Buying a New Sewing Machine

on June 5 | in Sewing + Quilting Tips, Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 258 Comments

Buying a new sewing machine is an exciting purchase for any sewist. We worked with Julie from Hippie Stitch and Scribbles and Snapshots to come up with some recommendations for the process:

Research:
1. Before you start shopping, research:

  • Internet: Most manufacturers have websites that can help you compare features and costs. Blogs, forums and sewing social networking groups are a good place to look. At the end of the month we’ll share links to a huge selection of reviews from our Sewing Machine Meme, and we also have a busy Sewing Machine section in the forum. Update: Here’s the list of reviews!
  • Consumer Reports. (Check the library for these publications.)
  • Magazines like Sew News or Threads. (Check the library for these publications.)
  • See if the local dealers belong to the BBB or other consumer advocate groups.
2. Answer the questions on our Sewing Machine Wants/Needs PDF and bring it with you as you shop. Good sales people will ask you these questions to help direct you to the right machine for you; you should be ready to answer them.

Shopping:
1. Start out on the right foot by arriving prepared. Bring a notebook and pencil, samples of the type of fabric you plan to be sewing with, along with different types and weights of thread to try. We also recommend having water and a snack in your bag.

2. Bring several copies of our Sewing Machine Questions PDF with you to shops to ask questions as you work with professionals.

Making the Decision:
Later, once you’ve thought about your sewing goals and machine needs, sit down with your Sewing Machine Questions copies. Spend time without pressure or distractions to think about what you want, need, and dream about, in tandem with your budget.

Enjoy the search and find the machine that is just right for you! Happy Stitching!

For more information:

  • New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension
    - Buying a Sewing Machine, Guide C-203
    - Sewing and Craft Alliance, Sew-lutions Guidelines
    - Sewing Machine Basics, 2.102
  • Ehow: How to buy a sewing machine, How to buy a used sewing machine
  • Craftstylish.com

Download our PDFs or copy and paste the same questions below so you can customize:
Sewing Machine Wants/Needs
• What types of things do I sew? (i.e. clothing, bags, quilting, etc.)
• How interested am I in machine embroidery? In machine quilting?
• Is there a type of sewing I’d like to explore more? (i.e. quilting, home dec sewing, etc.)
• How long do I plan to keep this machine (i.e. is it truly a long-term investment or a casual relationship?!)?
• What is my sewing machine budget?
• Which features are essential?
• What are some pie-in-the-sky features I’d love?
• Which accessories are essential?
• What are some pie-in-the-sky accessories I’d love?
• Have I talked with friends/read online sources about machines people love? Are there any particular brands, models, features, accessories I’m interested in exploring based on their experiences?

Sewing Machine Questions
• What unique features does this machine have that sets it apart from others?
• How many stitches does it have?
• Which accessories come with the machine?
• What are my options for future accessories (i.e. additional feet, etc.), and what is the associated approximate cost?
• What type of warranty comes with the machine?
• Who completes the repairs, and how long does that typically take? (Do you have to ship the machine to the manufacturer or does the shop do repairs?)
• Are lessons/classes included in the cost of the machine?
• Is the machine supposed be professionally “tuned up” and cleaned? How much does that cost?
• Is the harp size adequate for my needs?
• Do the feed dogs drop for quilting?
• How does it feel to sew? Quiet? Smooth? Intuitive features? Loud? Confusing?
• Will this machine fit my sewing space well? (If you’re a roving sewist does it have a case?)
• Can I see myself sewing happily on this machine in 20 years?
• Are there any handouts/additional literature about the machine I can take to read at home?

Join us for Sewing Machine Month! Enter to win this week’s prize package from our Sewing Machine Month sponsor: Husqvarna/Viking. Comment on any post this week for your chance to win the Embroidery Package (over $250 retail value), or you might win one of four $20 gift certificates to Sew,Mama,Sew!.
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258 Responses to Buying a New Sewing Machine

  1. Cristina says:

    The list is marvellous… I will use it for my next new sewing machine (I’m still using the old one my mother bought when she was young!!!)

  2. Constance Peterson says:

    I would look up the owner sites for the sewing machine you wish to purchased. For example there is sites for owners of creative visions by pfaff. You will be able see what problems the owners are having. The owners wil also let you know how well that company responds to problems. Plus, the owners can answer questions.
    Find a embroidery or sewing club and ask the ladies what sewing machines they would recommend.
    Remember just because a sewing machine company has been around a long time does not mean their new machines are reliable.

  3. Baning says:

    I’m a beginner in sewing. I have old classic sewing machine from my mother. I’m thinking to buy new sewing machine, but my saving’s still not enough to afford it, maybe I can buy it after some months. This new hobby is so much interesting, thanks for sharing us many information. ^_^

  4. Wendy says:

    I am new to sewing. Everytime I use my machine it gives me problems. I don’t know if it is the operator or the machine. There isn’t anything in the book about the problem it is giving. I had it to the shop a couple of times, but I still have the problem. So I put it away for awhile thinking the problem will go away. Then the next time I use it, I learn the problem doesn’t go away. I am tired of this problem, and searching for a new machine, that is basic but I can grow with. I will be shopping for a machine in a couple of months, and this site helped, and am so grateful for it.

  5. Bethany says:

    I have a cheap, 50$ machine from Walmart which was okay to learn on, but the functionality is very limited. This is the best article I’ve found on machine shopping – VERY much appreciated!

  6. Andie says:

    This is one of my new favorite sites. It has been very helpful. I’ve never owned a sewing machine and now that i have two baby boys, I would love to be able to teach myself some new skills. Im super excited to go out and look for a machine now. Thanks for making this information available to all. :-)

  7. Sue Niven says:

    some very interesting points, all in one place. well done

  8. Nancy Parry says:

    Great information! Wish I had had this when I bought my machine although I am really happy with what I got.

