How to choose sewing machines for advanced sewers?
When you’ve gone from beginner to advanced sewist and reached the next level, you have the task of buying a new advanced sewing machine.
Whether clothing, patchwork quilts, or your very own designs. Which professional sewing machine is the right one for you and your ideas? To make your choice easier, we have created a guide for you that leaves no questions unanswered. Further down the page, we have also summarized professional sewing machine tests for you.
The most important facts in a nutshell
- Professional sewing machines are suitable for every level of experience and every budget.
- The most common types of professional sewing machines are computer, free-arm, and overlock sewing machines.
- With professional sewing machines, it is possible to implement a wide variety of sewing projects.
- There is a wide range of manufacturers.
Best sewing machines
For experienced sewers, there is no one best sewing machine. That’s why we have chosen several different options for you in different price ranges from which you can choose and compare the features of each machine.
What are the types of professional sewing machines?
Sewing machines come in many types and models. To make it easier for you, we have summarized the most important types for you here.
- Classic sewing machine
Classic sewing machines are characterized by the fact that they usually have only some stitches and settings. Therefore, the price of a classic sewing machine is comparatively low. These features make them perfect for beginners and simple sewing projects.
- Computer sewing machines
A computer sewing machine offers much more convenience. These devices are operated via a display and offer you a wide range of stitches, functions, and programs. The price is a bit higher, but with a computerized sewing machine, you can do pretty much any project. It is, therefore, suitable for professionals, but also for beginners who want to implement extensive sewing projects.
- Free arm sewing machines
Free-arm sewing machines are particularly suitable for projects with large amounts of fabric. A removable sliding table gives you more room to move. So you can easily tackle projects like pants or sleeves. So, this sewing machine is suitable for those who want to sew round-closed garments.
- Overlock sewing machines
Overlock sewing machines combine the steps of sewing together, serging, and cutting the fabric. Sewing thus becomes more efficient and faster. This is done by two needles that work simultaneously with several threads. In addition, two adjustable knives ensure the cutting of the fabric. It is therefore perfect for working on the edges of the fabric.
Related post: Overlock vs Serger – Differences & Similarities
Who are professional sewing machines suitable for?
Whether a professional sewing machine is suitable for you depends entirely on the use and what you want to implement. Especially if you sew professionally and want to sell your work, a professional sewing machine makes sense. It will give you high-quality results with a straight seam and smooth use even for several hours.
But it’s not just professionally that professional sewing machines bring many benefits. It can also be useful in your personal life, especially if you want to deal with a larger sewing project like a blanket or dress. Do you want to do felting or embroidery in addition to simple sewing? As mentioned above, professional sewing machines usually come with these functions already.
Best Sewing Machine Reviews
Brother Sewing and Embroidery Machine
- 80 embroidery designs.
- 103 Built-in sewing stitches.
SINGER Quantum Stylist Computerized Portable Sewing Machine
- 600 Stitch Applications for Full Creativity.
- 850 Stitches per Minute for High-Speed Sewing.
Brother Computerized Sewing Machine
- Advanced easy needle threading system.
- LCD screen with computerized stitch selection.
Janome Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine
- Built-in needle threader.
- 18 Stitches.
SINGER Computerized & Quilting Sewing Machine
- 13 needle positions.
- 7 styles 1-step automatic buttonholes.
JUKI Sewing and Quilting Machine
- High sewing speeds up to 1,500 spm.
- Supplied with HA-type needles.
Related post: How to choose a sewing machine for beginners
Buying guide for professional sewing machines
To find the right professional sewing machine for you, we have created a guide here. We cover all the technical details, but also the different types of sewing machines.
What is a professional sewing machine?
Professional sewing machines offer you higher performance than conventional sewing machines. Due to high-quality workmanship, you will get longer use out of your sewing machine and can work with all fabrics of your choice. In addition, professional sewing machines offer you a wider range of settings and stitch patterns for your sewing projects.
How is a professional sewing machine constructed?
The most important parts of a sewing machine are the needle bar and the spool pin. These are used to attach the needle and thread spool. With the help of the thread guide, the thread is threaded. Then the yarn is threaded into the needle. Since the thread comes from the top of the thread reel, this is also called the upper thread. The bobbin with the lower thread is inserted into a bobbin case. This is usually located below the needle plate.
The bobbin thread is produced by a bobbin winder. The bobbin is then inserted into the bobbin case. The thread take-up ensures that the thread is pulled evenly from the reel. The presser foot fixes the fabric during the sewing process. The feed dog is located on the throat plate below the presser foot.
The feed dog transports the fabric forward or backward, depending on the setting. At the same time, the feed dog helps the presser foot to prevent the fabric from slipping. Professional sewing machines are usually characterized by additional features such as stitch regulators, dual feeders, or more software.
How does a professional sewing machine work?
Sewing machines quickly sew fabrics with the help of threads. The needle creates a small hole by piercing the fabric. Now the upper thread is under the fabric. The hook makes a loop by wrapping the upper thread around the lower thread. This process takes place in the hole.
