Sewing machines are a must have in every household. They are a lifesaver in an emergency when your favourite skirt has ripped or you need to hem a skirt, but buying one can be difficult. There are a number of different makes, models, and options that are available to you when buying a sewing machine, and it can be difficult to know exactly what you need. People’s needs are different from machine to machine, so it is important to buy a machine that best suits your needs so that you don’t overspend, but also so that you don’t buy a machine that won’t do what you need it to. That’s where Surf’n’Buy come in. We have developed another one of our handy reviews and advice articles to help you buy the best sewing machine for your needs and home, so that you get the product that will be the best fit for you and your family.
Have a look through our list of the top 3 sewing machines in 2020.
Top 3 Sewing Machines
1. Brother CS6000i Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine
The Brother CS6000i Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine is a very versatile machine and is built to last. The arm offers built in storage space for a tidy work station. It’s included LCD screen to choose stitching options so all settings are clear. 60 built in stitches gives you a range of possibility and sewing style. A quilting table makes this machine able to cope with thicker materials and quilting. The handy start-stop button allows you to use the machine without a need for the foot pedal. The foot pedal is included for full control over speed. The quick-set top drop-in bobbin is very easy to access for quick and easy set up, as well as jam proof sewing. There is a handy carry case for easy storage and transport. The Brother CS6000i Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine weighs a total of 13 pounds, making it very lightweight.
- The versatility of the Brother CS6000i Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine makes it ideal for those who sew a lot or need to sew thicker materials.
- The built in storage is handy for keeping any accessories so that your workstation is clean and safe.
- With 60 stitch settings to choose from you are spoilt for choice when it comes to your projects.
- The LCD screen is very easy and clear to read and select stitching options.
- The built in quilting table is useful for those who work with quilted and thicker materials.
- The start-stop button makes it easy to use the machine without a need for the pedal for automatic sewing.
- The foot pedal gives you full control over the speed of your sewing.
- The Brother CS6000i Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine is specially designed with a top drop bobbin so that it is much less likely to jam and damage the materials or needle.
- The lightweight design makes it very easy to move around and store.
- The machine has difficulty working with cheaper threads as they can get caught and bunch the material during sewing.
- The quilting table does not attach to the machine and can slip during sewing.
- The built in light is not very bright, and you may need to add an extra lamp in dimmer areas.
- The pedal is incredibly sensitive, and moving even slightly can cause the machine to move much faster than intended.
- The lightweight design can cause the machine to tip and slip if not carefully positioned, which can cause issues during sewing.
- The presser foot can block view of the needle and cause issues during sewing, as you cannot see where the needle is going to come down and this can cause mishaps.
The Brother CS6000i Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine is a very powerful and durable machine for a very affordable price, and offers you an incredible amount of features. With over 50 stitches to choose from, built in storage space and automatic functions, you can get away with any fabric and create all manner of projects. The main drawback of this machine is that the pedal is very sensitive, and if you are not used to this you can cause problems with the stitch and the tension. However, once you are used to the Brother Brother CS6000i Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine you are bound to fall in love with it, as it is a powerful and useful machine that will keep up with your everyday sewing needs, making it a great machine for your next purchase.
2. SINGER 4423 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine
The 23 built-in stitches give you a good number of options and styles to incorporate into your sewing. Automatic needle threader makes loading the machine very easy. The top drop in bobbin reduces the risk of jamming whilst sewing. This SINGER 4423 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine is capable of sewing 1100 stitches per minute. Awesome, right? Singer motor is 60% stronger than other models, making it much more durable than other options available. The machine is made from stainless steel and heavy duty metal, making it much stronger. Presser feet simply snap on for easy transitions. The button holer is completely automatic so that you can create buttonholes in a variety of sizes without needing to adjust the machine. The SINGER 4423 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine weighs 14.5 pounds, making it much sturdier and less likely to slip during sewing. It runs on 110 volts, giving it a low energy usage.
- 23 stitching options give you plenty of room to create a range of varied projects.
- The automatic needle threading capabilities make it very easy to set up the machine and start working immediately.
- The SINGER 4423 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine is 60% stronger than other models, and the slightly heavier weight makes it much more study and still during use.
- Capable of sewing up to 1100 stitches per minute, this machine can be used for industrial sewing as well as home sewing.
- The presser feet are easy to snap on and change for quick and easy transitions.
- The lower energy output makes this machine much cheaper to run than other models.
- The button holer is automatic and fits one size, making it very easy to use for buttonholes of all sizes.
- The stainless steel and metal frame makes this machine incredibly durable so that you can be assured it will last.
