sewing small talk: what’s your favorite sewing machine feature?

Hello friends!

I have two sewing machines: one American and one European. My American machine is fancier (and more expensive) than my European machine, and the feature it has that I miss the very most is the automatic thread cutting button. It’s just so handy and quick!

So this week I’m asking: what’s your favorite sewing machine feature?

What is your favorite sewing machine feature? What feature do you wish you had?What’s the most useful or convenient feature on your machine? And is there a feature you wish you had on your machine?




  1. Pam Marshall

    Needle down.

    1. Neville

      My favorite features on my machine are my auto bartack and my auto thread cutting

  2. Heidi

    I have 2 that I love…..I own a Pfaff …so IDT is a dream and I also love the needle down feature. Both of these were not available on my older sewing machines.

  3. Pal K

    My baby needs to go to the doctor so I am currently sewing on a 50+ year old machine.
    I genuinely miss the needle down feature.
    I have had to teach myself to remember to spin the flywheel, manually putting the needle down before I lift the presser foot o pivot

  4. Kathy Kingsbury

    automatic needle threader on my Bernina — LOVE IT

  5. Rebecca McK

    A Knee Lifter – can use your knee to lift the presser foot. wonderful when you need both hands on the fabric… other essential Needle up/down, auto needle threader (on those days that I can’t thread the needle), and good lighting.

  6. I only have one machine now, it’s a Janome Magnolia 7325 and it’s not a super-fancy machine but has more features than the vintage Kenmore I used until it died. The speed control feature on it was really handy when I was teaching my daughters to sew, but I don’t use that feature myself. It has a needle-down button as well, which I didn’t have before, and honestly didn’t understand the big fuss over. I don’t know that I would base a future machine purchase on having a needle-down button, but I definitely have gotten used to it.

  7. Emily

    I have a Janome 6300 (currently being serviced so I’m using my old machine). I really like the thread cutting button the Janome has. Not only did it save me the trouble of having to cut the threads, but it also cut them short, at the exact length the machine needed to start again for the next seam. The result of that is I don’t have to trim any thread when I’m done, there’s literally nothing to cut! On my old machine I need a three inch tail to start sewing – such a waste of thread.

  8. Enbee

    My sewing machine is an old (I’ve been trying to track down HOW old with no luck) Janome 108 limited edition that I bought on craigslist for $50. It has no special features! It is, however, reliable as all get out, so I suppose my favorite feature is its durability.

  9. I’m looking to replace my machine and features that are a must have include a top loading bobbin, abilities to manage thicker fabrics (ie denim), automatic buttonhole, thread cutter and drop feeds. I’ve got my eye on one, it’s just a matter of saving up now!

  10. Mary Bednarowski

    I have a new Bernina 770 QE. I totally love the machine and smile every time I use it. I love probably the most the automatic thread cutting button and automatic tying off of thread at beginning of stitching. It has so many features that I don’t even know yet. Taking a second class for it in a few weeks. So far also love automatic threading, the speed button, the big screen it has and stylus, the sensor for out of thread for upper and lower threads. needle up or down, large amount of space for fabric to slide under machine, the feet that don’t allow you to sew a stitch that would break the needle, the larger fonts and on and on. Did I say I love this machine ? 😉

  11. Emily

    Automatic thread-cutter on my Babylock Verve machine! It’s a travel machine, but I love its size and features as I teach my daughter to sew!

  12. Linda Nelson

    I splurged and got a Baby Lock with an automatic needle threader. NEVER FAIL! Just one button to push. As my eyes get worse, this a dream machine. Before that, it was automatic thread cutting and needle down positions.

  13. Kay

    Needle down and auto cutting features are my favorites!

  14. Janine

    Needle down for sure. Sometimes I sew on my mom’s (very good) mechanical machine which does not have this feature, it drives me crazy! I think I would really appreciate the cutting function, and now I’m really curious what American and European machines you have?!

  15. Penny

    I LOVE the knee-activated presser foot lifter, it allows me to have two hands where I need them. Needle stop down and automatic thread cutter are also nice, but I would be okay without them.

  16. liz n.

    Being able to sew without the foot pedal. Sometimes I have to work at our kitchen island, which is much taller (higher?) than my sewing table, so this feature is fantastic for me.

  17. Annette

    I got a new machine for my birthday last year , a Janome Atelier 6 and I do live the thread cutting button. Also the needle up/down button. But it’s so heavy. But still love it. Next birthday less than two months. ??

  18. Annette

    My second reply but on reflection it’s the buttonholes. I modified the Gelato to have a button placket right down back so a lot of buttonholes all perfect.made two. Also made three Astor blouses and all buttonholes perfect. If only I could line them up perfectly. But it’s ok.

  19. Lisbet

    I have an Elna Carina Jubilee from around 1982. I still love it. Among my favorite features is the speed adjuster. It is a Hare/Tortoise thing and I have always liked it. Also the little bobbin pick-upper on a spring is very handy. I know if I had more features I would probably get very used to them really fast. Once we get used to a convenience it is hard for us humans to get “un-used” to one.

