How To Buy a Used Sewing Machine? (Buying Guide)

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It’s hard to imagine someone not being able to handle fixing a hem or removing a zipper without breaking a sweat. But even the more experienced sewers can find themselves stumped when it comes time to buy their next sewing machine. And while most people would jump at the chance to buy a new machine, this can be expensive and can destroy your budget — so it might make sense just to purchase a used one instead.

There are plenty of options out there to choose from, especially if you keep your eyes open. Of course, you still need to make sure the machine is in good working order before you go shopping.

For those of you who sew and are looking to save money, look into buying a used sewing machine. Buying a used sewing machine can save you so much money and it is an excellent way to try a different brand. If you have never seen it before, buying a used sewing machine may be a bit intimidating. But this article will help you look at the market and find one that fits your budget as well as your needs.

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Things to Consider Before Buying A Used Sewing Machine

When you are looking for a used sewing machine, keep in mind that they come in all different sizes, shapes, and prices. There is something out there for you no matter what your budget is. Just remember to remember your budget when looking at the machines. You don’t have to go overboard with a used machine. else you should consider the following tips,

  1. Find a sewing machine that is right for you
  2. Choose a model that can be easily used
  3. Choose the latest model
  4. Beware of obvious flaws
  5. Pricing should meet your budget
  6. Identify the differences between sewing machines
  7. Identify the cost of your purchase
  8. Don’t Buy an Economy Model
  9. Consider reconditioned machines
  10. Make sure all the replacements are easily available
  11. Checklist for all necessary part
  12. A good stand

Find a sewing machine that is right for you

Before you decide to buy a used sewing machine, do some research and read reviews. You can find many online forums where experienced sewers share their knowledge. 

Look for someone who has made stitching mistakes, if possible. Read about the problems others have had with the same model and be familiar with the various elements of a sewing machine before deciding on one to buy.

Choose a model that is easy to use

Numerous factors go into choosing a sewing machine. A machine that is light enough for your arms and easy to carry, for instance, can be a good choice. You may prefer a machine with lots of bells and whistles or a simple one-stitch model might do the trick. 

Some machines are very inexpensive and others that can cost thousands of dollars. But you don’t have to spend a lot of money if you’re not sure how you’ll use the machine.

Choose latest models

The more popular a model is, the less likely it is to be affordably used. Consider this when making your decision. Oftentimes you can find the newest models online and online classifieds are a good way to find one, not in perfect working order.

Beware of obvious flaws

If the machine you decide to purchase looks great from the outside, there is a good chance it will require some attention. You may find out that this will cost you more than you expected to do repairs, which can put a big dent in your budget. Look for machines with obvious signs of wear and tear as this makes them more affordable and easier to fix.

Pricing should meet your budget

Never let a salesperson talk you into paying more than you have to. If you have done your homework and found out what the machine is worth, then never pay more than that. If you are purchasing a used sewing machine at an antique store, ask them to take it to their repairman before you buy it. 

Sometimes these businesses will sell refurbished machines without telling buyers they were taken apart and put back together again.

Identify the differences between sewing machines

There are many different features of new and used sewing machines. Some of these features are manual, while others are computerized. You should know what you want out of your machine before you decide to buy one. 

There are several things in particular that a beginner might like to have: a buttonhole maker, a one-step buttonhole, an automatic threader, and the ability to work with various types of fabrics.

Identify the cost of your purchase

One of the most important things to do before you buy a used sewing machine is know how much you are willing to spend on it. Once you know this, you can look at the various options and figure out which ones are within your price range.

Check these best new sewing machines considering budget,

Don’t Buy an Economy Model

The best way to save money when buying a used sewing machine is to opt for a more expensive model that will hold its value better. The reason behind this is that the more expensive ones are more unlikely to break down. This is because they are made with better materials and are very durable. 

The price difference between the models should be more than enough to cover the cost of repairs and upkeep for a new one.

Consider reconditioned machines

One great way to save money when buying a used sewing machine is to look for machines that have been reconditioned. This will often mean that repairs have been done on them, which can make them quite affordable.

Also, if you have a friend who repairs sewing machines and you can ask them to remove all the wear and tear from the machine, you will end up with something that works better than new for a lot less money.

Make sure all the replacements are easily available

Never buy a used sewing machine without checking out replacement parts. This is important in case your machine breaks down and there are no parts available at the local store. In this case, you will have to go online and order the part yourself. This can be time-consuming and very expensive.

