Whether you’re a beginner wanting to do basic hemming or a super-sewer with your sights set on a complicated quilt or creative curtains, a good sewing machine is your best ally. With needle power back in fashion, your machine can take pride of place in your home – and if you choose the right one, it could last a lifetime. Here’s our pick of the best sewing machines money can buy, covering everything from entry-level machines for first-timers to specialist models for embroidery or heavy-duty materials. And if you don’t know your buttonhole from your bobbin our buyer’s guide gives you the low-down on what to look for. Beginners will definitely want an easy threading system, and sewers of all types should look for a selection of stitches, along with a range of stitch widths and lengths to suit the kind of tasks you’ll be doing. As a general rule of thumb, for dressmaking, straightforward crafts and alterations, a basic machine should be fine, as long as it has several different lengths of straight stitch, a choice of zigzag stitches and automatic buttonhole – along with a free arm if you’re including sleeves and pockets. For more advanced crafts, as well as embroidery, quilting and...