What’s a good starter machine?

Ok, let’s be honest with ourselves. When we inquire about starter machines, what we really mean is, “I’d like an inexpensive machine that is top of the line.” No one admits to looking for a really *cough* easy on the pocket machine, but that’s pretty much want us novices mean. Think about it for a moment… Why would we want to invest a small fortune in a sewing machine on the basis of some claim made in a Facebook group or by the commission-collector at the big box store that’s got an agenda which includes a sales quota? Husbands aside, who spends money on something that they don’t understand and to which they are not truly committed? It’s the equivalent of a marriage proposal from a one night stand or mowing your lawn in the snow because your grass may still be growing. Newbies want to make informed decisions.

Along the way, I was given all sorts of advice on the type of machine that I should purchase. Here are some of my all-time favorites:

  1.  “Buy the most machine that you can afford.” – Does this actually make any kind of logical sense? How much a person can afford has nothing to do with the functionality of the machine. Sewing machines should not be purchased on the basis of what you can afford, but on the basis of what you would like to do.
  2. “Don’t buy *INSERT BRAND HERE* because you’ll regret it.” – Really? And why is that? Will  every *BRAND X* machine work exactly the same? Doesn’t that sound a bit like, “Don’t date that guy. When I dated him, he…” No basis is provided beyond that ONE person’s bad experience.
  3. “I own *INSERT BRAND HERE* and I love it!” – Seriously? Ummm, ok.  Maybe, no.
  4. “I’ve owned  five sewing machines in my lifetime. These worked best.” – Sure.
  5. “I’ve heard that *INSERT BRAND HERE* makes pretty decent machine.” – Of course they do, dear.

The “helpful” advice provided above all have the same thing in common: no information. So what’s a good response? There isn’t a right response, per se… But there are numerous ways to NOT provide a thoughtful response (see list above). Consider asking the person what it is that they want to sew. Reference some of the features that you find important and explain why they are important. Explain whether or not you are a casual sewist, enthusiast or if your ability to sew provides an income. This type of information can be quite useful  in helping a person make a decision on their sewing machine purchase.  Keep in mind that more expensive does not equate to better value or greater opportunities to the new sewist because it’s JUST a sewing machine and not THAT big of a deal.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. insearchofitall
    Feb 28, 2014 @ 14:36:33

    Looks like you did a great deal of research. I did a lot of the same things. Ended up going to big sewing expos in large cities to see them demonstrate the different machines and check out what would work best for me. I’ve seen a lot of people buy “inexpensive” machines that frustrated them to much they wouldn’t sew. I bought my daughter a “basic” Viking and she sews on it all the time. She swore she broke all machinery and was surprised she couldn’t break the Viking. It’s been 6 years now. She doesn’t need more than that but I sew differently and like the extra features. You are right about getting what works for you. I look forward to catching up on your blog.

    Reply

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