Sewing Machines

Sewing machines have come a long way from the old Singer in Mom and Dad's attic. The good news: machines have gotten much easier to use. They are more versatile and can sew pieces as light as silk or as heavy as denim. The bad news: there are more models on the market leaving you with a difficult decision to make. The most prosumer models can cost thousands of dollars.

How to Choose

* '''Determine your skill level. ''' ** Beginners should stick to something with the basic stitch options that doesn't cost too much. ** If you don't plan to use your machine more than a few times a year, don't bother with complex machines. ** Advanced users with professional expectations will want a computerized version that can download patterns from a PC. * '''Think of the things you want to sew.''' ** Clothes made with simple fabrics are fine on basic machines, whether they are traditional or electronic. ** Quilting and making crafts require a more advanced machine that can handle a wider variety of stitches. ** Upholstery should be sewn on heavy-duty machines. * '''Warranty and Service''' ** These are important, as is your relationship with your dealer. Will you be able to get the machine serviced with minimal hassle? ** Buying online may impact your level of service or void your warranty. * '''Cost''' ** Make sure you know exactly what you're getting (or not getting) for your money. ** You may need to buy replacement needles. You'll need more thread eventually. ** High-end machines may have extra costs for additional stitches, embroidery patterns or memory chips.

Mechanical or Electronic?

Major types of sewing machines include: * The traditional '''mechanical''', which is used for basic sewing purposes. ** Prices are generally lower for the lessuse, lightweight, mechanical machine for less than $200. * '''600) start at $500. * The latest models are '''computerized''' so instead of manually adjusting the tension and stitch, you simply push a button and the computer sets everything up for you using small motors controlled by a microprocessor. This feature reduces errors. **Major Manufacturers * Bernina * Brother * Craft Master * Husqvarna * Janome * Kenmore * Necchi * Simplicity * Singer

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