Search This Blog

Thursday, April 10, 2008

How to Choose YOUR Perfect Sewing Machine

(my machine pictured above)

A little over a year ago I bought this amazing Machine. It's the Scandanavia 200 from Husqvarna Viking. It is computerized, but basic. It is considered a "work horse" because it was handmade in Sweden, with high quality parts, but doesn't have all the extra buttons and things I didn't think I would use. I've never had a problem with it and it's always sewn like a dream! It was a long process, deciding what to get. Here are some tips I learned: (I might be biased cause I LOVE the machine I got! Taking time to decide paid off!)

Some Things to remember when choosing your sewing machine:

Do your homework!
1. Where was the machine made?
Made in China usually means poor quality. Every brand has a lower end machines which =lower quality. One step up from that usually ensures better quality. For example, Bernina is made in Switzerland and Husqvarna have lowerend lines of machines that are made in China, and higher end lines that are made by little old men in Sweden. Higher quality parts= longer lasting machine. You need to do your homework to determine which line in the brand bumps the machines to higher quality.

2. Where can you take it if it breaks or you have a problem?
Buying your machine from a dealer located near buy eliminates headache. I can drop my machine off and they take care of everything, and I pick it up- that simple! It is worth eliminating the headache of finding a repair shop and finding someone that knows your brand of machine.

3. Ask people who sew if they like their machine.
If you ask an older, more seasoned seamstress, what kind of machine they have and if they like it, You'll get a more honest answer then from a salesman at the shop that is trying to push their product, and what's even better- chances are they've had more then one machine to compare brands and quality. Which worked best for them, what would they recommend? I got great advice from these ladies!

4. What do you want from your machine?
Are you expecting to sew clothes? quilt on it? I wouldn't use the embroidry much, so I opted out. I would however use lots of decorative stitches. I do more quilting and home decor then clothes, so it was important to me to have a quality stitch with out much hastle. A lot of machines come with bells and whistles to make them look exciting. Often times you have to choose which bells and whistles you want and would use most. Cutting out the things you won't often use can cut down greatly on the cost.

5. How much are you willing to spend?
Go in with a budget in mind. Determine the highest amount you are willing to pay and stick to it. There is always the "one step up will do these extra features". You can one step up it $7,000 worth of a machine, so be prepared to be strong. To get a good quality machine these days be prepared to spend at least $500-$800. That is for a good quality machine, that will last you for many many years. When you buy a machine for a couple hundered, it will last a few years, the quality of stitch and product turn out won't be as good, and you will have ALOT more frusteration. I've known people that learned to sew on a crappy machine, and in turn hated sewing. When placed on a basic, good quality machine, learned that sewing can be easy and LOADS of fun! Bottom line: It's worth it to pay more for good quality, you'll be a million times happier with your machine and every time you sew. p.s. A lot of dealers will set up a payment plan for you so you can get the machine you want and make payments to slowly pay it off.

6. A good deal
A good deal includes extras. Extra sewing feet or kits. After buying my machine I went in a few months later to buy a "walking foot" for quilting, and about had a heart attack. It was $120!! Ask about free sewing classes. At Husqvarna Viking free sewing classes are included. They teach you how to use all the features on your machine. Very cool!

7. Try it out!
Be wary of a place that won't let you try the machine. Most places who are confident in their machines will happily give you a demo of what the machine can do, and even let you set down and give it a whirl. Do just that! Try it out, does it feel right? Is it easy to use? Watch them thread the machine too(I picked up some good tips by doing that).

8. Take your time!
Do a little research on the internet reading the history of companies and reviews from users, visit multiple sewing studios. You'll be happier that you did, and in the end, go home with a machine you love and will last a long time!

Hope these tips help! It was a huge learning process for me to go through these steps!

4 Notes to the Queen Bee:

s.s parker said...

I can't wait for you to teach me to sew!!=) maybe i can convince bob to let me "invest" in a nice sewing machinge :)

Erickson Family said...

THANK YOU!!! I seriously needed that right now. My machine (A Singer brand) was one that was given to me by 2 dear friends for my birthday a few years back. One of the friends mentioned to me that if I needed to exchange it or wanted to check out the other models that they got it at Target. Well, when I went there with all my inexperience, I saw that they had only paid around $40 for it, but figured it would do the job. Now, I have never taken a sewing class and my first ever real project (other than square baby blankets) was Asia's blessing dress which I made with one of the above mentioned friends on her very nice machine. It was so fun and SO easy! Well, I have had the most frustrating last few projects. I am right smack dab in the middle of making Mariah baptism dress (Butterick B4967) and I just hope that people don't point and laugh when she wears it to church. My machine keeps gumming up the Georgette fabric and making a mess GRR! I was starting to think that I either need to take a class (which I still want to) or STOP trying to sew altogether =<. After reading your suggestions, I guess I should just chalk it up to a crappy machine that could probably use a new needle. *SIGH* Luckily Will said I could sell this machine here on Craigslist and get a new one after we move. It definitely won't come from any store resembling Target!!! LOL p.s. sorry for writing a novel on your comments!

Jodie said...

Great machine tips ....but what is happening with the dream job?

s.s parker said...

let's go sewing machine shopping! seriously i want to buy one soon! or just tell me what to get!