While most people learn to sew with a needle and thread, sewing machines are another common way to create and repair clothes, toys and a variety of other objects. However, sewing machines are not ideal for every project, and they bring certain disadvantages. Knowing the limitations of a sewing machine will help you choose the best method for your next project.
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One of the most apparent disadvantages of sewing machines is the cost. Prices range from less than $100 for a small, handheld sewing machine to many thousands of dollars for large industrial machines. The tabletop machines used in many homes may also cost several hundred dollars. Most machines also require occasional maintenance, which may add to the cost. Contrast this to the low price of a needle and thread, or even the relatively modest price of a complete sewing kit when choosing whether your next project requires a sewing machine.
Working with a sewing machine is very different from sewing by hand, and it takes time and practice to master the skills needed, such as threading the machine and operating it properly to create clean, straight stitches. Even the most experienced sewing expert will need time to get used to a new machine and learn how to use its features. In cases where a project needs to be completed quickly, working on a new machine may not be a good idea.
Sewing machines are also much larger than their traditional counterparts. Even the smallest, pocket-sized handheld machines are bulkier than a small sewing kit and may require additional materials like batteries or an extension cord. Other sewing machines take up space in a room, a closet or a tabletop, even when they aren't in use.
Most sewing machines are very safe to use and have safety features intended to prevent injury. At the same time, part of learning to use a new machine involves reading the owner's manual and following all of its safety instructions. However, compared to working with a needle and thread, sewing machines represent the potential for more serious injuries. They also pose a possible source of electrical problems, including shocks and short circuits.