  9. Nani says:

    thanks for the great info…I’m looking into getting a serger

  10. Jill says:

    I am always doing research to help me buy a new sewing machine…I can’t afford on yet (my husband is in his 2nd year of law school), but I still like to know what I WILL get someday. This gave me some great tips! Thanks! My grandma has an OLD husqvarna/viking that is amazing, so I’m leaning toward one of those as well!

  11. Cynthia says:

    Thank you for the tips. I want to research my purchase thoroughly and this post is a big help.

  12. Page says:

    I agree with LuLu. I probably ended up getting more machine than I needed b/c my husband surprised me with it as a Christmas gift. He just knew what brand I wanted and bought me the top of the line – I couldn’t believe it! (:

  13. Melissa Richie says:

    Thanks for all of the great tips! What a help this will be.

  14. Chris Z says:

    Good information! Would love to upgrade my machine. I will keep these questions in mind when shopping. Thanks

  15. Believe it or not, I am a big fan of the older metal machines from the 1960s and 70s (although they are H.E.A.V.Y.), but this is still a great buying guide. (I do prefer new serger/overlockers, though!)

    I’ve found the really good sewing places have friendly staff that are more likely to show off their machines than to try to make a hard sell.

  16. Taya says:

    Love all the information. Just came across your website and it becoming a fave. Just blogged about the Sewing machine Meme,
    http://thechiniquys.blogspot.com/2009/06/sewing-machine-meme.html

  17. JP says:

    Thank you so much!! I am using the machine my mother got as a wedding gift almost 60 years ago, and am almost ready…for a new one!

  18. johanna says:

    Great list – I’m just about to buy my second, more advanced sewing machine and this will come in very handy

  19. johanna says:

    I’m just about to buy my second machine and this will come in very handy.

  20. stephanie says:

    such a great resource! I’ve bookmarked for my next sewing machine purchase (which may not be too far in the furture!)

  21. Leigh says:

    This prompted me to finally stop into a local sewing shop and try out a few machines in person, rather than just studying online! Of course I fell in love with the $900 machine! lol

  22. Sara says:

    What a great buying guide! I’m new to sewing and have an old cheap wal-mart brother. I’m looking to getting a new machine, but need to save up for it. With this guide, I can figure out what sewing machine would be right for me and then save up for it! Thanks!

  23. Cassie Franco says:

    Am I too late? I would love to enter.

  24. Em says:

    What a thorough and helpful guide! I will definitely be printing the PDF to prepare myself for this shopping adventure. I’m sure it will help eliminate a lot of the stress of the decision making as I buy my first machine. Thanks!

  25. ann says:

    Thank you, THANK YOU for this very helpful post. I’m test-driving some machines this weekend!

  26. Erin says:

    I dream of someday “graduating” from the home ec. sewing machine my grandmother bought me before she passed away, and this checklist is just what I need. Sewing speak is somewhat of a foreign language to me, so thanks for putting this together.

    And who would’ve ever thought to back a snack and drink for sustenance while sewing machine shopping. Such sage wisdom. ;)

  27. Kristin says:

    I always feel so overwhelmed when looking. These are great things to keep in mind, thanks!

  28. Kate Bessey says:

    When I’m ready to buy a new machine i will definitely reference this!

    thanks!

  29. michelle says:

    this was very helpful, thank you. i am looking to replace my $80 singer.

  30. janet says:

    wow, this is so informative! thank you so much! you guys are definitely helping me gear towards upgrading my machine! I have some friends who are also looking to get a machine. I’m definitely going to forward this post to them!

  31. shannon says:

    How helpful! I will definitely use this info. in assisting with my next sewing machine purchase.

  32. Sara says:

    Thank you for this post! I’m currently only dreaming about a new sewing machine, but I am a fan of preparation so I’ll know exactly what I want when the time comes! ^.^

  33. Karen says:

    this is great! I’m looking for a new machine!

  34. Deanna says:

    This is great info. I’m pretty sure I need a new sewing machine, but I don’t know where to start.

  35. Kathleen says:

    Your articles about sewing machines, accessories, etc. are excellent for all of us, from beginners to advanced sewers. I’m pleased tobe able to enter this great contest.
    Kathleen

  36. Liz D says:

    That is a great check list. I fairly blindly bought my Husqvarna. I am happy with my purchase but there are other machines out there that I think would fit my needs more.
    I totally agree with Heather L about thinking about your sewing space, no matter how awesome your machine is if you aren’t comfortable while sewing you will easily fatigue and not enjoy the creative process as much.

  37. Bethany says:

    This is some great information! I’m hoping to get a new machine in the next year so I will definitely be filing this info away to refer to later. Thanks!

  38. Jessica T says:

    The water and a snack is a great idea, it would stink to make a hasty choice because you are dying of thirst!

  39. Thank you. At the moment I have a bottom of the range machine, bought solely based on price, as I was spending someone else’s money. It’s done well by me, so far, but I do hope to one day buy something with some of the tools people talk about, which seem to make life so much easier.

  40. Kim says:

    Wow, this is perfect! I am considering a new sewing machine.. and they’re expensive enough / important enough that it’s really worth taking the time to get the right one. Thanks you guys. I especially like the suggestion to bring water and snacks when shopping ;)

  41. silver says:

    Useful information! I wish I could find a site online to compare machines. But it seems that a lot of sites only carry one-three brands of sewing machines each, so I can’t compare across brands easily. I guess I have to go to a store for that?

  42. Suzanne says:

    I have a 20 year old, very basic singer from costco, and I’ve been wanting to upgrade for years. This will be a big help!

