Free-Arm Sewing Machine Vs. Cabinet Sewing Machine

Cabinet Sewing Machine
Cabinet Sewing Machine (Image: Image by, courtesy of Jo Guldi)

Looking for a new sewing machine? There are several things to consider, such as where the machine will live, and the type of sewing you do—as well as how much you sew.

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What the Free Arm Does

The free arm on a sewing machine holds the bobbin, shuttle, and feed dogs. Most free-arm sewing machines come with an accessory that snaps on and off to convert the free arm to a flat-bed surface.

Benefits of a Free Arm

You can easily sew cuffs and sleeves and any other circular shape with a free arm sewing machine. The shape of the free arm allows you to slip the fabric around the arm.

What is a Sewing Machine Cabinet?

A sewing machine cabinet is a table with a recess cut into it. A sewing machine rests in the recess and the work area of the machine is flush with the table top, creating a larger work space.

Benefits of a Sewing Machine Cabinet

Since cabinet sewing machines are already built into a table, you will not have to purchase a separate desk for your machine or clear space off your current workstation.

Disadvantages of Cabinet Sewing Machines

Cabinet sewing machines tend to be older models, as more modern machines have rounded edges and/or free arms. Additionally, cabinet machines take up a lot of space.


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