Which sewing machine is best?
Whether the hem on your pants needs fixing or the waist on your skirt should be taken in for a better fit, tailoring your own clothing can save you time and money. And with a high-quality sewing machine, you don’t have to be an expert sewer to mend, tailor and make your own clothes.
Sewing machines aren’t just for novice sewers, though. You can find them for any skill level, so you can tackle projects from hemming pants all the way up to more complicated tasks like quilting. Some are even Wi-Fi-enabled, letting you add patterns from your computer for highly creative projects.
If you’re looking for a versatile sewing machine from a well-trusted brand, the Singer 7258 100-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine is ideal.
What to know before you buy a sewing machine
Sewing machines are available in several types, which work for different skill levels and budgets.
- Mechanical machines: These feature manual controls, usually rotary dials or push buttons. They’re often larger than other sewing machines, so they occupy more space in your workroom. A manual machine is best if you’re on a budget and mainly undertake basic sewing tasks, such as fixing hems, doing repairs and following simple clothing patterns.
- Electronic machines: These offer more stitch options than a mechanical model and usually have an LED display screen and touchpad controls for extremely user-friendly operation. Electronic machines cost more than mechanical ones, but they can handle more complex tasks, such as topstitching and piping.
- Computerized machines: These are electronic, but they’re more complex than basic electronic models because they can connect to your computer with a USB cable. You can then download patterns and send them to the sewing machine. A computerized sewing machine is ideal for elaborate, creative projects, but it’s more expensive than electronic ones.
When you invest in a sewing machine, you want to have confidence you’ll be able to use it for years to come. Repairs for electronic and computerized sewing machines can cost, so be sure you’re protected if your machine runs into any problems.
Some manufacturers offer limited warranties that run as long as 30 years, but the terms vary from machine to machine. Read the warranty information carefully for any model you’re considering to ensure you know what it covers and how long the protection lasts.
Also known as the throat size, the amount of workspace a sewing machine offers varies from model to model. This refers not only to the machine’s length but also the distance between the needle and the body. Most sewing machines offer a throat size between 7 and 18 inches.
For basic sewing projects, the throat size isn’t particularly important, so nearly any model will do. However, if you plan to make quilts, blankets or other large items, you want a model with the largest workspace possible.
What to look for in a quality sewing machine
For simple, basic sewing projects, you really only need two stitches, straight and zigzag. But most sewing machines offer a wide range of stitch options that let you handle nearly any sewing project you can throw at them.
Standard stitch options include:
- Straight: Straight stitches are just what they sound like — the needle deposits the thread in a straight line. It’s used to secure two pieces of fabric together.
- Zigzag: These are used for elastic or stretchy materials because they won’t pop as the fabric stretches.
- Lock: Lock stitches are used to lock the top and bottom threads of single stitches together, so they’re fully secure.
- Overlock: These are a bit more advanced. They help prevent the inside of a seam from fraying and provide a finished look.
- Decorative and embroidery: Some sewing machines offer decorative and embroidery stitches that let you monogram items, embroider designs and more.
Automatic needle threader
An automatic needle threader simplifies sewing considerably because you don’t have to manually thread your needle. It’s especially helpful if your hands aren’t steady or you have eyesight issues.
Sewing machines have either a front-loading or a drop-in bobbin.
- Drop-in bobbins are usually easier to thread and generally create better stitches. They’re often clear, too, so you can see how much thread you have left.
- Front-loading bobbins can work well for quilting and embroidery projects because it’s easier to change them in the middle of a project.
Needle position adjustment
A sewing machine with needle position adjustment lets you move the needle right or left with the push of a button. This can come in handy when sewing zippers or along edges.
Automatic thread cutter
An automatic thread cutter lets you cut the thread just by pressing a button, saving you time and frustration.
If you sew clothes regularly, an automatic buttonholer allows you to sew a buttonhole in a single step. You don’t have to stop the machine to change the direction of the fabric, either. You can even find some machines that let you place a button in a designated slot, so the buttonhole is always the perfect size.
With speed control, a sewing machine can send fabric through at a steady pace, so you can work at a good clip without having to stop or adjust the foot pedal.
How much you can expect to spend on a sewing machine
Sewing machines usually cost $30-$300. For a high-quality mechanical sewing machine, you’ll typically pay $60-$100. Electronic and computerized sewing machines with many special features generally cost $100-$300, but you’ll pay over $300 for computerized models with top-of-the-line features.
Sewing machine FAQ
How difficult is it to use a sewing machine as a beginner?
A. These days, sewing machines are user-friendly, so beginners can learn easily. You should read the owner’s manual carefully before using your machine, though, to make sure you know how to operate it. Many manufacturers also offer online tutorials to make the learning process even easier.
How noisy is a sewing machine?
A. A sewing machine is often noisy, but the amount of noise varies from model to model. You can find some that operate at approximately 60 decibels, about the same sound level as conversation. Others are much louder, so some sewers prefer to wear noise-canceling headphones while using their machine.
What’s the best sewing machine to buy?
Top sewing machine
What you need to know: This versatile machine comes from a well-respected brand and offers 100 stitch options that work well for beginner and intermediate sewers alike.
What you’ll love: It offers many convenient features, including an automatic threader and a drop-in bobbin. It has an automatic buttonhole feature for one-step button sewing. The stitch options are clearly displayed and easy to select.
What you should consider: The plastic housing doesn’t feel especially durable.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top sewing machine for the money
What you need to know: This is an excellent option for beginners, made by a popular brand with an excellent track record.
What you’ll love: It offers 70 stitch options and one-step buttonhole settings, and it features a wide workspace for quilts and other large projects. Its screen display is extremely easy to use. It even works well with medium-weight fabrics.
What you should consider: It doesn’t work as well for heavy-weight materials.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: With plenty of helpful features such as built-in stitch options and user-friendly controls, this is an excellent choice for beginners.
What you’ll love: It lets you manually adjust the width and length of stitches with easy-to-use knobs. It includes an easy-to-follow chart of stitch options and doesn’t get hot during operation. The reverse lever makes it easy to lock stitches.
What you should consider: It doesn’t offer as many features as some higher-end models.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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