Checklist for all necessary part

If you are going to buy a used sewing machine, then make sure you have taken into consideration all the parts that may wear out over time. When making your list, think about what kinds of fabrics you will be working on and how often you will use the machine. Make sure that the machine is compatible with the type of fabric you will be using and also make sure there is an extra needle.

Compact design stand

When you shop for a used sewing machine, it is important to distinguish between a machine and a stand. A stand is equipment that you put your machine on. Some stands are designed to be used on hard surfaces while others are designed to be used on carpeted surfaces. Most, however, will come with both types of stands as well as extension cords so that they can go under tables or desks. Most people will want the stand since it makes the machine much more mobile and easier to store.

Try before purchase

The last thing you want to do when buying a used sewing machine is to buy something sight unseen. Before you buy one, try it out if it is possible. This will allow you to see how easy it is to use and how well it functions. You can also check out the various features of the machine beforehand and make sure that they are all easily accessible or work as they should.

What are the factors to consider when buying a used leather sewing machine?

A good leather sewing machine should be able to sew leather. You will want the needle to be positioned so that it is at least 0.8mm from the edge of the leather and dragged across it in a straight line. This will ensure that you have a not only sharp presser foot but also a consistent stitch. 

Also, check out reviews on youtube, many people have shown step-by-step guidelines on how to thread their machines, which includes going over how to get most out of a leather sewing machine.

Is it worth fixing an old sewing machine?

Depending on the state of the old sewing machine, it could be worth fixing. If you can use it, then no. But if you have a good friend who knows their way around sewing machines and is willing to get your machine up and running again, then it may be worth doing so.

They are much more durable than you think!! I have only owned my Bernina sewing machine for a little over a month, but it has already been through the wringer, here is what I would recommend to you:

For brand new Berninas, I would take the most recent one on eBay. They are still under their original price which is pretty good. 

How do you ensure a good quality sewing machine?

First and most importantly is the quality of the motor. If you notice right away, you will see some difference in how smoothly or quietly the machine works. The two most important factors are,

  • The basic speed range (maximum speed and minimum speed)
  • The minimum feed rate (the amount of time it takes for your presser foot to move)

Now with that said, you can find a good sewing machine with simple settings. Some sewing machines have three speeds, I would strongly advise against that since that makes it more difficult to make different settings. 

The more options you have the harder it gets to manage them.  All the more reason to go for a simple sewing machine with just one speed, a very high minimum feed rate, and some basic settings so you can save time and learn more easily.

In regards to quality, I would recommend researching if there is any way to find out if your machine was built under warranty (you probably can find this information on the bottom of your sewing machine).

How long will I be able to use it after I buy a used sewing machine?

You can expect to use a used sewing machine for at least 5 years before you need to consider your options. You will want to make sure that the machine has been serviced by a professional on at least one occasion before you buy it. It is also important that the needle has been sharpened at least once during this period. 

You will want to take this machine in for service at least once a year. This will help keep the machine in good working order and you can learn to do the repairs yourself.

Can I use different fabrics in my sewing machine?

Yes, you can. Many people like to use cotton and silk. However, you should always be cautious when using them since they tend to snag the needle more easily than regular fabrics. It may be best to stick with cotton or synthetic fabrics, especially if it is going to be used more frequently and handled more often. 

You can also find the best sewing machine reviews online. This will give you an idea of how well various machines work with various fabrics.

Which sewing machine brand is best for beginners?

For people who are new to sewing, Singer is your best bet. It is a brand that has been around since 1851 and they have your best interest at heart since they want you to stay with them and use more of their products.

They are a layman’s brand and have a lot of experience in this field. You can get models that are either portable or motorized and there is even one that is entirely battery-powered. 

If you want to lock your stitch, you can use the auto-lock feature, which will make it easy for you to maintain an even stitch on whatever material you are using. You can also use the multiple dial setting, which allows you to set up any number of settings quickly.

How can I buy an old sewing machine online?

Craigslist and eBay are often good sources for finding used sewing machines. Craigslist can be hit-or-miss since there is no central database, but it’s worth looking at the local craigslist listings because you might find a gem. eBay can be hit or miss as well since it’s very easy to accidentally buy a broken machine.

