Machine Sewing vs. Hand Sewing – Should You Make the Switch?

By now you have the basic hand stitches down pat and have put them to use making crafts and gifts. So here comes the big question: Should you look into sewing on a machine?

Some people believe there is no way you can achieve the same results sewing by hand that you can by machine, but remember people wore clothes for hundreds or thousands of years before sewing machines were invented. Marie Antoinette didn’t have a sewing machine!

Marie Antoinette's dresses were all sewn by hand, which should be encouraging to a beginner learning to sew - Sew Me Your StuffMarie Antoinette's dresses were all sewn by hand, which should be encouraging to anyone learning to sew. - Sew Me Your Stuff
All done by hand!

So there are pros and cons to switching to machine that you should consider before you dive in.

Pros:
– Stitches tend to be more secure. Sewing machines use two strands of thread simultaneously as you stitch, so if done properly stitches should be stronger and more resistant to being pulled apart.
– It’s faster. A lot faster. A hand stitched pillow could take an hour to two hours by hand but would take 20 minutes by machine. Now imagine sewing a dress and how much time you would save using a machine!
– I think using a machine for thicker fabrics like twill is much easier than doing it by hand. You have to make some adjustments on the machine to accommodate different fabrics, but in general they can maneuver different types of fabrics, particularly thicker ones, more easily than you can by hand.

Cons:
– It can be pretty expensive if you want quality. There are inexpensive “starter” sewing machines on the market that will run about $100 or less, but a good quality standard sewing machine for the home will run you about $200. It’s important to do a lot of research before you make the purchase so you don’t have buyer’s remorse later on!
– There are a lot of knobs and dials to learn, so there is a learning curve on using a sewing machine. I’ve been at it for over a year and sometimes I still resort to trial and error twisting knobs on the machine when I’m not happy with the way my stitches look. Before you start you should do some reading to familiarize yourself with all the different functions of your machine.
– Sewing machines unfortunately can’t do everything. Notions are much easier to sew by hand, and hems are usually attached with a hand stitch. I even sew darts in garments by hand now because it got too frustrating with a machine.

My verdict is that if you’re wanting to try to sew on the machine, go for it. But do the research and keep your hand sewing skills sharp because you’ll still need them! A good balance of machine stitches and hand stitches is the best way to make your crafts and garments hold strong and look great.

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