Sewing machines: How to buy a sewing machine Where to buy
Types of retailer
It's worth visiting a specialist retailer for advice on buying a sewing machine, particularly if you don’t know what it is like to use one, or are looking for a machine that has specific features.
It’s worth noting that some independent retailers and some major department stores offer sewing lessons for people who spend a reasonable amount of money on a sewing machine.
Big catalogue stores such as Argos and some supermarkets also sell machines which are fine if you are only looking a basic model.
Check the small print when you buy from a dealer as your warranty may only be with that particular dealer, not the manufacturer.
Unfortunately, these are a dying breed but there are still some on high streets around the country. It may take a little effort to find them but you will reap the benefits.
The chances are that specialist shops will have fellow sewers in-store with first-hand experience who can discuss with you exactly what your requirements are and advise you accordingly.
A quick search on the internet will reveal hundreds of sewing machines available from a myriad of dealers. Below are links to some of the different companies on the web, offering a wide range of machines.
- Sewing Machines Direct
- Direct Sewing Machines
- Allsew Online
- J&B Sewing Machines Co Ltd
- GUR Sewing Machines
- The Sewing Studio
- Howdens Sewing Machines
- Bamber Sewing Machines
Some big stores and supermarkets also sell machines. This is fine if you know what you’re looking for or if you only want a basic model, but if you’re still uncertain then head to a specialist retailer.
Buying second hand
If you're just starting out or on a limited budget, buying second hand is a great way to get started. A quick search of eBay reveals thousands of sewing machines for sale, many of them at hugely discounted prices.
You can grab a real bargain, particularly if you're prepared to travel and pick up the machine in person. You can also find the odd vintage machine if you want a mechanical rather than an electric machine.
However, be aware that not all machines will come with a guarantee, so make sure you check the small print before you buy. Those that are from shops selling through eBay usually do, but those from private sellers generally won’t, which means if something goes wrong you could end up having to pay to have it fixed.
It's also worth checking the classifieds in your local paper or on websites such as Gumtree for a bargain. Often people buy a machine but don’t end up using it much so you can buy a second-hand one that's almost as good as new.
The same issue applies with guarantees and you should check what guarantee, if any, is still valid. You also need to make sure the machine does what you want it to do, so do your research before you buy or you could end up with a model that's useless for your needs.
Make sure you get a good warranty with a new machine. A two-year one is a good standard. However, beware of some stores and check the terms and conditions well as your warranty may not be with the manufacturer but with the shop itself and if you have to take it elsewhere to be repaired you will be charged.