Sunday, June 13, 2010

Shopping for a new Machine?

Here are some tips I recently saw in a Quilter's newsletter I received. I'd like to say I'm looking for a new machine - but may be a few years yet (darn)....which is why I especially like tip #6 (LOL) - Enjoy! Jewels
From Loose Threads June 2010the newsletter of Quilter's Connection Magazine:
6 points to consider before purchasing your next sewing machine...
I'm in a love-hate relationship with my sewing machine. When I purchased it almost 10 years ago, it was a top-of-the-line machine, and I loved it. I still love it, but she's beginning to show her age. And she's getting to be a bit temperamental, too. So I thought it might be time to trade her in for a newer model (shhh, don't tell her that, she doesn't know yet!)

But how do you buy a sewing machine? Last time, I went for the same brand, and took advantage of a sale. I spent every penny I had, and I still haven't tried all the stitches! This time I wanted to do a little more research. There are so many new machines available today, that I thought I should learn as much as I could before making a decision. After all, sewing machines can cost almost as much as a new car today! I want to make sure I get the best value for my dollar, and the right machine for my needs.

So, where should you start? And what should you know before you buy? Here are 6 questions to ask yourself before you go shopping.

1. How much do you want to spend? This is probably the most important consideration. Think of all the costs involved - the extra attachments, a new table, taxes, etc, etc. It can all add up - to a lot of money!
2. How much will you be sewing? Are you a casual sewer or quilter? Or do you have a home-based business? Are you a beginner, or an expert? Be honest so you don't overspend on a machine that will sit and collect dust.
3. What will you be using the machine for? There are many specialty machines on the market today - embroidery, quilting, sergers, or just basic mechanical models. Will you be doing mostly quilting, or sewing a variety of projects using different fabrics and stitches? This will determine what type of machine you will want to purchase, and some of the options you will require.
4. How much space do you have? Do you have an entire room dedicated to sewing? Then you might consider purchasing a new table along with the machine. If your sewing room is a corner of the dining room table, you will want to purchase a machine that can easily be stored when you have company for dinner.
5. Should you buy new or used? Purchasing a new machine will get you the latest in technology, at a higher price. If you want a good work-horse. but with fewer bells and whistles that the new machines have, you may decide to purchase used. When buying a used machine, purchase from a dealer rather than on Craigslist or your local paper. Dealers usually offer a warranty on used machines, and they have been cleaned and repaired.
6. Can you carry it? Or do you need to? This is something I never thought of when I purchased my current machine. Since then, I've attended many quilting classes and have struggled every time to drag my very heavy machine to the car, then from the trunk into class. And back again. If you're planning to use your machine at any sewing class or retreat, opt for a lighter weight machine.

Write your answers down on a piece of paper, and take that sheet with you when you go shopping. You'll be armed with information that will help to determine the right machine for you, and you'll leave the shop a satisfied customer!