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Sewing machines are handy when you want to make unique creations, add modifications to existing fabric and save money. Rookies can get started with the best sewing machine for beginners with user-friendly features which simplify the process and shorten the learning curve so you can soon start making stiches, embroidery and quilting. Sewing is also a fun and fulfilling hobby which allows you to create distinctive designs that are customized for your loved ones.
Before making your choice, there are important considerations that you should evaluate, such as size, weight, pre-set stitches quantity, maximum stitch length, and warranty. The size of the sewing machine influences its portability and storage while the quantity of pre-set stiches provide a variety of sewing and quilting options and shortens the process. Stitch length contributes to the strength and elasticity of seams and a lengthy warranty protects you from any unforeseen defects and malfunctioning of the sewing machine.
After thorough research on the best sewing machine for beginners, based on verified buyer reviews, expert reviewers and authoritative review sites, we compiled a list of the best models with an in-depth review of their features, strengths and drawbacks, and an informative buying guide. Our review also includes an FAQ segment, a summary of our best three models, and a comparison table ranking the performance of the best sewing machines for beginners.
"To begin sewing lessons you might want to opt for an inexpensive sewing machine just in case this won’t be your primal hobby, but this budget Singer will make you fall in love with sewing from the first stitch."
Not only is this computerized model inexpensive, but it is also a versatile machine packed with tons of user-friendly features that a beginner will find easy to operate. All the threading spots are marked with a diagram to make the process easy and the automatic bobbin winding and needle threading system which is activated by pressing the lever on the side of the unit prevents you from straining to thread the needle.
An LCD screen with a stitch selector and a diagram matching the stitches to their respective numbers enable you to choose among the 60 built-in stitches and seven auto-size buttonhole styles for a variety of embroidery options. You can use the foot pedal to control the 850 stitches per minute speed or select among the three automatic sewing speed controls. By pressing a button, you can adjust the stitch width and length up to 5 mm.
A built-in free arm is available for intricate sewing of cuffs, hems and sleeves and the spacious extra wide table can accommodate more complicated quilting projects. The well-lit work area is a lifesaver for those with poor vision and it allows you to sew at night or in dim light. Unfortunately, the machine may struggle with denim and other heavy-duty material.
Additionally, this model comes with a start/stop button and a number of feet, including a buttonhole foot, zipper foot, monogramming foot, and overcasting foot.
At only 13 pounds, you can set it up anywhere and the outer protective case is durable enough to protect the machine. Then there is the 25-year warranty which you can fall back on if anything goes wrong.
What are its best features?
Numerous pre-set stitches and buttonhole styles
Variable speed control
Free built-in arm
Automatic threading and bobbin winding
Several feet included
Spacious quilting table
Well-lit work area
What could be improved?
Presser foot only works with thin fabric and specific types of threads
This is an ideal option for beginners who are looking for an affordable and compact model which has the basic features they need to get them started on their sewing projects.
There are a variety of sewing options located on top of the unit, such as the 12 built-in stitches which include a straight stitch, zigzag stitch, a reverse stitch, buttonhole stitch, and decorative stitch. These are selected by simply turning a dial. Reverse stitching secures the stitches while the four-step buttonhole quickens the buttonhole sewing process.
Next to the stitches is a dial used to adjust the width of the stitch up to 5 mm and the length up to 4mm, and you can sew up to 1000 stitches per minute. Although it has a built-in thread cutter, you have to manually thread the needle.
Depending on the fabric you are working on, you can place the needle in two different positions to prevent jamming of the needle or skipping of stitches.
The drop feed is accessed by removing the accessories box and opening the bobbin door for quilting and free-motion stitching. It automatically moves to an upward position when sewing.
The table provides adequate space for quilting and the light weight of the unit increases its portability. This machine does not come with a case, but you can purchase the Janome Black Universal Sewing Machine Tote to protect in storage or when moving it.
Singer is an old, established brand in the world of sewing so you can expect the best in their products. This model does not disappoint. It lives up to its heavy-duty name and can sew denim and other thick fabric at a high speed of 1100 stitches per minute. The powerful motor also makes it relatively louder than other models, generating up to 71.4 decibels.
Beginners have a plethora of options with 23 pre-set stitch patterns which include 12 decorative stitches, six basic stitches, four stretch stitches and a buttonhole style. A buttonhole foot, a zipper foot and button sewing foot are also available as well as a free arm for fixing collars, cuffs and hems.
The threading process is simplified by the automatic thread cutter and automatic needle threading feature. On the other hand, changing the stitch width and length up to 6 mm is done manually using a dial control. Speed is also controlled manually with the foot pedal.
The drop-in bobbin is easy to insert and remove and the transparent cover enables you to keep an eye on the thread quantity.
The unit features a heavy duty metallic frame and a durable bedplate made of stainless steel where sheer lightweight fabric glides smoothly. It comes with a dust cover for additional protection and a seam ripper, screw driver and a spool pin felt. It is also one of the lightest sewing machines for beginners, weighing only 14.5 pounds.
If the brand reputation and 25-year warranty won’t convince you that this model is a great investment, its low pricing and user-friendly features will change your mind. It is the perfect gift for a beginner who is keen on creating unique outfits and the stylish design which comes in three different colors adds fun to it. The Quick Start guide and instruction manual will guide you through the set-up process and the high speed of 800 stitches per minute will have you completing the work in no time.