- The SINGER 4423 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine is quite a lot heavier than other options, making it difficult to move and transport if you have a smaller frame.
- The machine casts a lot of shadows onto the sewing plate and the light is not very strong, so extra lighting is necessary.
- The high speeds can be difficult to control for novices who do not have as steady a hand.
- The stitch selector can be difficult to get used to, especially if you are a novice sewer.
- It can be difficult to get the tension right on this machine, and this can cause bunching or damage the needle.
If you are looking for a machine that will be able to cope with the thickest of materials and the fastest of speeds, then look no further than the SINGER 4423 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine. This machine is incredibly strong and powerful, built with stainless steel and a metal body – it is built to last, and is able to cope with the thickest of leathers and the highest of speeds. Although it can be hard to light the machine properly and it can be hard to get used to, the machine is perfect for those who are frequent sewers and need a heavy duty machine for their projects. With many great features and automatic capabilities, the SINGER 4423 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine is the best option for the more advanced seamstress, as it offers much more durability and speed than some of the lighter and slower options that are more suited for simple home use.
3. Janome Graceful Gray Basic Compact Sewing Machine
The Janome Graceful Gray Basic Compact Sewing Machine weighs only 5 pounds, making it the most portable option on this list. With 10 stitches to choose from, you have plenty of options for most projects. It comes in 11 bright colours, making perfect for kids. This machine is incredibly portable for sewing on the go. The machine comes complete with a top drop-in bobbin set up so that risk of jamming is reduced. There are clear threading diagrams on the machine to help make set up much faster and easier. The Janome Graceful Gray Basic Compact Sewing Machine offers a finger guard to help protect your fingers, which is especially useful for beginners. There is accessory storage within the machine to help keep your workspace tidy and safe. The machine is very easy to put into reverse to help beginners learn how to secure stitches.
- The incredibly lightweight design of this sewing machine makes it very easy to move around and carry, especially if it belongs to a child.
- This sewing machine is the perfect gift for a child or beginner seamstress, as it is incredibly lightweight and there are 11 different bright colours to choose from.
- There are detailed diagrams on each machine to help guide you on proper loading and set up so that you can learn properly and develop a proper skill set.
- The finger guard keeps fingers protected and safe during sewing so that you can learn without danger.
- With 10 different stitches, children can get used to sewing in different options before they progress onto more complex machines.
- The dials are very easy to change and manoeuvre for children with less strength than adults, making it easy to strengthen stitches and keep projects from fraying.
- The design of the machine is much more flimsy than higher level options, and most of the machine is made from plastic that can break easily.
- The first stitch, stitch A, can be difficult to use and can cause tension to cause damage to the fabric and needle.
- Changing the bobbin can be quite complex if not done properly, and this can be very difficult for a child.
- The cheaper design of the Janome Graceful Gray Basic Compact Sewing Machine can cause the machine to develop several issues, such as difficulty to pick up the bobbin thread.
- The machine will not be able to cope with larger amounts of sewing, so care should be taken to only use thin fabrics and quality threads, as anything else will reduce the durability of the machine.
The Janome Graceful Gray Basic Compact Sewing Machine is a fantastic option for the beginner seamstress, or for children who want to learn to sew and make their own projects. The lightweight design and extra safety features that come with the machine allow you to ensure the safety of your child as they sew, as well as allowing them to customise the machine with 11 great colours. The Janome Graceful Gray Basic Compact Sewing Machine is not suitable for anything more than beginners however, as the machine is small and will not be able to cope with larger jobs. Nevertheless, this machine is a great gift for the children in the family who want to learn how to sew properly and want a machine that will guide them through the process and develop proper skills.
How to Distinguish a Quality Sewing Machine from a Cheap One
The main thing that differentiates between a quality sewing machine and a cheap sewing machine is the materials that it is made from. Typically, the higher grade the materials are that go into creating the sewing machine, the better chance you have of the machine being high quality. Many of the higher grade machines are crafted from metal frames and have a stainless steel working bed. This makes the machine much more durable so that you can ensure your machine is as stable as possible so that you get the best from it. These machines will be less likely to jam and to tilt, which some of the lighter and lower quality machines tend to do.
Lower quality machines tend to be made mostly from plastic and will offer you a lower range of stitching options than a higher quality machine, as they are only intended to be used for the most basic of projects. These machines also tend to be lighter and slower, offering a lower rate of stitches per minute than their higher grade counterparts. The final differentiation between a lower and a higher quality sewing machine is price. It is always better to spend at the higher end of your budget, as this will get you a better quality machine with more options.
