The type of machine you use will depend upon your finances and how far you or your students want to go in learning to sew.�� A simple straight-stitch / zigzag sewing� machine is sufficient for beginners.� Those who want to advance their sewing skills can move up to a higher quality machine later.�
Please, begin sewing or teaching with a full size machine.� Most of the smaller mini machines do only� a chain straight stitch,� and those that do a regular stitch do not have a zigzag stitch.� They do not hold up, and you will encounter problems from the very beginning.� If you would like to purchase an inexpensive machine, I would recommend a refurbished machine from overstock.com (link below), in the $60�$80 range I have successfully used these with my beginning students without any problems.
Older machines are fine as long as they are in good working order.� That means cleaned and oiled, and all parts and functions working well.� If it has not been ran for a while, be sure to take out needle and run it several minutes until it becomes a �well oiled machine�.� If it is not working properly, please take it to the dealer.�
You will also need your machine�s instruction manual for instructions, places to oil your machine, information on how to use the different feet, settings for different fabrics and how-to troubleshooting.� The link below will give you a free threading diagram for your machine, and you can order manuals from them as well.
Don't have a manual for your machine?�Find free threading diagrams for your sewing machine at SEW USA..
Go to your local dealer, tell them what you will be using your machine for and your price range. Their employees are knowledgeable and will guide you to the best purchase.� Most dealers offer you free lessons and classes, discounts on store supplies, etc. when you purchase your machine from them. It is certainly advantageous to have a local dealer who covers warranty and repairs if you run into problems with your machine.�
�Several features I recommend would include:
Computerized machines make sewing much easier�for all age levels.� If it�s in your budget, you�ll never regret this purchase.
Consider if you�ll ever want to do machine appliqu�.� If so, look for a machine that offers you a blanket stitch for a nice appliqu� edge finish.
A couple other features I like are� the optional needle up or needle down position, and dual feed (read why below).
What machine do I use?
I sew on a Pfaff and love my machine. I used my basic machine over 20 years for a sewing business, and taught lots of kids to sew on it, without a breakdown or replacing any parts. I now use an upper end Pfaff. Pfaff has the only machines with a dual feed feature (teeth attached to the presser foot to grip the top piece of fabric as well as teeth on the bottom to feed the fabric through) which is wonderful if you sew quilts or anything with thickness, as well as for sheers or any 'slick' type fabrics because it helps to keep the fabric from creeping. I've used other machines, helped kids who were using other machines, and still prefer the Pfaff machines.
You can purchase an add-on walking foot for most any machine. It won't run as smoothly and is a lot noisier than the Pfaff built-in dual feed, however it gives you the same sewing advantages.