If you are new to sewing you might be thinking of purchasing your first sewing machine.  Here are a few things to consider to help you in the process.

USAGE
Firstly you will need to think about how often you will use your sewing machine and what you will be using it for.  For example, if you will just be doing a bit of mending and simple sewing like tote bags and clothing then your requirements will differ to if your usage was going to be on a daily basis with a focus on quilting or embroidery.
Keep in mind that your intended usage now may change in the future so be aware of this if you think this could be likely.

BUDGET
A sewing machine is a major purchase so you will need to consider your budget.  How much you can afford to spend will obviously affect what sewing machine you can ultimately purchase.
If you have a very tight budget it might be worthwhile shopping around and looking out for sales.  It can also be a good idea to buy a second hand machine through your local sewing machine dealer, or even look out for a quality used machine on eBay or Gumtree.
It is advisable to shop around and to compare brands and to compare what additional extras are included in the purchase.

STITCHES
The number of stitches available on some machines can be overwhelming so it is a good idea to have an idea of what stitches will be essential for you.  Some of the most popular stitches that you will probably need are straight stitch, zig zag, button hole and blind hem.
You will want to be able to adjust the stitch lenght and stitch width so these are important features to look for.

SPECIAL FEATURES
There are a multitude of special features available on some machines which can definitely increase the price.  There are four special features that I would recommend that your machine has.
1.  Automated needle threader - because we all know how frustrating it can be trying to get that thread through the tiny hole of the needle!
2. Adjustable speed control - this enables how to control how fast/slow you sew
3. Multiple needle positions - this means that the needle can be moved to the left and right which is extremely useful for zippers and top stitching.
4. Auto thread cutter - whilst not an essential feature to have you will definitely love it if it is available.

FEET
Again your requirements here will be dependant upon your planned usage, for example, if you intend to use your sewing machine for quilting then you will need a walking foot, a spring action foot and a quarter inch foot.  If you will be using your sewing machine for sewing clothes then you will be on the look out for a zipper foot and a button hole foot.  It is a good idea to find out the cost of additional feet should the need arise for you to purchase them at a later time.

 

So there you have a few things for you to consider before making your purchase.  As I said a sewing machine can be quite a major purchase so I definitely recommend that you do your research on brands, packages, inclusions etc...  

Good luck with your purchase and happy sewing!