  43. sonja says:

    The tips are great !! I’m looking for a 2nd machine so these will come in real handy. Thanks

  44. Kelly says:

    This is so perfect! I am just starting to put together a “dream list” for a new sewing machine, since my little Kenmore is pooping out from all the sewing I’ve been doing lately. The information here is really helpful and includes things I wouldn’t have thought about…

  45. Thanks “sew” much for all the great info. I currently have a Kenmore that I would LOVE to replace. This post was extremely helpful. I love your site!

  46. Kelly W says:

    Thank you for this very useful information. So far I’ve used hand me down machines and wouldn’t know where to start with buying a new one.

  47. Angela says:

    I just shot coffee out of my nose at the comment about you recommending bringing water and a snack when sewing machine shopping!!! When I bought my machine, I had NO IDEA what I was doing (and only have a small idea of what I’m doing now :) ) Luckily, my mom came with me. As she was quizzing the salesperson (and undoubtedly giving her a lesson in sewing machines), all I could think about was the rumbling in my tummy!

  48. Laura M. says:

    Wish I had this guide when I bought mine! I like what I have but I selected it somewhat blindly, aside from amazon reviews.

  49. Heather says:

    Thank you for a very informative article! I am thinking about buying a new machine and think that your pdf will be very helpful!

  50. Keilah says:

    I am glad I researched my sewing machine and I love it and it has been great!

  51. Sara says:

    Wow, this is so informative! I currently love my 1946 Singer but I have been dreaming of a serger and these questions will be really to help narrower down the options and a price! Thanks!

  52. Suzanne says:

    This is great – thank you! One day I hope to buy a serger and this’ll help me with that too.

  53. Gail says:

    Great article and checklist. I just bought a new sewing machine last month.

  54. Katie R says:

    I just used your handy guide to purchase my first machine! thanks so much for your help!!!!

  55. KLyons says:

    thank you sooo much for these lists and this general info on buying a machine! I’ve been wanting to purchase a new one for a while, but honestly… I’m completely overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start… until now!!

  56. Kathleen says:

    Another wonderful and helpful resource! I’m still a sewing novice and doing my best with a 16 year-old Sears Kenmore sewing machine, but when I am able to upgrade to a new machine, this PDF list of questions will absolutely be my required reading.

  57. angela says:

    Thanks for the clear guide on buying a new sewing machine. I’m surprisingly happy with my cheap little Kenmore, but this will help me when I graduate to the next level.

  58. Megan says:

    Thanks for the great tips!

  59. Sarah says:

    I have a husquvarna but it’s pretty basic. I would love to upgrade to one with lots of computerized stitches!

  60. Julianne says:

    This is great. Thanks! Wish I had the money laying around for a new machine!

  61. Susan says:

    You continue to provide such a great resource – thank you for this! I have an entry level Brother machine right now, however I have bookmarked this page so I can reference it if and when I evolve to a more sophisticated place in my sewing. Thanks again for taking the time to provide these resources to us all!

  62. Lisa says:

    What a great check list…this will be a great resource when looking for my next machine.

  63. Melissa says:

    A great resource! Thank you!

  64. Stephanie says:

    This is so very helpful. A friend and I are both in the process of researching machines. I will point her to this site tonight at our quilt night.

  65. Carin Vogelzang says:

    I just wanted to add that I found the machine I wanted at a sewing store and then went to E-bay and found it for $300 cheaper. It was a brand new machine still in the box. I would try this before batering in a store because i hate bartering.

  66. Emily S. says:

    This is great- thanks!

  67. Jean says:

    I’m really excied about this because my mom just told me she wants to buy a new machine- this will certainly help!

  68. Melissa H. says:

    Thank you for providing this info!

  69. Analia says:

    I love sewing. I sew with my little singer sewing machine that is a simple machine. My mom gave it to me as a Christmas gift one year….it was SO nice of her!

  70. Melly Testa says:

    ops! My friend wants o sew latex.

  71. Melly Testa says:

    I am helping a friend purchase a sewing machine. She would like to sew paper and late and I think she will be a casual sewist. I, on the other hand, have had a Bernina 1001 for about 15 years and L-O-V-E it. I am right now a member of Bernina’s National Teacher’s Loan program and have the tope rated Consumer’s Report Bernina 440 model on loan. Because I have been out of the market for sewing machines for so long, I am amazed at the features and adjustments that have been made to improve my sewing experience. Little things like the lighting around the needle plate, the threader, the automatic bobbin winder. Buying the correct machine for you is so important. Thanks for this great info. Helping my friend buy a machine is interesting. I don’t ant to encourage her to buy too much of a machine just because I like one over the other. I will pass all of this info on to her.
    Thanks again.

  72. Deb says:

    A friend just told me she has been searching ebay and craig’s list for a machine for her daughter. This is a great list, and I will pass it on to her.

  73. Amy C says:

    Very good info. Especially the suggestion of taking fabric and thread samples to test the machines.

  74. Yaneth says:

    What a great post!! I wish I would’ve had this when I bought my sewing machine :( Its ok though…I figure I can practice my heart out on the one i have and use this handy info when I purchase a mamma jamma machine!! Thanks!

  75. Jenea Harmon says:

    Thank you thank you thank you! There are so many wonderful machines out there it is hard to know where to begin.

  76. pas says:

    These are great resources. Thank you.

  77. Kristi says:

    Wow what a great resource! – It would have been very helpful to have when I purchased my sewing machine. Just would like to add that Customer Service is the best thing that a store can offer you when you choose to make the purchase.

  78. Sarah H says:

    This is great! Thanks for the advice.

  79. Julie GM says:

    THX for all the tips!

  80. Amy says:

    Thanks for the info! I can’t wait to be able to afford a new machine! My current machine is 15 years old and clicks and clanks through every stitch (even after multiple “tune ups”). (((cue dreammy sigh)))

  81. Fran says:

    This guide is really helpful. Thanks!

