Buying an affordable crafting sewing machine
Lately I’ve been exploring other crafts, mostly sewing and decorating t-shirts. Hand sewing a knit item onto a t-shirt can be time consuming. As a result, I looked at sewing machines. I have no previous experience with them.
I’m naturally (or unnaturally) analytical when it comes to spending money. For larger expenses, I rely on spreadsheets to help make decisions. One column down goes a list of sewing machines I’m considering. At the top are the features I’m looking for. This includes everything from the price to the weight of the sewing machine (will you be hauling it to classes?) and from automatic threading to whether it can handle thicker fabrics. One article I read said there were about 248 models from about nine recognized manufacturers. No wonder my head is spinning.
I started with Sewing Machine Ratings.com and focused on machines rated above 90. I also listed how many people rated the machine. This exercise showed me that most crafters do not like to invest a lot of money in sewing machines, so the brands with the most reviews are the cheapest models, ie. Brother and Singer. The higher quality and more expensive machines, ie. Janome and Juki, had the most 30 views/comments. The latter two brands are considered average in terms of overall quality and are often only available through dealers. The purchase price through a dealer often includes classes and a place to go to trade in or get other equipment or attachments for the machines.
For those of you who are strong supporters of American made items, good luck with that. While everyone agrees that the Viking, Elna, and Bernina are better machines, they also agree that they are expensive and limiting in their versatility. Doing more means investing in more expensive “feet” or gadgets that come as standard on cheaper, popular machines. You can buy better quality needles and thread to help the performance of lower rated brands.
Another helpful site asks: Is one brand of sewing machine better than another? Erin of Erinsayssew.com makes a valid point when she states that there is a trade-off between sewing precision and offering lots of features at an affordable price. Another valid point I found in my research is that if you are a craftsman involved in many different trades, can you justify the cost of a high-end machine based on its usage time? In other words, your sewing machine may be collecting dust while you’re crocheting instead of sewing. These are just a few things to keep in mind.
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