How to Choose a Sewing Machine for Different Projects – Detailed Guide

  • By: joleenllorence
  • Date: May 29, 2023
  • Time to read: 11 min.

Buying your first sewing machine may be complicated.

How are you meant to choose a sewing machine when you know nothing about them?

Don’t be concerned; you’re not alone. Everyone has been through it at least once.

I’ve created this beginner’s guide on how to choose the correct sewing machine to help you understand what kinds of sewing machines are available and how to choose one that best meets your needs.

There’s no need to get the most costly, feature-packed sewing machine if you’re not going to use it.

I’ll start this course by explaining the various types of sewing machines before supporting you in creating a list of vital features.

I hope you were able to narrow down your options and are now one step closer to acquiring the best sewing machine for your sewing area.

Types of Machines Following Their Functions

types of sewing machines

It is critical to first understand the various machine kinds accessible.

Heavy-duty sewing machines, embroidery machines, sergers, and sewing machines that may be used for quilting and sewing are examples. There are a few more types, but we’ll concentrate on these in this post.

How to Choose a Sewing Machine For Different Projects and As per your Requirements

1. Computerised Sewing Machine

Computerised Sewing Machine

Computerised sewing machines with LCD screens are the most advanced type of sewing machine. As a result, they offer more stitches and features.

Error notifications make debugging easier thanks to programmable default stitch length and width.

Although computerised sewing machines have more features, mechanical sewing machines are frequently less expensive.

Read More: Best Computerised Sewing Machines – (2023 Reviews)

2. Household Sewing Machine

Household Sewing Machine

This is a common sewing machine used in homes.

Quilting, mending, altering, and stitching may all be done on most sewing machines. Many allow you to create your own ornamental stitches, buttonholes, and satin stitching for appliques, among other things.

The Brother CS6000i is a home computerised sewing machine that has been appreciated for many years!

Read More: 16 Best Sewing Machines for Your Needs (2023 Reviews)

3. Embroidery Machine

Embroidery Machine

Computerised embroidery machines are primarily designed to sew digitised patterns onto textiles.

Anything, including towels, caps, and apparel, can be embroidered or monogrammed.

If you prefer needlework in addition to sewing, there are now combined sewing and embroidery machines available.

The Brother SE1900 is a sewing and embroidery machine that can do both jobs quite well. If you’re searching for a combo machine, I recommend the Brother SE600, which is a little less difficult.

Read More: Best Sewing and Embroidery Machines (2023 Reviews)

4. Mechanical Sewing Machine

Mechanical Sewing Machine

Mechanical and electric sewing machines have little circuitry and a motor inside the body that pushes the needle up and down through the fabric. A foot pedal powers the motor, and the faster the foot pedal is depressed, the faster the sewing machine stitches.

Several electric machines offer a limited number of stitches and features, making them ideal for novices.

Read More: Best Mechanical Sewing Machines of 2023

5. Serger


A serger, also known as an overlock sewing machine, sews a seam and trims off excess fabric all at the same time. This completes the procedure faster than a typical sewing machine and provides a professional finish to your product.

Sergers cannot replace a traditional sewing machine since they frequently cannot topstitch or sew buttonholes.

If you check at your shirts and other apparel, it’s extremely likely that the seams were sewn with a serger! Is a serger required? Certainly not. But, if you frequently sew and enjoy making garments, it is useful to have on hand.

Also Read: Brother 1034d Serger Review (2023)

6. Heavy Duty Sewing Machine

Heavy Duty Sewing Machine

A heavy-duty sewing machine is designed to handle much thicker textiles than a regular sewing machine while still performing successfully on thin fabrics, although a regular sewing machine can sew thick materials to some extent.

Because of its powerful motor and other excellent features, they make sewing denim, leather, upholstery, and canvas more easier and much more successful.

Also Read: Best Sewing Machine For Denim

These sewing machines typically do not have as many functions as ordinary sewing machines, but they do allow you to sew a wider range of fabrics.

If you want to sew thick fabrics the bulk of the time, invest in a heavy-duty sewing machine.

The heavy-duty Singer 4452 sewing machine is excellent for heavy-duty sewing.

Read More: 12 Best Heavy Duty Sewing Machines for 2023

7. Manual Sewing Machine

Manual Sewing Machine

Manual sewing machines are those that are operated by turning a handwheel or pumping your foot and do not have any electrical components. Consider a standard sewing machine.

