Buying a sewing machine can be a challenge. I’ve got some advice that can help with your decision. Because I sew a lot and own several sewing machines, people ask me fairly often for advice in choosing a sewing machine for themselves. Usually the questions are concerning the brand of sewing machine, the price of the sewing machine, and the features that I consider necessary.
I’m happy to offer my opinion on any or all of those questions, but my #1 word of advice for buying a new sewing machine has to do with WHERE to buy a sewing machine. My advice is always that same. Buy your new sewing machine from a sewing machine dealer.
Recently, I decided to buy a new basic sewing machine so that I would have a back up machine for my “good” sewing machine that is getting older. I wanted a Janome sewing machine so that all of the accessories would be interchangeable with the sewing machine I use most. You might expect that since I knew what kind of machine I wanted and what features I would need, that I’d just log in to Amazon and have this machine on its way to me with that famous Amazon two-day free shipping. That is NOT what I did! Not only would I never buy a sewing machine from Amazon, but I also never recommend that you do that.
Instead of clicking that “buy now with one click” button, I drove to my local Janome sewing machine dealer.
Here are three reasons why I always recommend buying a sewing machine from a sewing machine dealer:
1. At the dealership, I can see the sewing machine in person. The dealer, who was trained by the sewing machine company will demonstrate how to use the machine. I can sew with the machine myself, just as I would test drive a potential new car.
2. Sewing machine dealers offer repair and cleaning services to their customers. Once a year when my sewing machine needs to be professionally cleaned, I take it back to the dealer where I bought it. I can also return to the dealer if my sewing machine should need to be repaired.
Last year, while working on a sewing project, I accidentally sewed over a straight pin. My needle broke, and I could not get my machine to sew properly. Because I depend on my sewing machine for my small business, this was a crisis. I immediately called the dealer who is also known as The Sewing Machine Doctor. He advised me of a few things I could try to get the machine working again. None of those suggestions worked, so he agreed to take a look at my sewing machine that same day! Would I have gotten that kind of service from Amazon? No way!
3. I am supporting a small business in a nearby community. As a small business owner myself, I know how important it is to support other small business owners who can sometimes feel that we can’t compete with Amazon, Walmart, and other huge businesses.
Buying a sewing machine locally, just makes sense. If you find yourself in the market for a new sewing machine, I hope you will consider shopping at a local sewing machine dealership. I can guarantee you’ll be glad you did!
Do you have a local sewing machine dealership in your area?
What’s in a name? If the extent of my agonizing over whether or not to change my online business name is any gauge, then a name is pretty darn important!
Last month, I made a big change in my online business. I made the decision to re-brand my business using my own name, and I hired a graphic designer to make a logo that suited my business. I’m very pleased with the work my designer did for me, and I’m pleased that my business name is consistent locally and online.
I have three main reasons for changing my business name, and here they are:
My official business name, the one that I use on my tax return and on any official paperwork is “Elaine Searer, Sewing & Alterations”. I chose that name, not because it’s cute or catchy, but because it’s free. In Pennsylvania, I do not have to pay a fee to use my own name as my business name. If I choose a fictitious name (like My Grandma Sews), then I have to pay to file that fictitious name with my state.
Because I never paid to use the name My Grandma Sews, it wasn’t really mine. I had no legal claim to it, and if another businessperson wanted to go into business using that name, I would have no recourse to stop them or to protect my use of that name. I considered it highly unlikely that I would ever get into a business fight with anyone wanting to use that name, but just the same, the possibility was there that I could work to build a brand and then have it snatched from me. Some people might ask why I didn’t just register that name. I could have done that, but I’m already operating a successful local sewing and alterations business under a different name…you guessed it! Elaine Searer Sewing & Alterations. What are the chances that my local customers would ever begin to refer to my business by a fictitious name? Slim to none.
The last reason is just that the word “grandma” was not the image I wanted to portray to my online customers. I like being a grandma, but I was concerned that the using the word “grandma” would make potential customers think “old-fashioned”. While I do consider my choice of patterns and projects to be classics, I do not consider them old-fashioned!
My other concern is that while the word “grandma” seemed cute to use for a business that makes children’s items, it would not suit me if I decided to list items in my shop that are not for children.With the help of my graphic designer, I made the decision to brand myself with the business name that I already own and use: Elaine Searer Sewing & Alterations.
Some people have mentioned that they miss My Grandma Sews, and I miss that name a bit myself. I am, however, convinced that I made the right decision for me and my growing business.
If you’d like to see the rest of my new graphics, please visit me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/elainesearersewing and www.facebook.com/groups/elainesearer and my Etsy shop at www.elainesearer.etsy.com .
Now that you know that a car seat poncho could help to keep your child warm and safe this winter, I want to share some details about the fleece car seat ponchos hand-crafted by me, Elaine Searer.First of all, the name “car seat poncho” doesn’t tell the whole story. These ponchos are great for traveling, but they are also warm, comfy, and easy to wear for other cold weather activities. The ponchos are made from two layers of anti-pill fleece, making them a soft, warm alternative to a winter coat. They can be layered over sweatshirts or sweaters or other jackets. These ponchos are especially convenient for those kids who don’t like to wear coats.
A car seat poncho is perfect for children of all ages who travel in car seats. You can see in the photo above that the snap-front poncho is just right for this eight-month-old. The poncho goes over the car seat buckles so nothing interferes with the child’s safety. Hand slits make it possible for children to hold a book, snack, or toy in the car, too. My handcrafted car seat ponchos are not just for girls. The style is gender neutral, and the fabric choices allow for customization to anyone’s preferences. Here’s a snap front infant sized poncho in a print that would be suitable for boys or girls. The snap front ponchos close with color coordinated plastic snaps from KAMsnaps. The fleece ponchos that I make are great for those moms who like to carry or wear their babies close to them. The poncho does not interfere with the carrier, but still provides warmth for the baby. My ponchos are carefully handcrafted using only anti-pill fleece, and the generous size range can allow you to purchase one poncho that can be worn for two or more years by your favorite little one.
The zipper front ponchos are made with a sturdy nylon coil or molded plastic two-way jacket zipper and include a zipper tab cover at the top to prevent the zipper from rubbing sensitive chins.
The ponchos come in a wide range of sizes and are priced according to size. Please visit my Etsy shop for more information at www.elainesearer.etsy.com.
I also invite you to join my Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/elainesearer where I post lots of pictures, news about fabrics and sales, and other fun stuff.
Keep your little one warm and safe this winter with a hand-crafted fleece poncho. All of my children’s items meet CPSC safety requirements.