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14 NOV 2022

What are the things to look out for when choosing for a sewing machine?

by Stitch4You

You have completed a sewing class and you are now ready to hunt for your perfect sewing machine. However, there are so many brands and models in the market! How are you going to choose the right sewing machine? And not to mention, there are different types of sewing machines ranging from basic sewing to heavy-duty sewing machines. And there are the professional ones that cost just a little bit more and come with hundreds over stitches that look so interesting.
We get that it seems like a difficult task to search for the perfect sewing machine but we are here to help make it easier for you to decide. Afterall, we are the experts who know the capability of our sewing machines. 
Whether you are a new to sewing or a pro who has used a thousand over spools of threads, chances are, you will need a sewing machine that meets your needs.
Someone once told me that driving is easier than using a sewing machine. I would agree with that. But in comparison to buying a car, getting a sewing machine can be nerve breaking yet exciting as it can be pricey but comes with hours of creativity and perhaps a new career! Therefore it is important to know what different sewing machines are good for before you look for them when buying a sewing machine.
10 Points to Consider When Buying a Sewing Machine


1.  Are you going to buy a sewing machine for alteration purposes, hobby or setting up a business?

Most sewing machines have basic functions which suit almost everyone. However, for the more advanced sewists, you will probably be looking at something that offers more stitch patterns or functionality. This one question can help determine budget, make, size, stitch options, and so much more.

2.  What is your budget?
The price of a sewing machine varies significantly. If you have a limited budget, then it might not be possible to afford the high-end machines. In general:
  • Machines for light to medium weight work and fabric will cost between $200 – $300. This is a very rough guide. You also need to consider how many additional features you might want.

  • Machines for medium to heavy weight work and fabric can cost between $301 – $5,000. Again, this depends on extra features.

A good domestic sewing machine should be able to give you years of reliable, good service. It is vital that you choose the best sewing machine in your budget, to avoid any disappointment.

Remember, even if you have a very limited budget, it might not be the best idea to opt for a cheap, plastic machine. It won’t last, and it might put you off sewing altogether. Have a look around and see what quality second hand machines are available. Rule of thumb; always buy the best you can afford.

Consider what projects you will want to take on with your sewing machine.

3.  What projects will the machine be used for?

A sewing machine must be fit for purpose. There is no point buying a cheap, lightweight sewing machine, to sew your new heavy duty curtains. It simply won’t happen, and you will end up getting frustrated and annoyed.

Beginner or pro, it is vital to buy a sewing machine with the features you need.  Always consider how thick the thickest piece of fabric you will ever use with the machine. If you are keen to get started on projects using fabrics such as denim, heavy cotton twill, or anything else with a fair weight; then the sturdier the machine, the better. Consider your sewing expectations, and it will always help when determining what to look for when buying a sewing machine.

4.  What is the best sewing machine for a beginner?
If you are new to the sewing game, then welcome! Taking up sewing is a wonderful way to express creativity. From making your own clothes and homeware, to creating handmade gifts, there is so much excitement to be had in sewing.

Beginners will generally require a machine with a basic range of stitches. Think about what you want to sew. Even if it is just basic projects, you still require a good machine. It needs to be strong enough to cope with various weights of fabric. The machine will also need to have all the functions and features for your numerous projects.

Choosing the right attachments for your sewing machine is crucial.

5.  How often will the machine be used?

This is an important consideration. If you are just getting into sewing, you might only use your machine frequently. However, as you get more experienced (and addicted!), you could use your machine increasingly. Therefore, it is important to think about how often you will use the machine for now, and for the future.

Be very honest with yourself. If you are someone who might only get the machine out occasionally; to mend clothes, do some hemming, or a touch of embroidery, then there is no point investing in a vastly expensive machine.

If you have become addicted to sewing – trust us, it happens very easily – then you know you will use it often. Choosing a machine that is sturdy, with a metal frame inside will be ideal for you, and well worth the investment. Buying the best you can afford is the best approach.

6.  Do you need additional attachments with your sewing machine?

Sewing machines normally come with a range of additional attachments and features. These can range from very few and basic, to hundreds! It is important to research which attachments come as standard on your machine, and which you can buy separately, if needed.

Sewing machine attachments to look out for include:
  • Presser feet – a good selection can make a big difference to your projects
  • Buttonhole foot, blind hem foot, zipper foot – these are all important features for making clothing

  • Different width feet – these are invaluable for basic sewing, allowing you to switch between allowance widths and the zigzag stitch

  • Walking foot, ¼” foot, freehand embroidery foot – these features are necessary if you want make quilts

If your machine doesn’t come with all the bolts and whistles that you want, ensure that you can buy these separately.

