Saturday, 2 May 2015

Which type of sewing machine to choose?
Before reading further, please understand that this is my opinion alone and I have based my choice of machine on my own selection criteria.
However you may be looking for a sewing machine and wondering what all the different types are and what the advantages and disadvantages are.
I have put together my own views but before making your choice, you may want to do some more research and decide what your own selection criteria is. 
I take no responsibility for your own choice.
The images used are for illustration only and are not machines that have been reviewed.

My Decison

I already had a wonderful Husqvarna Designer 1 embroidery and sewing machine which was getting a bit old and a replacement would cost around £4,000.  Just to update it from floppy disc to USB input would cost over £300.  This machine did almost everything that you could think of, from full embroidery to putting the presser foot down automatically when you depressed the pedal and tie off the thread at the end of stitching.
However I had a special project in mind which involved a lot of leather sewing and I didn’t want to risk putting too much strain on the Designer 1. So I started looking for another machine to do the “donkey” work.
My quest was to find a machine that:-
1.  would last a long time (Longevity).
2.  would do heavy work (Durability).
3.  would be light-weight machine so that I could take it on extended holidays and light to move around (Weight).
4.  would be good value for money (Cost).
So I started doing my research and some of this might help you if you are selecting a new sewing machine.
The types of machines available seem to fall into four categories and I have put some salient points into a table for you.
Please note that a mechanical machine is not a manual machine.  It runs on electricity but does not have any computer technology.

Machine Type Computerised Industrial Mechanical Portable
Advantages Lots of fancy stitches
Lots of different settings
Very strong motor designed to last for a long time Not much to go wrong and easy to repair Super light-weight
Some have battery and electricity power.
Disadvantages Computerised and therefore potential to be expensive and need specialist  repair Very heavy, not really portable.  Quite expensive.
Basic stitches
No fancy stitches
Basic settings
Basic stitches. Basic settings. Not really for the serious sewer. So light that may not give good stability in use. Basic machine.

So the question now was how do these meet with my selection criteria.  Again I have marked these with 1, 2 and 3 against each type of machine – 1 being best meets my selection criteria and 4, least meets my criteria.
Type Computerised Industrial Mechanical Portable
Longevity 3 1 2 4
Durability 3 1 2 4
Weight 3 4 2 1
Cost 4 3 2 1
Overall Score 13 9 8 10
The cost of a computerised machine machine starts at around £1,000 and goes up to around £5,000.
An Industrial machine is around the £1,000 mark but can be more.  Good second hand ones can be found as they have great longevity.
Mechanical machines cost from around £100 upwards
Portable are generally under £100.
There are of course other categories of specialist machines such as quilting machines, embellishing machines, overlockers/sergers to mention some but I already knew these were not what I was looking for so I have not included these in my detailed research.
So based on the above table a mechanical machine was what I was looking for. Although the mechanical machine only came out one point better than the industrial one, the cost  and the portability elements weighed heavily for me and the difference was actually a major factor.
So a mechanical machine was for me – now which one?
My post on my choice will follow shortly.