29.11.2021

These are the best sewing machines for fixing old clothes, dressmaking

I tune in every Wednesday night at 9pm to enjoy an hour of sewing and up-cycling. May be I love it because it falls in line with my new adoration of anything creative.

Or may be it’s because it inspires a desire to become more sustainable with my fashion choices.

I’ve long been conscious of ditching fast fashion in favour of a few designer fashion investment pieces, and I’m always on the look-out for sustainable fashion brands doing their bit to save Mother Earth.

But a current heightened awareness of what’s going on around us has inspired me to become even more of a sustainable consumer – and fixing the old garms that ripped and were strewn to the back of my wardrobe rather than buying new has got to be one of the best steps to take. But to do that, of course, I’d need one of the best sewing machines on the market.

What’s your biggest television guilty pleasure? Love is Blind? Rewatching old episodes of Gossip Girl? Love Island Australia, perhaps?

I’ve binged on all of the above since lockdown began, but I’ve also discovered another guilty pleasure show that I’d never have expected to enjoy. And that’s The Great British Sewing Bee on BBC One. Bear with me. For anyone who doesn’t know, it’s a similar set-up to The Great British Bake Off (as the name would suggest), just sans Paul Hollywood and the overwhelming temptation to break any half-hearted attempt at healthy eating.

John Lewis recently reported a huge surge in demand for crafting and sewing off the back of The Great British Sewing Bee and a period of isolation, with sales of sewing machines in particular rising by 127%. It’s no wonder it took me so long to hunt down a machine that was *actually* still in stock.

If, like me, you’re inspired to up-cycle old clothes or even make soft furnishings for the home you’re spending so much time in, you’ll want to keep scrolling. Why? We’ve curated an edit of the very best sewing machines that you can shop now – whether you love embroidery, quilting, dressmaking or you’re just a sewing novice and eager to learn. With these sewing machines you can embellish your projects, embroider your pre-loved blazer, make hair accessories and more. The sky is the absolutely the limit.

How to choose the best sewing machine…

There are a few things to consider when shopping for a sewing machine – but the most important question of all is what do you *actually* want to sew? There’s a different machine out there for everything – and lots of them come with different add-ons and features.

What’s the point in paying for fancy capabilities that might not be relevant to you? Here are the two main things to think about:

1. Number of stitches offered

Some of the sewing machines in this edit have over 20, although beginners will only really need a straight stitch and a zig-zag. If you love embroidery or want to make your own soft furnishings, look for a sewing machine which provides that capability.

You’ll want a wider variety of stitches. Also, make sure the machine has the capability to adjust stitch length, zig zag width, and tension so you have more control over your sewing.

2. What accessories are included?

For the most part, accessories like a bobbin and presser foot come as standard, but with other machines you’ll get much more for your money.

The Janome Decor Excel 25, for example, comes with a hem guide, hemmer foot, oil, overcastting foot, satin stitch foot, seam ripper, screwdriver, sliding buttonhole foot, standard foot, zipper foot, four bobbins, needles, foot control and an instruction manual.. Phew.

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