Sewing machine: How to choose the best in 2021?
Today we are going to talk about a sewing machine, a small appliance that is used both to make small repairs to garments and to create your own.
There are several models of sewing machines available for purchase: portable models, household machines and devices for industrial use. Each with its common features and its particularities.
It is your needs that will define the model best suited to you, but in general, the portable models are quite satisfactory, as they are versatile, lightweight and can be transported to different environments. In this guide we will bring all the necessary information for your purchase.
First, the most important
- The portable sewing machine can be used both to make minor repairs and to create pieces in different models and fabrics. This device is very suitable for beginners, for its ease of use, and also for professionals.
- Portable sewing machines are more suitable for sewing light fabrics, whereas conventional sewing machines support heavier fabrics such as jeans.
- Nowadays, handling sewing machines is easy. It is possible to learn through video lessons and sewing guides. There are some models for sale that have a digital panel for you to select the sewing settings.
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Best sewing machines: Our recommendations
Learning to sew has numerous advantages: savings on repairing garments, the possibility of creating your own clothes and still serving as an extra income activity. Want to buy one of these and enjoy these benefits? We have selected the best models to help you with that choice. Check it out below:
- Premium Sewing Machine – Elgin
- Portable Sewing Machine – Lenoxx
- Bella Sewing Machine – Elgin
- Sewing Machine Start – Singer
Sewing is a profession and also a hobby. Whatever the reason you want a sewing machine, it is important to learn all the details about that machine to buy the best model.
In this guide, we will thoroughly explore everything about these machines so that you can become an expert seamstress.
What is a sewing machine and how to use it?
The operation of a sewing machine consists of the consecutive movement of a needle with a thread that, when passing through the fabric, is tied by another thread that is on a bobbin at the bottom of the machine, this movement is called an interlaced stitch.
The movement of the machine is driven by a pedal or electric motor. There are several types of stitches and it is this variety of options that differentiates one model from another.
Some perform only basic and simple stitches, while others are more complete and also perform decorative stitches. Another difference is that some machines come with the option of nailing buttons and zippers.
Watch the video below to see how a zipper application works with a sewing machine:
The sewing done in the machine gives a beautiful and resistant final result and very different from the one made by hand, mainly because of the position of the thread in the needle, which in the machine is in the lower end, and in the common needle it is in the upper end.
Another big difference between hand and machine sewing is that, in manual sewing, the needle passes through the fabric as a whole, and in the case of the machine only part of the needle passes through the fabric, intertwining the thread and generating the stitches. It is also possible to adjust the stitch size on the machine.
What should I know about a sewing machine?
For those who do not know much about sewing machines, some terms used in describing the functionality of this type of product are not understood, we will explain to you what each of them means.
- Free arm : It is a feature that, as the name says, leaves your arms free to work, by removing the extension of the machine base, where you support the fabric being sewn. The thinner base makes it easier to sew shirt sleeves, trouser hems and other fabrics in a tubular shape.
- Head and pedal : It is the top and front of the sewing machine, where the sewing needle and all the gears of the equipment are. The pedal, on the other hand, is at the opposite end, it is the piece that you press with your feet and that gives the sewing speed and rhythm.
Some models do not have the pedal, but have a speed controller, which performs exactly the same function, making the sewing rhythm faster or slower, but it is triggered by the hands.
- Caseador : It is a hook-shaped piece with a very sharp point and that serves to open a space in the fabric where the button will be nailed, there are different sizes of caseador and some machines have several options.
- Shoe or sneaker : It is a piece that fixes the fabric on the base of the sewing machine and prevents it from moving. There are several models, some are used to hem or zipper, others to sew specific fabrics. Most machines come with an accessory kit and several shoe options.
All these parts and features can be found on the portable sewing machine, although it should be noted that some models have more varieties of stitches, buttonholes and shoes than others.
These features are the same as those found in traditional and industrial machines, the difference is in size.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the sewing machine?
The sewing machine has several advantages: it is light and comes with a carrying handle, which facilitates transport to other spaces such as different rooms in the house, atelier and even to external environments such as the client’s home. There are battery-powered models and also electric power.
Despite its size, practicality and reduced price, the portable sewing machine can be used to sew all types of clothing and fabrics: cotton, lace, satin, mesh, polyester, among others. It can be used to make minor repairs and repairs and also to sew large fabrics like curtains.
Due to their ease of use and handling, these machines are an excellent option for those who are starting to learn to use and for those who sew as a hobby.
This is because these models are usually slower than conventional machines, and this helps to learn how to control the speed pedal, does not damage the fabric with the wrong seams and prevents any accidents.
But it is not only for beginners and amateurs that the portable sewing machine serves, it is also suitable for people with small spaces and for those who make sewing their way of working.
But remember that this type of machine does not sew very heavy fabrics such as leather, for example, and it cannot be required much, because despite fulfilling the same functions as conventional machines, they are more fragile.
Despite this limitation, these models are very modern and technological, have tension control, several sewing options, LED light to illuminate the fabric and facilitate the visualization of the seam, cut wire, among other novelties.
There are even more sophisticated models that have an LCD panel to select the desired functions. So that you do not have any doubts about the portable sewing machine, we have listed the main advantages and disadvantages, which must be taken into account when choosing yours:
What differs one sewing machine from another?
As we mentioned earlier, there are different types of sewing machines: the portable models, the conventional ones with fixed support and also the industrial models, recommended for clothing companies.
The tip is to choose a machine compatible with the use you are going to make of it. If it is for personal use, a portable machine will do the job.
However, if your goal is to use the machine to work, you need to reflect on what demand you will have, what jobs you will be offering and what types of fabric you will be working with.
