Question: What current 2015 models of sewing machines would you recommend for someone visually impaired?

Recently, I was at a sewing machine shop looking at machines to check out current models for my visually impaired students. It is best and easiest if the machine is mechanical. Meaning it has manual dials without being computerized or without an electronic LED screen panel mixed with dials. I also keep in mind what my students will be making and doing with the sewing machine.

There are 3 models that I found that I would recommend to my students. These have basic stitches and more than enough stitch patterns. The machines are listed from the least expensive to the higher priced: Janome My Style 100 or Janome HD-3000 and if money is not an issue Bernina 1008.

All three can be easily marked with the tactile markings of the guide tape method for even seams and bump dots to mark the stitch lengths and stitch widths. All three models allow for the needle to be off-centered to the left so the quarter-inch seam allowance can be made with the guide tape. The quarter-inch seam is great for quilters. And all three machines make buttonholes and have a variety of stitch patterns.

The Janome My Style 100 is the lightest of the three machines with 10 stitch patterns including the blanket stitch. The bobbin inserts horizontally.

The Janome HD-3000 you will have to count the turns of the knob for the stitch pattern selection since the positions cannot be labeled with a bump dot. This machine has 18 stitch patterns including the featherstitch and blanket stitch. For the stitch length and stitch width, the knobs slide and the positions can be marked with bump dots. The bobbin also inserts horizontally.

The Bernina 1008 model is the only one of the three that has a vertical bobbin and a needle position knob. To be able to change the needle position, allows for more making half-inch or 7/8-inch seam allowances without adding to or moving the guide tape. Most sewists don’t use these seam sizes. This machine has 17 stitch patterns including the blanket stitch and the best-finished buttonhole. Since the Bernina 1008 has been around for a few years, sometimes you can find a used model for a less price than the current year’s.

Just know there is a sewing machine out there that can be easily adapted for anyone who is visually impaired. And more information on sewing with adaptive techniques is available in my new book, Needle Arts with Vision Loss: How To Enjoy Machine Sewing Without Sight. Go to the Book Series page of this site for links to the e-book format or order the hard copy print version on Amazon.

Keep on stitching and enjoying needle arts without sight!