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How to Choose the Best Sewing Machine for You

Jenny K. Lyon

Jenny Lyon is a guest contributor to the Meissner Sewing Blog, and she is an instructor at the Sacramento and Folsom stores. She has been free motion quilting on her domestic machine since 1999. Jenny's work has been juried at Houston International Quilt Festival, American Quilter’s Society in Paducah, Pacific International Quilt Festival, and in art galleries. Find out more about Jenny at 


Thinking about buying a new or used sewing machine and you’re not sure how to make that decision? I have a few suggestions to help make the process less confusing.

Meissner Sewing & Vacuum Centers offers an extensive selection of sewing, quilting and embroidery machines from the top manufacturers. At over 20,000 square feet, the Sacramento store is the largest show room in Northern California.

1. Set a budget amount first. You don’t want to get excited about a machine outside of your budget. You might want to consider the cost of a cabinet in your budget- it’s much easier to quilt or sew with your machine in a cabinet. Also, there may be feet or accessories that you will want/need: Walking foot, tote to haul your machine to class, zipper foot, etc.

If the machine you want is outside of your budget, consider financing options or buying a used machine. Meissner’s has an excellent selection of quality used machines.

2. Consider your needs. General sewing, quilting, embroidery, garment sewing? Specialty feet or accessories may be needed and may be in addition to the cost of the machine. Buy the machine made for your kind of sewing.

3. Take your time! This is a major purchase, and you want to love your machine. You may need to “date around” for a while before you set your heart down on a machine.

4. Bring along a sample of the type of sewing you do. If you are a quilter, bring a quilt sandwich. Embroiderers bring along something to embroider upon. Garment makers will want to make sure that the machine can handle 6 layers of denim or 2 layers of silk organza.

5. You want to LOVE your machine! Persevere until you find the one that sews like a dream. If you work with heavy layers, make sure it plows right through a sample. Make sure the foot control makes it easy to control the speed. An intuitively-designed front panel makes sewing more pleasant.

A note about lightweight machines: Their size and scaled down features are what makes this category of machines light weight. I have seen some amazing quilting and sewing come from them!
If your budget only allows for a machine and no cabinet, go for it! 

The bottom line is this: Take the time to make a confident selection so that you go home with a machine you absolutely love!

Click here to join Jenny in class at Meissner Sewing & Vacuum Centers > 


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