How to Choose a Sewing Machine


How to Choose a Sewing Machine

Which sewing machine should you choose? Read our sewing machine guide before you buy!

Choosing a sewing machine can be a difficult decision. Sewing machines are expensive and a true investment of your time and money. It can be hard to know how to choose a sewing machine, especially if you are brand new to the craft.

It is almost impossible to figure out what makes a good sewing machine as a beginner. Before running out to the store to purchase a machine, check out this buying a sewing machine guide and video.

These helpful sewing tips and tricks tell you exactly what to look for - from different parts of the machine to how heavy it should be -  when buying a sewing machine including the necessary features your first machine should possess.

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Choosing the Right Sewing Machine Video Tutorial

First things first! Press the play button on the video box below to watch Angel Peterson walk you through the questions you need to ask and what else you need to know when choosing a new (or used) sewing machine.

We've also detailed the important factors to consider in writing below the video, so be sure to scroll down and read through the extra tips and suggestions before buying.

How to Choose a Sewing Machine: What to Look For

When it comes to choosing a sewing machine, it's good to know the basics - like the parts of a sewing machine and how it works - before you take the leap and make a big investment. After all, not all sewing machines are created equal, and it's important to know what's what before plopping down a pile of cash on a machine.

When choosing a sewing machine, you should choose a machine with good weight, a solid straight stitch, and an overall product that can stand the test of time. How exactly do you do that?

Well, we will tell you!

The video above and the article below will go into more detail on just how to choose a sewing machine that can handle any project you throw its way without getting banged up or broken down quickly.

Check the Weight Before Buying a Sewing Machine

The first thing to look for when figuring out how to choose a sewing machine is the weight of the machine. The best sewing machines will have some serious heft to them. You can easily evaluate a new machine for this feature by picking it up.

If the machine is heavy and takes some arm muscle to pick up, you can easily ascertain that it is a quality machine. Heavier machines have more features and are made out of sturdier, time-tested materials.

A featherweight machine is not going to have all the features you need and may be made out of cheap plastic. Plus, extra light machines will move around your sewing table, making it harder to sew.

Images shows store shelves holding a variety of sewing machines.

How to Choose a Sewing Machine: Check the Straight Stitch

The second thing you’re going to look at is its straight line stitch capabilities. Typically the straight line stitch is the basic stitch used in most sewing patterns and projects. If you do not like the way the machine performs a straight line stitch, try out a different machine.

The goal is learning how to choose a sewing machine you can use for the next several years, and since the straight line stitch is going to be the type of stitch you most frequently use, it will behoove you to choose a machine with a stitching capacity you like.

Image shows a sewing machine sewing a straight stitch on fabric, with a hand guiding the fabric.

Go for Quality: Avoid Cheap Sewing Machines

When learning how to choose a sewing machine, make sure the machine you are looking at has good speed and strength. If you want to be able to take on more heavy-duty sewing projects like quilting, you are going to want a machine with a good amount of power behind it, even if you're just learning how to sew on a sewing machine.

Additionally, make sure the speed of the sewing machine is a speed you like. Though some sewists prefer a slower-speed machine, having a machine that is capable of sewing at a good clip will open up your options for projects you are able to do using this machine.

Since pace and timing can vary between models, be sure to test out the machine before you purchase it to make sure you are comfortable with its speed. The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a sewing machine is to make sure it has everything you need for the projects you plan to tackle. 

Image shows Angel Peterson with a Bernina sewing machine. There are five arrows pointing to the machine.

The Best Sewing Machines Last for Decades

When choosing a machine, it's okay to splurge on a machine with a lot of bells and whistles, but that does not mean you have to. There are a variety of mid-grade sewing machines that do the job just fine, depending on what your needs are.

More elaborate machines often come with a large number of different stitches, some of which you may never use. However, one good rule of thumb is to choose a machine that has a good straight stitch, a good zigzag stitch, and a buttonhole.

