How to Choose a Machine for Home Decor Sewing

HOW DO YOU CHOOSE A MACHINE WISELY?

That has been a popular question this week.  I’ve been planning to make a video on exactly what you need for sewing home decor.  Later.

Readers are asking questions about sewing machines regarding my  3-Step DIY on Covering Outdoor Cushions post.  Personal emails come from access to my contact page.  The questions keep coming up NOW.  So, I decided to help you navigate this as far as my knowledge on the subject and the level of research I’ve personally done.

There is a difference.  I know this because I started out my sewing apprenticeship (ha!) in clothing.  And, the machine needs are different.

Can I just be real  about this topic – the topic of making clothing – again?  No offense to ANYONE who is proficient at sewing clothing.  I promise.  I envy your clothing queendom.  But, then again, I don’t. (Hey…I promised real.)

Sewing clothing, for me, is tedious – and a huge use of my time.  When I could go to a store and buy something I like (even better!) and pay just as much as I spent on fabric for the item that takes me days  to make, what’s the point?

There’s no wisdom in that (for me).

Choose Your Sewing Machine Wisely

Sewing home decor is a different story.  There is a huge difference between the look of a room (and the cost of it, too) that is made with window dressings and textile accessories that have custom fabrics and fine finishing.

Hand-sewn hems – deep hems – for the lush-ness of custom,

Linings added for strength, flow, durability, and longevity…,

Companion fabric accents and trimmings for added details and decorative punch,

Colors perfectly blended for the feel you desire your room to exude.

Yes, you get all of that!  Oh, and that is why you need a certain type of sewing machine – unless you have an unlimited supply of green to pay someone else for the look of custom.

But why do that when you can do it yourself and save thousands?  And that’s the major difference between making clothing and home decor.  With window treatments alone, you save thousands over a lifetime of making your own.  I never saved a penny with making my own clothing.

Now that I’m finished with my rant, here’s the nitty-gritty  on sewing machine selection – if you’re in the market for a machine to sew home decor.

This machine at first glance appears to be awesome.  Even the reviews are very high at 4.5 stars.

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SINGER 7258 Stylist Award-Winning 100-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine with DVD, 10 Presser Feet, Metal Frame, and More

Wow!  Look at all those stitches it will make.  Impressive, huh?  You bet.  But…that means more can go wrong with this machine.  Anything electronic that we can’t repair ourselves must be taken to an expert to get it up and going again.

Can I also tell you that for sewing home decor, you’ll never need more than these stitch settings?

The straight stitch,

the zig-zag stitch,

a hem stitch for quick hems (not necessary, but nice to have),

and a button-hole stitch as a bonus.

So, anything in addition to these is extra you don’t need for making window treatments and accessories.  The more that’s there, the more that can malfunction.

The reviews were looking very good on this machine.  It pays to read the Frequently Asked Questions, as well!  When I read the answer to a question about the thicknesses it will stitch over, it stopped me in my tracks.  The answer was, for hemming jeans, zig-zag the edge and turn it under once  and stitch over only two layers.

Here’s your sign:  No double-rolled jeans hem for this machine. Do you hear the buzzer sounding?

How in the world would you sew several layers of fabric when constructing window treatments made of heavy-weight fabric plus lining?  Even a corded pillow requires stitching over six layers of fabric at the cording joint – four layers around the remainder of the pillow.

So…THIS machine would be my top pick right now – without actually using  it, mind you.  I know.  Old school, right?  There is nothing wrong with old school.  Old school has served me very well for all of my life.

Singer Sewing MachineSINGER 4423 Heavy Duty Extra-High Sewing Speed Sewing Machine with Metal Frame and Stainless Steel Bedplate

But there’s no computer screen.  (Say maybe you.)

That’s right – and less to malfunction.  There’s nothing worse than your machine going out on you in the middle of a sewing project.

The 4423 got 4.5 stars, as well…and is cheaper.  And there are more details you should know – too many for me to list here. Read all the review comments, FAQ’s, and specs here*:  SINGER 4423 Heavy Duty Extra-High Sewing Speed Sewing Machine with Metal Frame and Stainless Steel Bedplate

This machine is said to be extra hardy with its heavy duty metal frame.  It will sew over several layers of fabric, which YOU WILL NEED for sewing certain home decor items.  Speed is a plus, but that’s not something that would be high on my list.

My affiliate link*:

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There is something else to consider.  If you are just learning to sew and not sure you’ll even like it, you could go with a less expensive machine with the idea of upgrading later.  There are many Brother machines for under $100.

