Tips for buying a sewing machine

  1. Don’t buy on impulse – you’ll buy the wrong one.
  2. Before you buy make a list of what it is essential for it to do and what’s desirable. You will need at least a straight stich and a zig-zag stitch both of which should be of variable length.
  3. Think about the projects you’re planning to do. If you’re planning upholstery with thick fabrics you’ll need a machine which can cope rather than a lighter dress making machine. If you’re planning on quilting make sure you’ve got a quilting foot and a machine which can cope with thick wadding.
  4. If you’re buying new research machines as much as possible and read lots of customer reviews. Some machines look great but are really toys and many new machines are prone to breaking.
  5. If buying second hand test the machine before you buy and ask for a demonstration of all the functions and attachments.
  6. Go simple. Do you really need a machine which can sew a seam that looks like a row of tulips? Many new sewing machines can also be attached to your pc to run embroidery programmes, but if you’re a beginner, do you need that? The more the machine does the more there is to go wrong.
  7. Do consider second hand. There are a lot of older machines which are robust, reliable and can be easily mended when they do break. This isn’t always true of newer machines.
  8. Lift it. Sewing machines can be very heavy so make sure you can easily lift and carry the machine.
  9. How often will you use it? Consider how you’ll store it and what space you’ve got at home.
  10. Can you understand it? My Mum’s machine has so many functions and you have to remember to do lots of different things to set it up that I get quite befuddled. I much prefer my simple sew-and-go machine.

I have an incredibly ugly 1970’s Elna but good grief is it good at sewing.  Check out the website here:


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