Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Shopping for a Sewing Machine, Embroidery Machine or Serger?

Considerations for picking out the right sewing machine, serger or embroidery machine:

Research, Organize and have a plan before you shop!

  • Skill level and affordability - but even if you are a beginner, pick the nicest machine you can afford so that you have room to grow! I say this based as a consumer and as one who has worked at stores. 
  • Mechanical or Computerized - mechanical machines still do the job at hand by manipulating settings manually.  Computerized machines offer more stitches with a simple push of the button.  There are less moving parts in a computerized machine which is a perk. 
  • Being an embroidery enthusiast, if you are looking for a good embroidery machine, ensure that it has current technology i.e. a USB port or at the very least a direct connection (cable) to the computer. It will come in handy for writing designs to the machine with or without embroidery software. Pay attention to the size hoops available for the machine: bigger is better!
  • Consider the style of sewing you are doing now and also what you might be interested in learning. 
  • Research on the internet by going to the machine websites prior to stepping foot in a store. Be informed on features that meet your current and future needs. 
  • Audition the machine: If you are into quilting, bring a fabric sandwich and test it out on the machines you are looking at. If you are into garment assembly, check the decorative stitches, the look of the top stitch, and whether or not fabrics feed through easily like the seams in jeans or flowing silks! Bring fabrics to replicate them and test it out. 
  • Take into account not only the feet and accessories that come with the machine, but also the optional feet and accessories that are available for it as your skills and ideas grow.
  • Buy a sewing (or embroidery :) machine from a reputable dealer that offers classes that support your interests.
  • What is the warranty that comes with the machine? 
  • Does the dealer offer free classes on learning how to thread and use the various settings on the machine?
  • Does the store have a sewing or embroidery club for you to join and meet like minded people for new ideas and techniques?
  • Are repairs done in-house? What it their turn around time?
  • Check around and ask people who shop there:  how is the sales staff, educators and repair staff after the initial sale?
  • If you are into Social Media, See if the dealer has a Facebook page and get the flavor of the store.     Keep in mind that many stores are just getting their feet wet with FB so it's all new territory and it is a learning curve. 
  • If the store has a website, see if they post a class newsletter and if yes then download and read it!
Most sewers keep their machines for a decade or more!  Invest your time in selecting the right machine to meet and exceed your current needs and you will not regret the time spent in doing proper homework prior to the purchase. ~Cookie

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