Why Buy a Sewing Machine?
The top performers in our review are the Singer 9960, the Gold Award winner; Brother PC420, the Silver Award winner; and Brother CS6000i, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a machine to meet your needs, along with details on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 sewing machines.
Whether cosplay is your passion or you just like to make your own curtains, a sewing machine can be a gateway to creativity and self-sufficiency. Making your own clothing or décor can breed a sense of accomplishment that isn't there with a shopping spree. There can be a feeling of finding the almost-right thing in the store. With a sewing machine you can alter clothes to become exactly the right thing, or just make your own. There are bragging rights that come with telling someone you made the throw pillow they admire, or the skirt or bag. Making all of the decisions about fabric and dimensions along the way can lead to a lot of satisfaction once you see the final product. And the entire process is a lot of fun.
There is also the very practical matter of saving money when you can handle sewing on your own rather than paying a professional. Hemming the pants that are just a little too long for your child's first day of school, or sewing their Halloween costume rather than buying, takes more time but can also save a significant amount of money along the way. You can let out the hem as they grow rather than buying a new pair of pants, and make a few of their shirts rather than paying retail. If your kids turn up their noses at homemade clothing, you can make your own and put the savings into their store-bought treasures. It can be lovely to have a dress, cooking apron or bathing suit cover-up that is tailored to fit you specifically.
How to Choose a Sewing Machine
Sewing machines come in a truly wide price range, and many are designed for specific sewing specialties. Quilting and embroidery machines, or sergers, add capabilities but also costs to your sewing machine investment. There is a different class of sewing machine that you will need for most professional level projects, including working with materials like leather or other heavy fabrics for furniture, shoes and handbags. Also, although many in our comparison come with a carry case, there is a whole class of compact sewing machines designed specifically to go anywhere, and some of those are even handheld. For our sewing machine reviews, we focused on affordable and basic units that offer a lot of versatility for everyday sewing. For more information, read our articles about sewing machines.
The units in our lineup are perfect sewing machines for beginner sewers. Advanced sewers will enjoy them too because they are versatile and relatively portable. Many of them have an impressive list of available stitch types and digital displays that make most projects easy and fun.
Sewing Machines: What to Look For
Every sewing machine is different. Whether it is mechanical or computerized, the way it runs and works with fabric is unique to the machine. What sets apart average units from the best home sewing machines are the features. Depending on what you are using your sewing machine for, the features determine how much you can do and how efficiently. The design also plays an important role in the capabilities of your machine. You will find that an adjustable machine allows you to complete more projects. Likewise, the included accessories and support options serve as an important factor in the purchasing process.
A strong set of features significantly impacts the performance and capabilities of your machine. A machine programmed with dozens of stitch patterns will allow for more elaborate and decorative stitching, which will in turn add more individuality to your projects. Likewise, adjustable stitch length and width not only adds style to your projects, but you can adjust them to fit the fabric you are using.
The machine’s stitches per minute (spm) indicates its maximum sewing speed. For larger projects, you will want at least 750 stitches per minute. Some machines feature adjustable speeds, which can be particularly helpful when you are first learning how to sew or if you are teaching your child. The tension control of the machine is equally important. Some machines automatically adjust the tension to fit the project you are working on while still allowing manual control. Other machines have a dial so that you can adjust the tension to fit your project.