Here are some tips for buying your sewing machine!
Choosing Your Sewing Machine
It is a good ideal to consider the following points when you wish to purchase a new Sewing machine;
• Intended use of sewing machine.
• Consider your budget.
• Easy to use and set up for sewing.
• Lightweight for easy storage.
• Availability of accessories and spare parts.
• A product guarantee.
• After sales service facilities.
Types of Sewing Machines
There are many different types of sewing machines available on the market today such as Computerised sewing machines, Electronic and Mechanical machines.
The Toyota Mechanical sewing machines are divided into 3 Ranges and are renowned for their ease of use and reliability;
a) Single Dial Sewing Machines: stitch selection dial
They have a stitch selection dial with a stitch selection ranging from 15, 18 and 21 stitches including a 4 step automatic buttonhole.
These sewing machines are ideal for the novice as well as the occasional sewer.
b) 2 Dial Sewing Machines: stitch selection dial + stitch length control dial
These sewing machines have a stitch selection dial and a stitch length control. The stitch range varies from 21 to 24 stitch capabilities including a 4 step automatic buttonhole.
This range of sewing machines would suit the more creative or experienced sewer.
c) 3 Dial Sewing Machines: stitch selection dial + stitch length control dial + stitch width control dial
3 dial sewing machines have a stitch selector, stitch length and stitch width controls. The stitch pattern range varies from 21 to 25 stitch capabilities including a 1 step automatic buttonhole.
These sewing machines would suit the more adventurous sewer and are ideal for free motion sewing and embroidery.
Some sewing machines have a rotary hook with a top loading bobbin such as the Toyota SP10, 20 and SP100, 200 series sewing machines.
Sewing machines can also have an oscillating hook with a front loading bobbin such as the Toyota RS 2000 series sewing machines.
Both these types of sewing machines produce a ‘Lock stitch’ and are ideal home sewing machines.
Overlockers produce a professional finish to home sewing projects.
An overlocker stitches, neatens and trims away excess fabric in one easy operation and normally stitches at twice the speed of a conventional sewing machine. It makes the perfect partner to one’s home sewing machine and speeds up the sewing time especially when turning up hems and neatening seams e.g. curtains and skirt hems.
An overlocker works with looper and needle threads to form an overlock stitch. The overlocker loopers carry the threads that form loops on top and bottom of the fabric to bind the raw edges. These threads engage with needle threads to form an overlock stitch. For 2 and 3 thread overlock use 1 needle, for 4 thread overlock use 2 needles. Each thread has its own tension control, which allows you to adjust tensions to sew almost any fabric type.
Look for a 3,4 thread or 2,3,4 thread overlocker. It is worth having a differential feed, stitch length control, bite control and colour coded threading paths.
Additional Information : Sewing Machine Features
Even a basic sewing machine should be able to handle fabrics from satins to denims without stretching, puckering or producing loose or loopy stitching.
A simple single dial sewing machine will have the basic sewing machine features, while a 2 dial or a 3 dial sewing machine will have additional features e.g. drop feed. Pay for those features which you know you are going to use.
Here are some useful features which may be found on or in sewing machines.
Lightweight – if you have to store your machine in a cupboard after use, make sure it is easy to lift and carry.
Toyota sewing machines are lightweight and portable.
Foot controller– the machine should respond to pressure exerted on the foot controller, there should be no stalling or growling when sewing thick fabric or layers of fabric.
Controls – should be easy to reach and manipulate, and the symbols on the machine are easy to read.
Free arm and flat bed sewing facility– when the accessory container in front of the needle plate is removed
the sewing machine is converted from flat bed sewing mode to free arm sewing mode. Free arm sewing mode is useful when sewing circular areas e.g. trouser leg hems.
Needle threader – some sewing machines have built in needle threaders which pull the upper thread through the eye of the needle.
They are useful if you have trouble seeing the eye of the needle.
Top loading bobbins – simply slide open a see through cover to insert and remove the bobbin.
They are easy to load and can control the amount of thread on the bobbin.
The Toyota SP10, 20, 100 and 200 series sewing machines have top loading bobbins.
Front loading bobbins – a bobbin is inserted into a bobbin case which is inserted into the hole normally situated under the needle plate. A front loading bobbin is recommended for Free motion embroidery.
The Toyota RS 2000 series sewing machines have front loading bobbins.
Presser feet – a presser foot holds the fabric flat under the needle, in place against the feed dog/teeth,which aids in an even feed of fabric as you sew.
There are different feet available for different sewing processes such as zipper insertion or button hole making.
Needle plate – Needle plate fits over the feed teeth and prevents the fabric from being damaged in the race area while sewing. There is a hole in the plate to enable the needle to pass into the race area to form a stitch. A needle plate can have seam line markings or it can be plain without seam line markings.
Feed dog – the feed dog is a plate with the serrated teeth, which protrude up through the holes in the needle plate.
Feed teeth – the feed teeth feed the fabric from the front to the back of the machine.
Drop feed – some sewing machines are fitted with a drop feed facility which enables the sewer to drop the feed teeth and manually move the fabric backwards, forwards and side wards. This feature is useful when doing free motion embroidery.
Presser foot pressure control – this feature enables one to adjust the pressure exerted on the fabric by the presser foot.