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PatternReview Blog > PatternReview on Facebook: Sewing Machine-Must Haves!
PatternReview on Facebook: Sewing Machine-Must Haves! By DianeSev on 10/8/13 2:58 PM

What sewing machine feature can't you see yourself living without? Have you bought a new machine and found a really neat feature you have to have from now on? Or do you miss a feature that you had on your old machine? What is it?

Tell us about it in the comment section below!

Or, join the discussion on Facebook.

Here’s what other members said on Facebook...

Can't live without automatic buttonholer. New machine will have start/stop button & thread snipper.

auto buttonholer box

Auto buttonholer, and a responsive foot pedal.

Air threading

Thread snipper.

I like the needle up (or down if I choose) feature. Old machine was definitely more powerful to go through multiple layers of denim. Have to get it out once in a while.

IDT on a Pfaff, The gear down feature and rotary bobbin on a Husqvarna and the new active stitch on Merrow's new flat lock machines!

I have on old semi-industrial Pfaff from the 70's and love the built in walking foot! I know I lived without this for years, but I can't imagine going back! Especially for sewing knits, it's a must-have for me.

Free hand system

Needle up/down for me!


I had the first computerized Viking and loved it, but it went up in smoke one day and hearing how much it would cost to just look at it, and more to repair it, I went out and bought a Singer with all the same features. I hated the Singer. I saw an ad on Craig's List for a Janome Stylist, went to look at it and bought it. It's a sweet little machine which sews like a dream, has straight stitch and zig zag. I have found I don't really need a bunch of stitches and really didn't make much use of all the possible stitches on the Viking. So now it's just me, the Janome and a Brother serger which also works like a dream. I don't miss all the extra features.

Rolled hem foot.


The self threader!!!!!!!!!

It's not a new feature, but I finally figured out how to do a blind hem stitch. Don't know why it took me so long to get it right!

Buttonholes done with embroidery unit and absolute positioning has changed my life.

Bought a new Juki last year. Cuts the threads with a backwards push on the pedal. Awesome.

The built in walking foot.


New loves: needle up/down, auto thread cutter, and knee control for the presser foot on my new Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900. /// Old loves: the ability to wind a bobbin without unthreading the needle on my Husqvarna 215 (circa 1995).

I love my auto threader. I want my next machine to have auto thread cutting. An auto lock stitch would be nice too!

I went from a vintage White rotary to a Brother SE400, and let me tell you, auto threading? AMAZING. Such a simple thing but I am now spoiled. Not to mention, automatic cutting.


One step buttonhole function.

Dependability!! My 1966 Kenmore

Walking foot

I love the picot edge foot and the narrow hemmer feet on my Brother, especially for hemming skating dresses.

Knee lift.

Integrated Dual Feed.

Automatic button holes and needle position adjustment is a must for my next machine. Do auto threaders really work?

Built-in dual feed


Ability to slow down speed of motor

Needle down, auto walking foot, Auto thread cutter, computerized/adjustable pressure foot setting. All on my newer Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0. I would miss the perfectly straight stitching which is lost on my new machine if I hadn't kept my first Pfaff when I moved up.

Knee-control presser foot lift, built-in walking foot and thread cutter.

Free Hand System (knee lift) on my Bernina sewing machines and air threading on my Babylock cover stitch.

I have a few, buttonholer, threader, and the auto stop in the down position.. Is that right?

My newest machine in my collection came with an switch-out extension that makes sewing larger fabrics so much easier. I also purchased a marine sewing machine that is amazing with industrial fabrics through multiple feeds from both top and bottom so there is no shift between fabric layers.

Knee lift!


Loving my viking Opal 670. love, love, love the the thread cutter feature! The sewing advisor is great too!

Knee lift

Auto thread & knee lift!


Speed basting on my Singer Golden touch

Knee lift, auto threading and the thread cutter that is automatic at

Thread cutter

Needle down

Thread cutter, auto needle threader


Automatic buttonholer

Integrated dual feed on a Pfaff, best feature ever!!


Metal gears

Hard to say.. I have 9 machines!!!

A good buttonhole setting that makes sturdy buttonholes. I can't stand ones that never line up at the end or doesn't make tight enough stitches. Nothing like sewing something and then having the buttonholes shred.

Hard to say...I have 9 machines and love each for a different reason.

One step buttonhole


I absolutely love being able to sew without a pedal.

I miss the chain stitch of my (very) old Singer Futura. I have a Bernina 1230, which I love, but I still miss that chain stitch!!

Being able to sew without manually lifting and lowering the presser foot.

I can see there are some features mine is missing-I would miss bobbin winding without unthreading, automatic tension adjustment, computer screen-Viking #1+

Automatic needle thread!

IDT, needle down

Easier threading- thread cutting- No pedal. These things have me spoiled.

Knee lift, thread cutter, speed change, bobbin winding on separate motor, auto u/d button for needles and auto off/on button.


Auto-tension adjustment on my Janome was the deal breaker for me

Automatic thread cutter

For me, the basics are best for most projects. The more bells and whistles the more things that can get out of adjustment.

I recently bought a Juki f400 and I truly like this machine, but what I miss is the integrated dual feed of my old Pfaff machine. so when it matters, I use the Pfaff.

Built-in dual feed

Do love all the sewing machine feet that offer such great versatility

Automatic buttonholes. I cannot believe I made buttonholes manually for years....


