Sewing Machine Features: Assessing Your Needs

Knowing which sewing machine features you are likely to use and which you aren’t will make the difference between getting your money’s worth and paying too much for what will turn out to be a white elephant.

Sure you’d love to own a top of the line sewing machine with all of those awesome features. Who wouldn’t?  Over 200 built in stitches, stretch stitching, computerized embroidery, quilting, overlocking… the variety available can send your imagination into overdrive. The creative possibilities are endless!

Problem is the more advanced features a sewing machine offers, the more it is likely to cost. To make sure you pay for only what you need, it is crucial that you spend some time assessing your needs and then determining which sewing machine features meet those needs.

Sewing Machine Features That Impact Your Sewing

It’s been said before but I’ll say it again- sewing machines do not come in a one size fits all model. Different models offer different features that meet different sewing requirements. A heavy duty machine that can slice through denim easily is not necessarily the best choice for you if you have plans on working with frills and ruffles.

While most machines can handle mid-weight fabrics such as cotton and twill, you will need to take into account sewing machine features for specialized sewing plans.

Thicker Fabrics: If thicker fabrics such as denim or fleece dominate your sewing plans, what you will need is a heavy duty sewing machine that offers a stitch length that is longer than that found on basic machines. Look for a sewing machine that has an adjustable pressure foot that helps thick fabric move along more smoothly. Some sewing machines feature a leveling button that helps the pressure foot ride over bulkier portions such as the side seams on denim jeans.  Also check that the machine can take thicker needles.

Delicate Fabrics: If most of your sewing projects include gossamer gowns and bridal veils, you need a more delicate machine that will handle the fabric with tender loving care. A machine that has a Teflon coated plastic foot will allow the flimsy fabric to glide through without snagging on the feed dogs. Even better if the machine allows you to adjust the pressure of the pressure foot. Make sure that you can use extra fine needles on your chosen machine.

Stretch Fabrics: Anyone who’s tried sewing stretch fabrics with a basic machine, knows that the results are often far from satisfactory. A sewing machine with stretch stitching will help you achieve a much more streamlined finish.

 Furnishings:  For sewing curtains, sofa covers and other furnishings that are bulky and extra long, what you need is a sewing machine that can handle extra thicknesses and also has an extension table or a larger sewing bed that can accommodated the larger fabric panels.

Some sewing machine features that are must-haves are the auto-thread function, free-arm sewing and pressure foot pressure control.  They may seem unimportant when you are buying a machine but believe me, they will make a world of a difference to whether you are going to have a fun sewing journey or one that is fraught with frustration.