But…the Singer 4423 is so inexpensive, it’s worth getting it for the long haul.  If you decide to never sew again, you could sell it easily on eBay – or keep it for those mending projects we all put off forever.  😉

Just so you know, I plan to order this machine and give it a test on several projects before a sure-fire recommendation.  If you’re not a follower by email posts, you can sign up here so you won’t miss out on my next post about this machine.  Plus, you get my free e-book, which is a PDF that doesn’t require a special e-reader device.  🙂

Any questions or comments about these choices?  I know I haven’t discussed other brands, but I can.  What brand would you like me to review?

Blessings~

125 px Signature

 

I’m sharing this post at Metamorphosis Monday.

0 thoughts on “How to Choose a Machine for Home Decor Sewing”

  1. Great post Kim! I have industrial sewing machines for my drapery business, but they aren’t practical for the regular sewer. When I did my Craftsy class, they got a Babylock sewing machine for me to film with. It was the Jane model. It did very well at going through lot’s of layers of fabric.

    1. Yes, I guess most workrooms have industrial machines, which make a straight stitch mostly. Do they zig-zag at all? I checked Amazon, and there are no Babylock sewing machines…just sergers. I’m sure they have great products. Thanks for sharing your experience with the Jane model! 🙂

  2. I had to laugh when you got to the part about MALFUNCTIONING. I knew you were going there! I am having a SERIOUS and PAINFUL flashback. LOL!

    Back in the day (EEEK, that I am old enough to say that!) my co-worker Dolly, (at Jo-Ann Fabrics), was a super fabulous seamstress. I mean gowns, and the works. She had 4 daughters and made them TONS, and made gowns and party dresses on the side.

    She got a super duper Janome that was more expensive than I could afford (being a F/T college student). But her hubby was an engineer and they lived in a POSH section of town, so they could afford it. She embroidered some things for me as I watched…I was HOOKED! I wanted one!!! That was 1987.

    Years later I dove in and got an embroidery machine….back in 1997…I paid $5,000 for it. YES, I said $5,000!!! ( I must have been NUTS!LOL) I could have bought A CAR!!! Janome saw me coming. LOL (And that one was NOT the top of the line!)

    I was sewing along one day and POOF. Malfunction. It cost MUCH extra to have it serviced. Fortunately for me, I had my “old faithful” Singer, (my 1st machine), my serger, and a Nelco heavy duty machine that I picked up CHEAP that somebody had on layaway and never picked up. It says on the machine that it is recommended for schools since it has all metal parts. It is so durable I can sew thru MANY layers of jeans. Yay Nelco!

    Anyway…the Janome embroidery machine had malfunctioned a FEW times. And it cost MORE than a regular service. The last time it went wonky I had forgotten to take the embroidery card out of the machine, and the service guy saw it and handed it to me. I stuck it in my orange patent leather purse, in the zippered pocket. I thought I had put it back in my sewing area in the basement where it SHOULD have gone. I didn’t use that machine to sew “regular” stuff after that. Expensive lesson learned. AGAIN.

    When I was moving and gave away that orange purse…I think the embroidery card was still in there! It was $100 to replace, so I put it off….I was getting divorced, so I did not have $100 for THAT.

    Guess what? Years later…can’t find that card ANYWHERE. So no embroidered letters for me! And I have not used that machine for embroidering anything SINCE. What a WASTE of money! And it’s out of date. You can get a better one for a lot less these days. But I won’t.

    I’m just NOT an “embroiderer”. (Sigh.) I have only used that machine when my others were acting wonky. I think that machine sells for about $200 now, if you can find one. (Double sigh) I have not used it in like 10 years. (Triple sigh.)

    Ya know what machine is on my dining room table? That heavy duty Nelco (from 1987) I use it for EVERYTHING. And if it happens to need servicing I break out my very 1st machine, that Singer (from 1986). (My poor serger is collecting dust, but I got my money’s worth with that one…making all those sweats way back when!)

    GO WITH HEAVY DUTY for Home Decor!!! Skip all the bells and whistles cuz those bells and whistles break down and cost you WAY too much to fix. Yes, the idea of all that EXTRA is fun…but if you are not doing “fancy dancy”…SKIP IT. Your wallet will thank you in the long run! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Robin, for emphasizing my points so perfectly with your stories! You may have just saved someone from a costly decision. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Pam. You’re so sweet. It’s funny…never thought of it as talent since I use a machine to do all the work. Now…if I hand-stitched everything, THAT would be talent! Happy day!

