If you’re a sewing rookie or coming back to the craft after an extended break, you may be surprised to find that nowadays you can pay anywhere from $299 (for a basic model) to over $8000 (almost does the job for you) for a domestic sewing machine.
Before purchasing a sewing machine, it’s wise to do some research on the features and type that will be most useful to you, as this will affect the price. Simple clothing repairs don’t require the use of a state-of-the-art computerised sewing machine. However, buying the cheapest model available could prevent you from developing your skills beyond the basics.
More expensive machines have more features, many of which make it easier to use — which in turn will encourage you to try more complicated sewing. A sewing machine that’s difficult or frustrating to use simply won’t be used. One of CHOICE’s sewing experts said, "I believe people should buy a machine they will grow into, a little bit more than they think they will use."
To give you a better idea of what you get for your money, we bought three sewing machines at different price points: $500 (lower end), $1500 (mid range) and $3000 (upper end).
We chose the brand Janome for our three models as it’s currently the market leader in Australia in terms of sales. Bernina, Bernette For Bernina, Brother, Elna, Homemaker, Husqvarna Viking, Pfaff and Singer are the other major brands you’ll find in shops.
The models we chose for this buying guide are good examples of the features and quality you'll find at each price range. They were:
- Janome Sewist 525S
- Janome Memory Craft 4900 QC
- Janome Memory Craft 9700
Please note: this information was current as of May 2008 but is still a useful guide to today's market.