Sunday, February 20, 2011

How to Select a Sewing Machine

Good Morning Friends,
Remember in my last post I mentioned I was searching for a new sewing machine?  I have been doing my research and I have it narrowed down and made my decision.  I want to share with you some of the features I looked at while making my decision.

My current machine is an old Bernina Minimatic.  It was a used one my parents gave me when I turned 16.  It had been used in a high school for home ec. classes before I got it.  That machine is over 30 years old!  It has 8 basic stitches and I can say I've sewn miles upon miles with just the basic.

So in looking at a new machine I know I don't need the fanciest because those basic 8 stitches got me a long way.  One feature I really, REALLY want is the ability to do monogramming.  So that is where I started my search.  I also set myself a budget.  After talking to my husband and deciding that this would probably be my last sewing machine I ever purchase I want a good quailty one.  If my previous machine can go over 30 years I'm expecting this new one to do the same.  I've been selling Scentsy and have made a nice chunk of change with this new business so my budget is $1000.  I feel I can get a very good quailty machine that will last for this price and I had even been looking at used machines.  (I must say I've been shocked to see sewing machines over $10,000.  That is the cost of a car!)

When you are looking for a new sewing machine decide what exactly you want to do with it.  There are three basic types of machines.  Basic sewing machines, embroidery machines, and quilting machines.  Then there are machines that do combination sewing, embroidery and quilting.  Because of the fact that I want to do monogramming I needed to narrow my search to a combination sewing and embroidery machine.  I wanted to have a selection of 4 or 5 alphabet fonts to choose from and I wanted the ability to make those fonts different sizes.

I started my research with a quick trip to the library to search the Consumer Reports magazine followed by research on the internet.  My next bit of research was calling the various sewing machine stores in the area and speaking with them in detail.  Because this is a big investment for me, I made the decision to buy from a local dealer who does service "in house".  I took notes on the opinions of each store owner.  Then I went and visited the stores.  One local store stood out for me.  They are a family business and I met the husband, wife and daughter.  The wife spent a lot of time with me going over their various machines.  When speaking with the husband over the phone I gathered that customer service and satisfaction is of #1 concern with them and I think that is a lost art these days so that impressed me.  This store was busy with customers and they even had a class going on in the next room that I got to observe.  I found this to be another plus because the store has a monthly sewing club and a monthly embroidery club.  How fun!  One more thing, this store gives free first year of service and adds an additional 1 year to the full warranty.  That is a big plus for me.

On this trip I also took my husband.  Even though he can't make a sewing machine sing like I can, he is a computer guru and knew just the right questions to ask with regards to USB ports and what types of files the computers in the sewing machines would read.  His questions were so much different than mine and I never would have thought to ask things he wanted to know.

Again I took notes and came home to do more internet research.  What I've decided on is a Brother Innovis 1250D machine.  This machine retails just over $2100.  Right now my store is having a special.  Then Brother has a $200 mail in rebate and the store is taking my old Bernina on trade in and it brings this machine down to $1000 which is just what I had set for my budget!

Tomorrow I am packing up and saying "Good Bye" to my old Bernina.  It will be like saying good-bye to an old friend.

So to re-cap some of the things I looked for:
  • Decide what type of machine will meet my needs
  • Set a budget
  • Look for a local store who does "in house" servicing
  • Look for a store who offers classes to get the most out of my machine
  • Research and read reviews, Research, Research and did I mention Research!!!!
  • Try the machine out and make sure it feels comfortable
I'm going to confess, I'm surprised that I decided on a Brother.  I figured I would stick with a European model but after researching I'm convinced I'm making a good decision and that I will be happy.

I can't wait to show you some of the things I sew on it!
Have a blessed Sunday,


Steadfast Ahoy! said...

When you said your budget was $1000, I thought, that won't cut it! But with your rebate and trade-in you really got it spot on. Amazing. Here on the boat, I am using my mother's old Singer Feather Weight, reconditioned. It is older than I am!!!!! I use it for simple repairs and for quilt piecing. Boy, do I miss the zig zag at home. In the spring, I am in the market for a new quilting set-up and after lots of research, travelling to craft shows and discussions with other quilters, I think I have settled on what I want/can afford. I have been saving monthly for almost a year now. Here's hoping the cost hasn't gone up while I've been away.

Toyin O. said...

That sounds like you really got a good deal:)

Elizabeth said...

How do you like the machine now that you've had it for a while?


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