The right sewing machine makes a tremendous difference in how you feel when you sit down to sew. Are you excited about what you are going to be able to accomplish with a dependable sewing machine or apprehensive about how a balky machine is going to act on any given seam? A trusty sewing machine makes every project better.
In the SewStylish Spring 2017 digital issue, we covered the basic sewing machine features every sewer would appreciate. In Sewing Machine Buying Guide by April Mohr, we included photographs of some of the machines we sew with at the Threads magazine offices. Here’s more information about the machines shown in the article.
Pedal-free stitch control
The EverSewn Sparrow 20 sewing machine by Brewer has features important for beginners: speed control, needle up/down positions, and a locking stitch button. Though these features are common on today’s computerized machines, the Sparrow 20 offers them on a solidly built but lightweight machine at a reasonable price. The machine body has an expensive-feeling satin texture and a wide, low bed, which makes it easier to see and control fabric. Needle and bobbin-winding thread paths are clearly marked, and the accessory kit includes six presser feet to complete standard edges and closures (additional specialized feet are shown and explained in the instruction manual). The Sparrow 20 has 80 stitch options, enough to encourage creativity without being overwhelming. (EverSewn.com; $349.99)
Video- and Wi-Fi-enabled
The Spiegel Limited Edition 60609 sewing machine was designed to offer a camera- and Wi-Fi-enabled product at an affordable price, according to the fashion retailer. It has 350 built-in stitches, with more than 1,000 stitch variations, three fonts for numbers and letters, a USB charging port, and a device holder with adjustable hook to hold a smartphone or tablet securely. With the onboard Stitch Cam and integrated Wi-Fi station, users can record the sewing area and view it on their phone or tablet screen when rested on the holder. It’s a short step to upload the video instantly or view online tutorials and use the Spiegel Social Sewing app. Spiegel also offers premium stitches and digital patterns for purchase on iTunes and Google Play. (Walmart.com; $296.88)
A versatile, dependable workhorse
For a machine that lasts and lasts, and doesn’t balk at difficult fabrics, check out the classic Husqvarna Lily 530. Made in the late 1990s, this durable model is available used on eBay.com and other auction or resale sites.
The Lily 530 comes with a useful bed extension and features a control panel with suggested settings for different fabrics, including leather. The Lily uses low-shank presser feet, and compatible accessories are still available. You can also find the user manual online in PDF format. (For more information about the machine, visit HusqvarnaViking.com)
Dawn Duke says
The first two sound like nice starter machines, but I’m so glad included the Husqvarna. (A the Pfaff of about the same vintage) would be, another good choice for reliability, and ease of use, not to mention the “IDT” (built in walking foot) A real boon for all sewers, but particularly newbies. Having had several makes in my 70 some years of sewing, the Pfaff has made it possible to do so many complicated layered sewing jobs since I’ve had mine. With the IDT included in almost all models, it’s a great way to start.
My Viking #1 is still strong but I’m afraid part replacements may be difficult.