History of Handheld Sewing Machines
Today, handheld sewing machines are incredibly popular, with more and more people using them to quickly and easily stitch fabrics and materials. But where did this innovation come from and who started selling them? To trace the history of the handheld sewing machine, we have to go all the way back to the early 19th century and the work of famed English inventor and manufacturer Thomas Saint.
Saint first patented the idea of a hand-powered leather stitching machine in 1790. Unfortunately, it was far too large and unwieldy for everyday use, so it failed to gain traction in the consumer market. It was only years later that Saint, along with his son and later collaborator, Robert, developed and patented what we now know as the first modern day handheld sewing machine in 1874.
Using Saint’s design as the basis, many other companies and inventors, such as Charles Weisenthal, over the next few decades began to innovate and improve on the concept. Weisenthal, for example, developed and patented the world’s first containerised machine for home use. This made the handheld machines even more easily accessible, and therefore more popular.
Eventually, as sewing machines evolved and technology improved, a range of different models found their way into the mass consumer market. Today, they come in all shapes, sizes and prices, meaning almost anyone can find a model to suit both their needs and budget.
Benefits of Handheld Sewing Machines
The main benefit of using a handheld machine over a traditional sewing machine is the portability. The machines are incredibly lightweight and easy to carry, allowing fabric-workers to take them anywhere they need. This is especially beneficial for people who need to take their project with them on the go, or for those who are looking for a quick fix solution.
Furthermore, unlike large sewing machines, handheld sewing machines are incredibly easy to learn and use. Most models come with a range of different stitch patterns, making them suitable for beginners and experts alike. The machines are also much cheaper than regular models, meaning less of an investment is needed for those looking to dip their toes into the world of sewing.
Who Sells Handheld Sewing Machines?
Today, a huge variety of different companies sell handheld sewing machines. Popular retailers such as Walmart, John Lewis, Amazon and Ebay carry a wide range of models, with prices starting from as little as $20 USD. Other sewing accessory websites such as Sewing Machines Plus, as well as dedicated online suppliers such as Joann, are also excellent resources for finding a handheld sewing machine.
In addition, many offline department stores and speciality shops carry the machines in-store, allowing customers to inspect the machines and ask questions before purchasing. Handheld sewing machines can also be purchased second-hand, although it is important to check the model and condition before purchasing.
Handheld Sewing Machine Reviews
When shopping for a handheld sewing machine, it is always best to read reviews from both experts and customers. Reviews from third-party sources such as customer satisfaction surveys and consumer website ratings are especially helpful in understanding the pros and cons of each machine.
It is also important to read user feedback from those who have already purchased the machine. This can offer insight into the performance and working ability of the device. Reviews from sewing magazines, forums and social media are excellent for finding out up-to-date opinions and experiences with each model.
Using a Handheld Sewing Machine
When using a handheld sewing machine, it is important to read the accompanying manual carefully and to practice sewing on a scrap of fabric before beginning a project. This will help to ensure that the machine is used correctly and safely.
It is also important to always remember to tie all knots in place, as well as to use the correct presser foot for different materials and stitch types. The presser foot is the small metal plate below the needle that holds the fabric in place and should always be adjusted for the thickness of the fabric being sewn.
Finally, it is important to always remember to unplug the machine when it is not in use, and to regularly oil it using the correct oil to ensure smooth operation.
Maintenance and Repair of Handheld Sewing Machines
When it comes to maintaining and repairing a handheld sewing machine, it is important to have the correct tools to avoid any damage. This includes screwdrivers, tweezers, small scissors and a small brush. It is also important to have the correct oil and lubricant to keep the machine working smoothly.
It is also strongly recommended to use only original parts when replacing pieces. This is especially important for the bobbin and needle contents, as using non-original parts may cause the machine to malfunction or sew inaccurately.
Maintaining and cleaning the machine regularly can also help to prevent wear and tear. This includes regular dusting and ensuring that there is no dust or fluff built up inside the machine itself.
Alternative Uses for Handheld Sewing Machines
Although handheld sewing machines were originally developed as a sewing device, they can be used for a range of different tasks. Since many of the models are so compact, they are ideal for embroidery, quilting and other types of detailed stitching.
In addition, they can also be used to fix small tears in fabric and clothing. This makes them incredibly useful for quick repairs and mending tasks. Even though most machines are designed to be used with fabrics, some are also particularly useful for repairing leather.
Finally, handheld sewing machines can be incredibly useful for creating intricate patterns and decorations on paper, such as scrapbooking, papercraft and card-making. By using the various interchangable feet, they can be used to create a range of interesting designs and embellishments.
Handheld Sewing Machine Brands
There are a wide range of different brands of handheld sewing machines available on the market today. Singer, the famous American sewing machine manufacturer, makes several models of handheld machines, ranging from basic beginner models to more advanced machines for experienced sewers.
Other popular handheld sewing machine brands include Brother, Janome, Sure-Stitch and Reliable. All of these brands have models available in a range of prices and features, making it easy to find a machine to suit every budget and skill level.
Choosing the Right Handheld Sewing Machine
When choosing a handheld sewing machine, there are several criteria to consider. Firstly, one needs to consider their needs and the types of fabrics they will be working with. This will help to determine the right stitch patterns and the correct presser foot for the job.
In addition, the size of the machine is also an important consideration. For example, if one needs to take a machine on the go, they may want to opt for a smaller model that is compact and lightweight enough to carry around. For those looking to make intricate home decor items, they may want to consider a larger machine with more features.
Finally, budget is also an important factor to consider when looking for a handheld sewing machine. Prices for the machines range from around $20 USD for the most basic models, to several hundred for larger machines with advanced features.
Handheld sewing machines have been around for over a hundred years, making them a popular and convenient device for those who enjoy stitching and sewing. With an ever-increasing range of models and brands on offer, it is easier than ever to find the perfect model for every budget, fabric and skill level. Finding the right machine should always be the number one priority when choosing a handheld sewing machine, and reviews, user feedback and expert knowledge are all essential tools for ensuring a successful purchase.