Knee lift & auto threader

I miss my auto lock that tied the beginning and ending stitches.

I would never want or have to use a machine without a needle threader doohickey ....

The walking foot

I second the needle threader doohickey

Needle Threader; Needle Up/Down; Start/Stop button (Sewing without the foot control)

Needle threader

I miss my old treadle machine - perfect control.

treadle machine

Here is a tally of the top "Must-Have" sewing machine features mentioned in this post.


See the Sewing Machine Reviews for more likes, dislikes and must-haves!

What sewing machine feature can't you live without? Tell us!

18 Comments      Login to Add a Comment    
ChrisEisbest said... (8/12/15 9:45 PM) Reply
All the presser feet! I had a Viking for 35 years. It had 4 presser feet. The cost of the Viking feet seemed like only the 1% could indulge themselves. Now i have a machine with 21 presser feet and I am looking to Amazon to provide even more. It is amazing how easy a task is with the right tool!
Mimi O said... (10/17/13 6:52 PM) Reply
DH gave me a new Janome sewing machine last February. I just love several of the features on the machine. It has a few more buttonhole selections that I previously didn't have and it has been nice trying them all out. Next is the thread cutter...I <3, <3, <3 this feature. And then there is the needle up or needle down stop position. So nice to not have to worry about this anymore on difficult seams & corners. As my eyes are getting older, the needle threading feature comes in handy as well!
DebraGetSetSew said... (10/16/13 7:36 PM) Reply
I have created a list of.ideal features to look for on a sewing machine on my blog: The knee lift and movable needle positions would be in my essentials!
Bella120 said... (10/16/13 7:06 PM) Reply
I love being able to move the needle position on my Brother Inovis 4000. However, one thing I'm finding really frustrating is the impossibility of threading the needle by hand. I just can't get it to work. Means I can't do any twin needle sewing on this machine, which is really annoying.
DougieB said... (10/16/13 5:07 PM) Reply
I have an old Elna 500, a very basic machine with a beautiful straight stitch and a 3-step curvy zig zag (whatever the proper name for that is!). I'm keeping that machine for my granddaughter. I now have a mature Pfaff which I like, particularly the needle up, needle down and the built-in dual feed. Still would like that zig zag though.
marycds said... (10/16/13 4:57 PM) Reply
The ability to move the needle to the right or left used in conjunction with all the various Viking feet. Needle up/down, pivot, and automatic tensions.
KathleenSews said... (10/16/13 3:17 PM) Reply
9 mm stitch width, at least. My Pfaff 7570 bit the dust and I'm using my Bernina 930 Record electronic. Wonderful machine but only a 5 or 6 mm stitch width.
R.A. said... (10/16/13 3:10 PM) Reply
For me, it is definitely the needle up/down feature. Both my Berninas (930 & 440) have it and it is a life saver!!!
mom25sons said... (10/16/13 11:15 AM) Reply
I would give it all up for a reliable all metal mechanical machine like my old Sears Kenmore!
mom25sons said... (10/16/13 11:14 AM) Reply
I would give it all up for a reliable all metal mechanical machine like my old Sears Kenmore!
kellen46 said... (10/16/13 11:01 AM) Reply
having a sewing machine at all....two weeks ago my 830 had a meltdown and went mad, off to the dealer, using my Inovis I broke a needle and she refused to make a stitch, using my old stand by 830record it indicated it had worn brushes. We persevered by giving the wheel a bit of a hand now and then. So the only working machine in the house is the serger and I am convinced if I touch it then it also will go mental. Whew fast forward two weeks, All machines home and in working order except the 830 record, I found a dealer who will conjigger a bypass for the brushes conundrum since the original parts are no longer available. So next trip over the mountain my beloved first machine will go to the hospital for repairs. I spent a week with out a machine in good working order. I never want to do that again. Who would have thought with four machines in the house, with a backup to a backup I would be left so bereft. Now the 830 had better be ready to work because during my off time I basted up a ton of quilt tops. Oh and I love the dual feed feature and auto cutting especially when quilting.
DawnRed said... (10/16/13 8:15 AM) Reply
Foot hovering on the Bernina 830. And the built in dual feed.
MarmotaB said... (10/16/13 7:58 AM) Reply
With my new machine, compared to my old machine, I really wish all machines had a *stable* backstitching feature. Not just a lever you have to hold down to backstitch - you immediately wish you had more hands...
bklynwriter said... (10/13/13 12:53 PM) Reply
love, love, love the start button and adjustable speeds
speekna said... (10/10/13 2:08 PM) Reply
1. Extra wide sewing space 2. Needle up/down even if machine NOT on 3. separate bobbin winder motor 4. One step buttonhole
Nancy Rhodes said... (10/9/13 6:52 AM) Reply
Needle down... my third hand helper!
bestgrammy said... (10/9/13 5:42 AM) Reply
Carrying handle (real handle not a grip hole); Horizontal Upper Thread Spool; Drop-In bobbin; Drop Feed Dogs; at least 3 needle positions; Pressure Adjustment; LED Lights (stay cooler); Needle Up/Down; Stop/Start Button; Quiet when sewing; Responsive Foot Pedal; Attractive
leoniep said... (10/9/13 5:15 AM) Reply
I'm starting to think about buying a new machine. Articles like this are a real help. I already have many of these features on my must-have list (particularly needle-down). The rest I'll need to research.

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