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Sewing. The very word brings up connotations that would be better left alone. Secluded grannies in the backroads of nowhere sewing something just to keep occupied. The stereotype has been hammered into our heads over and over again it’s difficult to understand what sewing actually is, what it can be used for, and most importantly, why it is an extremely important skill to have. At the very least, you should be able to sew to such a degree that any tear or rip in your clothing can be fixed in no time.
So let’s start from the very beginning. If you are new to sewing machines, then by going to Amazon and purchasing the first sewing machine you could well be making a mistake here; if you don’t have the basic knowledge required to make an educated decision, it could be an expensive lesson to learn.
The sewing world is undoubtedly filled to the brim with so much jargon it feels like you’re in a swimming pool and you can’t find the ladder to get out. It’s overwhelming at first, but even knowing a few key terms you’ll be well on your way to be a more educated customer. There’s not a chance I can give a full briefing on every sewing term in this one article as there are a great deal, but I’ll start by going over the basics to make your journey easier.
One of your most used tools in your sewing utility belt. A pin, much like any other use of a pin, holds the material or a seam in place so that by the time you start to sew it, it hasn’t fallen out of place. Be sure though to place the pin strategically so you don’t sew the pin head, or alternatively you can move the pin just before you sew the material.
The bobbin is a thin piece of thread that comes up from below to the very top of the sewing machine where it comes in contact with the thread, making a stitch.
The presser foot is the small piece of metal at the end of the sewing machine arm, one of the distinctive marking of a sewing machine. The user lowers the presser foot onto the material, sews the material and then lifts the presser foot again when they are done. In essence, the presser foot holds the material still so the user can accurately sew.
A necessary accessory for any sewer, either amateur or seasoned expert. Placed somewhere convenient under the sewing surface, much like a piano pedal. The user presses the pedal which will begin the sewing process. This frees up both hand to manipulate the material how they see fit.
It really is very important to note that these are only the bare essentials, but for the sake of time I won’t write any more. I more than encourage you to search up on google a list of sewing definitions so you can be just as savvy as any sewing aficionado.
The next step to purchasing a sewing machine is figuring out exactly what you want to do with the sewing machine and how much you are going to use it. The sewing machine market is vast to say the least, ranging from the very basics that do some basic stitches to sewing machines that can quilt and perform a multitude of stunning stitches. If you want to start embroidery, quilting, or any other sub section of the hobby that is sewing, you must consider this when buying a sewing machine.
It’s also worth considering whether you wish to consider sewing as a serious hobby or just a onetime sew. To be frankly honest, if you only want to sew one or two things as a repair job, the likelihood is that you really don’t need a sewing machine, but rather a thread and needle. The flip side of this is that if you do plan to continue it as a serious hobby, you may be best actually investing more money than what you’d initially expect. A beginner sewing machine will do for a time, but once you get very skilled, the lack of stitching options will begin to be very frustrating to you.
So, let’s define the brackets that you should want to try and fit yourself into. Please bear in mind that you don’t have to stick to the brackets or the recommendations that I make, they merely serve as a rough guideline to help you make the best decision when investing your money.
The first bracket is what I’m going to define as the, “Budget bracket”. If you don’t want to spend too much money because you’re not sure whether you’ll like sewing, then this is the bracket for you. I’d also recommend putting yourself in this bracket if you only want to do one or two jobs or make one specific kind of stitch, however, be aware that not all of the sewing machines I’d recommend for this bracket do all the stitches that you may expect, so make sure to some thorough research to find out whether the machines I recommend are the machines for you.
The second bracket is called the, “Middle ground bracket”. This is the bracket that tows the line between value for money and a feature set worth writing home about. This is a fair step up in prices from the Budget Bracket, but not nearly as much as the next bracket I’ll define.
Speaking of which, the final bracket which I’ll be talking about is the, “High End Bracket”. These machines will be the crème de la crème, the top of the line machines that industry professionals would not pause to recommend. These machines will be expensive, but with the high price you can be guaranteed that the overall quality is of excellent repute, the life span of the machine will far and away exceed those of the lower bracket sewing machines and the amount of features it has blows the other brackets out of the water.
Best Sewing Machines
Budget Sewing Machine Reviews
First, let’s start with the budget bracket recommendations. The first sewing machine I’d recommend for this bracket is the Brother L14 which is usually priced around £99 on websites such as amazon.co.uk. With 14 stitches total, it’s certainly far less than many of its pricier contemporaries, but it is more than enough to get you started into the world of sewing. Usually recommended for sewing light to medium materials.
