A question raised recently on The Haby Goddess facebook page was 'what to look for when purchasing a sewing machine for beginners'.
I have a very basic machine (pictured) which I purchased 3-4 years ago for approx. $300-$400. I sew everyday with PVC, which is quite unkind to sewing machines, but the only thing I would upgrade for is a quicker stitch per minute rate. It does the job that I currently need it for, so personally I cannot justify spending a load more money for a machine with functions I would not be using at this stage.
Here are a few tips of what to look for:
Determine what you are going to use the machine for - general sewing or more detailed embroidery and quilting.
Think ahead a little. What do you plan to be sewing not only now but in 1-2 years time as your experince and knowledge increases? You don't what to out grow your machine too quickly.
My local Metro Sewing lady has 3 main suggestions to look for: (a). Make sure it has a top loading bobbin with a clear lid so you can easily see the colour and how much thread is left in your bobbin. (b). An automatic needle threader. (c) A one step button hole function.
A dual speed foot control is also great as you can slow the machines stitch speed for when you need more control.
What aditional foot attachments does it have? Does the sewing centre have any package deals to include additional extra's
Does it have a trade-in value when you upgrade?
These are just a few suggestions, essentially it needs to suit your needs. Have a go at using friends and families machines to get a feel for what you want, test drive them at the store and ask loads of questions.
What features are most important to you when purchasing a sewing machine?