Clothing & Fashion

The Beginner’s Guide to Equipment

Buying the Right Sewing Machine with the Right Stitches

If you’ve recently discovered a passion for sewing, getting your first sewing machine can be a challenge – even the simplest ones can have a lot of confusing features! The most important thing is to consider not just your present needs but also what you might need in the future.

Of course, in the world of sewing machines, stitches are king. How many must there be in a specific machine? But the key is not to obsess about this. Instead, pick a machine that stitches you will actually use.

For starters, you only need two essential stitches to sew well, namely, the straight stitch and the zigzag stitch. Almost all kinds of sewing can be done with one or a combination of these two. But there are a few other stitches or stitch features that can give you a bit nicer results.

Here are guidelines to remember when buying a sewing machine based on stitches:


This basic stitch has to be adjustable from 0mm to 5 mm. Basting and gathering is possible at 5mm, while locking stitches can be done at 0. You will probably stay around 2.5mm most of the time, but with adjustable stitch lengths, you can have more options. In any case, pick a user-friendly machine so you don’t spend too much time making adjustments.


The length, as well as the width of this stitch, must be adjustments.


A buttonhole stitch is essentially an automated zigzag stitch, so if a machine has a zigzag stitch, it will probably have that buttonhole feature. A buttonhole option is considered a staple when it comes to sewing machines (even the cheapest ones have it). But if possible, try this one out before you actually make a purchase.

Stretch or Knit

Two types of stitches work best for sewing with knits. One resembles the appearance of a lightning symbol while the other is a triple stretch stitch. Once they are stitched, your knits will stretch with the threads intact. You can sew stretch fabrics nice using a zigzag stitch, but special knit stitches are still the best for the job.

Blind Hem

As their name tells you, blind hem stitches produce practically out-of-sight hems on pants and skirts.


Most sewing machines come with a few utility stitches, including stretch or knit. These are perfect for securing seams and making creative designs.

You should know what stitches you’d like after sewing a few times. And by that time, you’re probably ready to buy to a new machine. Sure, there are other things to consider before buying one. Your budget, specific features you want, attachments and feet (mechanical or automatic) – all of these are important, but probably not as important as stitches. After all, it’s stitches that will truly reflect the quality of your sewing once you’re done.

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