Sewing Tools and Supplies

Every good sewist needs her most precious tools. Here are my favorites!

The starter list: good solid basics, tried and true reliables to get a good start…

Singer Stylist sewing machine

This is a workhorse of a starter machine, with all the bells and whistles of a pricier machine. You really get a lot of bang for the buck with this machine, and I have enjoyed sewing with it. While this machine has lots of solid, good reviews, one complaint that I have read is the short cord to the pedal, but mine hits the floor with cord to spare. I really feel some people may just be expecting too much for this price range. My husband gifted this machine to me for Christmas one year, and since he didn’t ask my input on the machine, I fully expected to be thanking him kindly for being so thoughtful, but possibly returning it. Once I sewed with it I was really hooked – I was SO pleasantly surprised and still love and sew on this machine.

The upgrade list: I have a sewing machine, and I know how to use it…

Janome 4120QDC

This machine would be a step up, with a bonus accessory package including an extension table (these usually cost ~$90 to order made to fit), a hardcover, and a gazillion different specialty feet (that can cost up to $20 each for some of them). One of my favorite things about this machine is that it includes an alphabet font in the specialty stitches – which, while not ornate or suitable for decorative monogramming, I love the idea of being able to use this for labeling mine and my kids’ clothes!! This machine, like the Singer Stylist, just has so many bells and whistles for its price, and plenty of awesome reviews. Also, did I mention it stitches at 800 stitches per minute? Apparently this is a discontinued model, and that may be why it has such a reasonable price tag for all its “extras,” and after trying it and doing all my homework, I am anxious to add it to my collection.

The dream list: whosits and whatsits galore…

Janome Memory Craft 6500

Crossing over the $1,000 mark, this machine is second only to a professional machine. There are definitely other machines in this line that cost more, but to me, this machine really has all the bells and whistles that I think I could need. This is not your travel to a workshop machine, though – it weighs in at a solid 34 pounds, but that is because it is a tank. Strong enough to sew thick layers – think handbags, or drapes – yet delicate enough to handle stretch knits. It is also a speed demon, sewing at 1,000 stitches per minute. Did I mention it has a knee lift for the presser foot? And it also has an automatic thread cutter! I have tried out other brands of higher-end machines, but I keep coming back to Janome. For instance, with Bernina, the sewing machine feet I use on my other machines (White, Singer) wouldn’t be interchangeable, since they have their own specialty feet. That would mean re-purchasing a lot of my favorite feet! Another factor for me is that I am not a quilter – I may appreciate those types of features that a quilter would be looking for, but they aren’t selling points for what I sew. Also, with some other machines that are super fast and powerful, they only sew straight stitches, and while I’m not looking for an embroidery machine, I definitely like to have a selection of stitches to choose from for most of my work!