The second sewing machine I’d like to recommend is the Brother LX25 which is usually priced around £129 on Amazon UK and other shopping sites. Due to Its slightly larger price tag the Brother LX25 comes loaded with 25 custom stitches, giving you more flexibility when it comes to sewing.
The final sewing machine I’d recommend in this bracket is the Husqvarna Viking E20 which is usually priced at around £149 on Amazon UK. Again, with the slightly higher price tag comes a more full feature set with 32 stitches to choose from and the ability to customise stitch width and height.
Mid Range Sewing Machine Reviews
If those sewing machines simply won’t do it for you, then perhaps you should step upwards to the Middle ground Bracket. The first sewing machine I’d recommend in this bracket is the Janome 525s which is usually priced at around £249 on sites such as Amazon UK. 24 built in stitches will be more than enough to get you started and is compiled with a jam proof bobbin feeder, a pre-loaded needle threader and a pressure sensitive foot pedal.
The second sewing machine I’d like to recommend is the Brother Innov-is 10A sewing machine which is priced at £249 on Amazon UK. With a slightly lower amount of built in stitches (16) it’s absolutely perfect for any beginner as the programmers at Brother have pre-programmed the correct stitching methods and lengths to make sure you get the best sewing experience possible.
The final product I’d like to recommend in this bracket is the Janome J3-24 which is usually price at around £199 on Amazon UK. This sewing machine isn’t for the faint of heart, and is almost exclusively meant for those who are going to be doing many simple jobs over and over again. It’s the industrial recommendation, but if you’re going to be doing lots and lots of basic sewing this’ll be the machine for you.
High End Sewing Machine Reviews
Let’s be honest though, you’re only going to get the best of the lot in the High end bracket. For the more experienced sewers, if you haven’t figured it out already, these machines are going to be quite expensive, but their feature sets in my eyes more than make up for it. The first recommendation I’d like to make is the Pfaff Passport 2.0 which is currently priced at £429 on Amazon UK. This is the dress makers dream sewing machine, with a whole suite of features such as stitch width and height adjustment as well as one stop button looping functions, this will make any dress makers day a whole lot easier.
The second recommendation I’d like to make is the Bernina B330 which is currently priced at the rather high price of £649 on Amazon UK. Features on the TV show, “The Great British Sewing bee” it’s unsurprising then that this machine is one of the best out there and covers all the bases when it comes to sewing. With 24 built in stitches, this machine will surely last you for years and years to come.
The final recommendation I’d like to make I thought I would go all out. All the machines I’ve recommended so far are well within the realms of possibility to purchase at some point, but unless you are a hard core sewer, it’s unlikely you’ll ever purchase such a complex but beautiful machine such as the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 12000, currently priced at a sky high price of £6999 on amazon.co.uk. It’s a very expensive price tag, but with a sleek LED screen, a huge inventory of 224 built-in stitches (including alphabets), literally every feature a sewer could possibly want and an aesthetic that would catch any sewers eye, it’s definitely worth the investment.
So those are my recommendations when it comes to which sewing machine you should buy, but by no means take it as a rule to buy any of the sewing machines I’ve listed above. Do your own research, think about exactly what you want to sew when you’re sewing and find the machine that is right for you. There’s plenty of websites out there that delve deep into the niche areas of the sewing market, so if something in particular interests you, like quilting or dress making then you need only do a google search to find people who are just like you. There’s even whole websites, communities and forums propping up in regards to simple stitch up jobs whose members will never hesitate to give you tips and advice. Popular websites like Reddit will have a sewing sub-forum as well. These are the people you want to talk to before making any sizeable investment.
But that is, in a nutshell, the beauty of the sewing hobby. By simply calling it, “sewing” you are massively under cutting what essentially is one of the worlds largest industries, whether you know it or not. Stereotypes have plagued the minds of those would be sewers across the world, and I hope that at least to some degree, I’ve helped keep those fears away for the time being. Sewing is not something someone isolated performs. Sewing is very much a community hobby, sharing your embroideries with friends and family, quilts and dresses that’ll astound. At the very heart of sewing is the community ideal of being creative. Creativity is the aim of the game, and even simple jobs like sewing up rips in trousers can be an expression of your own creativity, you just don’t know it yet. So go ahead! Find out what you want to do with your new sewing machine, purchase on based upon that target and sew to your hearts content!
Here is a good video aimed at beginners looking to use sewing machines – it outlines the basics and is a good, educational watch.