How should I shop for a sewing machine?
Determine your needs. What are you going to be doing with the sewing machine? Write down the primary reason you are purchasing the machine. Under the primary reason, write down all of the functions the machine must have to accomplish your goal. Once you have developed the above list make a secondary list of "like to haves". These are functions that you would like to have but are not essential to achieving your ultimate goal. It is easy to walk into a store and become switched to machines that have many bells and whistles. If you know your goals before you enter the shop you are more likely to get the machine that best meets your needs.
Test drive! All sewing machines feel different so it is imperative that you commit a significant amount of time to testing multiple machines. Tell the sales person the price range and the primary features you are looking for. Better yet, use our buyer's guide to determine which models best meet your requirements, print out the list of models you want to test and go do it. Remember to bring your own fabric when you test out machines. It is best to use fabric that you have used recently so that you can get a feel for the machines relative to the one you have at home(if you have one).
Unfortunately many sales people are encouraged to use some tactics to get more money out of you faster than you want to part with it. Here are some common things to look out for (these are very similar to buying a car).
- "If you buy now I can give you this special deal", or "This machine
is on special today only". These are pressure tactics to get you to discontinue
shopping around. If you go back another day you WILL be able to
get that machine at the price stated.
- Whatever price range you tell them when you first enter the store will cause
them to try to sell you something that is 50% more expensive than the top of your range.
If you already know which machines interest you from this guide it will go a long way to
reducing the headaches you can get from retailers.
What are the extras? At the end of the day you may find that 2 or 3 machines are in the same price range, have the same features and feel good to you - what do you do now? At this point you should look for the extras: attachments, accessories, warranty(type and length). Add these up and the one that comes out on top is the winner.