There's quite a lot to think about when buying a new sewing machine.
The questions we ask customers include - What sort of sewing have you done? What sewing do you want to do, or might you do, in future? What sorts of fabrics will you be using? Do you want to extend your sewing skills? The answers to those questions will be a guide to the sorts of features you will need in a machine - and also to the sorts of features you will love to have once we tell you that they exist!
The most basic distinction between different sewing machines is whether they are mechanical (dial turn for stitch length /selection etc) or digital (press button). Digital machines are chosen by most domestic sewists because they offer more features that make sewing easy and fun but we also stock a range of mechanical machines - from beginner to costumier level - for those who prefer them.
The next difference to consider is the machine's maximum stitch width, which is related to the power of its motor and so the ease with which the machine handles thicker fabrics. Taking Janome and Elna machines as examples, the smallest machines have a maximum stitch width less than 7 mm and one set of feed dogs to move fabric through under the needle. The next size machine has a 7mm stitch width, extra feed dogs to handle the fabric and a more advanced range of possible features (eg presser foot pressure dial, underbed scissors, 1 step automatic buttonhole foot). The biggest machines are 9mm, with more powerful motors and superior, computerised, features. These machines are truly amazing! They tell you what to do to achieve each of the myriad techniques/effects they can produce.
Other differences between sewing machines that are reflected in their prices include whether they come with a hard cover, an extension table and how many presser feet are standard (ie included) accessories. Another factor to consider is the price of additional accessories that you will or may need - eg many machines do not include a walking foot, very few include a concealed zipper foot. And some brands of sewing machine have much more expensive accessories than others.
Obviously your budget and your enthusiasm for your future sewing journey will determine the price range and type of machine you will select. We advise customers to think ahead to the next 20 years of use from their new machine. A few more dollars invested now may return a great deal more pleasure over time as you use your machine's superior features to extend your sewing skills.
We give a half hour free lesson on any sewing machine bought from us, at a time convenient to us both. We also hold evening and weekend sewing classes at different levels and a class that guides you to explore the many features of your new digital or computerised machine.
We have ready access to all the common accessories and parts for the brands of machine we sell. (More unusual parts will need to be ordered from overseas. New parts for machines over 25 years old are not readily available.)