A New Sewing Machine..

I’m in the market for a new sewing machine, and I seriously didn’t realise how hard it would be to make a decision.

When I bought this sewing machine, it was almost on a whim. It was on sale, and it seemed basic enough. It had an instructional DVD (thank god!), and I wanted to make things for our wedding. Up until that stage, my was experience and memories of sewing were awful. I only remember ‘trying’ to sew at the start of high school and always, always, ALWAYS getting my thread tangled.

Looking back at picking my first sewing machine is kind of amazing. I’m sometimes so surprised I ended up making orders for people. When I first started it was just to save a few $$’s for our wedding, but now, it’s basically my whole past time.

Anyway, not much thought went into my first sewing machine. I should add, I’ve only every had one. I liked that it was cheap, and seemed easy to use and that was it, decision made. So this time around, it is so much more of an indepth decision .. I don’t know how I’m going to decide!

I know there are some things I definitely want;

  • Controllable speed. At the moment, my sewing machine is super fast or super slow, which will make learning to applique a bit hard I think.
  • Up down position – being able to control whether my needle stays in my fabric or out of my fabric would be amazing.
  • Variety of stitches – my fanciest stitch right now is a zig zag, and let’s be honest, it’s really not that fancy at all. Functional yes, but fancy no.

My current sewing machine is a Brother, very basic model. It has a total of 10 stitches and that’s it. So whatever I end up getting, I know it’ll be a huge upgrade. I’ve been looking at the Janome 3160QDC, which would be a ginormous upgrade in specification (and price!!), but the reviews I’ve read so far have all been positive.

 

One frustrating thing I’ve found though is looking at reviews online. Australian / UK / American versions of machines seem to be different .. So I’ll find lots of reviews about a certain Brother / Singer / Janome / (insert sewing machine brand here), but then it won’t be available in Australia. Or maybe it is, and I just can’t find the model conversion, who knows.

So, I’m wondering, how did you decide what sewing machine you’d buy? I’d love to test some out, but we don’t really have any places around my area where this is possible, so I’m relying on reviews and that’s it.

I would love if you’d share what sewing machine you have, and how you decided on it.

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Sewing Machine Accessories – 1/4 Inch Piecing Foot

1/4″ Piecing Foot with Guide

I’m not afraid to admit that I’m sometimes a little tight with money. I really don’t like throwing our hard earned dollars away, so if I can find a product of equal (in reality, sometimes a lesser) quality, then I’ll generally do so depending on what the product is. The reason I’m bringing this up is because on the weekend, I purchased a genuine sewing accessory; specifically a Brother quarter inch piecing foot with guide.

In Australia, we use centimetres and metres so inches and feet was a bit of a jump for me when I made my first quilt. After some research online, I realised you could buy a quarter inch piecing foot where all you would need to do is line up  the edge of your fabric with the edge of the foot to get a perfect quarter inch seam (in my case, an almost perfect quarter inch seam).

I had a look online for these feet when I first started quilting and saw that genuine Brother ones cost between $20 – 40 AUD, which was a small fortune when, at the time, I wasn’t entirely sure whether I’d be any good at this quilting thing. So I purchased a cheapy on eBay, which didn’t suit my machine, and moved around A LOT, when I sewed.

I went to my local craft store to buy some fabric for my new orders over the weekend, and saw that they sold genuine Brother accessories. The 1/4″ piecing foot cost $24.95, which really is a small fortune for such a small piece of metal. This is the one I purchased.

Because I started piecing my half square triangles on the weekend for my next quilt, I just wanted to share that sometimes it really is worth investing that little bit extra into a genuine, quality sewing accessory. 

Having used the cheapy one for at least 9 months now, I’m totally kicking myself that I didn’t buy the genuine one from the get go. I used to find that my squares were often a little out, which made getting crisp clean joins a total nightmare, and I believe the reason I found it so hard was because my cheapy foot would bounce around all the time.

The same cannot be said for my new 1/4″ piecing foot with guide. It is FANTASTIC! It’s strong, it’s stable, and it doesn’t move around. Using this foot with the guide made piecing 120 HST’s SO blooming easy .. because the foot fits my machine perfectly, seeing as it is a Brother accessory.

I think there are plenty of occasions when you can substitute a replica product for a genuine product in the craft world, and we all work so hard to support our craft habits that I can understand why we sometimes choose to buy a cheaper, but inferior product. On this occasion though, I’m glad I invested a few more dollars because it is going to make my sewing journey so much easier.


Walking Foot

I have a question for all you quilters out there .. Do you use a walking foot for you quilting?

The reason I ask is because I purchased a walking foot on eBay which is not a genuine product. I tried quilting with it on my sewing machine for my second ever quilt, and it was a nightmare, so I previously used my cheapy piecing foot. My local craft store sells the genuine Brother walking foot for my machine for about $54.95, which I feel is a big investment for something so small .. Are walking feet really necessary for quilting? Do you think I’ll find quilting easier if I use a walking foot?

I would really love to hear your opinion!