If you are a beginner sewing machine user, what's the best sewing machine manual or electric? It depends on some important factors.
We are used to seeing a manual sewing machine for decades. But now, the market has all-electric sewing machines.
You get more Sewing machine choices as a beginner sewing learner. If you are looking for the BEST sewing machine, remember that BEST is a relative term. What is best for you may not be best for your friend and vice versa.
In that case, your BEST sewing machine would be the one that is right for your needs, requirements, desires, and situation.
Choosing the right sewing machine is an important decision to make. Your sewing machine is your primary tool to make beautiful dresses and designs. You can't afford to buy the wrong stitching machine.
The young sewing lovers prefer a stylish, feature-rich, uber-cool automatic sewing machine. That is your modern-day electric sewing machine.
But it does not mean that you should not consider a manual sewing machine for your home.
If your situation demands a heavy-duty hand-operated machine, it is a wiser idea to buy a manual machine.
But if your requirement is for designing stitches, high speed, and neat finish garments, go for an automatic electric sewing machine.
7 Common Fears while buying a sewing machine - manual or electric
When a beginner sewing learner plans to buy a machine, she may have many fears about its features, functions, service, spare parts, ease of use, and convenience.
Before buying my first sewing machines, I also had such fears. Most people on my YouTube channels, social pages also have these fears.
Here, I shared my experiences before and after buying my sewing machines.
1. Fear of a Sewing Machine
Automatic sewing machines were available in the Indian market during the year 2000. I learned sewing from a fashion institute, but I was afraid to buy an electric sewing machine.
I used my mother's old fashion Singer manual machine, which was very tiring and time-consuming because I didn't know the right way of using it.
I used to have back pain and neck strains while sewing. That made me sew less often.
2. Fear to Handle the sewing machine properly
I had a fear if I would handle a sewing machine properly. You may also get this fear when you look at an attractive sewing machine for the first time.
Manual machine belonged to my mom, so I had less fears. When I bought my Usha Janome Stitch Magic and stitched with it for many years, I realized that it is easy to work on an electric sewing machine.
I have another straight stitch electric machine, which is also a speed monster for industrial use. When I bought it first time, I was afraid of its speed.
Now, with my experience, I can say that speed of sewing makes work smooth and fun with an electric machine. It is easy to plug and sew with your electric sewing machine.
3. Fear to have an outdated or less efficient sewing machine
Some people have their own thoughts before using a product. For example, a manual sewing machine is better than electric machine because my mom and grandmother had that.
Yes, when you talk of durability, a manual sewing machine is a solid metal body. Thus, it lasts more than 50 years.
But think for a while, do the kids use parents' and grandparents' things anymore?
Products are getting better with every passing year, and, indeed, next-generation would have better products than you.
Thus, why compromise on your needs! Choose what is best sewing machine for you, and don't let your next generation have the burden of your choices.
4. Fear of getting spare parts and servicing
Gone are the days when you needed a company showroom for a sewing machine. Everything is available on your phone keypads now.
Covid19 has proved that online shopping is more practical for convenience, saving energy, health, and money.
You get online sewing classes, sewing machine parts, and your machine delivered to your doorstep without leaving your home.
5. Fear of Sewing Machine durability and quality
Most buyers often wonder,"which is the best sewing machine that is the most durable – electric or manual?"
If you buy a branded good quality sewing machine, you don't need to worry about its durability. How long your sewing machine would serve you depends on how you care for your machine.
Manual sewing machines, such as hand-operated or treadle machines, are produced and used in India for decades. One of my relatives is still using my grandmother's old sewing machine perfectly well, and that machine is more than 50 years old.
Non-electric machines are best in areas where power is unreliable. My personal experience with manual sewing machines is acceptable.
Some electric sewing machines are also, in my experience, quite reliable, although I have to clean the bobbin area more frequently.
Modern white plastic sewing machines that are cheap have a shelf life of approximately 10 to 30 years. Higher models are more durable.
If you ask me about durability test of a sewing machine, then my preference would be machines that are 40+ years old.
Now, you have to decide whether you want a sewing machine to enjoy sewing yourself, or you're interested in passing your sewing machine to your kids and grand kids.
6. Fear of a Misfit Sewing machine
Each stitching machine is made for different purpose. Treadles or manual machines are best for simple sewing and quilting.
Electric machines are suitable for quilting or fashionable garment making because they have more stitches and features available.
7. Fear of Choosing sewing machine brand : Singer vs. Usha Janome
Since 1851, the name SINGER had been synonymous with sewing. But, during 1980, Singer sewing machine markets were severely hit with Japanese machines.
Singer N.V. filed for bankruptcy in 1999, and then Kohlberg & Company acquired it. In 1997, Singer (Singer N.V.) U.S. operations moved its consumer products to LaVergne, Tennessee.
The Singer is now part of SVP, which manufactures its machines in Vietnam and China. Therefore, Singer has a limited market share in the manual sewing machine segment.
When Singer was filing bankruptcy, Usha was partnering with Janome Sewing Machine Co. to grasp the automatic sewing machine market.
