How to Choose a Sewing Machine

In fact, any, even the simplest sewing machine can help you in creating a masterpiece. The era of the great couturiers came in the second half of the XIX — early XX century, when sewing machines just came into usage and were quite simple. Neither the computer control nor the electric drive was out of the question, but it was in those times that great masters such as Charles Worth, Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel lived and worked.

At the same time, it is foolish to deny that a good and properly chosen sewing machine significantly saves the time, effort and nerves of a designer. How to make the right choice and choose First Sewing Machine, do not get lost in a huge number of brands and models, choose from the list of functions what you need, and do not pay too much?

Let’s try to figure it out. First, decide exactly for what purpose you need a machine:

  1. Do you just want to have it on hand, so that you can shorten too long pants yourself? Do not run every time to the studio, sew up a jacket torn by your child or cut off a new curtain. 
  2. Maybe there is a desire to sew carnival costumes for children — or are you determined to come to grips with your wardrobe? Have you decided what do you want to sew?  Summer dresses that are made out of lightweight fabrics, or coats and harsh jeans? 

Having defined, you can begin to choose the optimal sewing machine model for your purposes.

We define the points on which to make a choice. First, it is a manufacturer, secondly, the type of sewing machine, and thirdly — the necessary set of functions that will determine the specific model. Let’s start with the first.


Choosing firm of Sewing Machine 

Here, as in any other field, there are market leaders and little-known firms.

The most famous are:

  • Juki
  • Jack
  • Bernina, 
  • Janome, 
  • Pfaff, 
  • Brother,
  • Singer, 
  • Husqvarna. 

The choice  among the leading manufacturers is largely determined by personal preferences, the presence in the store of the machines themselves and additional accessories to them. You should also consider the availability of service centers in your area — with a large “run” of the machine, this factor begins to play a significant role.

Beware of less known brands.  Often, with the same set of functions, the quality of these machines is significantly poor. In addition to the obvious risk of getting the worst quality, here you can stumble upon another pitfall: difficulties with getting accessories or parts. In the little-known companies often happen very rare mounting foot or the size of the bobbin. Therefore, if you still decide to save money, be sure to find out which accessories are suitable for this model, and whether you will be able to purchase them without unnecessary trouble and overpayments.

How choose types of sewing machines

All sewing machines are divided into industrial and domestic. Usually, a domestic machine can do more than one operation. Industrial sewing machines are usually designed to do one operation — but at the professional standard and they are much more durable. If you are sewing 5-6 hours or more every day, then an industrial sewing machine is for you.

If you are sewing occasionally then you might consider a domestic machine.  
Household machines are divided into:

  • electromechanical,
  • computerized
  • sewing & embroidery
  • embroidery,
  • overlock,
  • sewing,
  • coverstitch.

What does all this mean, and in which category to stop the choice?

1. Electromechanical sewing machines — the simplest of all. The entire internal stuffing of such a machine is a mechanic, that is, levers, shafts and gears. Electric is only the that drives it all.

  • 32 types of stitches
  • vertical shuttle
  • stitch length 4 mm
  • stitch width 5 mm

Of the undoubted advantages of this type — reliability, low price, inexpensive repair in case of breakage. Ordinary electromechanical machines are lower in speed and the number of functions compare to computerised, since the technological features of the design do not allow to perform stitches of complex shape, but they are perfect for beginers, or for those who want to have a reliable helper for small domestic needs.


2. Computerised sewing machines are distinguished by the presence of a computer board, which provides general guidance of the process, which allows this type of machine to perform rather intricate stitch programs. The movement of the needle relative to the fabric in them is controlled by a microprocessor. From the amount of memory and the number of programs of this machine «brain» and depends on what a particular model can do.

Their starting price is about two to three times the price of electromechanical. At first glance, a huge number of stitch types seems to be an undoubted advantage. But look closely and think about which of them personally will you really use? It turns out that part of them you might not need at all, and the rest  are a lot   of duplicates of the same thing with minor digressions. So you should not be tempted by an excess of functions — it’s not at all a fact that you will need all of them. I fact, many of them you can hardly even ever try.

