Modern day sewing machines are computerized, come in a variety of price points and are chockfull of features! In my lifetime, I have purchased a handful of Singer sewing machines, a Brother sewing machine and serger, 2 Janome sewing machines, 1 Janome serger and a Janome embroidery machine. Out of all four brands, the Janome brand is my favorite. I like to sew on them because they are durable, quiet and powerful. My second runner up, is Brother, primarily because their machines are offered at a fabulous price point.

If you are new to sewing, you may not be aware of the most useful sewing machine features, such as the needle down function whereby the needle will end in the down position when you stop sewing so that you can maintain a straight line or pivot the fabric seamlessly. One of my favorite machines, the Janome Magnolia, allows me to sew with the push of a button rather than using the foot pedal. This is my most preferred sewing machine feature because I like to sew at a counter height table in order to maintain better posture and overt back pain when I sew for an extended amount of time. There are two types of bobbin houses/cases (one is top loading with a clear cover plate so you can see how much thread is left in your bobbin and the other is the front loading bobbin which is located behind machine casing and does not allow for a visual bobbin check). For everyday sewing, the top loading bobbin is preferred. The front loading bobbin is very useful if you are a quilter and can not remove your project from the machine deck to reload the bobbin. Almost every new machine, on the market, is going to offer oodles of stitch options. Honestly the only ones I ever use are the straight stitch, zigzag stitch, back stitch and on occasion the blind hem stitch. Other than that, the rest are of little use to me. Please don’t be tempted to pay for extra stitches unless you have a specific project in mind. 

Budget wise, a good quality machine with my favorite features will cost you somewhere in the range of $160 to $500. Anything less than that and you are likely to upgrade in a year. If that is out of your budget, watch for gently used sewing machines at garage sales and online. Put an all call out to your neighbors and let them know you are in the market for a good quality gently used sewing machine — who knows, you just may hit the jackpot! I’ve had several students tell me their friends and neighbors “gave” them top quality machines, worth $1,000’s of dollars because they had no use for them. Those lucky ducks!