Despite the fact that manual sewing machines are not popular among beginning users, they are useful in regions or circumstances when power is unavailable

Read More: Best Manual Leather Sewing Machines for 2023

Choose A Brand of Sewing Machine

Choose A Brand of Sewing Machine

Depending on your preferences and financial position, you will be more inclined to certain sewing machine brands. I use Singer and Brother sewing machines the majority of the time since they provide the best value for the money.

Less expensive brands for a beginner sewer include Janome, Juki, Baby Lock, Bernina, Pfaff, Husqvarna, EverSewn, and others. People remark that they last longer since they are typically designed to be more sturdy.

Read More: 5 Best Sewing Machine Brands To Work On

Features To Consider While Choosing a Sewing Machine

Choosing a Sewing Machine

We’ll go over a few additional elements to consider and explore your options to help you create your list of key sewing machine features.

Presser Feet

Presser feet or sewing feet keep your fabric in position when you sew. Different presser feet do various tasks.

Do you intend to use a specific number of presser feet? The majority of sewing machines will include a zip foot and an all-purpose presser foot.

Other useful feet include a walking foot, invisible zipper foot, blind hem foot, buttonhole foot, button sewing foot, and overcasting foot.

If you find you need more later, you should be able to buy more presser feet that are compatible with your sewing machine.

Size of Sewing Machine

Do you prefer a full-size sewing machine or a little sewing machine?

If you plan to sew frequently, a full-size machine is recommended because little machines like the one pictured above have VERY restricted possibilities. I believe that operating and threading a little sewing machine is more difficult than operating and threading a standard sewing machine.

If you choose full-size, make sure to check the unit’s weight and dimensions, as well as if you have adequate space to store it. Furthermore, if you intend to relocate or travel with your sewing machine, be sure it is not too heavy or cumbersome to carry.

Adjustable Stitch Width and Length

In entry-level sewing machines, a limited number of fixed lengths and widths of stitches are available.

These options avoid the need to guess at common zigzag and straight stitch lengths and widths.

If you want to do more than just repairing or stitching with a straight or zigzag thread, look for a sewing machine that allows you to modify the stitch length and width.

Mechanical machines use dials to adjust length and width, whereas digital machines use buttons.

Number and Types of Stitches

The most popular stitches on basic sewing machines are zigzag, straight, buttonhole, stretch, and a few ornamental ones.

Quilting, piecing, overlocking, triple stretch, blind hem, and satin stitching are examples of high-end stitches used on more expensive sewing machines. It’s a good idea to sit down and plan out the exact stitches you’ll need for your projects.

If a serger is out of your price range or you don’t have enough space for one, a sewing machine with an overcasting stitch and presser foot may finish and sew seams properly. Be careful that having a serger, which can also trim seams, is not the same as doing this.

How Buttonholes are Made?

Buttonholes are made in either one or four steps.

The buttonholes in the four-step buttonhole are made by manually alternating between zigzag and bar tack stitches.

A bespoke buttonhole presser foot, on the other hand, keeps a button in place, whilst an automatic one-step buttonhole stitches a precise buttonhole that is the exact size of the button you insert into the foot. If you’re a beginner who frequently sews buttons, I think this sewing machine is well worth the money!

Built-in Free Arm

An integrated free arm is the result of removing a portion of the sewing machine base.

The free arm can be used to stitch narrow cylindrical or tubular objects, like sleeveless garments. The majority of sewing machines have free arms, which I require on all of my machines!

Foot Pedal vs Hands-Free Sewing

On every current mechanical machine, just a foot pedal can be used to stitch.

Some computerised sewing machines, on the other hand, allow you to stitch without using a foot pedal and only the machine’s buttons. I frequently sew while crisscrossing applesauce so that I can use my hands instead of my feet with my computerised machine!


Compare and read the warranties of different sewing machines.

Be sure you’re happy with the warranty because nothing is made the same way it used to be.

If not, and you don’t want to risk damaging your sewing machine, you can usually purchase an extended warranty from retailers such as Amazon or Walmart.

Bobbin Thread Indicator

Many Brother sewing machines, for example, include a clear glass case above the bobbin that allows you to see how much thread is left in the bobbin.

When it’s time to change your bobbin thread, some machines may display a computerised message, while others will have a light that will inform you when the thread is running low.

