Is the sewing machine easy to thread?
The machine should have easy-to-follow, clearly marked, slotted thread guides that allow threading using just one hand. A needle threader makes it easy to put the thread through the eye of the needle.
Are the stitches well-formed and pretty?
The stitches should lie flat, and the patterns should be smooth. During reverse stitching, the needle should penetrate the same holes formed by the forward motion of the stitch.
Does the machine sew beautiful buttonholes?
The satin stitched beads along both sides of the buttonhole should lie flat and be even with the stitching securely anchored at the ends. Some machines have a variety of buttonhole styles, suitable for a wide range of applications: stretch, keyhole, heirloom buttonholes, and eyelets, for example.
Is it simple to access the stitches and functions?
Stitches and functions should be easily accessible at the touch of a button or turn of a knob. A convenient touch screen is an option on some models.
Are there a variety of stitches for most techniques?
You'll want to have stitches for a variety of sewing techniques—garment construction, heirloom, quilting, crafts, and embellishment, just to name a few. Some machines also offer the user the ability to change the stitches on the machine using a personal computer.
What types of accessory feet and attachments are included?
You'll want a variety of basic accessories to get you started, such as a buttonhole foot, zipper foot, and blindhem foot. You'll also want to have extra bobbins, needles, spool caps, and a seam guide.
Are accessory feet available for specialty techniques?
Consider the type of sewing you do. If you're a quilter, you'll want special feet for piercing and freemotion stitching. If you construct garments, you'll want accessories for topstitching, edgestitching, gathering and attaching piping. For embellishing, you'll want embroidery and appliqué feet.