This keeps the upper thread on the upper side again and thus the lower thread on the underside of the fabric. The loop thus forms a tight seam and an even stitch pattern from both sides. The needle then moves up again and the process is repeated.
Because of the feed dog, the fabric continues to move, and the needle does not just stitch in one place. Professional sewing machines can perform this process particularly quickly with over 1000 stitches per minute.
How a sewing machine works – Video
What are the most important criteria for buying a professional sewing machine?
When buying a professional sewing machine, there are many criteria to consider. For greater clarity, we have divided them into three subcategories: Equipment, Sewing Programs, and Handling.
When it comes to equipment, the components and technical details of your professional sewing machine are particularly important. Here is our summary:
Motor power and sewing speed
With the motor strength, the stitching force is especially important. It should remain even at all speeds so that the needle can not slip or get stuck. Speed regulators allow you to adjust the sewing speed yourself. For both functions, the higher the quality, the more strength, and stitches you can expect. Professional sewing machines can do up to over 1000 stitches per minute.
Housings can be made of different materials, such as plastic or metal. For professional sewing machines, metal housing is recommended because it gives you more stability and durability.
A display is usually found on a computerized sewing machine. It provides a high level of user-friendliness. You can easily select the stitch type, stitch width and stitch length with it.
The sliding plate ensures even fabric lining at the beginning and end of the seam. It protects the fabric from being pulled into the stitch plate openings.
During sewing, the fabric presser takes care of keeping the fabric firmly on the stitch plate. It can be pushed up and down by a lever. You can regulate the pressure of the fabric presser with a screw.
Thread tension regulator
The thread tension regulator is usually located on the top or outside of your sewing machine. You can set the thread tension with a wheel. Typically it is between one and five.
The thread cutter is located at the left side of the presser foot. If you don’t have scissors at hand, you can use it to cut your threads. Many professional sewing machines have an automatic thread cutter. There you can easily cut the thread by pressing a button.
Thread tensioner and thread holder
The thread holder holds your upper thread so that you can guide it to the bobbin via the thread tensioner. This device is usually located on top of your sewing machine.
To keep your fabric flat while sewing, the presser foot holds it in place. You can move it with a lever and even remove or replace it. On professional sewing machines, the lever is replaced by a button.
You can often find a sewing light as an additional feature on professional sewing machines. With a sewing light, you have the possibility to use your machine even in bad lighting conditions. Your close-up area will be perfectly illuminated.
The feed dog ensures that the fabric is moved evenly under the presser foot. In addition to the regular feed dog, professional sewing machines often offer a second feed dog that can be easily pulled out from the top. Both feed dogs work synchronously. This makes the sewing process even smoother no matter what the stitch or fabric.
When it comes to needles, it’s best to look for quality and change them regularly. Worn needles can damage the fabric or cause skipped stitches. Also, different fabrics usually require different needles. Professional sewing machines often come with a selection of needles.
Needle threaders usually have 3 variants. With a mechanical manual needle threader, you have to do the threading with your hands. If your machine has a manual automatic threader, you only need to press down a mechanism. If your machine has a fully automatic threader, you only need to press one button.
With a needle stop, you can adjust the needle position in or above the fabric. This makes it easier to sew curves, for example, and gives you a smoother seam. Professional sewing machines often have an upper and lower needle stop.
When sewing in reverse, the seam is locked at the beginning and end, making it more stable. You will also find a button or knob for this on professional sewing machines.
Most sewing machines are powered by an electric motor. You can use a foot pedal to achieve almost step-less speed control while sewing.
Thread spool holder
The thread spool is placed on the thread spool holder. Thread spool holders can be mounted vertically or horizontally on your sewing machine. Professional sewing machines sometimes come with different sizes of thread spool holders.
Safety at your workplace and your machine is important. That’s why professional sewing machines often have a safety shutoff. In addition, operating instructions always contain important safety information.
Tip: There are special sewing machines for children. They have a lower sewing speed and additional safety features.
Sewing programs can make sewing easier for you. So you don’t have to think about which stitch to use, but can easily choose the right sewing program for your project.
Number of sewing programs
The number of sewing programs can vary depending on the type of sewing machine. From 20 to several 100, everything is there. With professional sewing machines, however, you will usually find up to 200 programs.
Type of programs
Straight and zigzag stitches can be sewn with pretty much any sewing machine. However, there are differences in quality, especially in uniformity. Especially for complicated seams like cross seams of jeans or buttonholes, an automatic program of a professional sewing machine can help you.
Stitch width and stitch length
You can set the stitch width and stitch length yourself depending on your project and material. Depending on the machine, you can control this either via a display or a rotary wheel. This means that you can move the needle to the left, right, up, and down with millimeter precision. For example, when sewing zippers, where an exact position is very important. The stitch length influences the strength of your seam.
When it comes to handling, it’s all about usability and dimensions. How user-friendly a professional sewing machine is depends on the model and manufacturer.
If you are still a beginner, easy handling of symbols or buttons can help you get started quickly. Regardless of your level of experience and machine type, a detailed instruction manual should always be included. In addition, further assistance through advice or videos also increase user-friendliness.