The portable sewing machine does everything that other types of machines do, sews on various stitch options, functional or decorative, folds buttons, zippers and patchworks. However, it is slower and may not be required much.
The conventional sewing machine, with fixed support, is recommended for those who already have experience in sewing and want to do more elaborate jobs such as creating clothing models.
You need to plan what space it will be in, as this machine is very heavy and you can’t take it anywhere. The industrial machine, in turn, is able to sew knitwear, make decorative seams, embroidery, apply bias, among other features.
It has a length adjustment system, toothed belt transmission, upper and lower braid, silicone lubrication system, eye, finger and belt protector, among others.
Fixed and portable sewing machines are recommended for personal use or for independent dressmakers, whereas the industrial machine is recommended for use in large garments, never for personal use.
We have prepared a comparison table between fixed and portable sewing machines, so that you can know the positive and negative points of each model, and thus be able to choose the model that best suits your needs:
Mechanical or electronic sewing machine?
Another characteristic that differs from sewing machines is whether the operation is mechanical or electronic. On the mechanical sewing machine, all commands are made manually or with a pedal.
In the electronic sewing machine, several adjustments and functions can be made automatically by the machine, some even thread the needle themselves. The most modern models have an LCD panel and everything is programmed before starting work.
If the sewing machine is electronic, it comes with a motor and its capacity is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM), that is, the number of turns that the motor supports every 60 seconds. These models are generally more expensive than mechanical ones and use electrical energy to operate.
The higher the RPM rate of the device, the higher the operating speed and the jobs are ready in less time. If you sew a lot, the ideal is to choose an engine with a high rate of revolutions per minute.
Several factors influence the price of a sewing machine, whether it has mechanical or electronic functioning, whether it is fixed or portable, whether it comes with an accessory kit, and mainly because of the amount of functionality that the machine has.
The simplest and cheapest portable sewing machine costs over R $ 200, there are several models of excellent quality with prices starting at R $ 500, and the most expensive machine can cost up to R $ 6500.
Watch this video by Alana Santos to compare different models, values and brands available in the market, all are for sale on the Amazon website:
Where to buy?
If you are thinking of buying a sewing machine, know that you can find different models and brands in supermarkets like Carrefour and Extra.
Multi-brand stores, and furniture and appliance stores, are also possible.
But, after reading everything you need to know about sewing machines in this manual, we suggest that you buy your sewing machine online. Online you find the best prices and the greatest variety.
Sites like Amazon are some options. Amazon offers a wide variety of sewing machine models, portable, fixed and even industrial, from different brands and price ranges. On this site it is also possible to read user comments on models and brands.
Purchasing criteria: Factors for comparing sewing machine models
You are almost expert, but before you decide on your sewing machine, we have a few more important points for you. Are they:
- Sewing stitches
- Ease of handling
- Extra features
The options of sewing stitches can vary between utilitarian stitches, more basic, and decorative stitches, which as the name says, serve to make your garment with an even more beautiful finish.
Each machine describes the amount of sewing stitches they have, some models, simpler, have few stitch options like 5 or 6, others have about 12 stitches and there are models that have 60 to 100 stitches. Know the main points:
- Straight : Most common type that generates a dotted line in the fabric and can be used to join the parts of the pieces together, to finish cushions, etc.
- Galoneira : Stitch that secures the hem of the fabric with the effect of two parallel dots on the front and an interlaced one on the back of the garment, widely used in t-shirt bars and gym clothes.
- Invisible : Concentrates the seam inside out, which makes the stitches almost imperceptible, ideal for delicate clothes. Zigzag stitching creates a back and forth pattern and is recommended for finishing, buttonhole and embroidery.
- Overlock : Gives the seam an interlaced effect, provides an excellent finish and prevents the fabric from fraying.
- Interlock : It simultaneously stitches overlock and straight stitching, is used on the sides of shirts.
- Chain : The sewing machine weaves the thread into itself. At the chain stitch there is a hook-shaped piece that moves in sync with the needle, so every time the needle goes over the fabric this hook secures the thread creating a loop.
- Braid : Uses two threads, which makes the seam more firm. In the braid stitch the hitch is similar to the previous one, but it is rotating, and needs a spool, whenever the needle goes beyond the cloth it is directed to a loop produced by another thread.
Now that you know the main points that a sewing machine can give, it’s time to understand how this device works. The sewing movements are performed by the gears and parts that are driven by the machine’s motor.
This motor is connected to the pulley by a belt, the pulley moves the upper drive shaft that turns a crank that pushes the needle up and down, making the stitches, thus the hook generates the loop.
Ease of handling
The ease of handling of a portable sewing machine is one of its great differentials, that is why it is possible to use it with or without knowledge in sewing.
The electronic models are even easier to use, as you only need to select the type of stitch you want to work with and the machine is already adjusted automatically, so just position the fabric and start sewing.
In addition, portable sewing machines work a little more slowly compared to other types of machines, this helps to get the hang of working with the pedal and how to correctly position the fabric. In addition, it avoids possible accidents.
Some models come with a manual teaching how to make different types of stitches and others have media such as explanatory videos, all of which makes the learning process even easier.
To keep your sewing machine running smoothly, you need to be careful, cleaning should be done with a dry brush whenever you use or change the needles, for dirt on the body of the machine use a damp cloth.
It is also important to lubricate the gears of the sewing machine motor with silicone, this is essential to make the machine work properly and not cause damage to the motor.
Some models of sewing machines offer several sewing options, the function of adjusting the width of the stitch, automatic buttonhole that sews buttons and zippers.
You can also have LED light that illuminates the fabric and facilitates the visualization of the seam, a mobile extension table, drawer to store trims and accessories kit such as threads, needles, cleaning brushes and shoes.