Whether you are new to the world of embroidery or you’ve been embroidering for years, buying a new embroidery machine can be overwhelming. There are so many brands and models to choose from. How do you pick the right one? The answer is: Test Drive, Test Drive, Test Drive.
Every chance you can sit down and sew/embroider on the different brands/models of machines. If you live by a dealer, visit the dealer and sit in front of the machine yourself. Ask to press the buttons and thread the machine. Ask if you can change the bobbin and load a design. All things you want to be sure that are user friendly enough that you can do them at home when the dealer is no longer standing right next to you. (Most dealers offer free classes if you purchase the machine from them.) Quilt shows are a great place for test drives, as the top manufacturer’s are usually at most shows. You’ll be able to sit down and sew on many different brands and models all in one day.
Ask a lot of questions, and decide what features are important to you. Perhaps you don’t need a thread cutter, but really want an auto threader. How many feet come with the machine? What is the average price of new feet? What file format of embroidery design does the machine take (this is mostly important if you already have a machine, as you don’t want to find out your entire library of designs is incompatible with the new machine.) Does it have a color screen or b/w? What hoop sizes come with the machine? How many built in designs does it come with? Does the machine have the ability to edit designs (making them larger or smaller, rotating them,. combining two designs etc.)
If you are at a quilt show that provides the machines for classes, then be sure to take some of those classes. Not only will you be able to sew/embroider on that particular machine for an hour or more, but most shows have special deals on the machines that are used in the classroom as they don’t want to pack them all back up and ship them home.
One of the great things about sewing and embroidery machines is that much like cars, if/when you are ready to upgrade to a newer model, you can trade in your old machine towards the new one!
And much like cars, machine manufactures come out with new models of machines almost every year. There are always new features to discover.
Bottom line, test drive as many machines as you can, ask lots of questions and you’ll be sure to find the perfect machine for you and your budget.