Hey, everyone! Excellent news! So, my friend Jen has decided to take up sewing. Hurrah! Another one converted to the wonderful world of sewing. I met Jen when I was at school in February, she’s a wardrobe stylist and professional shopper, so of course we hit it off! And now she’s going to learn to sew.
But first, she needs to buy her very first sewing machine!
Since I sew a lot, she’s asked me what kind of sewing machine she should get, and where to find one. Now, you’d think I would have a good answer to this question, since I sew so much! The funny thing is that I don’t. I feel like I’m too far past being a beginner to remember what she’ll need! My machine is way fancier and does way more functions than a beginner needs. In fact, it probably looks overwhelming to a beginner, all those wacky stitches and extra machine feet.
This is mine – I love it! It’s pink. And it sews very nicely. It never lets me down! It does four different types of buttonholes, all of which I avoid using, but are still there when bound buttonholes just won’t do. It has a threading lever, or it did until I broke it over the summer. (I miss it, and still pull down the threading-handle to try to use it every time I change thread!) It does cool things like ‘leave the needle down every time you stop’ – which is a good function if you’re sewing something unruly. You can shift needle position from right to left, and gives you the option of 76 different stitches.
I feel a bit like a sewing machine snob looking at basic, entry-level, lower-priced sewing machines since I love mine and all its fancy functions. (Even if for most projects, I rarely use more than just a basic straight stitch!) I’m of the mindset that you buy the best you can afford, when it comes to tools. And fabric. Otherwise, you’ll be really frustrated when your projects don’t turn out nicely, and blame yourself when it could be the bargain-bin fabric acting up or the machine that’s never going to form nice, even stitches. Reliability is the most important thing for me. I want to know that when I turn to my sewing machine, it’s going to be there for me. Maybe that’s just me!
Did you know you can buy sewing machines at Canadian Tire? Walmart? Does $69.99 get you a decent sewing machine to learn on, or is she better off to spend a bit more? For some reason, and maybe it’s the sewing snob in me, I feel like I want my sewing machine to come from a sewing-machine store. Somewhere where the salespeople actually sew, and can help you find something that suits your needs. Both my serger and sewing machine are from sewing machine stores. (Serger is from Mason Sewing Machine in Vancouver, sewing machine is from Laura’s Fashion Fabrics in White Rock. Laura’s Fabrics will give you unlimited free lessons on how to use it, if you buy your machine there!) Does price matter, or do they all do basically do the same thing? How much does a decent, reliable machine cost? Does it really matter where you buy your machine from?
How about functions on a very first sewing machine? I feel like she needs to be able to sew straight stitches, zigzag, and a decent buttonhole. (Otherwise she’ll never want to sew anything with buttons. I have a pretty decent buttonhole-function on my machine and I still dislike sewing them!) Are there any other functions that are essential to getting started?
So I’m wondering if you guys could help me (and Jen) out. (She doesn’t know I’m writing about her and her sewing machine search today, surprise surprise!) What sewing machine functions does Jen, the beginner, absolutely need? Do you have a recommendation for a good beginner sewing machine? (Any types or models she should stay away from?) What was your first sewing machine like? Have you bought a beginner-level sewing machine here in Vancouver recently?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas and suggestions for Jen’s first sewing machine (and anyone else who’s in the market for one). Thanks so much in advance!