Factors to Consider when Purchasing a Sewing Machine
There are many factors to consider when buying a new sewing machine, and if it has been a while since you bought a sewing machine then you will know that a lot has changed since you bought your previous model. This Surf’n’Buy’s section helps you to note down considerations and factors that you need to take into account before you go ahead and buy a new sewing machine so that you can better define your needs and find the right option to suit you and your family’s everyday sewing needs.
Sewing machines can range between $100 to $1000, so finding your budget is vitally important before you go out and buy a new machine. As with most purchases, it is always better to spend as much as you can so that you can buy a machine that you will grow into, as higher prices mean more features and stitch options to choose from. However, there is no need to overspend on a machine that you will not be using very frequently. If you simply need it for vital fixes then a basic machine at a low cost will suit you fine.
There are so many brands to choose from when looking into a new sewing machine, and each one will offer different models, features and extra accessories. If you are looking for a more professional sewing machine then you should go for a bigger brand at a higher cost. If, however, you are looking to buy a simple machine for occasional use then you can afford to go for a lower tier brand at a lower cost, as you will probably not need the features and accessories that the larger brands offer with their sewing machine models.
There are nearly 200 stitching options to choose from, but only a select few machines will really offer you this many stitches and these sewing machines will be much more expensive than the more basic models. If you are a professional seamstress who produces a variation of different products then you will need a higher model with more options for different stitches, as these are the only models that will offer you the options that you need. Again, of you are only using the machine for small repairs then you will only need a few stitching options. If you are planning on learning how to sew, however, you will need a fair few options that you can grow into.
Different options and models give you different features. For example, some higher level beginner models will give you better safety features than cheaper models, such as finger guards and reinforced frames. If you are a beginner, it is recommended that you purchase a model that is properly kitted out with as many safety features as possible, as mistakes are very likely early on. Other features include LED screens and automatic functions, but these are not absolutely necessary to a beginner or a professional, they are just a nice addition.
If you’re planning on moving the sewing machine around a lot, or if you need it to be portable and an on-the-go sewing machine, then a lightweight design is absolutely essential. The lighter the sewing machine, the easier it will be to move around. However, it should also be noted that lighter machines forgo some of the stability and durability that heavier machines have, and this can sacrifice the quality of the sewing machine overall. Make sure you know whether or not you need to move the machine a lot in order to get the right one.
Maintenance is vitally important in keeping your sewing machine working properly. All sewing machines need some kind of maintenance, and usually this consists of cleaning and oiling the gears, removing all leftover thread, and replacing the needle every so often to reduce any risk of damage and overall wear and tear. Each model will require a different amount of maintenance, so make sure you know what the machine you are considering needs, and consider whether or not you will be able to maintain this so that you can keep your sewing machine in proper working order.
Durability is assessed in a number of different ways. Firstly, the materials that are used for form the machine are very important. The more metal used in the frame of the machine, the sturdier it will be and the longer it will last. Stainless steel is one of the best options to go for in the design of your machine as it is easy to maintain and will not bend easily. Secondly, the heavier the machine, the easier it will stay put when you are sewing, which will reduce risk of tilting, which helps to keep the machine from falling and potentially being damaged.
Each brand has its own set of accessories that can either come with the sewing machine as a bundle, or as an add-on that you can purchase separately. More occasional users should only really need the accessories that come with the machine, as these offer you plenty of room for sewing a number of different projects. However, professionals, and those who are looking to learn, may need to buy new accessories alongside their sewing machine so that they have everything that they need for the range of different projects that they are hoping to create, as many of these will not come with the original machine. We have more information on accessories later on in this article so keep reading!
Best Sewing Machine Brands
There are many different brands to look at when you’re buying a new sewing machine, and each brand will offer different features, accessories and extras to buy, as well as different models, so it can be hard to know which brand is best. This part of the Surf’n’Buy’s article breaks down six of the best brands currently creating sewing machines on the market. These brands offer many different models, warranties, and customer support and we aim to help you to find the best option for you to buy from in order to get everything that you need to protect you from any breaks and necessary replacements.
Brother has over one hundred years of experience in creating the best sewing machines on a global scale. They ship their products worldwide and are known for their great features, superior manufacturing and long warranties that offer customers full coverage in the case of any issues. With brother, you can be sure that you are receiving quality service from a reputable brand, as they have a long standing reputation for quality and performance, and can offer you your beginner’s sewing machine, right up to a professional standard sewing machine, leaving every customer as satisfied as the last.
Janome is a well known company that has been established since 1969, and is now one of the top manufacturers in Europe, and the top manufacturer in the UK. Janome carefully designs and manufactures each sewing machine to be suitable for all levels of sewing experience, guaranteeing that you will find an option that will best fit your needs. With their impressive experience and reputation for quality and reliability, Janome sewing machines are among the best on the market, so if you are looking for a brand that will offer all of the features and experience that you need for sewing success.
