If Black Friday or Show deals are tempting you or you are adding one to your Christmas list, here are some features that are particularly useful:

  • Speed control dial/slider– alter the maximum speed so that you can stitch with more control
  • Needle up/down button– you decide whether the needle is up or down in the fabric when the machine halts
  • Top loading bobbin– the drop in bobbin cases are generally easier to use than the side or front loading machines (with the exception of a Bernina!)
  • Needle threader– if you will be changing thread often this makes life easier!
  • Stitch length and width adjustment– so that you can make your stitches smaller or larger depending on the task
  • The ability to change the needle’s position– moving it incrementally to the right or left
  • Wide arm– for quilting buy the widest arm you can afford so that it will fit more comfortably through the machine at the quilting stage
  • Extension table– again for larger projects such as quilts or for appliqué this makes it easier as the fabrict has somewhere to rest whilst you stitch into it
  • Range of Feet– in particular a quarter inch foot for piecing; a darning foot, a walking foot; a zipper foot; and an open-toed appliqué foot. There are many other weird and wonderful attachments available but these are the most useful.
  • Thread cutter –not essential but if you are able to afford the option it does make life easier – particularly if you are manipulating large projects through your machine
  • Spare bobbins– you need lots! Fill with the thread you use most often and then have a few spare that you partially fill with coloured threads for appliqué etc

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