To Spend or Not to Spend?
As a small business owner and entrepreneur, it can be hard to spend money. The whole point of being in business is to make a profit, earn some money, be in the black... you get the point.
I started sewing on my grandmother’s Singer sewing machine. She originally bought her Singer here in the United States, and took it back to Bolivia. Eventually it made its way back to the US with us on our final move here. It was a well-traveled machine and obviously very well made and sturdy. I wish now that I had a photo of it to share, but sadly, I do not.
After sewing with it for a year or so, a friend and neighbor at the time offered her unused beginner’s Singer Tradition to me for a great deal. I took her up on the offer and began making handbags. That machine was an old faithful; very basic and great for me, since I was basically self-taught. I made and sold hundreds of bags on that machine.
About a year ago, I took, "old faithful" to get serviced but when I started sewing on it again, I wasn’t happy with the quality of my stitches. Over time, I noticed that my knowledge of sewing was growing, and I had outgrown my sewing machine. As luck would have it, another friend offered to loan me her Janome 525S Sewist machine and I really enjoyed the additional bells and whistles . However, I have noticed Janome isn’t made to handle the thicker fabrics and layers needed to make the weighted blankets I recently began making custom.
The Time is Now.
I finally decided it’s time that I upgrade to a quality sewing machine. At this point, I’ve been getting by with a little help from my friends (and am grateful, 100%). And it’s now time I put some money where my skills are and see what a quality machine will help me to create!
For the last 2 weeks I have been on the hunt for the perfect machine. I have spoken to a few dealers, tested a handful of machines, poured over websites and about driven myself and other sewist friends crazy (you know who you are). I have labored over this decision: definitely more than buying a car and almost more than buying my first house.
But why, you ask?
There are so many sewing machine manufacturers out there. Some machines you can only buy through local dealers, others you can only buy in store or on-line. They all have their reputations and offer a variety of options. There are sewing machines, embroidery machines, quilting machines, sergers, overlock machines, etc. Narrowing down to only a few manufacturers takes time and research. Ask other sewists their opinions, and they are more than happy to share their thoughts on brands and certain features. Don’t even get me started on the variety of pricing! You can get a starter machine for $200 and you can go up to a $10,000 machine. Yes, you read that right, 4 zeros.
I have learned so much in the past couple of weeks, but mostly I have learned what features I love and can’t live without. A few of the items on that list are
- an automatic thread cutter
- sewing speed control
- and a free arm
Formulate a Plan.
With all the options out there:
How does one decide? Here are a few things to consider…
- Know your budget.
- Consider how you plan to use your machine and what features are going to best suite your needs. Are you primarily going to sew clothing, quilt, craft, make pillows, etc.
- Research, research, research. Scour the internet, watch the videos, read the blogs, make phone calls, talk to experienced sewists and people you trust.
- Narrow down your options. If you know you just can’t spend $3,000 on a Bernina, don’t waste your time daydreaming about owning one. Would you go test drive a Bentley if you know you can’t afford to have the oil changed?
- You need to love your dealer as much as your machine. This was great advice given to me by someone on a Facebook sewing group. I really considered this and took it to heart.
- Trust your gut.
- Be patient.
- When you sew on the right machine, you will feel it, deep down in your seams. Ha!
- At the end of the day, while it may seem like the most important decision ever, it’s just a machine, a tool in your arsenal of sewing greatness. It’s hard to go wrong.
- I have to end on 10, it’s just wrong to end on 9.
Love at First Sew.
In the end, I went back to where I started, Triad Sew and Vac. Like thread following a needle, I had gone full circle. I had originally gone there to look at one machine and left disheartened when it wasn’t the one. But I decided to go back and see what else they might have to offer, and boy am I glad I did! I sat at a machine that was definitely over my budget, but it had all the features I was looking for. I asked for a deal and low and behold, they had an open box model that had never been used and I was able to get it for half the suggested retail price! Talk about a deal.
I paid for the machine today and will pick it up in two days when I have some time to go back and learn how to program and work it. I really looking forward to that first project on my new machine. I am the proud new owner of a Juki 2000QVP! And who doesn’t love saying Juki?!
The two other sewing machine dealers in Winston-Salem that are worth mentioning are Sewingly Yours and Sew Original. Sewingly Yours sells Husqvarna and Babylock machines. Both brands are known for offering great quality machines that are built to last a lifetime. The owner and associates know their machines. They offer some great sewing classes as well as a wide variety of fabrics and sewing accessories.
Sew Original sells only Bernina brand sewing machines. If you have ever spoken to anyone who knows anything about machines, they'll tell you Berninas are the Rolls Royce of machines. While I did not go into their showroom, I attended a presentation by the owner, Shirley at Village Fabric Shop about the new 400 series that has just been released.
Triad Sew and Vac sells Janome, Brother and Juki machines, as well as other brands of previously owned sewing machines.
If you are looking for Singer brand sewing machines, you can buy them locally at Joann Fabrics or on-line through Amazon.com. While I love Amazon Prime, I would recommend buying at a local dealer or shop in case there are any issues with your machine.
I hope this has helped you if you are in the market for a new sewing machine. For sewists, your sewing machine is an extension of your body and the main tool necessary to make any project you have in mind. Happy Hunting!!