a professional that always needs their sewing machine ready to go, look for a machine that is lightweight and easy to store away. Models with handles on top are especially convenient.
- Needle Position and Threader: These features allows you to move the stitching line from left to right and to set the position of the needle when you stop. This will save you having to make a jump stitch when you turn. The threader pulls the thread through the needle saving your eyes and your frustration.
- Presser feet: having an adjustable presser foot lets you control how tight the machine holds the fabric while you sew, preventing snags and stretching.
- Power switch: Having a simple on/off swith is easier and is a safety feature to prevent children from breaking the machine.
- Speed Control: Set the pace of the fabric through the machine so it works at your tempo instead of having to constantly stop and start.
- Stitches: This can fluctuate widely between machines, from simple straight and zigzags to more decorative stitching. Check the machine’s maximum stitch length and width before making your purchase.
Compbrella Pick for Top 3 Best Sewing Machines
Best Overall: Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine, CS6000i – This simple to use sewing machine features an automatic needle threader, 60 built-in stitches and over a half dozen styles of 1-step autosize buttonholes. It has adjustable sewing speed and is computerized so you can decorate your clothes quickly, efficiently, and easily.
2nd Best: SINGER | Heavy Duty 4423 Sewing Machine – With 23 built-in stitches and a motor that 60% stronger than your average sewing machine, this model is perfect for all your sewing needs, from simple button threading to heavy-duty quilting.
Best Value: Brother Sewing Machine, XM2701 – For those just getting into sewing or need an easy machine for quick fixes, this machine is for you. Jam resistant, lightweight, and featuring 27 unique stitches, this sewing machine is perfect for using in a pinch and storing away. That it comes with a 25-year warranty just means that it will stay with you forever.