Dimensions and weight
Dimensions and weight influence each other. The material of the housing plays a role here. It can be either metal or plastic. The larger a sewing machine, the heavier it usually is. As a rule, however, the weight is 5 to 12 kilograms. In terms of dimensions, lengths are found in the range of 30 and 40 centimeters. The width is between 20 and 50 centimeters and the height is between 20 and 30 centimeters.
Important accessories for the professional sewing machine
Professional sewing machines include accessories in the delivery. But not every accessory is always included. Here you will find an overview of the most important accessories for your professional sewing machine.
You can also find bobbins in specialized shops but also directly from the manufacturer. Most machines are only compatible with bobbins specifically from the manufacturer or for the respective device type.
Professional sewing machines sometimes come with special needles. These usually have a different tip shape compared to the regular needle tip. Especially quality is important here as you find needles best in specialized shops.
Yarn and thread attachment
There are many different varieties of yarn. The choice of the right yarn depends on your project. You can find it in all price classes and at almost all common retailers in the creative sector. You will often find a threaded attachment included with your sewing machine. Some models even have two and allow the use of a twin needle.
- Zipper and buttonhole foot
A zipper foot and buttonhole foot are also often included with a professional sewing machine. They allow you to sew on a zipper and buttonhole with precision.
Depending on the manufacturer, the sewing machine may come with a case, bag, or dust cover. This makes it easier to store and transport your sewing machine.
Tip: A rolling cart is great for easy storage of sewing machines and materials.
You will find a selection of sewing templates directly with the delivery of your professional sewing machine. On the Internet, you can find free templates. For a small fee, you can also download them directly from many manufacturers or fabric dealers.
Sewing machine glossary (all-important terms briefly explained)
We have compiled a small sewing machine glossary for the most important terms. So you can find everything at a glance.
There are numerous types of stitches. To give you an overview, here are the basics.
The backstitch or straight stitch creates a straight line from top to bottom. Threads from both bobbins are used. This makes it very stable and can therefore be used for almost all sewing jobs.
A double seam is simply a double lockstitch. It is often used on textiles such as T-shirts that are hemmed using two straight seams.
Zigzag stitches are best for finishing hems on garments. To prevent fraying, the zigzag stitch is placed at the open end of the fabric after sewing a hem. The zigzag stitch can also be used to sew two pieces of fabric together. With a low stitch length, it is ideal for stretch fabrics.
Either the bobbin is inserted into a compartment at the top or from the side with the help of a bobbin case. As standard, sewing machines come with two bobbins, one for the top and one for the bottom.
The presser foot is responsible for ensuring that nothing slips during sewing. It ensures that your fabric stays flat. You can raise and lower it, depending on your machine, with a lever or by pressing a button. In your instruction manual, you will also find information on how to remove or replace the presser foot.
FAQ – Frequently asked questions about professional sewing machine
We have compiled all frequently asked questions about professional sewing machines in a practical FAQ.
When does it make sense to buy a sewing machine?
Sewing is a timeless hobby that is still in vogue today. It doesn’t matter if you just want to mend something, sew your own clothes or embroider. Regardless of the level of experience, a sewing machine makes sense for everyone who counts creative work with fabrics and textiles among their hobbies. Because sewing machines are available for every budget and every level of experience.
How do I clean a sewing machine?
Dust, thread remnants, and dirt can affect the functionality of your sewing machine. But if you clean it once a month, you’re on the safe side.
And this is how it works:
- Turn off your machine and unplug it from the power outlet.
- Remove the needle and thread and replace if necessary.
- Remove the presser foot and stitch plate and clean them with a brush or microfiber cloth.
- Now take out the bobbin thread spool and clean the bobbin holder with a brush or cloth.
- You can clean all other surfaces of the sewing machine with a damp cloth.
- If you can open the upper part of the machine, just clean it with a brush.
- Dust inside the machine is best removed with the crevice nozzle of your vacuum cleaner.
From what age can I operate a sewing machine?
Children as young as 6 years of age can start simple sewing projects. There are special sewing machines for children. For greater safety, these are equipped with a special finger guard. All major sewing machine manufacturers offer children’s sewing machines with age recommendations from 8 to 14 years.
What are stitch length and stitch width?
You can set the stitch length and stitch width on your sewing machine yourself. Depending on your machine, you can do this either via a display or a dial.
If you choose a low stitch length, you will get a narrower seam. This means that the number of stitches in one section is higher. With a high stitch length, you get a looser seam, which means that the number of stitches in a section is lower. Especially when working with thick fabrics, a high stitch length will help you.
Depending on the stitch type, you can also change the stitch width. This means you determine how far the needle should move to the side for non-straight stitches. Low stitch width is ideal for a straight jersey.
Which bobbin do I need for my sewing machine?
Bobbins are usually made of metal or plastic. Their length and width depend individually on the brand and model of the respective sewing machine. The type of hook in which the bobbin lies and the shape of the bobbin case also play a major role here.
Tip: If you often change your thread color, we recommend buying a few extra bobbins for colors. This way you can avoid time-consuming back and forth changes.