Several low-cost sewing machines have front-load bobbins hidden inside the free arm. One issue with this is that if you don’t check your bobbin thread before beginning to sew, you could run out in the middle of a row of stitches without realising it!

Moveable Needle Position

Basic sewing machines have only one needle position.

Right, left, and centre needle positions are available on modern sewing machines.

The most advanced machines even allow you to use the electronic touchscreen to select any spot between far right and far left.

Having many needle positions is not required for any stretch, but it can be handy for zippers, edge stitching, and difficult-to-sew areas.

With computerised sewing machines, the default needle stop position can sometimes be modified. You can set your machine to always stop with the needle up or down.

If you frequently quilt or sew squares and corners, pausing the needle in the down position will speed up the turning procedure.

Also Read: Best Industrial Sewing Machines You Can Buy

Dropping The Feed Dogs

The “feed dogs,” or metal teeth on the sewing machine base, aid in transporting fabric from the front to the back. You must “drop” these feed dogs if you do not want the fabric to move as you stitch, such as when fastening a button or free-motion quilting.

The feed dogs on some sewing machines must be manually covered with a darning plate. In more expensive sewing machines, the feed dogs can be dropped manually or automatically, for example, when using the buttonhole stitch.

This functionality is only required if you constantly plan to disengage the feed dogs.

Monogramming Font

There are also monogramming sewing machines, such as the Singer 9960 or the Brother HC1850, which include one or more monogramming typefaces.

These are tiny typefaces that can be stitched with a sewing machine. You can use these to add small letters to a quilt or initials or names to children’s clothing.

Also Read: Best Sewing Machine for Quilting (2023 Reviews)

Workspace Lighting

If you have trouble seeing, seek for a device with a bright light source.

Bonus points if the light illuminates the needle from both sides, avoiding unpleasant shadows!

If you can’t find a machine with enough lighting, you can always buy an overhead light or lighting strips for the base of your sewing machine.

Oversized Extension Table

A large, detachable table attaches to the machine’s base to enlarge your work area.

It is useful when stitching larger objects like quilts or draperies.

It can be removed and kept when not in use.

Although it is not required for entry-level sewing machines, many mid-range and higher-end sewing machines include it.

Automatic Needle Threader

Can you thread a needle on your own?

An automatic needle threader is a feature found on the majority of mid-range and higher-end sewing machines that employs a little hook to pull the thread through the needle’s eye.

Individuals with weak hand-eye coordination or eyesight will find automatic needle threaders on sewing machines quite beneficial.

My automatic needle threader and I have a love-hate relationship. While it normally works, there are times when it drives me insane.

Knee-Operated Presser Foot Lifter

I had never used a knee-lifter before, but now I can’t function without one. For instance, I might hold elastic together when placing it under the presser foot or quilting. While employing a knee lifter, you can elevate and lower the presser foot by using your knee instead of your hand.

This feature is only found on more expensive sewing and quilting machines.

Know Your Budget

In general, the more capabilities and stitches a sewing machine has, the higher the price.

There’s no need for a high-end machine if you’re only going to stitch simple things.

You may avoid paying a premium for features you’ll almost certainly never use by selecting the sewing machine that best matches your need

As a result, if you only intend to do minor repairs or modifications, don’t feel forced to get the most recent model! There’s no need to spend more than $300 on a sewing machine if you don’t require it for particularly specific tasks.

New vs. Used Sewing Machine

In most cases, used sewing machines are far less expensive than new sewing machines.

When purchasing, however, you must use extreme caution. Before purchasing anything, always give it a try run. Here are a few more things to consider when deciding between a new and used sewing machine.

How To Test Out a Sewing Machine?

In today’s online environment, you can’t always trial anything before you buy it. (I do practically all of my shopping online. Having small children facilitates online shopping!)

Before deciding on a sewing machine, go to a shop and test out a few to see what you like and don’t like about them.

Take your time if you’re unsure! Make this decision slowly. You may have to use this sewing machine for quite some time!

Examine all of the machine’s components for damage. Get assistance wherever possible. Letting someone else show you how to set up and use the equipment will help you highlight its best features, especially if you’re a rookie.

Examine the responsiveness of the foot pedal. A mechanical device with an uncertain foot pedal might be extremely inconvenient!

You can learn to sew on your own!

Final Words – Did You Choose Your Sewing Machine?

Now you know how to choose a sewing machine as this guide is quite detailed. Hopefully this will help you choose the best sewing machine for your needs.

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