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How to find your perfect sewing machine

Updated: May 2, 2021

I get asked a lot on what sewing machine I would recommend, so I thought writing a blog post for everyone to give a few tips on the search of your perfect sewing machine.

In all my courses, you don't have to have a sewing machine. I have plenty machines, different types, you can try out and get comfortable with.

I am only using Brother Sewing Machines. When I first started sewing, I learned on a Butterfly which is the Chinese twin of a Singer. Had I not lived on an island determined to make sewing my hobby, I think I might have given up. The machine wasn't a joy to work with, the foot paddle got stuck whenever I started to make the first stitch.My second machine, which I still use, and all the handmade kids clothes are sewn on, is the Brother Innovis 15P. It has been a dream to sew on. It only has 15 stitches, your basic ones and couple of buttonholes but this is all I need(ed). It also comes with a needle threader and a speed control - which I love and is a great function especially when you are just starting out and struggle to manage the speed the sewing machine is going at.

For the courses, we use the Brother F420 which has 100s of different stitches, many decorative stitches and monogramming. These are fun, in particular for projects with children. On top of the functions of my machine, it also has an automatic cutter (which I love too!!).

I also own an overlocker from Brother. It is easy to thread, and beside once using the wrong thread, I never had any issues with it and I use it a lot!

When deciding to get a sewing machine, here are 5 useful tips or questions you should ask yourself. Whether you are upgrading an existing machine or a newbie, and treat yourself to a new machine.

What is your price bracket?

There are many machines with different price ranges. Having a good idea what your budget is, is important. Be sure to set yourself a budget.

Computerised or manual?

A lot of people moving to computerised sewing machines which have a screen and buttons to change settings, like stitch length or type. Or do you want a manual sewing machine, that you have dials (rather than buttons) to change your settings. What is your preference? It is a total preference, it doesn't make any difference to sewing and stitches. Keep in mind that computerised machines might be slightly more expensive. It is all about the user experience when it comes to deciding between manual and computerised sewing machines.

What are you going to use your machine for?

Do you want to venture into dressmaking? Or only sew a few bits for home decor or kids costumes? Every machine has a different variety of stitches. The basic machines will only have straight and zig zag stitches, and maybe a 4-step buttonhole setting. Or do you want more variety of stitches, like the stretch or lightning-bolt stitch, a one step buttonhole stitch, an overcasting stitch or do you love decorative stitches to finish your projects? Think about what you want your machine to do. You can purchase a sewing machine that is well under budget and a few years later, you decide to get into something else and your machine is limiting you. So think about what you want to use your machine for and what you might want to achieve with it in the future. Maybe you want to start with simple home decor and dressmaking in the future. Your machine will last you a long time and it isn't a short-term purchase.

Do you want extra functions on your machine?

For instance, the sewing machine I use in my courses (F420) has a cutter function that cuts your threads for you when you have finished your stitches. It also has a needle threader to help threading the needle.

The majority of top-line sewing machines have top-loading bobbins which is super useful to see the bobbin through a clear plastic window and if you need to change the bobbin or can still manage that seam before winding a new one. A lot of manual sewing machines have a front-loading bobbin casing, where you will have to take out the casing to check on the bobbin.

So think about if there is any extra functions and features you would like your machine to have.

What accessories do you need?

Some machines come with different accessories, like feet attachments. The majority of machines will come with a standard sewing machine foot, a zipper foot and maybe an overcasting foot. So perhaps, you need a walking foot or an invisible zipper foot. Do compare different machines and their accessories when buying a new machine. Some brands and even models within the brands, you cannot use always the same foot attachments. For instance, my bobbins from the Chinese Singer machines fit into the casing of my Brother machines but I cannot wind the bobbins because the hole is slightly too small. My walking foot is only suitable for certain machines, depending on the model number. Some accessories you can easily buy just keep in mind that you look out if it is suitable for your brand and model number.

Try out a machine, either at the shop or if you have a friend that has one that you like. Don't just get a cheap machine because it is on sale when in a couple of years time, you want a few extra functions. So think about what you want to do with it and try it out.

If ever you are thinking to join any of my courses, don't worry about having a machine. You can try out different machines, manual and computerised to see what is most suitable for you.

To add, I am not being paid to write any of the above. I truly believe that Brother Sewing Machines are a very good brand. Half of my sewing machines are owned by me and some are being sponsored by Brother Middle East. As mentioned above, I have bought my machine from Brother, back when I lived in Malaysia and didn't have my sewing courses and workshops.

Before I bought my private machine (15P), I was tempted to by the Singer Brilliance but decided against it. Reason being, the speed control. I saw this function in a YouTube video and really liked it because I had so much trouble with the foot paddle of my Chinese Singer machine, that this was the deal breaker for me why I went with my Brother Sewing Machine.

Thanks for hanging out with me.

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