  82. Keila says:

    Great resource!! I believe we all deserve the very best (and that does not necessarily translate to the chepest!) Dont men like to buy the best tools??

  83. Paul says:

    Excellent advice. Now I know what to look for when I go shopping. Thanks so much.

  84. MareBunny says:

    Wonderful information!!

  85. Kara says:

    Thanks for the tips – I have been looking at new machines and the process can be overwhelming. I’m sure this will help!

  86. Darla says:

    What a great list of very useful information. I had two freebie machines that were terrible to work with, but since I was a newbie I didn’t want to spend much on a machine. Well, my husband decided to buy me a nice machine and it makes all the difference. Ask any sewing machine store or a good sewer…good tools make all the difference. I can actually sew with good equipment and it makes it a pleasure. My daughter is learning at age 8 and my son is even interested (age 10). Look at it as an investment!

  87. Silver Ilix says:

    Wow, thanks for all the tips… I know what to take with me shopping!

  88. heather says:

    This guide is really helpful, buying a sewing machine can be harder than you think. I am so happy with the one I recently purchased, it has made my sewing life a little piece of heaven!

  89. Kelli says:

    Last summer my Mom called and said she wanted a new machine and asked me to help research which one she should get. She asked me to pick out the one I’d pick for myself and then tell her about it…well, turns out she and my husband were in on it together…I ended up researching which machine I wanted for myself because she went and got it and he gave it to me for our anniversary! I was totally fooled. But at least I’d got one I wanted!

  90. Andrea says:

    excellent advice … I really think your touched on something I always recommend to people to think about he main thing to ask yourself is what kind of sewing will you be doing, bits of mending etc or hobby/more intensive sewing?

  91. Christina says:

    Thank you for this checklist and questions, I’d love a new machine and when or if I can afford one, these checklists will be perfect!

  92. Meredith says:

    Thank-you! This is very helpful!

  93. Julie says:

    I’m loving this sewing machine month, very valuable information! Thanks so much!

  94. Laura says:

    Lots of good info…

  95. maryanne says:

    Lovely post – so many things I could have thought about when buying my machines, and definitely something I could use as a reference for future purchases. I currently own a starter basic machine and a starter serger, but I would love to upgrade at least the regular machine someday…

  96. Laura says:

    I would love to buy a new sewing machine… unfortuneately all of the features I want come on machines that are way too expensive for my budget.

  97. Jodieth says:

    Thank you so much for this information. This will help me to find the right machine for my sewing room.
    It will be a second sewing machine that I can use to teach one on one lessons to some of my daughters friends. My children have not had an interest. However, one of her friends can paint and has an incredible imagination and wants to learn. I plan on using this guide to help pick out a sewing machine that she may end of purchasing herself, if she really enjoys it. Summer is a wonderful time to learn. Patterns can be simple for sundresses, bags, etc. I would like for her to be able to take something home to wear or use each week.

  98. Kat says:

    I wish I would have seen this before I bought my new machine! It looks super helpful!!

  99. Lindsey says:

    Thanks so much for putting this together! I’ve been wanting to buy a new machine after buying one without doing enough research. :( Next time, I KNOW what to look for, thanks!

  100. Natalie says:

    Great guide to go by. Thanks

  101. Cami Paul says:

    I found that sitting down and trying out the different machines is the best way for me to decide. I sometimes ask the sales person what their preference is in the price range I’m looking at and why. Since they are more familiar with the machines the sales people usually have a good feel fo rthe ins and outs of the various machines.

  102. jaybird says:

    thank you for putting this together! such a good and detailed list… when the day comes that i need a new machine i know what i’m taking with me now!!

  103. I got a blank check from the Band (husband) to purchase what I need for Mother’s day and I have been researching ever since!! It is very overwhelming as there are so many choices and to narrow down, realistically, how I will use the machine. i am soo excited to finally have a checklist condensed into one precise document. I am ready to roll!! Thanks.

  104. Steph VW says:

    While my skills are somewhat limited when it comes to sewing, I am interested in eventually getting a new machine. Thanks for posting this!

  105. April says:

    Great PDF. My machines (my Brother and my Kenmore) were both gifts, and my New Home is (obviously) a hand-me-down, so I’ve never had the pleasure of buying my own. I’m really thining about it, but not quite sure what to get yet. Eeeks.

  106. Susie says:

    I am curious about the Pfaff quilting machines — saw a post on a blog about them. Nice longer arm for machine quilting!

  107. Judy says:

    This will be great when I am ready to upgrade or hopefully buy a serger!

  108. Lori Trickey says:

    I’ve been doing my researcy for a while now. Wish I could just go get that new machine now. Maybe soon.

  109. Andrea says:

    Thanks for all the helpful advice, I am thinking about a new machine in the near future & this has given me plenty to consider,

  110. Helen says:

    Great guide! It seems like everything is telling me I need to buy a new machine just lately :)

  111. What a great idea. When I do buy another machine I will definately read and print these out. I’m struggling along with my 2nd hand Toyota at the min, ughhhh! It’s a bit cronky but it does work, more suited to a beginner as you can’t alter the width of zigzag that you get or the pressure. Thanks for all the help guys, it’s a favourite! x

  112. Page says:

    This is great – I hope you do it for sergers too… hmmm. I have something that I learned about buying a sewing machine for a child too. Kids are very computer savvy today. Even my second and third grader can use Power Point! So, if you buy a child a sewing machine be sure to buy them one with a little computer screen. You’ll be amazed at how adept they are! -Page

  113. Nada says:

    very handy! i need to dedicate a day to test driving machines…

  114. kelli says:

    Wow! That’s really helpful. I’m going to send this off to a friend who is just getting into sewing. It will really help her decide which machine to start with.