Useful in the work will be several types of overlock stitches, knitted seam, triple reinforced stitching, knitting loop and eyelet loop — in addition to the usual loop, of course. The remaining functions are at your discretion, just do not let this variety turn your head. It’s a shame to pay extra money for something you will never use.

The undoubted advantage of a well-established computer machine is the speed and accuracy of work. A computer machine will save you significant time and provide additional opportunities for creativity. 
Of the minuses — the high price, complications in setting, and more expensive repair.

3. Sewing and embroidery machines. Everything is simple, in contrast to industrial embroidery machines, which, in fact, can only embroider, domestic often combine two functions.
In my personal opinion, budget versions of sewing and embroidery machines combine these functions poorly. They are too capricious in comparison with ordinary sewing, and in comparison with high-grade embroidery they are too limited in embroidery possibilities. More expensive models can be frighten in  the price. Therefore, I recommend to consider this class of machines only as embroidery.

Just do not think that buying an embroidery machine, you will immediately create a masterpiece. Embroidery on a sewing machine is also an art that needs to be learned. You can take a course or learn independently, get books or online lessons. In general, the work on it is somewhat similar to the work in Photoshop. You can go to a specialized website, type in someone’s draws, quickly read the instructions and glue them together as you like, adding stars and hearts with a stamp. But if you look at the masterpieces created by professionals — it becomes clear that this is not even a third of the capabilities of this tool.


4. Sewing machines. They are flat machines.

Designed to perform an elastic flat seam used to close the hem of the knitwear and T-shirts. 

The usual seam looks the same from the front side and from the inside, as the upper thread is cut around the bottom (bobbin) and tightened. Flat or chain seam looks different. It is obtained when two or more needles and loopers are working simultaneously.

This type of sewing machine is designed to work with elastic «stretch» fabrics. If your main goal is T-shirts, swimsuits and tracksuits — this is your choice.

5. Overlock is a machine with one or two needles, equipped with a trimming mechanism and intended for cutting over cuts of a wide variety of garments. When choosing an overlock, first of all, you should focus on convenience when refueling and sewing. We should not forget about the possibility of overcasting different number of threads. Most overlocks perform 3 and 4 thread overlays, suitable for most types of fabrics. On higher-grade overlocks, there is a 2-thread overlay designed for the finest fabrics — such as silk or chiffon — and also for decorative trimming.

In principle, overlock functions exist in computer sewing machines. But the seam made on this overlock is much more accurate and reliable. In addition, the overlock is equipped with knives, which themselves cut off the excess allowance, leveling the edge, which significantly saves time. In general, if you sew regularly, and the free space allows you to place two units — an overlock will be a very useful acquisition, if not, you can do without it. In any case, it does not replace the sewing machine, but only complements it. For the assembly of parts of the product it is not intended.

6. Coverlock – a relatively new invention, with which many are not particularly familiar. This name was invented by the marketers of the company Pfaff for a number of such machines and patented it, after which it firmly entered into use. It combines the word «overlock» and the English term coverstitch, that is, «covering» or «closing» stitch. This machine can carry out both overlaying of garments, as well as flat seams and straight chain stitches, that is, it combines an overlock and a flat-seam machine. Like the sewing machine, the carpetlock is designed to work with knitwear. The design also assumes the presence of several (from 2 to 10) upper threads and loopers, with the help of which one can create various, sometimes very complex seams, indistinguishable from industrial.

What to choose to work with knitwear — a coverlock or a pair of overlock plus a sewing machine? On the one hand, the coverlock has a larger number of loopers, which makes it possible to perform more complex seams, it alone takes up much less space, and its high price is quite comparable to the total cost of the pile and overlock. And on the other hand, when processing a garment, it may be necessary to first overlock, then a flat seam, again an overlock, again a flat seam and so every five minutes.

In the case of two machines, this will not present any difficulty, and the carpetlock will have to be reconfigured from the flat seam to the overstitching or grinding and back each time. And this is quite a long and painstaking process, which even in the presence of skill takes a few minutes. It is more convenient for you to decide.

Ideally, it is worthwhile to walk to the showroom of a large store and sit behind different models, thread the threads, sew a trial line, try how it will be, and whether it will be convenient for you. Konsew LTD can help you to choose right machines and accessories. 

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