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2. Sewing Machines: All the types, functions and brands that matter

Welcome to episode 2 of the Stop Scrolling, Start Sewing podcast.  Last week on the show we chatted about all of the goodies you’ll need to get started on your sewing/quilting journey.  And I know it was a lot of stuff.  If you haven’t had a chance to download your free shopping checklist, you can download it here.  I’m so excited with the amount of feedback I’ve received on the episode.  

If you’re like me and love highlighting and note taking, view the transcript.

One thing I heard over and over again is, “What kind of machine should I get?”  And I totally get that.  That’s why I created a Byers guide to how to choose and purchase your first machine.  You can head over here to grab yours.  But there are still a few more nuggets that I want to share with you about picking a sewing machine.  So let’s dive in.

What are the different types of machines?There are a ton of different types of machines, but the ones that you should concern yourself with are Quilting, Embroidery, LongArm, and maybe Industrial.

 

Quilting

                        Blanket stitch and zig-zag stitch
                        High power motor
                        Large creative space, aka throat space

 Embroidery

                        Hoops and enlarged extension table
                        Embroidery Patterns built in
                        Ability to upload more patterns and stitches

Industrial

                        Heavy duty motor
                        HUGE creative space
                        High speed

Long arm

                        Almost never your only machine
                        Predominantly used for the actual quilting of a finished quilt top

And I’ve gone into greater detail in the episode, so you really should take a moment to tune in.  You’ll be happy you did.

Computerized, Electronic, or Manual

So this one is actually describing how you make selections on your machine.  I’m all for less is more, and I’d rather have an amazing motor, large creative space, and the ability to make basting stitches on a manual model, like the BabyLock Jazz II,  than spend at least $1000 more on a computerized model.  Not that I don’t love computerized models.  I have a Pfaff Creative Vision that is just the best.  But I also have 2 manual machines that I use on a regular basis.  The only type of machine I recommend a computerized model for is an embroidery machine and that’s because it will give you the ability to really design and customize your stitches. 

I feel like I’m beating a dead horse here, but I go into greater detail on the podcast, so check it out.

Brands, Brands, Brands

Holy cow!  There are so many brands of sewing machines out there.  But these are the ones you’re going to come across most frequently in the American market.  I’ve broken them up by whether or not you can find them in mass retailers or whether you’ll have to visit a dealer to purchase them.

Mass Retailer Brands

                       Brother

                       Singer

                       Janome (low end models with basic stitches and manual settings)

Dealer Brands

                       Janome

                       Juki

                       BabyLock

                       Pfaff

                       Viking Husqavarna

                       Bernina

For or a more detailed breakdown of what makes each brand special… you guessed it,  tune in to episode 2 of the Stop Scrolling, Start Sewing podcast.

What specs you should look for

I know that you might be thinking that you just want a regular machine and want to make sure it has the capabilities to grow with you as you get more confident in your skills.  So these are the basics that I want you to pay attention to:

                       Built-in or Automatic Needle Threader

                       Automatic Bobbin Winding

                       Snap on Presser Feet

                       Number of Needles

                       Bobbin Loading Type

                       Retractable Feed Dogs

                       What Presser Feet Are Included

                       Stitch Length

Again, I’ve hit you with a ton of information. And shopping can feel so tough #COVID!  That’s why I put together a guide for you that outlines the steps for choosing and purchasing a sewing machine.  You can get it here.

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Quilt Love

Noelani T.

I worked with Nicole in a one on one environment on a large quilt. I have limited sewing experience and...

Noelani T.

The Modern Quilters Circle
5
2020-06-26T11:01:26-04:00

Noelani T.

I worked with Nicole in a one on one environment on a large quilt. I have limited sewing experience and Nicole’s expertise was invaluable for this large project. Nicole is very patient and explained the different steps and their purposes clearly. She improved my original idea to better accomplish my overall goal. I highly recommend Nicole as an instructor and would personally have another session in a heartbeat!

Michelle L.

I seriously didn’t even know the names of parts of my sewing machine before I worked with Nicole. She walked...

Michelle L.

The Modern Quilters Circle
5
2020-06-26T11:05:18-04:00

Michelle L.

I seriously didn’t even know the names of parts of my sewing machine before I worked with Nicole. She walked me through everything step by step. And it was amazing. She taught me the ins and outs of my machine and how to add each basic concept together. It was invaluable, because now I can figure things out and get creative without fearing the dreaded unravel!
2
The Modern Quilters Circle