By Esme Clemo
Buying a used sewing machine from a secondhand seller on eBay can be a daunting process to navigate, especially if you’ve not owned a sewing machine before.
While it can be tempting to snap up the first bargain you see online, it’s important to shop smart when it comes to finding a bargain sewing machine on eBay.
With our helpful buying tips and key considerations, one of the best sewing machines on the market could soon be yours at a delightfully low cost.
- Best sewing machines for beginners: 5 machines to get you started with the hobby
- Best sewing machines: For everyone from those just starting out to experienced stitchers
- Best sewing machines for quilting: 5 picks for making the most thoughtful gift for loved ones
How to find a good deal on a second-hand sewing machine
Do your research
It sounds obvious, but buying a sewing machine is all about knowing what you want. Once you’ve worked out what you intend to use the machine for, it’ll be much easier to narrow down your options.
If you want to make small garment adjustments or sew home furnishings, a simple mechanical machine with a couple of different stitch options will suit your needs. For more advanced dress-making, you’ll need some stretch stitches, too, for working with stretch fabrics.
But if quilting or embroidery is your hobby, you’ll want to upgrade to an electronic or computerised model with the option for free-motion sewing and a larger working space.
Remember, too, that the amount you want to use your machine will affect your choice. Planning to start stitching on a daily basis? An industrial-style sewing machine might be the best option for you.
The range of sewing machines on the market is extensive, even if you have a preference on brand. To help whittle the list of models down, the following checklist of questions should help:
Read the small print
Often, items on eBay are described as being in “working condition”. Unfortunately, while “working condition” might seem like a positive, it does not mean the machine can actually sew. Ask the seller for proof of the machine’s sewing ability with an image or video of the sewing machine in action, stitching a piece of fabric.
Even if the machine seems to be in good sewing condition, all sewing machines need to be maintained and serviced regularly, so be prepared to pay for the machine to be serviced once you’ve bought it. Consider this cost on top of the bidding price on eBay to give you an idea of the total spend, especially if you’re trying to stick to a budget.
Ask what’s included
Before bidding on eBay, have a look at the sewing machine model on the brand’s website. Make a note of the list of accessories usually included with the machine and double check that the eBay listing matches it. If it doesn’t, this is usually the reason the machine is being sold.
Missing accessories can be cheaply replaced, but it will increase the overall cost of the machine, so it’s best to buy a machine that comes complete with the necessary accessories.
Look for hidden costs
Most people get tripped up by postage prices, which can rack up your overall spend by a significant amount. It’s a good idea to set your search filter to the local area to avoid high costs when it comes to postage.
Better yet, look for a machine that’s available for collection. Sewing machines can be very heavy, so if you can avoid the cost of shipping you’ll save a lot of money. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the way the machine will be packaged up.
Head to a reputable store
A lot of sewing machine companies sell their models through outlet stores on eBay. You can easily pick up an ex-display model, usually in perfect sewing condition with only a couple of minor scratches from wear and tear.
Admittedly, these trustworthy outlets price their machines a little higher than second-hand machines from private sellers but, if you’re looking for a quick fix, this is the safest and best option.
If in doubt, always pay via PayPal. It will give you some protection as the consumer when it comes to buying your bargain sewing machine on eBay.
Esme Clemo is the home and craft editor at woman&home. With over seven year’s experience working in the publishing industry, she’s written for Womanandhome.com, GoodtoKnow, woman&home, Woman’s Weekly, Woman, Woman’s Own, Chat, Now, Pick Me Up, The Craft Network and Wealden Times magazines and websites, as well as a stint as a columnist for Wedding Ideas.
There’s nothing she doesn’t know about DIY, weddings and interiors. Everything in her home and wardrobe has a DIY twist and she knows all the tools needed for getting the job done. Be it her trusty sewing machine to update clothing and cushions or her battered collection of power tools to strip her staircase or build raised beds in her garden. She sure has a hands-on approach when it comes to testing out products for our reviews.
Having just completed an interior design course with the University of Arts London, she’s now embarking on project managing and designing her own kitchen renovation, ready to share all her tips, tricks and best home buys with you. You can follow her reno journey on Instagram @esmeclemo
Royal Caribbean will require guests 2 years and older to be tested for COVID-19
The cruise line has updated its testing policy to ensure the health and safety of guests and employees on board
By Rylee Johnston •
The best sex toys for every type of earth-shattering orgasm
We spoke to the experts to determine the 12 best sex toys for every use, every budget, every preference and every body
By Emilie Lavinia •
The best sewing machines for every budget—including top models from Bernina, Singer, and Janome
Find the best sewing machine to suit your sewing skill level with our expert guide
By Esme Clemo •
How to reset your Kindle—3 simple solutions and what to do if it doesn't work
Here's how to reset a Kindle, because sometimes even the best ones fall victim to the dreaded curse of freezing.
By Isabelle Broom •
The best eReaders to buy—from Kindles to Kobo devices
With our expert guide to the best eReaders, we uncover the right eReader for every book fan and budget
By Isabelle Broom •
Best sewing machines for beginners: 5 machines to get you started with the hobby
Our round-up of the best sewing machines for beginners has something to suit every budget
By Esme Clemo •
Best Kindles to buy in 2021—which Amazon device is right for you and your reading preferences?
Our best Kindles round-up examines all the features of each device on the market, as well as their prices, to help you make the right decision
By David Nield •
How to make a cushion cover in less than 30 minutes
Learn how to make a cushion cover in just 4 simple steps
By Esme Clemo •
Hobbies for women that will spark creativity and help you discover a new passion
Try one of these exciting hobbies for women and reap the benefits for both body and mind
By Lauren Hughes •
Brother Innov-is A60 Special Edition sewing machine review
In our Brother Innov-is A60 Special Edition sewing machine review, we discover a machine that truly ticks all the boxes
By Esme Clemo •