  115. Firefly says:

    Perfect timing! I’ll be buying a machine in August and will definitely bring the pdf. SInce I’m a beginner, I probably won’t be bringing different fabrics to try out just yet, though.

  116. Toni says:

    Thank you for this wonderful resource! =)

  117. Joan says:

    Thank you so much for gathering all this information. I am looking for a second machine and this will definitely help me purchase the right machine I need!

  118. Danielle says:

    I wish this had been around a year ago when I bought my machine. It’s worked out fine but I had a hard time finding info to guide me,

  119. Rhyah says:

    Thank you for the great tips! It’s not in my budget to get a new machine anytime soon, but will definitely refer to this when I’m ready!

  120. the4rs says:

    Great stuff, I am in the market for a new machine, my 60′s Elna, seems to be wearing out after all this time. Please add me to any contests going, I NEED a new machine!

  121. Lisa Eichholtz says:

    Very nice guide…I’mnot sure when I’ll be able to justify a sewing machine purchase, but when the time comes, I’ll have a good guide!

  122. Elizabeth says:

    Just what I needed for a friend of mine!

  123. Asher's Mom says:

    Someday when I get my sewing room I will use this guide to buy a new machine, but for now my old hand-me-down (that I adore) will keep getting used. Thanks for the handy, very informative guide!

  124. Angela says:

    This is awesome. I’ve been wanting another machine and this is really going to help with the deciding process. I can’t wait to see all the rest of the information this month! Thanks a ton!

  125. Tammy says:

    Thanks for this info…I am going to be looking for a new machine, as I am currently working on my grandmother’s 40 year old machine. I definitely have my moments with it! LOL!!!

  126. lara says:

    I love my sewing machine but…if I have had that guide before I might have considered buying one that is a little more versatile. I’ll definetely put a bookmark on that page for buying the next machine. Thank you so much.

  127. lynnea says:

    This is so fantastic! I’ve always just gotten cheap machines, but I have a lot of problems with them. I don’t know if it’s operator error or if I’m just getting my money’s worth, so I’m hesitant to buy a better one, but this post helps me feel more prepared.

  128. Michelle says:

    I wish I had a list like this when I purchased my machine. I am happy with it but next time, I won’t buy online but from a brick and mortar store. That way I have someone to go back to with questions. I don’t know what to do in repair situations at this point

  129. jenn says:

    This is a great post! The only thing I can add is to buy the best machine you can afford. You will not be sorry. I have sewn on enough cheapies to know that sewing can be very fun, relaxing and rewarding when your machine does what it needs to do. As opposed to jamming up, skipping wrong, tension issues etc. I went from some hand me downs to a pretty nice Kenmore and it made a huge difference in my sewing quality. This checklist will help me when I step up another level!! Hopefully I can go really big next time :)
    jenn

  130. roimata says:

    I’ve just been told my machine isn’t up to scratch for what I need to do, so am looking for another.
    This was helpful, thanks.

  131. mskasey says:

    Nice! I needed something like this for my next sewing machine purchase.

  132. kathy h. says:

    How did you know I was looking at buying another sewing machine?

  133. Ann S says:

    Very helpful. Thanks!

  134. Lindsey says:

    great questions to ask when going to buy a machine, thanks! i already own one, but never hurts to have two, or three or….

  135. azteclady says:

    How long do I plan to keep this machine (i.e. is it truly a long-term investment or a casual relationship?!)?

    Oh I love this question!

    Thank you–for a beginner like me, these tutorials and guides are literally priceless.

  136. Kristin says:

    I wish I would have had this when I was getting my new machine!! Could you do one of these for sergers…that is my next buy…

  137. Kariko says:

    I love the pdfs and I’m hanging on to it for my next machine purchase. Thanks for posting!

  138. Amanda says:

    Awesome tips! Thank you so much!

  139. Shelley C says:

    Although I’ve already purchased my machine which will hopefully last my lifetime, this is good info to have and share. THanks for putting this together. I’m sure as people are using the net to weigh the options, your posts and info will be used over and over.

  140. Stephanie says:

    This is such great information!! Thank you!

  141. fabulous! i have a thrift store machine that i bought for $15. after it was cleaned up and serviced it gets the job donel, but one of these days i am going to buy myself a NICE machine… one that suits my needs perfectly! thanks for the buying guide!

  142. Brenda says:

    I find myself struggling with whether to put price or a great dealer as my top priority, after I’ve chosen the best machine for me. I go for the former in nearly every other purchase, but for this the latter is critical to me :)

  143. jo says:

    Very useful – thank you! I would love to get hold of a ‘grown up’ machine but there are so many out there it is a bit daunting! This article helps!

  144. Heather says:

    Good post! I have an older machine I found cheap on Craigslist with very few bells and whistles – my learning machine. I’m getting ready to move up in the world and buy a machine based on its possibilities. This is so helpful. Thank you. :-)

  145. Monica says:

    What a wonderful guide. I love the printouts. I’m good at researching but bad at writing it down, so when i go to shop I forget everything. Your site is a great resource.

  146. Chrisandra Davis says:

    Thanks for the info! My cheapie Brother machine that I bought spur of the moment 3 years ago are still getting along fine, but as I’ve been sewing much more lately, I have toyed with the idea of picking up a “more serious” machine. This will definitely help with making that decision.

  147. Diana says:

    This is so helpful. Sometimes I think about getting a new machine that is sturdier than the one I own because I am doing things I didn’t think I would be doing – like quilting and sewing with home dec weight fabrics. I also feel like I could really use a serger sometimes, which is a total surprise!

  148. sewinggirljen says:

    One of the other major factors – how much will you sew and will the machine you are looking at keep up with you?

    If you are buying from a dealer – what is their trade in policy? Because once you start you will want to upgrade!

  149. Sherri says:

    Very helpful. Thanks!

