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When shopping for a sewing machine, the many different choices can be overwhelming. Choosing the correct machine depends on many factors. The casual user who wants a machine around for basic mending jobs will choose a different machine than a small business owner who crafts shopping bags or doll clothes, for instance.
A beginner will probably choose a simpler machine with only a few knobs and switches, but computerized machines that essentially do all of the sewing with a few programming commands are also available. Learning the names of different types of machines and researching available sewing functions will go a long way in making an ideal purchasing decision.
But as you start to evaluate the options and make a decision, the starting point is to know that there are three main types of sewing machines: mechanical sewing machines, electronic sewing machines, and computerized sewing machines.
Mechanical sewing machines are the simplest machines that run on electricity. Most functions of a manual must be adjusted by you, the sewer. You control the speed via a mechanized foot pedal. Less pressure on the pedal slows down the stitching speed, while more pressure increases the speed.
This type of machine often requires the sewer to employ much more of a trial-and-error process than when making projects with other, more complicated, machines; thus, using a mechanical machine is often more time-consuming and not as precise regarding size and tension of stitches. Finding the correct tension for the project is vital since the wrong thread tension will make the stitches so loose that they will not hold or too tight so that the fabric bunches.
If shopping for a beginner or someone who will not use their machine often, a mechanical machine is the ideal choice. Their functions are easier to learn, and they are usually much less expensive than more elaborate machines.
Electronic sewing machines have more functions than a mechanical sewing machine. Some features of an electric machine include the ability to automatically cut the thread and to automatically adjust the tension and stitch length to fit the needs of a particular project. This saves the sewer time and frustration. Electronic machines will also automatically sew buttonholes when the desired size and shape is input into the machine.
These types of machines are more efficient than mechanical types because they are run via electrical impulses to control the speed and accuracy of the stitching. Mechanical machines, on the other hand, rely on mechanical parts only, making them essentially no more than a manual machine run on electricity.
Electronic machines are ideal for the amateur home tailor who has more than rudimentary knowledge of the art of sewing. If planning to use the machine on a semi-regular basis or for more elaborate projects than basic hemming, an electronic machine is the ideal choice.
Computerized sewing machines are the most professional machines available to the home tailor. They have a multitude of automatic functions available with a small amount of programming. These machines essentially do all of the work.
Owning a computerized embroidery machine is an asset when creating beautiful embellishments or monograms for a sewing project. The user can download programs to a memory card to plug in to the memory of a computerized machine, or the home tailor can use cartridges already embedded with certain patterns.
Computerized machines, therefore, are essential when creating elaborate embroidery patterns or in the setting of a small home business that sells handmade goods. A computerized machine may be ideal for the beginner as well if they plan to use their machine often. These machines require more sewing knowledge to run, however, and their price can be prohibitive to the beginning sewer.
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