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Sewing Machines: Find the Right One for You

Beth Ferrier, instructor of the online quilting class Machine-Finished Hand Appliqué has some wisdom to share with anyone who’s even thinking about buying a sewing machine. They are not one-size-fits-all, and they are definitely not the kind of thing you should buy without forethought. When it comes to quilting, a sewing machine can be the right tool for the job. So you’ll definitely want to make sure it’s the right sewing machine! With Beth’s advice, you’ll be sure to get just what you need.

Hi, I’m Beth Ferrier quilting instructor for I do all my quilting by machine so it’s important to me to have the right tool for the job. Beginning quilters and sewists are often intimidated when looking for a machine and there’s a lot to consider. One of the things newbies to the craft often don’t think about is that instead of just going into your chain store and pulling a sewing machine in a box off the shelf, you might want to consider visiting your local machine dealership.

Dealers have all kinds of ranges of sewing machines from totally entry level simple machines to the most ridiculous machines costing more than my first car, that practically do the laundry for you. You need to know when you go looking at a dealership, keep in mind what kind of sewing that you do. Take the kind of fabrics that you like to use and thread and ask to be able to sit down at the machine and actually sew. In truth the dealer will take you more seriously if you come prepared to actually audition those sewing machines.

Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions and never be embarrassed to make multiple trips before the decision is made. Your relationship with a dealer is going to make all the difference about whether or not you enjoy working with your machine. So you want to have a place where you’re comfortable asking questions. A dealership will also give you back up if the machine goes crazy, and it’s a take to place it once a year for a well-baby visit to get it all checked up and make sure everything’s working at top speed. Don’t be afraid to consider buying a used machine from a reputable dealership as well. It’s a great way to get the most sewing machine for your money.

Take your time, think about what you want, and then go get it. I’m Beth Ferrier for

Join Beth and learn how to hang a quilt on a wall without push pins and make bobbin work easy. Then sign up for her online quilting class Machine-Finished Hand Appliqué.

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Julie Beard

Dear Beth,
I enjoyed watching your short video. I wish you were around six months ago when I was shopping for my new machine. After what I thought was a careful choice I brought my new machine a Pffaf Quilt Expression 4.0. Now my problems is that I am now always dealing with the nagging questions why I didn’t get my first choice machine Janome 7700. I keep hearing and see wonderful quilts being made by that machine and I rarely see my machine winning awards nor don’t see any promotions either. Do you have any ideas how I can get rid of these negative feeling. I am really trying to fight these feelings and it doesn’t help the fact as I live alone and sewing alone also. I will be eternally grateful if you could take some time to write to me at I am a big fan of and have purchased many of the courses on offer. I will look forward to hearing from you in the near future. Julie

Christina in Cleveland

Great article! I would like to add the more “vintage” sewing machines (ie., Singer Featherweight, et al) are work horses. There are many options in addition to the Singer brand and they are, by and large, less expensive for a savvy technician to work on when need be. Plus, many are easy to learn how to maintain on your own with a bit of knowledge and a few tools.

Joy French

This is a good bit of advice for someone who knows what they want and need for quilting, but it needs to be followed up with another video that tells us which features that are available today one might want for quilting. That’s where I’m at right now. I have done home decorating sewing for years, clothing alterations, and some garment creation. I have been quilting for a short time and I know my basic machine is lacking some features I would like such as needle down. I don’t know all that a piecer, appliquer, quilter etc might need until I run into a problem.

This video is a nice start but we would like feature advice.


Joy, check out
Leah Day has a whole series of video’s on machines for under $500.00. Very good info for folks startong out. She goes through differrent brands and features. Additionally, you might want to check out her site for free motion quilting. Then link is on her web page. It’s all been very heplful to me and I’ve been quilting fro 30 years.


One thing I always tell people who are looking for sewing machines is to buy the most machine you can afford. If you buy a sewing machine that’s at your current level of sewing, you will outgrow it very quickly, but if you buy a machine that is beyond your current capabilities, you will grow into it in a very short time.


Hi ,I bought a Brother CS-6000 i , and I love it. I sewing doll clothes ,quilts, curtains, and few other things.I would like to have a embroidery sewing machine ,but I can’t affford one on my income. I wish there would be a book that would teach how to embroider without haveing to buy the high price machines. Sewing is my hobby and keeps me busy .I have been sewing since my mom taught me cross stitch.And from my grandmother who use to make me doll clothes when I was a kid.Now my two daughters and DIL are not into sewing.It’s aways mom can you Sew this ? LOL. I learned how to do alot of my sewing on my own.Thanks for the video .


I would love to see a follow-up video that looks at individual machines, features and stitch quality. Not everyone has access to great shops and dealers and this would be helpful. I know it can be googled, but an indepth examination of the brands would be a great course. Just a thought. I know I would sign up!

Jolette Boyer

I agree this only gave me a tip about taking a sample of what I want to sew to the store to try it out. I would like more detail on what to look for in selecting a machine.

Marcia Archbold

I too need more information on what to look for when purchasing a quilting ability sewing machine. I would like the needle down feature, perhaps needle threader (if it isn’t easily broken), good lighting, roomy area for fabric to lay between needle and head. What else should I look for in a reasonable priced machine?

Karen Wales

I agree with everyone here.
I’m at square-one. I can bring fabric samples to a store but haven’t a clue as to how to sew with them.
I hear the most positive comments about mid-range Janome machines so am pretty settled on that brand. I hope I am not making a mistake in that–I hope I’m not just following a trend/fad.
I especially like the advice of going to visit local dealers–more than once. I now plan to visit two or more to get a feel for the personalities involved. I hate it when salespeople are all nicey nicey when I’m buying but then treat me like I smell bad when I need something. I’ll watch interactions with repeat customers before I buy.
I also plan to go to quilt show this weekend–not that I expect to be a quilter necessarily–but I’ll have the chance to talk with a with swath of experienced sewists, which can only help my plight.
By the way, Craftsy has a nice Free Mini Class on sewing machine basics. It is an advertisement for Janome–but I don’t mind–I learned a lot there.

Earl Finnegan

Thank you so much for the advice – hope to get a sewing machine now 😀


thanks for sharing this amazing post.

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Was thinking of getting my mom a sewing machine. Thank you for the suggestions.

Olivia Nelson

I agree that you want to consider different ranges of sewing machines when choosing one. Finding one that is the right style and size for you would be helpful. My husband and I are looking for a sewing machine, so we’ll have to consider a few different ones first.


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