For the Love of a Decent Sewing Machine...


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it was Autumn, on the eve of my fourteenth birthday and I was desperate to get a sewing machine. I had started learning dressmaking at school and there were just two of us in the class. My academic friends were all studying physics and so I chose sewing. On the morning of my fourteenth birthday I was greeted by a large, shiny square object wrapped in blue foil with a blue ribbon sitting on the kitchen table. On a label were the words “Happy Birthday”. I was so excited. However, on closer examination of the box it was evident that it was much smaller than I had anticipated and my heart dropped slightly as I imagined that a sewing machine would never fit into a box that small. However, how wrong could I be! When I opened the box I discovered an Elna Lotus ZZ sewing machine. Of course, they do not sell them nowadays, but you can search online for them secondhand as they are considered vintage. What I liked about them was their size, being three-quarters the size of a domestic machine, but with a full-sized motor and compact enough to be able to carry it easily. I still have it today and I would never share it with anybody!

I realise that you might not want to purchase a vintage sewing machine as your first sewing machine, but what are the options out there for beginners? I take a look at some of the options available. I am going to write about sewing machines that I recommend, and why.

Sewing machines in the £300 price range

Of course, the first of your considerations is budget. For £300 you can get a decent machine. Within this budget you can also consider a computerised machine, if you enjoy pressing buttons, however, some people prefer a bit more control over things like stitch width and length. You can also pretty much guarantee that you will get a ‘top loading’ machine: the bobbin is inserted directly into the compartment and not into a case first (as in a ‘front loading’ machine). Lets take a look at some machines within the £300 bracket….

This Janome Sewist 725S Sewing Machine has a wide range of features to cope with general sewing tasks. It has a wide range of 25 built in stitches, 1 step buttonhole, and drop feed facility for freehand embroidery and quilting, whilst the automatic needle threader takes the strain out of threading the needle. The Janome 725S is a machine suitable for beginners to experienced sewers because of its versatility, allowing you to cope with a varied variety of sewing projects, such as patchwork, quilting, soft furnishing, alterations and home furnishings. There are plenty of features for the 725S machine, ensuring you a smooth, trouble free experience. 25 built in stitch choices

Janome 2030DC Sewing Machine Plus Free Quilting KitFully computerised with stitches and settings at the touch of a button. Simple and easy, no fuss threading with the auto needle threader and quick set bobbin. Light enough to carry to classes, it has plenty of stitch options for creating all kinds of projects, and lots of easy to use features which make sewing a pleasure. It is the machine to grow with your skills and is both suitable for beginners and more experienced sewers. 30 Built-in stitches: All the essential stitches for dressmaking, quilting, crafting and home furnishings plus more. 3 styles of auto 1 step buttonhole: It's so easy, just pop in the button and the buttonhole is created to the correct size! Start/Stop button: Long seams just need guiding, great for anyone who doesn't want to use the foot control. Maximum speed controller: Helps build confidence and maintain an even speed. Foot pressure adjustment: Whatever fabric you are sewing you can adjust the pressure, especially helpful when sewing with pile or delicate fabrics and turning corners with applique.

Sewing machines in the £100-£200 price range

Janome J3-20 - The Janome J3-20 sewing machine features a front loading bobbin case and a convertible free-arm for circular sewing. Choose from 20 stitch options. The J3-20 also has a useful fully automatic one step buttonhole and auto needle threader. The machines are supplied supplied with either a soft cover, instruction manual and accessory pack.

Sewing Machines in the £50 - £100 price range

The Brother LS14S is a traditional metal chassis sewing machine with 14 stitches and including a 4 step button hole. Perfect for dress making and everyday household sewing. The LS14S has a jam proof drop in bobbin which shows how much bobbin thread is left. The LED lighting system means that thread colours are not distorted. A zipper foot comes included in the box, and the machine is supported with a 3 year manufacturers warranty. Please note only plastic bobbins should be used in this machine. The use of metal bobbins will affect stitch quality and in some cases could damage the machine and invalidate the warranty.

Sewing Machines in the under £50 price range

Uten Electric Sewing Machine

This sewing machine is perfect for kids/children, beginners & sewing enthusiasts. . Help you easily open the door to the sewing world . The sewing machine is lightweight, portable and durable, easy to carry and use. Perfect for many home sewing projects: altering, creating clothing, crafting, quilting, and home decor.

Be Backcare Aware - carry sewing machine safely!!

I recommend transporting your sewing machine using a holdall like this. If you do not have a car then consider a trolley with wheels.which is ultimately kinder to your back!