Entry level machine
It is suitable for beginners or those who only want to do very casual sewing. Generally mechanical because less expensive, its price does not exceed 200 €. For beginners, it is a machine easy to put on (with a course for the coil wire well signposted on the machine, even numbered in stages). It is provided with a dozen points and basic presser feet (see below). It is not very evolutionary, but it can not always be completed later by accessories.
More robust, it is suitable for seamstresses who want to progress and lends itself better to furnishings that often require to work thick fabrics. It can be electronic for comfort and has functions that, while not essential, improve comfort when in use: built-in wire cutter, automatic needle threader, speed variator, needle position at low stop or high (practical if you want to turn the work to continue sewing, for example). It offers additional stitching often decorative and whose use remains casual. Finally, it can be completed by different presser feet.
High end machine
It is intended for experienced seamstresses. It offers a wide choice of presser feet and other accessories as well as many different points. The machine should be comfortable to use (think in particular of the ergonomics of the buttons: a button “sewing back” located just above the button “sewing without pedal” is not necessarily practical). It is ideally equipped with a large touch screen, efficient lighting and a large and easily retractable workspace. The most advanced machines can be used to perform quilting techniques, including quilting thanks to free-motion, or to program patterns.
THE ESSENTIAL STITCHES
Whatever the budget you want to invest or the use you expect from your sewing machine , it must offer the basic stitches : straight stitch, zigzag stitch and buttonhole, preferably automatic in 1 time , failing in 4 beats. Be careful, the word “4-step buttonhole” means that you have to change your sewing parameters 4 times in order to sew the 4 sides of the buttonhole. On a shirt, it can be tedious …
The stitch for stretch sewing (or elastic) is useful for working stretch fabrics such as jersey for example. Finally, the overlock stitch (also called overlock stitch) allows you to make hems of good quality, even if a tight zigzag stitch near the edge can also do the trick.
THE PRESSER FEET
The sewing machine must offer a minimum of presser feet ( or crowbars ) , 4 ideally: a classic, one for zippers, one for buttonholes and possibly a button-pose (to fit the buttons ). The crowbars to buy more are not universal, so you have to redeem compatible with the machine.
Pressure from the presser foot must be adjustable to sew a light, heavy or heavy fabric. Ideally, the machine has an automatic adjustment of the foot pressure. It is essential that the foot is able to exert sufficient pressure on the tissue. To check, when buying do not hesitate to make it down with a dry gesture to hear the sound of the impact. It will give a clue to the pressure exerted. A big noise is therefore rather good sign!
THE STITCHING PARAMETERS
Manually (mechanical machines) or on the basis of predefined settings (electronic machines), it is important to be able to adjust the various parameters of sewing stitches or it will be very quickly limited in his works.
The stitch length selector sets the length of the stitch. Being able to vary is very practical, even essential.
The stitch width selector controls the distance the needle moves from one side to the other to make zigzag stitches and decorative stitches.
Finally, for dressmakers and seamstresses more seasoned, it is a plus to be able to change the lateral position of the needle in both directions, right and left.
The more there is, the better! Because it is they who will train the fabric and allow it to move forward. To facilitate this advancement of the fabric, there are also specific feet called carrier feet or double drive feet. Finally, some machines from the Pfaff brand offer an exclusive integrated drive system (IDT) that allows you to train different fabric thicknesses on a regular basis.
Top- loading cans , with clear plastic covers, offer the advantage of seeing when the bobbin is about to be finished. For the installation of the coil, prefer horizontal systems because the wire will unwind better and smoothly.
THE SPEED VARIATOR
The variable speed drive can be an extra point for delicate work. It slows the pace to make the difficult passages. When the sewing speed is locked, you can even press the pedal fully, the machine will not exceed the speed set by the drive. Ideal to learn to master his machine.
A good sewing machine also has a motor powerful enough to cross the thickness of the fabric and drive them safely. This power is translated by the ability to sew significant thicknesses of fabric (jeans hems …). On the other hand, very good high end machines offer a stitching speed of at least 1,000 stitches per minute and more.
Also consider the weight and size of the machine. The weight varies on average from 5 to 10 kg depending on the model, the lightest being generally mechanical. If you have to transport it frequently, avoid machines that are around 10 kg!