Founded in 1935, Usha is among India's top consumer durable companies and a genuinely Pan-Indian brand.
Janome Sewing Machine is a Japanese Company set up in 1921. Globally, it is a major manufacturer of domestic sewing machines. It has manufacturing units located in Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand.
After partnering with Janome, Usha Sewing Company has captured a significant share of the sewing machine market. It has come up with some of the best-selling, most popular sewing machine brands.
Usha sewing machine showroom, dealers, machines, service, and parts are widely available online and locally.
Whereas, I found Singer sewing machine body parts heavier and more durable.
How to choose the right sewing machine
Different sewing machines are for different purposes. A basic manual sewing machine has only one core function - straight stitch.
If you add an electric motor to this machine, it becomes faster. You can fix the zipper foot or embroidery setting in your manual sewing machine, but that isn't easy to manage regularly. If you add a treadle to a manual machine, it becomes a tailoring machine, which is more comfortable.
An automatic plastic body sewing machine is also an electric sewing machine, and it is popular nowadays. It can sew and design while offering many features depending on their price and model.
Depending on your requirement and budget, decide if you want to purchase:-
1. Manual Machine Or Electric Sewing Machine
2. Basic Straight Stitch Metal Body Machine Or Feature-Rich Automatic Plastic Body Machine,
3. Brand New, Refurbished, Or Second-Hand Machine.
4. Decide The Purpose For Which You Need A Sewing Machine.
Manual Sewing Machines are disappearing worldwide
You can make a choice when there are options. These days, most sewing machines are either electrical or computerized. Only a few sewing machine models are manually operated.
In some countries, they stopped making and selling manual sewing machines anymore. They have not made them for over 80 years, so you may not find a manual machine in the U.S.
In India, Usha and Singer sewing machine brands still sell a few contemporary, straight stitch "manual stitching machines," which could be attached to a classic treadle table. They do not sell the treadle table.
If you are not willing to spend a higher price for a branded sewing machine, you may also consider locally made manual machines at almost half the price.
What stitch features you need in a sewing machine
The essential stitch function for sewing is straight stitch, that you get in a manual machine. All other features are available with automatic or electric sewing machines only –
1. Straight stitch
You will use a straight stitch function to sew anything. It is an important feature you need.
2. Button hole and button fixing
A button fixing and buttonhole feature is also needed but may not be essential,
3. zig zag stitch
You may need Zig zag or right stretch stitch for overlock, lace fixing, beading, embroidery, stretchy fabrics, etc.
4. Any other stitch, you need
If possible, go and try a few machines at the local dealer to determine what machine you enjoy. Take various fabric types along from denim to silk and a few stretch fabrics, too, and see how the machines deal with the fabric.
If your preferred machine has excellent reviews, then you can feel confident in buying it online.
Even if you are entirely new to any sewing machine, you can join online classes, sewing groups, or learn from free sewing tutorials.
Why Manual Sewing Machine is best for you - Benefits
I learned sewing as a teenager (around 12 years' age) on my mom's Singer manual sewing machine. Later I have used many brands that include Usha electric sewing machine.
These are the benefits of a manual sewing machine based on my experiences, analysis, views of more than 150,000 Stitching Mall community and manual sewing machine users -
1. Your place not having regular electric supply
Suppose you live in a place where electricity is unreliable or not available or too costly. In that case, the sensible choice is to find a machine that runs on physical power, not electricity.
Manual sewing machine will save your time, energy, electricity, will be cheaper at the time of buying.
2. Your budget is less
A manual machine costs about four thousand to six thousand rupees depending on its model and brand. Which is about two or three thousand rupees less than an automatic sewing machine.
3. you want a sewing machine for repairing and mending
If you use a sewing machine occasionally to repair your old clothes or mend kids' dresses, it is a good idea to buy a basic manual machine. Making dresses is a long, tedious and times consuming work on a manual sewing machine.
4. tailor uses the machine
A manual stitching machine is heavy duty, spare parts and servicing is cheap. So, you can give your sewing machine to a tailor master to sew your clothes, without fear of breaking your machine.
5. You want your machine to last for decades
If you are a tradition loving person and a sewing machine is a family heirloom, which must pass on to your kids; then it is a good idea to have a manual sewing machine.
This Singer 1409 and Usha Dream Stitch Comparison Review will help you understand which one sewing machine is best for you.
Why Electric Sewing Machine is best for you - Benefits
Buy an electrical sewing machine or automatic sewing machine, if -
1. You love to sew and design beautiful things
You want to explore the different embroidery and fashion features of a sewing machine.
2. You have a regular electric supply to run the machine
An electric sewing machine will work with electricity. If you have a treadle table, you can operate an electric sewing machine without the electricity also.
3. You value more features
If you value that you get what you pay for, then you won't have to worry about higher price of an automatic sewing machine. Anyways a basic electric machine costs only a few thousands more than a manual machine.
4. You will use your sewing machine yourself
When you use a sewing machine yourself, it works better, lasts longer and break down less frequently.