    1. J

      I have a similar one from a similar era – mine is called a ‘Sapphire’ (also Elna) … I love the hare/tortoise thing …. I sewed exclusively on this machine until last year when I bought a second machine to have at our holiday house … I still love my old Sapphire though and imagine I will sew on it til the day it (or i) die 🙂

      like others I like its durability also …

  20. Virginia Driver

    The thread cutter is my top convenience feature. An equally important feature ( for me) that also influenced my recent purchase of a Janome Skyline 7 machine, but not used as often as the thread cutter, is the buttonhole foot that creates buttonholes by placing the button on the foot and the machine uses the exact button as a templet and each buttonhole
    is identical! I no longer breakout in a sweat when a garment requires buttonholes!

  21. Kathryn Barnhill

    I collect machines so I have many but the best feature for me is an automatic needle threader.I think Brother does it best. It never misses.

  22. Kathy Eastwood

    The feature that I never knew I needed is the ability to make the needle stop in the down position! As my eyes get older, I think I need to look for an automatic needle threader.

  23. Lisa Graetz

    I agree with many, the needle down, the knee lift and actually the mirror function on my Bernina. I do a lot of machine applique with turned under edges. I use a small stitch. With the zig zag stitch holding down the edge, and as I am right handed, I prefer to have the zig zag stitch go to the left and the straight stitch run just to the right of the applique edge. That works best for me.

  24. Angie

    The auto foot lift/needle down for applique!!

  25. Nora Nevers

    Threadd cutter and needle threader. But so many – I recently upgraded from a 45 year old machine. Even though it was the very top of the line when I bought it the new one leaves it in the dust.

  26. Frances

    I sew on a straight-stitch-only machine and am fairly unmoved by bells and whistles, but oh, I do wish I had air-threading my serger–next life.

  27. Debbe Tobbe

    I’ve got an old Singer 5000, the older I get the happier the auto needle threader make me.

  28. Marge Gammie

    The needle threader for me plus the needle down and the cutting of the threads. I bought a big extension area which fits my machine and keeps the fabric lovely and flat when sewing long seams

  29. a good stitch – I probably like the stitch on my elna lotus the most with singer 201 (made 1953) second. I have a number of old machines, and one electronic. While the electronic has some useful features, the stitch quality is still not as good as the vintage machines – i think this is because it is so automates. I used an industrial machine years ago and liked the knee lift for needle as it gave a great hands free option re flywheel

    Like Enbee comment above, the durability of machines is possibly the best feature –

  30. Mary McShane

    Push-button operation replacing foot pedal on my older machines. I bought one of those Project Runway Brother machines, thinking it would be a cheap, temporary machine while I saved up for a premium one–but discovered I loved its modern features, and am still using it!

  31. Kelly

    Like Emily, I have a Janome 6300. I needed to have the motor replaced. Once it was fixed it, it works great! I recently bought a longarm (Janome), and the thing I miss the most on it, is not having tension issues! My domestic is set it and forget it unless I ‘m using a specialty fabric. My longarm tension needs adjustment every time I change the bobbin.

  32. Theresa in Tucson

    Push button wins for me. I have the same Project Runway Brother machine (part of a stable of six) that Mary has. I don’t even know where the foot pedal is. I have different machines for different uses. The Singers are used for straight stitching and topstiitching, the Berninas for garment sewing, knits and when I need a zig-zag and the Brother for buttonholes. That push button aspect of the Brother saved my sanity after foot surgery, when I could not put my foot down and use the foot pedal. i sat at the dining room table, foot propped up on a chair and sewed. I was in a boot for a month and a half. That long without sewing would have been impossible.

  33. Chris

    Auto needle threaded!

  34. Maret

    I miss my old Singer Futura with you he wind-in-place bobbin. So awesome! New machines don’t do this.

  35. I love my automatic threader on my Babylock Ellisimo. I can’t live without needle down either.

  36. Mary Coonts

    Needle down and the fact that, with needle down, when you stop the presser foot lifts up a bit so you can pivot. I have a Pfaff Icon that has so much but I would like a laser light and maybe a camera.

  37. Brandy

    Needle down and automatic threader.

  38. Shelly

    I have a Janome 8200qcp and I adore the knee lift. That said, I also couldn’t live without the thread cutter. There are so many fun things on that machine, but those are absolutely the best.

  39. RXG

    I have a Bernina 570 QE. Knowing sewing would be a live long passion I splurged and purchased a machine that would give me all of the features I could every want as I grow in my skills and experience. My favorite features are the settings that allow for – automatic needle down, back tack at the beginning and end of stitching that also ties off the treads!) and the large touch screen. But the one feature that I thought I would never use that is hands-down my favorite is the hands-free lever.

  40. Marleen

    This is going to sound odd, but I miss using my Mum’s Elna (it’s 47 years old) as the zig zag stitch is the best. I have a Janome DM7200 and would love an automatic needle threader on it… My Mum always borrows my machine to use the automatic button hole maker. I would love better lighting too.

  41. Holly

    I have a vintage Bernina and an electronic one. I only use the electronic one when I need to use a walking foot or an invisible zipper foot. Otherwise I use my old mechanical. Bert gets the job done. Perfect stitches, easy to clean and lube, and totally reliable. I took the new one to a repair shop for its annual physical, when I got it back, it would not do a blind stitch. So it was gone for a month in total. My mechanical machine never abandons me like that. Denim? No problem. Silk? No problem. Bert does it all. My favorite thing? No problem! I had a bells and whistles €5000 machine. It was like the MGB I had in the 70’s, always something. That’s when I bought my mechanical Bernina. I have never looked back. No point in having needle up/down if you can’t make it work due to an electronic glitch.

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