  150. Darlene says:

    Great info on purchasing a sewing machine.

  151. Marisol says:

    I am planning to buy a sewing machine! My first one and this is just sooo great!! Many thanks!

  152. Trudy Callan says:

    I don’t have my own machine yet, but I hope to soon.

    I am 8. Please visit my blog and watch me learn to sew.

    http://www.sewingsister.blogspot.com

    My mom has a blog too at http://www.sewingwithtrudy.blogspot.com

  153. Samantha says:

    How very handy! And helpful, considering all the options out there.

  154. Amy S. says:

    Thank you for this! I need a new machine and this will be a big help…that is if I don’t win the one you are giving away!!!!!

  155. Courtney says:

    This has just been bookmarked!

  156. Raphiel says:

    Thanks for this. I’m so new I didn’t really have a clue what to ask.

  157. susan says:

    Thanks… I will definitely use the checklists to help decide on a new machine. I hope to be able to upgrade my machine soon. It works fine but is very basic and it would be nice to be able to try out some different features.

  158. Brenda says:

    very imformative I have been wanting to buy another machine .I would like one that I could do machine quilting on.
    Brenda

  159. Rochelle says:

    Wish I had this when I bought my machine!

  160. habetrot says:

    I wish I would have known all of this when I bought my last machine. Great info, thanks!

  161. anne says:

    A very helpful guide, thank you.

  162. Margie says:

    This is so nice because it reminds you to ask the questions that you forget to ask in all the excitement of NEW MACHINE!!! I agree research & asking a broad audience & what you plan to use your machine for. You can easily get distracted by looking for a new machine & not realizing what features are most important.

  163. Lauren says:

    A great homework assignment for anyone considering the purchase of a sewing machine, very nice!

  164. Allison says:

    I wish I would have had this last several months ago! I guess I’m lucky in that I found a machine i love…. eventually!

  165. Kristen says:

    This is perfect timing for this post as I have been having trouble with my hand-me-down machine and need to start researching a new sewing machine. Thank you!

  166. Angela says:

    This is a great article. In my case, my needs changed once i got a machine. i had thought that i was only going to use my machine for repairing and hemming clothing and maybe some simple cotton projects. Instead, I’ve really gotten into sewing handbags with decorator weight cotton. Wish I’d known that. My little singer struggles to do what I want and I’m constantly stopping for a tangled bobbin. Sometimes the bobbin thread jumps out of it’s notch and I sew a whole seam that’s loopy. I would really like a different machine that could handle my projects.

  167. MegVS says:

    Great guide! Good questions!

  168. Melody says:

    This is an awesome guide. I hope to upgrade my machine someday!

  169. Laura says:

    Thanks for posting these. I’m wishing now that I’d know to ask all of this when I bought my machine. I am happy with the one that I have but still – it’s good to know the answers! I’ll keep this saved for my [hopefully far in the future] next machine purchase.

  170. georgine says:

    I am looking forward to your reviews. I am a novice sewer, and I am not even sure what I want. I only know my current either stinks or needs to be fixed. I am currently looking for a repair shop. Thanks for the opportunity to win a new machine.

  171. Southern Gal says:

    I would love a new sewing machine, but couldn’t figure out exactly what I most need in the features. Thanks for this info.

  172. Dee Dee Carter says:

    Wow-wish I had this post 3 months ago! I bought a Janome Sewsit at the beginning of the year, which has ben great. I had a very el chepo machine I bought from wal-mart to learn on 5 years ago, but since it wasn’t a great machine, I didn’t enjoy using it. Now I’m sewing all the time and already feel I want more from my machine! But it takes me forever to make a decision, so at least I can start now and in 3 years and upgrade.

  173. Rose P in AZ says:

    Ay Caramba! Thanks for this article. I’ve been thinking about a new machine lately because my basic Singer won’t allow me to free motion quilt like my old machine. (Gave that one away to a friend.)

  174. Ellen B says:

    What a great resource…all the questions you didn’t know to ask when buying! Thanks.

  175. Renee E says:

    Thanks for the resource!

  176. michelle says:

    Wow! I wish this guide was available when I bought my machine!

  177. yngla says:

    This guide was really helpful… I recently bought an overlock which i just looove, but I´m looking for a regular machine. I will definitely use this guide as a help in finding the perfect machine for my needs!!!

  178. pulltaffy says:

    Wow, I bet it’s nice to have a place to buy sewing machines where they actually ask you questions and listen to you! We don’t have anywhere around here like that, most places I have been to just sell the machines but don’t know anything about them. It was really discouraging the first time I bought a sewing machine, when I didn’t know much about what I was doing!

  179. Java Jane says:

    Great advice but I would add one more component: customer service at your local sewing machine store.

    I knew that I wanted to replace my ’70′s Singer zig-zag machine with a fairly basic machine that could handle some heavy duty sewing (things like camping equipment repairs). A basic Husqvarna Viking machine sufficed but what clinched the deal was the high level of customer service and professional attitudes at my local dealer. After purchasing the machine, I was invited to attend a free new owner’s class. I can bring my machine in to the shop if I have questions. Besides selling machines and fabric, the store conducts interesting workshops. It is the sort of place that you want to hang out in for an hour or two.

    In this day and age, Customer Service is critical for me. One of the reasons I like Sew Mama Sew, too!

    Happy sewing,
    Jane

  180. Jennifer B says:

    I would love to have new sewing machine maybe I can put it on my christmas wishlist- but then again I would have to pick it out because my husband would buy the cheapest one he could find

  181. arlene says:

    thank you so much again, looking to upgrade my current, very simple machine and taking this around will be a nice tool to have.

  182. Curry says:

    Thanks for posting this. I don’t really need a new sewing machine right now, but when I do, I know where to look for help!

  183. meri says:

    Great and useful list! Thanks!!