It may also be worth looking at eBay’s ‘international’ section, as many dealers will ship internationally. It’s a good idea to compare prices on different machines so that you know what you are getting. Once you have found a machine, it’s time to make sure it’s in good working order before buying.

First, check the seller’s feedback rating. You can usually find this information on the description page of the machine. Ideally, it should be over 100% since that means that most of their buyers have left them positive feedback, which is a good sign.

What is the most reliable brand of sewing machines?

There are a few very dependable brands, however, you should make sure to see if there have been any reports of problems before buying one. Brother, Singer, and Babylock come to mind as being highly dependable. There are many other brands, but those three are the cream of the crop.

Here below are some of the best sewing machines reviewed from various famous brands out there,

If you go by sewing machine reviews, then you will find that many people feel that Janome is the most reliable brand. You must consider all the information before deciding because sometimes it can be hard to tell which company is telling the truth about its products. So make sure to do your research and avoid companies that give off a bad vibe. 

Which is the best sewing machine for home use?

According to the survey, most of the sewing machines are good and they are very reliable. But, If you want to purchase a sewing machine so that your work is easy then the Singer Sewing Machine is the best machine for you. It is the top-rated machine by all home users.

You have to take care of the Singer sewing machine while using it to avoid any damage. It is best to take the machine out of the direct sunlight and away from heat sources. It is also a good idea to keep your sewing machine in a clean and dust-free environment. 

You have to change the needle every 3-5 hours of continuous use. The main body has to be cleaned periodically by changing the oil at least once every month.

FAQ about How To Buy a Used Sewing Machine

Can I use a regular needle in a sewing machine?

A regular sewing needle can work in a sewing machine, however, they are not made for heavy-duty use. They should be used for lightweight materials only, as they can break easily.

Which is the best sewing machine at a low price?

A sewing machine is an expensive piece of equipment, and there are very few that come for really cheap prices. There are some very inexpensive models available on the market and the problems with them are usually the same as you’d see on much more expensive machines.

Are Janome Sewing Machines Any Good?

Janome is a very good manufacturer of sewing machines and is known for keeping their machines more or less repairable. They can also be used for a lot of other things, like quilting and embroidery. It has open treadles, which are much preferred over rollers and the stitch quality is quite good as well.

Who collects old sewing machines?

Sewing Machines are valuable machines and many collectors like to collect them for their history and their functionality. They also keep very good resale value and many people still use older sewing machines daily in their business or at home.

What is a zigzag stitch on a sewing machine?

A zigzag is one of the basic stitches that you can use on a sewing machine. It is used to stitch stretchy fabrics together and allow them to fit more comfortably over your body.

How much is an old Singer machine worth?

The singer was a top brand back in the day, and even today is well known for its sewing machines. The prices can vary from $25 to a few thousand dollars depending on what you are looking for, and how much it has been used.

Are old white sewing machines worth anything?

White is a popular color for a sewing machine, especially around the turn of the century. White machines are usually worth about $20-$30, though it can be less or more depending on how many are available.

Why are Bernina sewing machines so expensive?

Bernina was a top brand back in the day and is still very popular today. They have some of the best machines that you can buy. They are more focused on quality and are being manufactured in Switzerland which make them so expensive. You can find an average Bernina sewing machine for $1,500 to $6,000.

How much is a Singer sewing machine?

The price varies based on what you want to get out of your sewing machine. The more features and accessories you need, the more expensive they will be. But, most people find them to be worth the money since they are very dependable.

How do I find a vintage sewing machine?

Vintage sewing machines can be found online and at garage sales, swap meets, and online auctions. Oftentimes people have a lot of these older machines packed away in storage or in the attic, which they would be happy to part with.

Final Thoughts

If you are in the market for a sewing machine, you should find this information very useful in assisting you to make the right purchase decision. There are a lot of different brands out there, but one thing that most of them have in common is their customer satisfaction. The more satisfied your customers are, the more likely your business will grow and be successful. 

The above information is written and developed by sewing machine experts. Each of us is an expert in a particular field of subject. In this article, we have mentioned our experiences & knowledge of a given topic. You can use this article as a great reference guide and educate yourself more on the given topic. If you are interested to know more about the topic then just give a read to our follow-up articles under this section.


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I have been working as a seamstress since I was 12 years old, and I would be happy to teach you what I know. I, along with the rest of my team, investigate numerous sewing, quilting, embroidery, and fabric related how-to guides, and present our findings to you.

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