Tips For Shopping For a Sewing Machine (Video)

Steven and Chris

This is one of the first TV spots I ever did! It was a segment for the Steven And Chris show filmed in the first commercial space I opened for The Sewing Studio, on Avenue Road in Toronto’s posh Rosedale neighbourhood. It’s so much fun to look back on these old clips and see what was happening back then. Of course I’m checking out the space, but I also can’t help but notice my outfit and my eyebrows! EEK! LOL!

People always ask me for tips and recommendations when buying a sewing machine. They want to know what they should buy. A great thing about this video, which is true in general for sewing techniques and sewing machines, is the information is still the same and still accurate (except maybe add some $$ for inflation when I’m referencing how much money to spend on a sewing machine).

So how much should you spend on a sewing machine? I say spend the most you can comfortably afford. A sewing machine is like a washer/dryer set. At any price point, the machine will do the job, but the more you spend, the more you get (longevity, functions, ease-of-use, warranty and support, etc.)

This video gives a lot of helpful information when you’re ready to buy (or upgrade) a sewing machine.

Watch here…





Host, Steven Sabados:

…with a piece of technology that’s come a really long way.

Host, Chris Hyndman:

It’s called the sewing machine.


Hi, I’m Denise Wild with The Sewing Studio. Today we’re going to show you how to shop for a sewing machine.

Sewing machines were invented in the 1800’s. Before that, people sewed by hand. The original, first sewing machines were very heavy, they were built into tables, and they could only do a straight stitch.

So these days there’s a lot more variety; they can do a number of stitches and different functions, and they’re much more affordable. So there’s really a lot that’s out there.

There are three main categories of sewing machines.


The first is mechanical; they’re controlled by wheels and knobs.


The second is electric; they have buttons and standard settings. So you don’t have to think that they’re like a point-and-shoot camera.


The third is the computerized machine; they have over a hundred stitches and you can program them, and you can download stitches from your computer straight to your sewing machine.

There’s also a lot of advanced machines out there that are specific to certain functions, including sergers, which are finishing machines; quilting machines, which are suitable for making quilts; and embroidery machines, for putting graphics onto fabric.

When you’re shopping for a sewing machine, you want to look at the functions of the machine; think about the projects you’ll be doing and how often you’ll be sewing. Then look for a machine that best suits your needs.

Straight and zig-zag are the only two stitches that you need. If you have a machine with both of those two, you’re set for life for any number of projects.

If you’re looking to do more with your machine, look for added functions like extra stitches, button holes, speed control, and removable flatbed. So you’re left with a free-arm that has a small opening for sewing small areas.


  • Basic machines range from $300-$500
  • Used machines can cost as low as $100

Another thing to consider is your budget. You can find a good quality, reliable, basic machine for between three and five-hundred dollars.


  • Ask friends & co-workers
  • Call a local sewing school
  • Check online forums & message boards

If you want to save money, look for a used machine. Those can run, sometimes, as low as a hundred dollars.

Don’t be afraid to ask around. You might want to talk to your friends and co-workers who sew and ask them what they like and don’t like about their machines.

You can call up a local sewing school and ask them what they work on and what they like.

And the internet is another great way to learn about sewing machines. If you have a machine you like, check out forums and message boards to find out what other people are saying about it.


Test driving machines is always a good idea. You’ll get a feel for the different machines and you’ll see what’s best for you.

Once you’ve got your machine, you’ll want to look into different resources for making the most of it.


  • Sewing classes
  • Sewing books
  • Online sewing classes

Look for a sewing class. Even if you sewed before, you’ll learn a lot through a refresher program.

Turn to books. They’re a great resource.

And also look online. You’ll find a lot of sewing classes online these days, as well as community forums and blogs.

I hope that makes the process of buying a sewing machine a little bit easier.

Steven and Chris, we hope to see you at the Sewing Studio for one of our classes. We even have one called, “The Man Class.” See you there.

Host, Steven Sabados:

That is great information. I think it’s really important to know how to sew.

Host, Chris Hyndman:

You do know how to sew.

Host, Steven Sabados:

Well, I do. You know, when I was a little kid, I– hey, I used to cook and sew with my mom and all kinds of stuff.

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