  184. tara boos says:

    Good guide of questions. I have an older machine but will be ready to upgrade soon. I have heard that the old machines are made better, is there any truth to that? I am happy to buy a new one and find out for myself!

  185. aubin says:

    Thank you for the great tips. I just found this site and am amazed! I will be back! I love it!

  186. This is great as it would save loads of time and helps you buy the machine you need.

    Thanks SMS

  187. Di Jobbins says:

    This is exactly what I need! I’m about to buy a second machine and this checklist will help me organise my thoughts. Thanks a million!

  188. Michele says:

    This is great information. I’m looking forward to the rest of the posts for this series…I could have sure used it a few months ago. Now you just need to have one for sergers…that’s where I am really confused!

  189. georgia says:

    Someday when I buy my Bernina this will be UBER helpful:) Granted that day will be many many years from now, but I can always plan ahead, right?

  190. Malisha says:

    Although I’m not looking for a new machine right now, It might be handy when I move out.. my sewing machine belongs to my mom.
    Thanx for helping me out as always

  191. Trudy Callan says:

    Thanks so much for the list. This will be very helpful.

    http://www.sewingwithtrudy.blogspot.com

  192. Bonnie says:

    I think ya have hit on every important question there is on buying a new machine. Very helpful.
    Keep Stitchen’
    Bonnie

  193. Mollie says:

    What great information. When I purchased my first sewing machine, I went in blind! I’d never even sewn before:o)

  194. Collette says:

    This is really great. Thank you for putting this all together in one place and making a step-by-step plan. I’m currently having an internal dialogue about need versus want. If need wins, this info will be very helpful!

  195. Jenni says:

    Thank you for this research! I went today to buy a Brother Innovis 1500, only to drive an hour there and find out it was only a Pacesetter!!! Anybody have any good used embroidery/sewing machine online dealers???

  196. Nancy says:

    Wow, who would have thought there was so much to consider in buying a machine. But, when you think about it, it is something that you’ll spend alot of time with so u really need it to do what u need when u need!

  197. cdelphine says:

    oh wow, that is so helpful. Thanks!

  198. Mindy says:

    Thank you for more helpful information. Maybe by the end of this month I’ll feel informed enough to make a decision.

  199. Rebecca says:

    Oh, Thank you so much for this info! I am saving up to purchase my first sewing machine, and it will be SO GOOD to know that what I buy will be right for me, thanks to you!!!
    Thank you, thank you!
    Rebecca

  200. Kelley says:

    Thanks for this great post…trying for figure out what to look for when sewing machine shopping is overwhelming…this helps clear things up a bit…thanks :)

  201. Heather L says:

    Thank you for your insights into purchasing a sewing machine! I would encourage a beginner sewer to not underestimate his or her abilities. As you are doing research on types of sewing and on styles of machines, choose one that will be able to keep up with you as your interest and competency develops.
    Also, a properly situated work space is just as important as the sewing machine. Maybe that is a topic for next month, with a cabinet as the giveaway!

  202. angel says:

    Good tips. Especially like the wants/needs list. I have a student Singer that was given to me 10+ years ago. Works great but it’d be nice to buy something with more features. Thanks!

  203. Helena says:

    This is great list. Wish I had this earlier when we bought me an up grade, it took me forever to decide what was in best for me in our budget.

  204. Gabriella says:

    This is a great post! I am looking to buy a sewing machine for the first time! These tips are just super! Thank you!

  205. ivy says:

    Thank you so much! This was really helpful!

  206. Mary on Lake Pulaski says:

    Great information. You can never do too much homework before purchasing a machine that you will spend many hours with. I probably did more research before purchasing my sewing machine than I did before buying my car!

  207. brenbren says:

    This will help when I finally buckle down and buy one

  208. amy lee says:

    very good info. i know I didn’t even dare touch my machine for several weeks when I bought it new several years back, because it had so many bells and whistle that I didn’t even know existed, lol!

  209. Clara says:

    Thanks this is very helpful info. I like to dream of buying a new machine.

  210. Kandra says:

    Wow! I wish I had this guide when I bought my new machine in February. I got a Janome model 8077. It does all its decorative stitching from the bottom – I’m not sure how I’m supposed to applique with it. ;(

  211. Marnie says:

    Great advice – thank you!

  212. Angela says:

    Great info! I’m going to be in the market for a new machine soon, so this will be very handy.

  213. Kristie says:

    This is really helpful stuff, I will soon be in the market for a new machine and I’ll be using all these tips! I’m sure I can find the right one with a little help ;)

  214. Heather says:

    I wish I’d had all of these tools on hand when my husband bought me a machine for my birthday last fall! I like it, but I think I would have chosen differently for myself.

  215. Anna says:

    so helpful! I’ve been looking into getting a new machine.

  216. Kimberly Fennie says:

    Wonderful article! My daughter is saving up for a sewing machine & the charts will be a great help when she is ready to purchase! Thanks~ !!!

  217. Regina says:

    All great info – one resource I used was a quilt shop that has machines they use for teaching. I asked what they had – as they had chosen reasonably priced machines for ease of use for all levels of students.

  218. Gerwerken says:

    What is considered a feature and what is considered an accessory? I am guessing that accessories are those pieces that can be bought as machine add ons and features are built into the machine and cannot be added to. Is that correct?

  219. susie says:

    excellent article! i usually do this type of research for any major purchase, but it’s nice to see it all down in one place!

  220. Marlene says:

    Very informative, great questions to ask. I answered them with respect to the machine I currently own, I made the right choice, 9 years ago.

  221. KathyB says:

    Such great timing…I LOVE my middle of the road Kenmore but am looking to upgrade soon. Thanks!

