''I am certain that a Sewing Machine would relieve as much human suffering as a hundred Lunatic Asylums, and possibly a good deal more.” – Margaret Atwood

Fashion has always been an integral part of our culture in Nigeria. Each culture has its own unique outfits that distinguish it from the other ones. Just by an outfit, you can tell what tribe they are trying to denote. Nigerians have always had a deep love for clothes and the way they are worn.

The fashion design industry is becoming very large with the high demand for trends and the effects of social media in our society. To celebrate an occasion in Nigeria what is popularly known as Aso-Ebi is always sold out to the guest who is invited. The Aso-Ebi is a fabric which is expected to be worn by the guest on the day of the Occasion and because of that tailors are highly demanded such an occasion to make the fabric into a dress design. “Seventy per cent of Nigerians prefer to visit Aso Ebi tailors to make 'made-to-fit outfits' for them than pay some ridiculous amount to foreign brands,” says Badaru-Atoyebi Modupe, editor of the website The Aso Ebi Junkie.

Learning to sew could mean mending clothes instead of discarding them or could mean constructing and sewing a new one. the next thing is enrolling for sewing lessons and then finding the exact sewing machine that will suit your need, for example?

  • What brand should I buy?
  • What types of stitches does it have?
  • Is it manual or electrical?
  • Is it domestic or industrial?
  • Does it have the features that will meet my needs for the type of sewing I want to do?

Continue reading to discover how to select the right sewing machine for you.

Learn also the types of fabrics and needles to choose from for your sewing projects.

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Type Of Sewing You Do Will Determine The Right Sewing Machine For You

It is like learning photography, there is no point in buying an expensive professional camera when you don't know how to take pictures at all talkless of photo editing. The first thing you will need is to buy a good camera to first learn how to take good pictures. The same goes for learning how to sew. The type of machine you will need is dependant on what you will be sewing and how you want to be sewing:

  • Are you sewing as a beginner or an advanced or experienced tailor?
  • How often do you want to be sewing? occasionally or every day?
  • Are you sewing to just mend clothes, do small crafts or intend to be making new outfits for yourself and others?
  • Are you using it for embroidery, plain sewing or to be used to do finishings on a garment?

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how to choose the right sewing machine in Lagos
A computerised sewing machine has a lot of stitches. The question is - Do you need it for the type of sewing you want to learn? Source: Unsplash

It is important to understand and know what you will be using the sewing machine for before you set out to shop for one.

A beginner fashion designer or someone not using it often wouldn't so much need an industrial sewing machine.

The Stitches

The first criteria for choosing a sewing machine are the stitches. There are different stitches used for sewing such as the gathering stitch, zig-zag stitch, topstitch, lock stitch and so on which most sewing classes will not explain to you until you get to the advanced stage.

A beginner who is learning how to sew should solely be interested in a sewing machine that has the basic stitches like the straight stitch (topstitch) and the zig-zag stitch. As a learner, you shouldn't be bothering yourself with the different stitches a sewing machine has. Enjoy the process of leaning with just the basics first so that understanding the advanced side of sewing will be much easier.

different sewing stitches on a sewing machine
The straight and zig-zag stitches are the basic stitches for a beginner. Source: Unsplash

 

What Do You Intend To Sew?

The type of sewing you are learning will help determine the right sewing machine for you. if you want to learn how to sew for mending clothes, then a small tabletop or basic sewing machine is all you need.

However, if you want to be sewing clothes with different types of fabrics, then you will need a very good tabletop machine or industrial sewing machine to get the best results out of your sewing.

Take note that there are machines out there for finishing garments like the hemming machine, interlock machine and even embroidery machines.

Space

Finally, how much space your sewing machine will take also matters. if you will be using it just occasionally, them a small portable sewing machine is what you will need for easy storage. But, if you will be using it regularly, then a large sewing machine that will have its own spot in your house, with enough light and even maybe a table or cabinet for easy access to your sewing supplies and equipment.