Established in 1851, Singer are among the most prolific sewing machine brands and their aim is, and has always been, to help people of all experience levels to reach their sewing goals. They offer a range of machines with both sewing and embroidery capabilities so that you are not limited in what you can do with your new machine. Each product comes with accessories, and Singer offers extras to be bought, alongside an impressive warranty to cover you in the case of any issues you may come across. If you are looking for a brand that you can trust, then Singer is one of the best.
Juki is a Japanese based company that has been established since 1938, and since then has developed into a globally recognised company. They offer three main types of home-based sewing machines and sergers so that you can find the product that will best suit your needs. Juki is known for its quality assured products, which are some of the most durable and versatile on the market, as well as being available for reasonable prices. Although there are not many Juki machines around, if you can find one they are well worth the money.
Frister & Rossmann
Frister and Rossmann are a German company that was developed in 1964, and began in Berlin. The company began with similar designs to that which were popular in America and across Europe, but quickly developed their products to be among the best and more revered machines across the world. Nowadays, Frister and Rossmann offer a range of designs, models and features for every avid seamstress, and can help you to develop a proper skill set with a machine that is built to last, with warranties that last even longer.
Elna are one of the more little known companies in the sewing machine market, but they are still a top player, spreading their influence into more than 60 countries throughout the world since their start up in 1940. Elna specialises in light weight designs and making sewing fun for those who are learning to sew, as well as those who have vast experience in sewing and creating a range of different projects. With many different designs, features, accessories and models to choose from, Elna should not be counted out just because it is a smaller company than its rival competitors.
Finding the Best Sewing Machine for Your Needs
Defining your needs is an important starting point before buying a sewing machine, as you need a machine that will do everything that you need it to so that you can create the projects that you want, as well as give you the option to grow and develop your skills if you are a beginner. This section of the article helps you to define your needs, and how to fill them, so that you can find the best sewing machine for you and get the best value for your money.
Types of Machine
There are a number of different types of sewing machine available and you should know which one you prefer before you go out and buy one. The first option in a mechanical sewing machine is your standard machine. These machines need to be manually adjust your stitch length, type and tension in order to get the sewing right. These options are lower in price, but require a bit more work.
The second option is an electronic sewing machine. These electronic options offer you all of the same things as a manual machine, but have a computerised control system that will automatically adjust the elements of your stitches so that you always have the right tension and length. Although this is incredibly useful, it will not develop your skill and is definitely not necessary. The final option is a computerised sewing machine. These are almost completely automatic and aren’t usually used for home use, as it does not use the same amount of skill and ability as a manual sewing machine would. So, although these options are useful, they are better suited for industrial level rather than home projects.
If you are a beginner then it is vitally important that you buy a sewing machine that suits your abilities, but also allows you room to grow. This means you should get higher than a basic model, as this will give you more stitching options that you can slowly start to use and develop your skills with. If you are a professional, you will need a lot more from your machine in terms of stitching options, stability and durability, as you will most likely be using the machine frequently and with thicker fabric and thread.
Features and Abilities
Finally, there are features and abilities of the machine, and these are also important to note. Some machines offer both sewing and embroidery, so that you can develop a piece mechanically rather than with manual embroidery. This can be incredibly useful for those who create more elaborate projects, as it cuts down the time spent. Other features include safety features such as finger guards. These features are very useful for beginners to sewing and children who are learning to sew, as beginners are much more likely to cause themselves injury with a new sewing machine than those who are more advanced.
Sewing Machine Accessories and Parts
All sewing machines need a cover, and if you move around a lot then you will need a case. This helps to protect your machine from any dirt, dust and grit that can get into the mechanisms and causing damage. A case will also help to protect your machine from any knocks and falling objects.
A seam guide will help you to keep your sewing straight and your seams looking clean. Most machines have a basic guide, but you can buy an add on attachment so that you cannot sew over the allowance you have set.
Zipper feet are surprisingly important. If you want a subtle zip, you will need a specific zipper foot, if you want a wider zip, you will need a specific zipper foot. All zippers have their own zipper foot, so make sure that you get yourself well kitted out with as many as you think you need.
A hemmer is a handy accessory that will fold the raw edge of a hem so that it looks clean and finished. These do take some practice, so don’t throw yourself in at the deep end. Allow yourself some practice and develop your skill before you use it on a real project.
This accessory is specifically designed to create a decorative effect with your edges, create tucks and pleats, add bias tape and even sew lace together without it looking messy. These also take some practice, but once you’ve mastered it you will wonder how you lived without it.