So, decide what you need out of your machine. When you go and look into buying your first machine, it’s worth making the investment.

Though high-quality sewing machines can come with a hefty price tag, it is well worth the investment, because such machines often last for decades. Be wary of just where you choose to purchase your sewing machine.

Image shows a sewing machine sitting on a table in a craft room.

Oftentimes, big box stores that sell many other items in additon to sewing machines do not carry the highest-quality sewing machines. As it is often said, "You get what you pay for," and it is no different when it comes to learning how to choose a sewing machine. 

When it does come time to decide how to choose a sewing machine, it is ideal to go to a store or shop that specializes in selling sewing-specific items and sewing machines. This is important because such stores are an excellent resource. If something goes wrong with the machine you will have a person you can contact to help, as oftentimes such stores do their own repairs.

Additionally, you usually get some really great benefits when you buy from a sewing machine store like free classes, and special supplies, among other things. So it’s important when you go to make the investment in a sewing machine to go to a specialty store. 

Sewing Machines for Beginners: Start Small, Then Invest

If you’re just getting into sewing, it’s okay to start on a machine you bought or may have that is inexpensive. It is recommended to make an investment in a higher-quality machine after about a year of steady sewing since by then you will know you are dedicated to your craft.

When you own a quality machine, it will be easier to complete projects, because it will be heavy enough to stay on the table for larger projects, like quilting, and it will also have the speed, power, and stitch variety you need to complete any undertaking you want. The beauty of having a high-quality machine is that it makes sewing a much more pleasant experience.

Those are the basics of how to choose a sewing machine!  Do you already have a sewing machine? What kind? Let us know in the comments below. Also, if you found this information useful, please give us a thumbs up for our hard work.

And check out more of AllFreeSewing’s videos because we’re adding more like this all the time that are useful for sewists just like you. 

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I learned to sew on a Singer treadle machine about 60 years ago. I won a Spiegel machine which I used for several years. I have als sewn with a Janome, Bernette, and Pfaff but did not like any of the. I had a Brother for many years but ultimately I now have a Juki 2010, Juki HZ 70, and Juki 654 serger.. I use the 2010 most as it is a beautiful straight stitch only machine.

I just purchased a Brother Project Runway Computerize with quilt and sewing stitches, 4 different type of button holes, stationary switch, threader a promotion price of $89. I had a Singer which was shaking at a higher speed and returned it for $100. My first project was my bedroom curtains which turn out fabulous. I also sewed a button on my trench coat by following the Brother Manual. I want to make my own Vintage Clothing which is my next project and Hobo bag for my friends for birthday or Christmas presents in 2018.

I have a Brother that I bought for $50 @ a garage sale about 10 years ago. While not a true heavy-duty machine, it sews almost anything I throw at it, and I am very happy with it. I have 4 sewing machines. My BEST heavy-duty machine is an old "boat anchor" of a Singer, that was made in 1949. It weighs a TON and it will even sew leather! "The secret to a long life for your machine is to clean and oil your machine after each use," the woman told me that gave me the Singer. She said she taught more than 100 women to sew using this machine. Yes, I DO clean and oil it after each use, and even tho' it's just shy of 70 ears old, it still runs like a champ !

Hello dear How are you ? It's so pleasant to find you online today! My Name is Marry colly thank you i will like you to contact me through my email ( to know more about you and be your friends.. We can also exchange pictures. Have a Great day!()

I agree with everything you said and makes perfect sense. I have only been sewing a year or so but i got and old sewing machine given to me made in the 50s but its solid and i do like it. Go to sewing classes and you there machines and they are loud and not very sturdy. And my mom is giving me her old one which was made in the 60s which is a Bernina. It is a very good machine. When and if I have to buy a new one it will be Bernina have done my research . But you helped me make that decision with your advice. Thanks

You asked that I leave a comment regarding my sewing machine. I have a Futura CE 100, an Elna Supra, a Singer Serger, a Riccar Serger and a White Jeans Machine. I mainly use the Elna.


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