  3. Glad you asked! I was just looking at sewing machines yesterday! I was interested in the Brother BB370. Any opinion on that one? I had seen the one you’re recommending. I did my looking on Walmart.com. They have TWO versions of the Singer 4423. One is the grey one you showed us, and the other is white, it’s called “classic”, and it’s $123.75. The one you recommend is $141.62 through Walmart. They are both called “Heavy Duty”. What, do you think, is the difference? Also, I know that some electronics sold at Walmart are made FOR Walmart, and are not the same as the one you would buy elsewhere, although they are the same model number. Do you know if Singer (or Brother, for that matter) does that? I have a J. C. Penney sewing machine, and I really loved it, but the last time I tried to use it, it wasn’t working right. I’ve actually been rather afraid to try it again, but I have curtains to make, so I figured I’d be brave, and try it, and if it acts up, I’ll buy a new one. And here you popped into my life, to help! Thank you!

    1. Jennie, I read both of your comments before my reply. After I picked myself up off the floor from rolling and laughing, I got my composure back to discuss you very important information. Yes, WalMart is a great source…and yes, the manufacturer may make special products for them. This happens with many stores and manufacturers, and we never know what we’re getting. How do we tell the difference? Million dollar question I wish I had the answer for. Singer went through a bad time of making inferior machines. I had one in the 90’s – probably from the 70’s. Plastic gears that broke one by one to the tune of $40 each. After $160 in, I got smart (finally), cut my losses, and bought a New Home machine. I loved my New Home! But, I tore it up by making window treatments and trying to sew over too many layers. I really hope to get the opportunity to try many different machine brands so I can give an exclusive recommendation. For now, I can only speak confidently about what options are necessary for sewing home decor. I have had my current Singer since around 1995, and it sews like a dream! Basic and heavy duty. 🙂

  4. Previously, I had a Singer Touch-n-Sew, which broke down a lot. I called it “Touch-n-Cuss”, so I’ve been leery of Singers.

  5. Well, I don’t know what to say….about the machines ……having a small in home work-room for elegant window treatments, pillows, duvets, etc. the quality is the most important Thing in purchasing a machine. You get what you pay for. I don’t use commercial machines but I buy the most expensive model. $1500.00 and up…..Baby lock serger, new home, Janome, and Elna. I have never had one break down.
    Cheap price cheap machine poor quality…..nancy

    1. Hi, Nancy! Thank you for your input. You have a unique situation that calls for top quality machines. It’s not the average machine that can handle the load of your quantity of projects. Although, my favorite machine is an average mid-priced Singer that lasted many years doing what you do…and it’s still humming along nicely. I did invest in a top-level serger when I first began, and it’s still reliable after 22 years. You and I put our machines through a lot more than the average home seamstress making the occasional window treatment. I believe a good quality machine with basic stitches is adequate for the usual homeowner. For making clothing, the need for additional stitches may increase drastically. I presume your machines are regularly serviced, which may not be the case for most home sewers. It is so important, but you know how that goes… 🙂

  6. What a timely post! My Bernina 530 Record is apparently a goner, unless I find someone else to fix it. 🙁 I thought these old machines could always be repaired. I’m so bummed as my family has had this machine since living in Europe, although it’s much older than that. Anyway, thank you for this option. While I probably will replace the vintage Bernina with another in order to use the huge number of feet and attachments, who knows when that will be. I’ll need something in the meantime and this is a wonderful option. Please report back after putting it through its paces.

    1. I hope to get started on those “paces” in the next couple of weeks. It’s probably no contest against a Bernina…but quite possibly good for in between. Happy Friday! I hope your weekend is wonderful! 🙂

  7. Love your post….you are so great to share info with the rest of us!!!!
    In case there are other readers who can’t afford any of this, I have professionally made drapery, curtains, comforters etc., for years on a 1960’s model Stradivara machine. With proper adjustments, needles and threads, it does a wonderful job with canvas and leathers. My sweet daughter (RedNeck Chic on facebook) who is a professional seamstress, envies my machine. I told her that one day she can fight the grandgirls for it, but as long as I can see to sew, it’s allllllllllllll mine!!
    I so appreciate your time to research everything and then give us something to read that is useful to everyone.
    Most of all I love your faith posts! You believe and are not afraid to let everyone know. The best way to spread the Gospel is by the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts, and you are a great source of inspiration.
    Blessings,
    J

    1. Thank you! I needed a much longer post to try to explain all of that – and not leave out anything else I needed to say. I don’t want anyone to think they have to buy something expensive to do a fine job of sewing. As long as it stitches securely and neatly, it should do well. Thank you for your kind support and understanding of where I’m coming from – in all areas. You always have the nicest things to say, and I appreciate you very much. 🙂

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