Most options on this list have a button holer built into the machine, but it is a very important piece of kit on your machine. You need to make sure you have an option that allows you to see your work as you go so that you can properly develop a good and sturdy buttonhole.
Rufflers are essential, almost as essential as zipper foots. Without these little babies you will find yourself constantly having to undo and redo your projects. Rufflers keep it simple and do that hard work for you, so you don’t have the endless frustration of a difficult ruffle.
Last, but not least, is a maintenance kit and this should include everything that you need to clean your machine and repair any minor damage. A small screwdriver to tighten loose screws, a microfiber cloth and proper lubricants are essential for day-to-day maintenance.
Sewing Machine Tips and Tricks
Once you have your sewing machine, the next step is to learn how to use it. This Surf’n’Buy’s part of the article has put together some handy tips and tricks to help you master your new sewing machine.
Iron The Hems
Ironing a hem before you sew it can help you to keep the hem clean and straight as you sew it. This little trick will help you to master your hemming skills and create some beautiful clothing.
Prewash Your Fabrics
Before you cut your fabric, it is a good idea to wash it before you cut and sew the piece. This will allow the fabric to shrink to the size it will be when you wash and wear it. Just make sure that you iron the fabric before you cut it.
Pinning your piece against the route of the machine will allow the needle to glide over the material and the pins without catching the pins. Catching the pins can cause the needle to bend and break, which is a huge health and safety issue whilst you are sewing. Placing them at 90 degrees to the route of the machine is much safer and allows you to sew much faster.
Keep Your Scissors Sharp
Sharp scissors mean a cleaner cut, so it is important to get the right scissors, or sheers, and keep them as sharp as possible. This means that you should only use your scissors for material and get them sharpened regularly so that they stay sharp and keep your cuts clean.
Weight Your Patterns
Weighing your patterns down onto your fabric keeps them flat and keeps your measurements correct. This allows you to make sure that the piece is cut and sewn properly so that it will be the right size and fit that is intended, rather than being slightly smaller due to curling edges.
Hairspray Your Thread
This sounds like an odd one, but in fact if you spray the end of the thread with some hairspray it will keep all of the threads together and make threading your needle much easier and faster.
Go With the Grain
Finding the grain is important when you are cutting your fabric, as it will stop your garment from being wonky and messy looking. The grain is the way that the material is put together; so cutting the material with the grain makes the cut easier and cleaner.
Pin Together the Opposite Sides
Pinning together the opposite edges of the material and sewing them this way mean that when you turn the piece inside out, you will actually be turning it the right way around. This will turn the seams to the inside and make the piece much cleaner.
If you are an avid seamstress then you will have a lot of bobbins in a lot of colours and very little storage for them. To remedy this, simply store your bobbins in toe separators that are used for manicures. This little trick is genius and saves you a lot of searching when you’re finding your bobbins.
Stay tape is your new best friend when you are sewing. It keeps two pieces of fabric together for long enough to be sewn together without moving, and is simply ironed on to keep the materials together so that you have a steady seam.
Finish Your Seams
To finish your seams properly is to ensure that there is no chance of the seam coming undone as you wear the garment or use the piece. There are a number of ways to do this properly and they all depend on fabric, so make sure you research what finishing method is recommended for your materials.
Cleaning Your Machine
In order to properly clean your machine you need to do a number of things. First you need to completely remove all threads from the machine. Remove all bobbins and cases and remove any dust, then lightly wipe or scrub the inner working with a microfiber cloth or small wire brush. Allow this to air dry and then lubricate the inner workings with a microfiber cloth to prevent the parts from grinding against each other and causing damage. You should also take your machine to a proper manufacturer in order to make sure all parts are in working order.
This Surf’n’Buy’s article aims to advise people of all experience levels on what they may need when buying a new sewing machine, as it can be difficult to go through all of the information that is available to you. We have done all of the work for you, and developed this guide to lead you through all of the information you need to define and fill your needs, as well as giving you some excellent options of sewing machines. Each of our recommended machines has been carefully researched and compiled to give you all of the options that you need in order to make the right decision as to whether this machine will be useful to you, or whether it doesn’t offer enough.
Once you have read through our extensive guide, we believe that you have all of the information that you need to choose the right sewing machine that will suit your needs and give you every feature, accessory and add on that will allow you to sew everything you plan to. Even as a beginner, you can grow and develop your skill set with the perfect sewing machine, so don’t be disheartened just because you have not had as much practice as others. We hope that this extensive guide has been helpful in figuring out what your needs are for a new sewing machine. Enjoy your sewing!