How many stitches will you need in your sewing machine?

7.  How noisy is the sewing machine?

OK, this might sound like a petty consideration, but it is extremely important. A lot of people don’t think about this attribute when buying a sewing machine. But, if you end up with a very noisy machine, it might affect how often you use it.

Most hobby sewists only have time to sew in the evenings and in their spare time. You therefore wouldn’t want to settle down for a spot of relaxing sewing, only to be met with the sound of a jackhammer in your home!

When choosing your machine, make sure you really test out the functions before you buy it, so you can truly judge how noisy or quiet it is.

8.  How many stitches do you need?

There are machines available with as few as 10 stitch options, and as many as 300 stitch options! To be a good – or even a great – seamstress, you really only need a zigzag stitch and a straight stitch. These come in various designs, styles, widths, and lengths.

When a machine comes with hundreds of stitch options, including various shapes, designs, styles, widths, and lengths, they might look great, but ask yourself; are you really going to use them? Even expert sewists rarely drift away from the trusted straight or zigzag stitch.

Remember to have a good stock of thread, spare needles, pins and tape.

9.  Best sewing machine brands

We have all heard of the big, famous sewing machine brands, which are renowned for their quality and craftsmanship. Juki, Singer, Brother, and Janome are among the leaders in the industry. But which is the best sewing machine brand?

The features that set machines apart are:
  • Included features
  • Additional features

  • Build quality

  • Quality of layout and design

  • Ability to sew every type of fabric or textile

  • Life expectancy of the machine

There are also different types of sewing machines, which include:
  • Electronic sewing machines – these work by a single motor that sends an electrical impulse to move the needle. Feet operate the machine, allowing the hands to be free to move the fabric. This type of machine is ideal for home sewists.
  • Computerised sewing machines – easy to use for both beginners and experienced sewists. Very versatile, it works by using several motors to control different actions of the device. This includes speed control, needle function, and auto-lock. Extremely precise, and can memorise past projects, and download patterns from online when connected to a PC.

  • Overlockers – a finishing machine, used for hems and seams. They also have decorative stitching options. A great plus – they can sew a seam, finish the edge and cut off excess fabric.

10.  After-Sales Customer Service
The most important thing to look out for is, who are you buying from! Ensure you buy your machine from the right sellers and retailers who are authorised distributors AND offers great after-sales customer service. Keep in mind that who you are going to look for should you need any help with the sewing machine is as important as the brand. It is always better to buy from a retailer who has good after-sales customer service, as opposed to one who does not provide any after-sales service at all. Make sure you do your research on the retailer that you are buying from.


Here are some of our recommendations of sewing machines for various projects:
Generally, if you are a beginner and you will be sewing on cotton fabrics that is not thick, you can go for our basic sewing machine like Singer 2259, a suitable entry-level mechanical sewing machine for beginners and intermediate sewers. It is easy to set up and use. It can handle most of your basic sewing needs such as sewing buttonholes , simple alteration or hemming. Equipped with 19 stitches, it is a great machine for occasional sewers. On top of repair/mending jobs, 2259 can aid you in creating more interesting craftwork! It can do twin needle stitching too!

For projects like jeans, curtains or cushions that require thicker fabrics like denim, canvas or twill, you will need a heavy duty sewing machine which has a slightly more powerful motor to handle such fabrics. You can consider Janome Sakura 2112 or Juki 355ZW.

If you are into sewing bags which require fabric materials like canvas and up to PVC or PU Leather,  Janome HD5000 is your best bet. It is perfect for a beginner and for a wide range of sewing. It has a heavy-duty aluminium body and 18 stitches (mostly utility useful stitches only for this HD model), including a one-step buttonhole, give you the tools you need to handle any kind of sewing project.

Moving on to the professional sewists will be the Janome Skyline S5. It has a wide sewing space of 211mm to the right of the needle, more automated settings for customisation with a 9mm stitch width, automated locking stitch and thread-cutter.  The rigid die-cast aluminium frame ensures stable sewing even at high speeds, up to 1,000 stitches per minute and the larger arm space ensures the machine is equally suited to both larger projects.

And of course, let’s not forget about kids-friendly sewing machines. The Janome 4120Q is best recommended for children as it comes with a thread-cutter and alphabet font sewing. It has 120 stitches and 269 Alphabet Stitches, twin-needle functionality, superior editing, and mirror stitching are just a few of the cutting-edge features of this special machine. The Janome 4120QDC has the power, precision and convenience you need to realise your child’s creative potential.

* Click on the highlighted sewing machine models to view more features of sewing machines.