I have owned a sewing machine of various kinds since buying a hand-cranked Singer at the age of 16. Recently, I twisted my husband’s arm (well, bank account really) to buy an all-singing, all-dancing new one. And I LOVE it!
This beauty is computerised and I am starting to learn how to use some of it’s less basic features but there are a number of things that I now would struggle to do without.
Needle down option: Most modern machines offer this and it can save dog legs in your seamlines. On my new machine, if I select needle down, each time I stop sewing the machine lifts the foot slightly to enable pivoting if needed. Eep! Love it.
Big variety in stitch lengths: I have started to dabble in quilt-making (am on my third roll of wadding) and a lot of quilters use a stitch length of zero when starting and ending their seam. If you don’t have a lock stitch, this is a great way to secure the start and end of seam.
Ease of changing of sewing machine feet: I can snap on and off all the feet I need and they store in the front of the machine. I know a lot of machines do this, but it was new to me – no more screwdrivers.
Speed control: I used to think that the speed of the machine was important (I like fast cars too!) but I think the chance to limit the speed the machine will sew before you even put your foot on the pedal, is even better. My teens used machines at school that had a limiter on the speed and I have to say, it improves accuracy and reduces mistakes (but I always keep my seam ripper handy!).
Machines with 1-step buttonholes: Yeeeah! I have had machines with zigzag (oh the problems I had trying to make buttonholes), four step buttonholes (it took a lot of practice but the buttonholes were passable) but one-step buttonholes are great. Still, practice before you start and be careful cutting them open – see this blog post for more.
Everyone has features on their machine they can’t do without – let us know what yours are!
Alison runs Scissor Sistas – check it out!