In summary, the main criteria for choosing the right sewing machine are:

  • What you will be needing it for
  • The stitches needed
  • The functions in the machine
  • How often you will be using it.

Available Skills And Budget In Selecting Your Sewing Machine

Sewing machines can cost anywhere between ₦30,000 and ₦200,000. So your budget and the price os the sewing machine is an important factor before selecting a machine. In short, a shirt buttonhole sewing machine can be ranging from ₦350,000 and ₦850,000. The different machine with its different functions comes at different prices.

Use

You need to determine what you will be using the sewing machine to do. Will you be using it to just mend clothes or will it be used for advanced sewing classes and dressmaking?

Price

There are the manual and electrical sewing machine. An excellent electrical machine for beginners is the butterfly tabletop which cost between ₦30,000 and ₦50,000 and a very good manual machine is also from the same brand which cost between that same range or a little lesser

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Selecting A Sewing Machine According To The Type

There are different types of sewing machines out there which is dependent on what you want to use it for.

Mechanical vs. Computerised Sewing Machine

The mechanical sewing machines are usually lesser in price, used without electricity and everything about it is adjusted manually.  You may have watched your grandmother sew on an old pedal-style machine. A mechanical sewing machine is old and maybe as modern as you want to get. Many Nigerian tailors still use the mechanical sewing machines especially since it can be used without electricity. There are different brands of this type of sewing machine like the Singer which is one of the oldest brand, butterfly, brother, two lion and so on. It best to take some sewing classes before embarking on making a garment whether on your mechanical or electrical sewing machine.

manual sewing machine under types of machine
To use the mechanical sewing machine, you need to understand how it works. Source: Unsplash

The computerised sewing machine, on the other hand, is pricey and more expensive than the manual one but its very ideal for a beginner. The reason being that the computerised machine does most of the work thanks to its automatic adjustment. You can do several programming on the sewing machine before you start to sew. It makes your sewing life much easier than the manual where all adjustments have to be done manually as you sew.

They are quite and easier to repair than the manual sewing machines. You can just update software in the machine to get it up to date. It is also easier to understand once you read the instruction manual. It will even discuss types of fabrics and the type of needles needed to make your sewing experience easier. The benefits of the computerised sewing machine can not be overemphasized.

     
Learn how to sew in Lagos, Abuja and Kano
A computerized sewing machine is usually easier to repair than the manual ones. Source: Unsplash

 

Different Brands And Makes Of Sewing Machine

There are different types of machines out there from different brand name. You can find the various brands, functions and their price range online in Nigeria.

Asides from Brother being one of the oldest brands out there, butterfly is fast rising as a popular brand in the fashion design and sewing environment. Other very good and top sewing machine brands are:

  1. Bernina - It was founded in Switzerland and was one of the first machines to be able to offer multiple functions.
  2. Elna
  3. Husqvarna Viking- This is a Swedish brand.
  4. Jaguar - this brand is manufactured in Japan
  5. Janome - Janome machines are manufactured in Japan, Taiwan and Thailand.
  6. Juki - This is a Japan-based brand and started with just making industrial sewing machines.  Today they have a wide range of industrial and home sewing machines for sewing including electronic machines.
  7. Singer - It is one of the most well-known brands in the market. Vintage Singer sewing machines are now collectables and you will probably recognize these black metal machines with gold writing.
  8. Pfaff - they are manufactured in China. Bought by the owners of Singer but still retained its original name.
  9. Toyota - This particular brand specializes more in computerized machines and electromechanical machines.

It is safe to say that it is worthwhile investing in a good sewing machine. The above brands have varieties of sewing machines and sewing supplies. They all come at their various designs and prices. The functionality you desire from the machine, what you want to sew and the available budget will help determine the brand you should select.

Sewing goes beyond the machine, having the right sewing kit/materials like the needles, thread, bobbins and how they are being used. You can take sewing lessons online, at home or go to a sewing school. Go check out super prof for sewing classes.

 

 

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