Hope you all had a great weekend. As I promised in Friday's post I spoke about my very messy desk and its new addition (click here to read it).
Here's the picture from the post, to the left you can see a brand new sewing machine! I was so excited as this had been months in the planning, a sewing machine can be such a huge expense that will to be used for years to come so I wanted to get it right, on the way I learnt a few tips on what you should thinking when making this investment.
1) Talk to the Experts, but don't always listen!
I'm lucky that I work in a quilting shop, I went round all the other staff and asked their what their opinions were. They were completely honest in their opinions and definitely didn't want to see me get ripped off. However not all sales people will be this way, shop around, talk to lots of different staff members in different shops. You will meet people who are trying to sell you things you don't need but you will get a few who are honest. Once you have all your opinions and advice you can begin to narrow down your options.
2) Pick a well known brand
Janome, Paff, Brother and other names you may have herd of will be the ones to go for as these have the widest range of attachments, replacement parts and engineers for when you machine needs servicing. You also need to look at the brands that are popular in your area. For example at the shop I work for we stock Paff and Janome but the majority of people who work and come to classes there have a Janome machine. Getting a Janome meant I knew I could find someone who knew something about my machine going wrong or simple things like how to do decorative stitches and other clever tricks.
3) Look out for deals
Of course you need to make sure that the machine is right for you but you can get a perfect machine with a great offer. Janome send out new deals every season, anything from money off to free quilt kits. Also look for in store offers, because all the prices are set by the manufactures the shops often add their own offers, like in store vouchers or training time on your machine. Add on's like this, especially ones that come with lessons will allow you to get the most out of your machine.
4) Read customer reviews- but ignore some!
Just like when you are looking for a hotel to stay in you will always fine the odd bad review. Different machines are suited to different people so not everyone will be happy with a perfectly good sewing machine. However if you find reviews that are talking about common faults or issues with the manufactures (not the shop that sold it to you) customer service then you probably want to forget about that particular machine as it is likely to cause a lot of problems for you in the future.
5) Know your level and then go one higher
Sewing Machines are a real investment, they are really built to last! I know people who have had their machine for 20+ years and they still work just fine. Even if you are a beginner, look at a mid to high level machine, don't just go for the absolute basic. I almost did this, but after taking some wise advice I opted to splash out on a computerised machine; It will last me as my sewing skills grow (even after this week I have learnt so much that I would want to upgrade by now, had I gone basic!).
6) Try out the machine in store.
Most shops will give you demonstrations and let you have a go to see if the machine is right for you. Once you have started narrowing your options ask to try out a few machines that you are interested in; be sure to ask plenty of questions that go deeper than the sales pitch. Go for something specific to you; if you are a quilter ask about the attachments such as extension tables, if you attend a lot of classes ask about its weight and durability.
7) And finally... buy from someone who you trust!
As I said in number 5, this machine could last decades so you want to be able to keep going back to the company you brought it from for advice, expertise and general troubleshooting. If you don't trust them to give you this kind of service then get the same machine from elsewhere. I have never come across a machine being carried exclusively by one shop, once you have chosen your machine, shop around for customer service.
So that's it, my 7 tips for buying a sewing machine.
Brought a machine recently? Whats your tip to add to this list?
Hope you all have a good week