Sewing can be a great hobby, side business, or way to save money. If you’re considering buying a new sewing machine for yourself, you’ll find models ranging from under $200 to well over $10,000. Knowing what you’ll need to achieve your goals is a good place to start.
The first thing to think about is what you intend to do with your sewing machine. Do you want to be able to do basic alterations and mending, create simple clothing pieces, and/or small crafting projects? Are you planning on doing heavier upholstery work? Do you want a machine that can do embroidery? Obviously, the more you need a machine to do, the more expensive it will be. Buying a top-of-the line, do-everything model that has way more features and functionality than you’ll ever use could be a colossal waste of money that comes with enough instructions and a big enough learning curve to be exasperating.
Lower-end machines ($200 or less) tend to contain a lot of plastic parts that aren’t always very durable and can be hard to replace when they do break. Such machines might be perfectly okay for light-duty users who only plan on doing occasional small projects. They also make great starter machines for those just getting their feet wet. Once you’re comfortable with sewing and have a chance to better understand what your preferences and needs are, you’ll be better equipped to spend wisely on an upgraded model.
If you intend to use your machine no more often than once a week or so for nothing more than the easiest jobs, you’ll probably need to spend somewhere between $200 and $600. Machines in this range don’t always have more bells and whistles, but are generally built better. When parts do need replacing, they’re easier to obtain. They’re still not necessarily designed for long hours every week, which makes them suitable for beginning to intermediate users.
Going up in price from there, models that come in between $600 and $2000 are designed for frequent use and heavier-duty projects. They’re usually found in sewing shops, major hobby shops, and online. Visiting a reputable sewing shop can be the best way to get an expert opinion on what type of machine will meet your needs. Machines in this range are made well from high-quality materials and can handle many different types of sewing jobs and often have the ability to create several (even many) different kinds of stitches. These sewing machines are suitable for most users who are comfortable with the process, want to be able to tackle multiple types of projects with ease, and plan on using their machine frequently.
If it’s your kid who’s interested in sewing, don’t forget to look into the best rated sewing machine for kids.
If you’re looking for a machine that can do pretty much anything that a sewing machine can reasonably be expected to do, be prepared to spend over $2000. Super high-end machines can run as high as $15,000. Naturally, these machines are not designed for the casual user unless, of course, you’re a casual user with money to burn. These are the machines typically used by professionals who spend several hours per day sewing. This category also contains quilting machines and machines capable of the widest range of embroidery work.
Once you decide what price range meets your needs and your budget, don’t forget to check secondhand sources for your machine. Given that many folks invest in a sewing machine and then decide sewing just isn’t for them, you can often find really great deals on like-new machines. Ebay and Craigslist are good places to start. You can also try yard sales and sewing shops that deal with used machines. If you do buy new, you’ll usually pay more through a sewing shop than online, but a local shop can be a great learning resource, so you’ll have to decide whether the extra money is worth the extra help.
If you’re new to sewing (or haven’t done any sewing since Girl Scouts or home-ec class), remember that, like most other things, becoming proficient will take practice and patience. Try working with remnants that can be purchased at fabric stores, or, better yet, practice on cheap finds at your local thrift store.
This resource is best for those who’d like a special machine for quilting.