Buying a new sewing machine is no easy task and can be overwhelming considering all the new machines on the market designed specifically for quilters.
Test driving several different makes and models of sewing machines is the best way to make sure you choose a machine that will meet your needs and be easy to operate. The best machine on the market won't be practical if you don't feel comfortable using it. A mistake sewers often make when they go to test drive a sewing machine is not being prepared before they head off to the store. Planning ahead is the key to a successful shopping trip when trying out new sewing machines. What should you pack in your test-drive kit before you head to the store?
Your own thread
Take a spool of the type of thread you use most often in your home quilting and sewing. You should also include specialty threads you use. For instance, not all machines handle metallic threads well. Include any thread you use on a regular basis.
Assemble at least two dozen two-inch squares of cotton fabric. When testing machines, sew two squares together and measure the quarter-inch seam to make sure the allowance is accurate and consistent for each machine tested. This is crucial since the quarter-inch seam is used in most quilting projects. If the machine comes with different feet, run the quarter-inch-seam reliability test for each one.
A small quilter's ruler
A quilter's ruler is necessary for measuring the accuracy of the seams. Make sure your ruler has the one-quarter inch marked clearly.
Zip-top plastic bags
You should label a bag with the name and model of each machine you plan to test. Place the fabric swatches you tested on each machine in the designated bag. This will help you to compare which machines had the best stitch quality and seam reliability.
Six-inch fabric squares with heart appliques
Use fusible web to attach a heart shape to each fabric square. This is vital for testing which machines perform well when doing applique and embroidery. The heart shape works best when test driving a machine, because it has curves, straight edges, and inward and outward points to sew.
Twelve-inch square quilt sandwiches
Take at least two quilt sandwiches along, made from cotton muslin and batting, which have been basted together using the method you normally use. Use these to run a test of machine quilting on each model.
Purchasing a new sewing machine is not something to rush into lightly. Don't worry about taking too long to make a decision. Most machine dealers are more than happy to let you try out all the features on their machines.
When you are well prepared for your test-driving adventure, you will be better equipped to choose a machine that will serve you well for years to come. If you're looking for a sewing machine store, visit The Sewing Studio Fabric Superstore.Share
4 August 2015
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