Buying a Sewing Machine
Buying a sewing machine can be tricky, especially if you are new to sewing. Some people are sewing specifically for their love of quilting. Others use their machines for many purposes and may even make clothing. But if you are new to sewing, you only know your intentions and you may not know what is needed or required.
Ask yourself how you intend to use the machine. Sewing apparel? Do you want to use it to embroider names or designs? Will you use it for quilting or piecing or both?
If you are looking for a machine to sew apparel, look for one that has an over lock or zig zag stitch. You will use these stitches on the inner edges of your seams for a more professional look. They cut down on fraying that occurs with most seams over time.
Embroidery requires a machine that has been programmed for those stitches and designs. Usually, a sewing and embroidery machine combo comes with some preprogrammed designs and lettering. You can buy additional designs to use, as long as your machine has an outlet for adding such extras. These days it is as easy as plugging in a USB design or even hooking the machine directly to your computer to upload designs.
For quilt piecing, you will use a straight stitch. Look for a machine that allows you to adjust the length of the stitches. This will help you control your stitch work even on the smallest quilt block pieces.
For quilting, be sure the machine allows you to drop the feed dogs. You will need this option if you decide to give free motion quilting a try. Having them down allows you to freely move the fabric in any direction you choose - making waves, circles, feathers, etc.
Of course, if you plan to crosshatch quilt, you will want the feed dogs up. They will help keep your fabric straight and your stitches on track.
Armed with the knowledge of what you want to do, visit area sewing machine dealers. Look at what they have to offer and ask plenty of questions about the products. If you have a budget, tell them up front so they can help guide you to the right machine. You may also discover that you haven't budgeted enough for what you want. At that point, you have to decide whether to increase your budget or decrease your sewing machine expectations.
Be sure to ask about service after the sale. Is there a warranty? What is covered for free and what is the extended warranty worth? Does the store provide repair services? You may even find out that the shop offers free classes, sewing clubs, or regularly scheduled demonstrations!
If you plan to do your shopping at one of the big box department stores, be sure to keep your receipt and register the machine right away for the warranty coverage. Since the big stores often shuffle clerks among their departments, you may or may not get to talk with someone who knows a lot about the machines. Get online and read reviews from others who have bought the machine you are considering. You can learn a lot about a machine from the reviews it gets on shopping websites.
Also, look for a machine that fits your personal style. If you don't like computers, you probably won't enjoy a fully computerized machine. Opt for something more manual that still provides the features you will need. While it may sound trying, finding a machine to suit your needs has never been easier. There's a full range of products out there.
© 2011- , Penny Halgren. This article courtesy of http://www.How-To-Quilt.com. You may freely reprint this article on your website or in your newsletter provided this courtesy notice and the author name and URL remain intact.