One question I get asked is, ‘What sewing machine do you recommend?’ That’s a little like asking how long a piece of string is, but I do have some thoughts.
The above is a £50 John Lewis mini machine. They’re so cute! But are they right for new Sewists? I bought mine second hand as a back up machine for when friends come round to sew, or for if I was ever going away and wanted to sew. (Worth noting that I never have dragged this machine anywhere with me.) It’s fun, it’s basic, it’s light – I’m not entirely sure it is the right investment as a newbie. You might spend £50 on this, then quickly realise that yes, you want to take this sewing seriously. You want a proper machine. Shouldn’t that £50 have gone towards something more substantial, with more options? I think so. I’d buy this, as I did, for a back up fun item to have around – not necessarily as your first machine.
It’s definitely worth looking at what machines sewing classes use. The above is a Janome DXL 603 that I used yesterday at The Village Haberdashery. Sewing shop owners are going to look for something reliable for their classes. What I liked about this machine is that it had three speed settings, which is a great help for new Sewists terrified of the machine running away with them. It’s not the cheapest in the Janome range, at about the £400 price point, but you could shop around for a cheaper version. (This one is more expensive, because it has all those embroidery options you can see!)
So, what should you pay? I sourced my first Toyota machine for free off Freecycle. It was really heavy, which I loved – no way was I going to break this baby. It was eccentric – the feeder wasn’t brilliant and I had to use a scrap of fabric to hold the bobbin on whenever it needed winding. But it did me for a year of sewing! Then, I invested in a Bernina Activa 230 which I love deeply. I seem to remember this was somewhere in the £600 price point, so family and a loved one came in on the investment with me.
When I bought my overlocker, I saved up pound coins in a jar to pay for it! You could do something similair. In the meantime, ask around family and friends. I bet you any money someone has a sewing machine gathering dust. If you ask nicely, they might let you borrow it.
Lots of my readers will have their own knowledge and opinions. What do you think is a decent price point for an entry-level sewing machine? I suggested £200 to someone recently. Do you agree? And what’s your brand of choice?