5. You bought a sewing machine to enjoy it
Even if its life is 10 to 30 years, you are not worried to hand it to the next generation.
These are Top 10 Best Automatic Sewing Machine for Beginner sewing learners. This list includes most trusted, reliable, budget stitching machines in India.
Different types of sewing machines, You Must Know
There is a difference between manual and electric sewing machines. These machines are called with different names. It is important to understand these names.
The definition of each sewing machine type may seem alike. The purpose of getting this list here is to familiarize you with these common features and types of sewing machines.
Manual sewing machine
A manual machine is called a mechanical sewing machine also. A manual machine may be hand-operated or feet operated (treadle machine). You can operate it entirely on your physical power.
You can choose to get an external electric motor fixed. You have dials for making variable stitch choices and push buttons to turn things on or off.
Mechanical sewing machine
A mechanical machine is a basic sewing machine. It is also called a manual sewing machine. It has dials or knobs to adjust the stitch settings.
Hand-operated sewing machine
A Hand-operated sewing machine is the most basic, simple machine. It is operated by hand. It has a detachable handle provided to the flywheel, that is used to operate the machine. This machine has low sewing speed, and it is suitable for domestic use.
Domestic sewing machine
Domestic sewing machines are used in homes by sewing lovers. People use the machine for mending, repairing, sewing, and sometimes earning with sewing in their spare time.
The machine is used for making different types of sewing projects, ranging from reusing old clothes, making new dresses, home décor, and toy making. Domestic sewing machines may be manual or electric.
Treadle sewing machine
A treadle sewing machine is powered mechanically by a foot pedal pushed back and forth by the operator's foot. A normal sewing machine can be fixed on a treadle table to get comfort while sewing.
Electric sewing machine
An electric machine is any sewing machine that has an electric motor. It may be a domestic machine, tailor machine, industrial machine, or digital machine.
Electronic sewing machine
An Electronic sewing machine may be an electric machine, computerized machine, or an automatic machine.
Digital sewing machine
A digital sewing machine has a computer built-in that controls its functions, stitches, and foot pressure. You get automated stitches on a digital sewing machine. An analog sewing machine doesn't have a built-in computer.
Computerized sewing machine
Computerized sewing machines have a small monitor display for easy operation, control different motors, precisely move the needle bar, tension discs, feed dog, and other sewing machine parts.
It has electronic components to automate any processes. A computerized sewing machine usually comes with a variety of built-in stitches.
Industrial sewing machine
An industrial sewing machine is specifically made for heavy-duty garment manufacturing. It is built for the long term, professional sewing work. It is a speed monster, constructed with longer durability, parts, and heavy motors.
Heavy duty sewing machine
Heavy duty sewing machines are designed to handle extended daily use. It is designed for long durability and dependability. Heavy fabrics such as denim and leather are well-suited for a heavy-duty sewing machine.
Boutique sewing machine
A heavy-duty or industrial sewing machine is used in the boutiques.
Umbrella sewing machine
An umbrella machine is an industrial or heavy-duty machine. It has a stitching speed of 1000 spm to 3000 spm (stitch per minute).
Small tailors use hand-operated or treadle sewing machines. Medium level tailors use electric heavy-duty umbrella machines for sewing work.
Conclusion – My view point
I stitch and design with a domestic automatic machine (Usha Janome Stitch Magic) for ten years. I use an industrial use (Umbrella) electric sewing machine for 20 years to finish my sewing projects faster. And I learned sewing as a teenager on a hand operated manual sewing machine.
Manual and electric - both are different kinds of sewing machines. The decision between a manual sewing machine and an electric sewing machine depends on what you need.
Manual sewing machine - final words
A manual machine is a straight stitch machine, which you operate with hands or feet. Speed is as slow or as fast as you can operate it.
They are cheaper and super long-lasting. (my sister has a manual sewing machine which is almost 50 years old).
If you have a garment manufacturing business, you should buy a straight stitch sewing machine with a motor. It would be best if you also had an overlock machine for clean edges.
With these two machines, you can make anything in a fraction of the time that a domestic automatic machine will take.
Buying motorless machines with an extra motor will be a lot cheaper than purchasing a full-blown industrial machine. And industrial machines do one type of stitch. You will have to purchase two anyways, one for single straight stitch and one for overlock.
One more thing, any manual sewing machine can be converted to treadle (foot power) or electric, by adding an electric motor.
Electric Sewing Machine - Final words
Electric sewing machines are comparatively little costlier. However, they offer excellent designing options, and you can do creative designs on your dresses.
If you have space constraints, consider buying an electronic or automatic sewing machine as it is very portable and easy to carry. Manual machines are bulky and heavy.
Domestic sewing machines, which are automatic and run on electricity, have a wide range of stitches but stitch very slow compared to industrial machines.
If it is for your hobby, you should get a domestic automatic sewing machine. Most of them have decorative stitches with which you can make pretty dresses, blouses, churidar, Kurtis, and other designs.
It would be best that you buy a sewing machine as per your requirement and budget. Make adjustments wherever necessary, and don't be afraid to learn.