The 10 Best Budget Sewing Machines
10. Nex FHSM-505
- carry handle for on-the-go work
- measuring tape on the front
- not for heavy or advanced use
|Rating||3.7 / 5.0|
9. EverSewn Maker 100
- made tough to handle mistakes
- easy needle threader
- lesser-known brand in craft circles
|Rating||3.7 / 5.0|
8. Janome 1706
- fun hello kitty design
- etched needle plate
- tension is not always perfect
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
7. Brother XM2701
- zipper foot included
- phone and online support
- led could be brighter
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
6. Singer 4423
- strong interior metal frame
- 23 built-in stitches
- sometimes prone to thread jamming
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
5. Singer 1304
- small footprint
- internal frame is metal
- limited capabilities
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
4. Janome 2212
- well-known brand
- dial pattern selection
- more expensive than comparable items
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
3. Brother LS2125i
- accessory pouch with twin needle
- great value for the price
- light and easy to move
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
2. Brother XR3774
- helpful instructional dvd
- one-step buttonholer
- drop-in bobbin gives even stitches
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
1. Brother CS6000i
- excellent choice for quilters
- english-spanish instruction manual
- 25-year limited warranty
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
A Brief History Of Sewing
Sewing has been an integral aspect of human life for almost as long as there have been humans. Archaeologists have discovered bone needles dating back to the Gravettian period roughly 25,000 years ago. More than likely, humans were sewing long before that time, we just haven't yet found the evidence. It is believed ancient homo sapiens used these bone needles for sewing furs together to keep warm and to create decorative patterns in textiles. Without the ability to sew, it most likely would not have been possible for humankind to settle in some of the cooler regions of the world after the last Ice Age.
In 7,000 B.C.E., Armenians started to produce copper needles as humankind developed better metalworking skills. Man created the first bronze needles sometime around 2,000 B.C.E., and most historians believe that it was the Germans who developed the first iron sewing needle in the 3rd century B.C.E.
Charles Fredrick Weisenthal obtained the first mechanical sewing machine patent in 1755, which incorporated a double-pointed needle. His machine could only produce crude, very loose stitches, which made it unfeasible for use in actual clothing production. For this reason, it is hard to consider him the inventor of the sewing machine. It was Thomas Saint, an English cabinet maker, who actually built the first fully-functioning sewing machine in 1790, which he also patented. It actually contained many of the same features as modern day sewing machines, such as a tensioning system and an overhead arm.
Seeing the commercial potential of a mechanical sewing machine, many inventors tried to replicate or improve upon Saint's creation, with the most notable being Barthélemy Thimonnier, a French tailor. In 1829, he invented a machine that was capable of producing embroidery-style chain stitches, which he patented in 1830. He went on to open the world's first commercial clothing manufacturing company that used mechanical sewing machines. It was, of course quickly replicated by many other clothing manufacturers.
It wasn't until the 1860s, that consumers started to purchase mechanical sewing machines for home use. In 1889, the Singer Sewing Corporation created the electric sewing machine, and they are still a major player in the industry to this day. Over the last 100 years, there have been a number of small improvements to sewing machines to make them better, more efficient, and more compact, but the basic principle in how they work hasn't changed much.
The Many Benefits Of Sewing
To the lay person, it may seem as if sewing is a dying art form, though those who think this would be sorely mistaken. In fact, over the last few years, there has been a double-digit increase in the number of people involved in some form of needlecraft hobby, like sewing, knitting, and quilting. Sewing-related search queries on Google are rising, and there are a number of sewing-related classes on offer throughout the United States.
Research has shown that sewing-related activities can be extremely therapeutic. The repetitive action that sewing requires creates a zen-like mind state in many people. They become so absorbed in what they are doing that, for a brief moment, they forget about the many issues that weigh on their mind throughout their daily life. For the many people out there who have trouble quieting their mind enough to meditate, sewing might be the next best thing. At the same time, you'll also be creating a beautiful new dress or fashionable blouse.
Many might be surprised to learn that sewing can actually help ward off dementia, as well. Performing tasks that require a high degree of concentration and attention to a series of small steps helps to keep the brain active. The brain may not be a muscle, but it follows the same principle, in that you either use it or your lose it. This means that sewing provides a two-fold benefit to your mental well-being: it helps to relieve stress and it keeps your mind sharp as you age.
Sewing can also lead to better hand-eye coordination. It requires a high degree of dexterity, as you will spend hours working with a very small needle and thread. Better hand-eye coordination can help with many everyday tasks, such as assembling furniture, slicing ingredients for your next culinary masterpiece, or blasting out that tweet in record time.
Tips For Choosing A Sewing Machine
Choosing your next sewing machine doesn't have to be difficult. The first thing is to determine the type of fabrics you want to work with and the types of stitches you want to be able to create. If you are just beginning to learn how to sew, or only want to be able to make simple repairs to your clothing, a basic electric model is probably enough for your needs. If you plan on making complex stitches and a range of garment types, an advanced model capable of a variety of stitch types is a better choice. The more advanced models will usually also offer adjustable tension control, which can be helpful during precision jobs.
Those who want to create complex garments out of a variety of fabrics will need a more advanced model. If you want to sew anything with pockets or sleeves, you should purchase a model with a free arm. A free arm machine gives you more leeway to manipulate the fabric around and under the needle. Machines capable of an overlock stitch allow you to create neater seams and hems, which is important for giving your garments that professionally-produced look. If you will regularly be working with thick and heavy fabrics, like canvas or denim, it is important to choose a sturdy machine that can feed the needle through these fabrics without getting stuck.
Every user, no matter their skill level, can benefit from a model with a foot pedal that allows you to control the machine, while leaving your hands free to work with the fabric.