Mechanical vs. Computerized Sewing Machines: What is the Difference?

The debate about mechanical vs. computerized sewing machines has been ongoing since the latter style first hit the market. Each type of machine has its pros and cons but it really comes down to what is right for the individual.
A mechanical machine is more or less a “basic machine” that uses knobs to adjust the settings. Those that are higher end may have more decorative stitches and buttonhole stitches than those on the lower end. They make less precise stitches than the computerized machines and lack the ability to perform decorative embroidery stitches.
Computerized sewing machines, on the other hand, usually come with a variety of built-in stitches. You can also purchase and download many more designs from the internet onto the computer. A computerized sewing machine makes very precise stitches and is capable of creating highly elaborate stitching designs.

Mechanical vs. Computerized Sewing Machines: How Do You Sew?

Making the choice between mechanical vs. computerized sewing machines should be based on how you sew. If you are planning to do simple sewing projects and make alterations, a mechanical sewing machine is probably all the machine that you will ever need. But if you want a machine that you can “grow into” and expand your sewing skills, you are going to want something beyond the basics either now or later.

The Pros of a Mechanical Sewing Machine

Some people use a mechanical sewing machine their entire life. They never feel need to upgrade to a more complex machine. There are a number of reasons that they may prefer to sew on a more basic sewing machine. Some of the pros include:

  • Comfort – If you learned to sew on a mechanical machine or used one in a sewing class, it might feel as familiar to you as eating with a fork! You know what to do to get the machine to sew the way you want it and don’t have to take the time to figure out how to do something new. When you are ready to start a project, you really are ready!
  • Simplicity – Sewing is an ages old skill that has been passed down through the generations of your family. You may have watched your grandmother sew on an old pedal-style machine. A mechanical machine may be as modern as you want to get.
  • You’re Allergic to Technology – Technology is great – when you know how to use it! There is a learning curve involved when transitioning to a computerized machine. If you aren’t tech-savvy and prefer to do things manually, then a mechanical machine will be the best choice for you.
  • More Affordable – Mechanical machines cost significantly less than computerized ones. You can purchase a top brand mechanical machine at a much lower cost of a top-end computerized one. You shouldn’t pay for more sewing machine than you really need.

Of course, there are also pros to purchasing a computerized machine, including:

  • Automated Features – Computerized machines include a number of features that save time and make sewing easier. An automatic needle-threader is the biggest time-saver in sewing! Other automatic features include tension adjustment, bobbin winder, thread cutter, locking straight stitch function for reinforcing seams, and auto-tying to secure the ends of the seam.
  • More Precise Stitching – There’s no guesswork that goes into sewing with a computerized machine. Many modern models can tell you the best stitch type and stitch speed for the project and monitor the stitching for precise results.
  • Versatility – If your sewing projects extend to quilting, embroidery, or heavy duty projects, a computerized machine has the versatility to handle them all. Thick or multi-layer fabrics don’t present a problem like they will on mechanical machines.
  • Machines for Specialized Sewing – There are machine models available that have a larger throat for bulky projects or built-in embroidery designs for personalizing your creations. Computerized machines offer on-screen tutorials that make it easier to choose your designs and get the results you want effortlessly. You also have the option to purchase embroidery designs online and transfer them from your computer to the sewing machine. This means a virtually endless supply of new designs to try.

The Final Decision between Mechanical vs. Computerized Sewing Machines

If you still aren’t sure which type of machine is best for you, remember that your choice doesn’t have to be your final one. If you are just starting out, a mechanical machine will give you a chance to develop your skills and see how far you want to go with your newfound hobby. Once you have accomplished the basics, you may feel ready to make the move to a computerized machine that gives you more options.
On the other hand, if you plan to do a lot of sewing or want to expand into embroidery or quilting, a computerized sewing machine could be the right choice for you right now. Now that you know the differences between the two, making the final decision should be easier. Just make the choice according to how you plan to sew.


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