A computerized home sewing machine is just a machine that has a pre-programmed and sometimes updateable computer panel into which various stitches are stored. A standard machine has only mechanical parts. Stitches are formed by a variety of stitch cams that are in the machine. The number of stitch cams and the combination of stitches they can form will determine the number and types of stitches that can be sewn on a mechanical sewing machine.
However, I am getting ahead of myself here. A stitch cam is a disc that has indentations around the edge which guide the needle bar and form the selected stitch. Simply turn a dial to a picture or number of a desired stitch on a mechanical sewing machine. Don't forget to pay attention to the length of the stitch and the width of the stitch - most of the time, depending on your sewing fabric, this requires changing. For this to work properly, you may have to consult your owner's manual.
To be fair, mechanical sewing machines satisfy most home sewing needs, but a computerized machine takes the guesswork out of stitch selection and makes sewing easier and much more fun. When sewing by computer, stitches are selected at the touch of a button, and the length and tension are pre-programmed. You can still adjust if you so desire to create a new look. At a touch of a button, the stitch may be reversed, elongated, or even mirror-imaged.
When sewing with decorative threads, such as rayon and metallic, the tension on a computerized home sewing machine will be automatically adjusted to ensure perfect stitching. On a mechanical sewing machine, the tension must be adjusted and a sample of the stitch sewn.
Also, some forms of basic utility sewing can be done more simply on a computerized sewing machine. Buttonholes and blind hems can be selected or adjusted at the touch of a button on a computerized machine. Mechanical machines require selecting the stitch length and width, and sewing several samples to be sure buttonholes look perfect.
When you are monogramming, a computerized machine requires you only to select the proper stitch and with a mechanical machine you must draw the monogram on your sewing fabric and sew freehand. (I have never been able to master the freehand part - my lines usually end up crocked!)
Mirror-imaging is not available on a mechanical machine. (Mirror-imaging is making two images on your sewing fabric side by side that are the same - the computerized machines have the capabilities to do this.)
Low bobbin indicators are only available on computerized sewing machines - never on the mechanical sewing machines. I used to run out of thread on my mechanical machine and not notice it until I thought I was done a seam - now, with my computerized machine, I save time and frustration when I hear a beep that tells me that my bobbin has run out of thread!
However, how do you determine whether the purchase price of a computerized home sewing machine is justified?
1. Do you sew a variety of projects from clothing to crafts for yourself and other members of your family?
2. Do you require decorative as well as utility stitches for your sewing projects?
3. Would you like a sewing machine that can be updated with new stitches and motifs?
4. Does the convenience of a computerized machine appeal to you?
Some years ago, I purchased a computerized home sewing machine for myself and I would never go back to the mechanical home sewing machines - let's just say that I spoiled myself at that time.