This post was done in partnership with The Sweethome, a buyer's guide to the best homewares. When readers choose to buy The Sweethome's independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. After talking with two sewing machine dealers, a teacher, and seasoned sewers, we think computerized machines are the best bet for intermediate sewers and for beginners who know they love sewing and can invest a little more for features that will make learning easier. We spent 12 hours researching specs, reviews, and recommendations, and testing several machines. We think the Janome DC5100 offers the best combination of useful and versatile computerized features for a range of sewers.
Between the folks churning out face masks and the ones so bored they learned to sew, sewing machines have been flying off the shelves. Even Walmart, which isn't exactly known for its craft supplies, reported massive sales in recent months. If you somehow missed out on the trend, but still want to start stitching, we've got a great deal for you: this 12-Stitch Electric Desktop Sewing Machine on sale for less than $40. Perfect for the new DIY enthusiast looking to fix up some old clothes or try their hand at basic sewing projects, this desktop machine is simple and affordable. It's no Janome or Brother, but it'll still get the job done for the curious crafter. It has double thread sewing, neat, and straight stitch, has two speeds you can easily flip between, plus a lighting lamp, thread cutter, and automatic thread winding.
TL;DR: Sewing machines are on sale across the internet -- save up to $100 at Walmart and Joann Fabric, plus sitewide discounts from Joann Fabric and Michaels. Sewing machines were an unanticipated champion of the first lockdown -- not just as a great boredom solution, but as part of the mass recruitment of mask makers in the sewing community. And we don't think the sewing spike is going anywhere. Now that the first day of fall is nearly upon us (weather in many places is making that very clear), properly-distanced, warm-weather entertainment like kayaking or drinking wine in the park are quickly fading. Cathartic creative activities (like sewing) will be a must to mitigate our stress over yet another season stuck inside.
When you think of sewing and sewing machines, you may think about one of your grandparents, stitching up your favourite pair of jeans, or modifying a dress that would never otherwise have fit. Sewing is having somewhat of a resurgence though, alongside other pursuits that promote a certain kind of mindfulness. Sewing is much like colouring or gardening, in that you have to take a breath, and shut out the world for a period, and that's an amazing thing to do. Sewing is all about switching off, and dialling in to your project, whatever that may be. Whether you are dress-making, home-furnishing, or repairing a favourite item, the Brother FS40 40-stitch electronic sewing machine is the perfect device to help you along the way.
Both of my sewing machines come from my grandmothers, though neither taught me how to sew. The older one is a child-sized, antique Singer, which can no longer stitch a seam. The hand crank that powers it, however, still turns, and the presser foot still lifts. The other--a plastic electric model from the 1970s--runs well, for now. It'll eventually go the way of my mother's machine, a workhorse that outlived the manufacture of replacement parts.