• Kaine

Sewing 102 - What type of Sewing Machine should I get?

Updated: Dec 7, 2019


What type of sewing machine should you get as beginner? You need to ask yourself the following questions in order to decide

  1. What are you going to be sewing? garments, leather, upholstery, quilts etc.

  2. Are you sewing for personal and commercial purposes?

  3. What is your budget?

There are Four main types you can get, depending on your budget and your needs.


Vintage style Mechanical/Treadle Machine with/without external motor

This is the classic sewing machine with no frills and thrills. Cost - from N34000 to N50000

Features

  • One solid metal outer body

  • All mechanical parts inside

  • Bobbin winder

  • Stitch length regulator

  • Reverse sewing

  • Straight stitch only

  • Has a side loading bobbin

  • Table with pedal

  • Long and high throat space

Pros

  • Does not need electricity

  • Versatile, can use foot pedal/motor/handcrank

  • Can sew for long hours

  • Large working surface

  • Changeable presser feet

  • Accessories are easy to find

  • Low cost

  • Durable

  • Easy to maintain and repair

  • Very quiet

Cons

  • NO automatic features

  • Tension must be set manually

  • Heavy, not very portable

  • Lamp and motor must be bought separately * (Sometimes)

Electrical/Mechanical/Table top Machine with internal motor

This is a light weight portable electrical machine with mechanical parts, Cost - from N34000 to N44000


Features

  • Plastic outer body with metal interior frame

  • Mechanical and electrical parts inside

  • Internal motor

  • Bobbin winder

  • Stitch length /width regulator

  • Straight /zigzag stitches only

  • May have a side loading bobbin or a top loading bobbin

  • Free arm

  • Small working surface

Pros

  • Light and portable

  • Tension settings change at the turn of a dial

  • Changeable presser feet

  • Accessories are easy to find

  • Easy to maintain and service

  • Low power consumption

Cons

  • May struggle with thick fabrics

  • Limited speed

  • Can not sew for long hours

Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 Sewing Machine

Electronic / Computerised Sewing Machine

This is the modern digital version the sewing machine. Cost from N120000 - N350000


Features

  • Plastic outer body with metal interior frame

  • Mechanical and electrical parts inside

  • Has a CPU inside

  • LCD /display screen

  • Internal motor

  • Bobbin winder

  • Stitch length /width regulator

  • Straight /zigzag /decorative stitches

  • Plastic top loading bobbin

  • Free arm

  • Other automatic features like, thread cutter, needle threader, speed control, etc.

Pros

  • Stitch length and Stitch width settings at the touch of a button

  • Several stitch choices

  • Excellent tension settings (all automatic)

  • Changeable presser feet

  • Accessories are easy to find

  • Easy to maintain

  • Low power consumption

  • Usually Portable

Cons

  • Expensive to service

  • *May struggle with thick fabrics (Models may differ)

  • *Limited speed (Models may differ)

  • Can not be used for long hours



Singer 1191D 200A Sewing Machine

Industrial Single needle lockstitch Sewing machine

This is the standard industrial sewing machine for garment sewing. Although there are computerised version available, I'll limit this article to the mechanical version Cost from N75000 to N150000


Features

  • One solid metal outer body

  • All mechanical parts inside

  • Table with foot pedal and large Bobbin winder usually provided

  • Stitch length regulator

  • Straight stitch /zigzag stitch

  • Metallic bobbin /side loading

  • External clutch or servo motor or direct drive

  • Long and high throat space

Pros

  • Large working surface

  • Changeable presser feet

  • Accessories are easy to find

  • Durable

  • Can sew for long hours

  • Can be used for commercial and home

  • Easy to maintain and service

  • High sewing speed

  • *Can sew through most things (Models may differ)

Cons

  • High power consumption

  • NO automatic features (usually)

  • Can be very noisy with a clutch motor

  • Tension must be set manually

  • Heavy, not portable

  • Light and motor must be bought separately * (Sometimes)


Honourable mention

The hybrid as I like to call it. It is a Mechanical sewing machine with a Plastic/Metal Exterior that fits on a treadle table and can be used with an external motor.

They usually do both straight and zigzag stitch

If it is for personal, non-commercial use and you are not sure if you will be sewing frequently, then I suggest you get a Simple Manual/Electric Model, or a Vintage style treadle model. These are readily available and the most inexpensive. You could always get a more advanced computerised version if you want some extra fun features, but I will not advise you to spend more than N120,000 ($400) either way. All you need is a machine that does only a straight stitch, or both straight and zigzag stitches. Decorative stitches are purely optional. Below are just examples, feel free to make your own investigations.

If it is for Commercial use, I suggest you get either the treadle sewing machine, or an Industrial sewing machine as these can work for long hours and are easy to maintain. These usually come in straight stitch only but you can find models that do zigzag stitches too. If a brand new one is too expensive, try buying used or secondhand. Have the merchant setup and test the machine for you. I advise you aim for Japanese or European specs for good quality.

Emel 8700 Industrial Sewing Machine

Singer 20U Straight and Zigzag Industrial Sewing Machine


Always do your research before purchasing a sewing machine. If you are planning to order it online, read as much reviews on the product and buy from a reputable source. If you are buying it in person, test it before purchase.


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