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This guide aims to help you get to grips with the basics of sewing machines, from the differences between manual, electronic and computerised machines, all the way through to available accessories. After all, buying a machine shouldn’t be so complicated!
Beginners only really need a small selection of stitches and basic functions while they get used to using a sewing machine, whereas intermediate or advanced sewers will most likely require more complex features and a greater range of stitches, buttonholes and alphabets to expand their creative options. The key thing to take away here is this: there's no use splashing the cash on a machine too advanced for your requirements, or equally wasting money on one too basic for your skillset! Make sure your new machine complements the complexity of your stitching talents, keeping up with your creative drive.
It's important to really think about why you're buying a sewing machine - what will be your primary reason for using it? There's no use buying a machine with hundreds of quilting features when you're only interested in dressmaking or making simple alterations, but similarly you won't want a machine with basic functions and a small workspace if you're looking to take on bigger tasks, such as creating a quilt or embroidering designs onto fabric. If you have specific projects in mind, those should be taken into consideration - but similarly, you may just be looking to try out a new hobby.
If you believe you'll rarely use your sewing machine, there's no point buying the newest model with hundreds of stitches, features and accessories that'll never be used. If you usually stitch by hand or are considering a new craft, begin with something a little more basic to get a feel for it - you've always got the option to upgrade as your passion increases. In addition, if you know that you'll use a sewing machine very frequently, it's important that you buy a strong machine with a sturdy and durable frame - one that can withstand a lot of wear and tear. It'd be worth the extra money to know that you'll have a tool you can always rely on!
This final thought may not be initially applicable to everyone - but it is a factor that may prove to be important in the future. Consider where you'll use your sewing machine, and whether it's likely that you'll need to easily transport it to another location. Where do you craft the most - do you prefer to create in your craft room, or do you like to travel to friends' houses or craft clubs? If your answer is the latter, and you know you'll be moving around frequently, you won't want to haul around a heavy machine with you - a more compact, portable machine may be best suited to your needs.