  222. Jodie says:

    I am so happy about this new topic. My current machine is going down hill fast (which I’m secretly glad about since I really can’t stand it!) and I am on the look-out for a new one. I’m excited to utilize all this information in finding the right one for me! Thanks!

  223. julia says:

    As someone who actually does need to find a new sewing machine, this is quite helpful. The machine I have now was purchased as a gift while I was in college and doesn’t quite work up to par these days. Thanks for a useful tool for when I begin my search for the ‘perfect’ machine!

  224. Hilary says:

    Awesome checklist, thanks!

  225. Nicole Kirk says:

    Thank you for posting this. This is exactly what I need before buying a new machine! I

  226. michele m says:

    thanks so much for the info…..of course now i want to go buy a new machine–lol…..

  227. Malorie says:

    These are good tips–someday I’ll get my dream machine.

  228. Mary Loomis says:

    Good post on how to buy a sewing machine; wish I’d had this when I bought mine.

  229. Linnea says:

    What a handy list of questions! I would have been so happy to have this know how when I picked out my machine.

  230. Sarah E. says:

    This makes me want a new machine!! My works great but it’s probably 20-30 years old now!

  231. Heather says:

    Thanks for this post. I am looking for a machine for my daughter and this will help me think through what she needs.

  232. Peggy B says:

    Well, I’m now in the process of buying a new machine and this valuabe information comes just in the nick of time. Thanks so much!

  233. jm says:

    What a wonderful resource! Thank you.

  234. jane says:

    This is an excellent resource, thank you.

  235. Amber says:

    This is so great – I love all the questions to think about before purchasing a machine!

  236. Peta-Jane says:

    Thankyou for a very comprehensive guide…my sister wants to purchase a new machine..so won’t I be the fountain of information when we go shoppingtogether !?!

  237. MeganAnne says:

    Thanks for these helpful questions. I was beginning to try to come up with some on my own, but was feeling a bit lost. This is perfect!

  238. Brooke says:

    Great info! Thanks!

  239. Sherrille Mackeigan says:

    Very usefull information on buying a machine. Too bad I am not in the market for one . Thanks

  240. Terriaw says:

    Wow, what a great list of suggestions and questions to think about. I want to buy a new sewing machine even though I don’t really need one, so I will use this list to appreciate my machine even more. Definitely helpful while I shop for my dream machine!

  241. Stephanie Wehrman says:

    This is such a great resource! I am so glad that I did not rush into a decision- I am still in the dreaming stage of upgrading from my little Kenmore Mini Ultra. This is wonderful, Thanks!

  242. Becky says:

    Wow, there’s so much to consider! I’m currently in the market for a new machine, so getting this advice is perfect timing! Thanks!

  243. Ingrid says:

    This is really helpful because I’m in the market for a new machine. Being new to sewing, it can be really ovewhelming to try to decide what features are useful now, and what might be useful as my skills expand. Thanks for this month’s topic!

  244. Ingrid says:

    Wow, what a great list. I hadn’t even considered some of these issues, so I’m printing this off and filing it for when I shop for my next machine.

  245. Hurrah! I’m not looking for a machine, but I still learned something new. I hadn’t heard the term “harp size” before. Thanks for a great resource.

  246. Corvus says:

    That’s quite the thorough guide. I’ve got a friend or two I’ll be sending this to.

  247. Kim B. says:

    I’m going to be shopping for a new machine in a year or so. Thanks for this help in the big decision!

  248. An Van Dessel says:

    Very usefull, thanks again!

  249. triona says:

    I really wish I had known this stuff last year when I bought mine, however, on the other hand, buying a cheap machine has worked ok for me, it can also be good to do that to just play around and decide if you like sewing or not, before making a big decision and buying a good one….but then, you might be more likely to enjoy it if you have done the research and bought the good one – I guess there are pros and cons on both sides of the arguement. LOVING this these this month :) I will be well versed when I buy my next machine!

  250. Deanna K says:

    Great thoughts for using when looking for a new machine
    love the comment about bringing water and a snack along!

  251. Ms. Fine says:

    Just something to add, but haggle. If you are at a dealership, the price on the sticker is nothing more than a “suggested retail price”. Dog named Banjo negotiated for some extras: http://www.dognamedbanjo.com/2008/06/22/bernina-aurora-440qe-whats-in-the-box/. I negotiated for different feet since I had several duplicates, including a walking foot, so that was aa $100+ trade. In all, I ended up with a savings of more than $150–which isn’t chicken feed these days.

  252. Sarah Allen says:

    What great ideas for shopping! I am so in the market for a new machine.

  253. Kris says:

    Wow! This is excellent! I wish I’d had all this info when I bought my machine about 10 years ago…..hmmm……maybe it’s time for a new machine!

  254. ariel says:

    WOW! So helpful! I will definitely use this :)

  255. Kristi R says:

    This is great…thanks! I am in the beginning stages and need a new machine. I will definitely use this handy shoppers checklist!

    Kristi

  256. Suzanne says:

    What a great list of questions! I wish the compilation of all those questions were around a few years ago when I bought my Viking! I spent hours and hours researching on-line and developing my own list of similar questions. I will be passing this on to a friend who has recently decided she wants to take up sewing/quilting as a hobby! Thank you!

  257. By LuLu says:

    I love this guide! I’ve always sewn on hand me down machines, but I’m getting to the point where I might be ready to buy a brand new one of my very own. If I can convince my hubby that it is necessary. He has already said that if/when we get a new one it needs to be everything I want so I won’t just want an upgrade in a few years. This guide and check list is a great place to start!!

    ~LuLu

  258. min says:

    Very nice to have this, thanks. I am looking for second machine to take to classes and I always feel like a dummy looking at lightweight cheaper machines, as if salespeople will look down on me when I look at the cheapies. I’m a novice and want to be “on the go.” Anyhow, I appreciate the checklist.

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