In addition to the 3-piece feed dog and extra high presser foot lift, there are 15 pre-set stitches and a four-step buttonhole for a variety of patterns. There is also a general purpose foot, zipper foot, blind hemming foot, and sliding buttonhole foot.
A dial enables you to adjust the stitch width up to 5 mm and length up to 4 mm while the free arm which is accessed by removing the accessory tray sews hems and sleeves.
Other features include dual retractable spool pins for safe storage, front-loading bobbin system with built-in instructions, darning plate for free-motion sewing, and a convenient LED light for enhanced vision.
Despite its heavy duty interior metal frame, you can take this machine with you for sewing lessons because it weighs 12 pounds.
Do not expect any frills with this machine, but you can expect it to cover all the basic sewing needs, whether embroidery, fixing sleeves or making buttonholes.
This model comes with 23 integrated stitches comprising of 6 essential stitches, 7 stretch stitches, 9 decorative stitches, and an automatic 1-step buttonhole. There are also four presser feet consisting of a zipper foot, an all-purpose foot, a buttonhole foot, and a button sewing foot.
The extra presser foot lift provides more clearance when working with several layers of fabric while the foot pedal doubles up as a start-stop feature to free your hand for other sewing activities while the free arm fixes cuffs and collars.
You can do adjust stitch length to a maximum of 4 mm and width up to 5 mm with a knob. To secure the seams at the beginning and end of stitching line, push the reverse lever for reverse stitching.
The working table is sufficient for small quilting projects, but you may find the space inadequate for bigger fabrics. Buyers also reported jammed stitches resulting from tension issues.
Its light weight of 13 pounds makes it suitable for sewing students who need to take it for classes and the built-in storage box is well-stocked with darning plate, bobbins, power cord, extra needles, and lint brush to offer you all the accessories they need.
Threading the needle consumes time and effort, so beginners will love the automation of needle threading and bobbin winding in this machine.
With one of the highest sewing speeds of 1300 stitches per minute, a differential fabric feed and one of the longest stitch widths in entry-level models, this is one of the best sewing machines for beginners.
It has a 3/4 threading capability which works with 3 or 4 threads to give you more flexibility when curating seams and overlock stitching and the color-coded guides printed on this machine direct you on thread placement.
There are 22 built-in stitch options which include ribbon locks and rolled hems to add a decorative edge to ruffles and gathers.
The differential feed dial controls the adjustable feed dogs for smooth movement of fabric and even stitches while the presser foot adjusts the pressure exerted on the fabric by regulating thread tension. In addition to the standard foot, there are two blind hem stitch and gathering snap-on feet.
The trim trap collects the trimmings made by the retractable knife blade and serves as storage for the foot controller. The retractable design prevents any accidental trimmings of fabric.
You can adjust the stitch length and width between 5 to 7 mm for a serged seam in lightweight fabric.
The 13.5 pound serger sewing machine comes with a removable free arm and a well-lit LED working area. It also comes with a soft cover, four mini spools of serger thread, an instructional DVD, and a bilingual manual.
This comprehensive guide provides further information on how to choose the best sewing machine for beginners and the tips you need to get started on your sewing journey. It also elaborates more on the most important features and answers some of the common questions in the FAQ section.
How to choose a sewing machine for beginners
The best sewing machine for beginners comes with the essential features you need to start sewing as well as a few advanced features, which will hone and upgrade your skills. These features are easy to operate and you can adjust them according to your skill level, stitch style and fabric. You can slow the speed in the initial stages and select the pre-set stitch styles as you learn how to make your own.
Since the features vary in number, usage and how they are operated from one model to another, it is best to familiarize yourself with your potential model by reading the manual and online reviews from verified buyers and authoritative review sites such as ours. You can then learn how to wind a bobbin, thread the needle, access the free arm, and adjust speed and string tension, among others.
Majority of these models are light and portable and can be taken along for classes or on trips.
Tips on starting to use sewing machines
Ensure the presser foot is in the down position to avoid tangling of the thread and jamming of the bobbin.
Use the right needle for your fabric and change your needles after approximately 16 hours of usage to prevent damaging the fabric and machine or hurting yourself if it turns into a dangerous projectile. Some models like SINGER should only be used with SINGER needles.
Confirm the correct bobbin for your machine since some may look similar.
The handwheel should be turned in a counter-clockwise direction
Do a prior test of the stitch length, width, and tension on a small piece of fabric before using them to stitch the actual fabric. You should also remove pins in the area you want to sew to avoid sewing over them and damaging the needle and potential accidents.
Ensure your working area is well-lit to prevent stitching errors and accidents.
Watch out for any strange grinding or rattling which could signify damage.
Keep the instructional manual close for a quick reference.
Consider these features of a perfect sewing machine for a novice
As a beginner, prioritizing the following features will get you the right model with the necessary requirements you need to develop your sewing skills.
There are three main categories of sewing machines: manual, mechanical and computerized.
Manual sewing machines are the traditional types which are operated by the foot pedal. They have fewer built-in stitches and require great coordination between your hands and foot.
Mechanical models are manually operated using dials and levers. They are more affordable than computerized machines and have more pre-set stitches than manual models. They also require little maintenance.
Computerized sewing machines, such as Brother CS6000i, come with plenty of high-tech features which are automated, such as tension adjustment, threading and bobbin winding. They make consistent stitches and can remember your settings preferences. They are also pricier than other models.
Some brands make models for specific needs. For instance, serger machines which excel at frills and other finishing touches.
The best sewing machine for a beginner is a mechanical model which equips you with the basics you need and introduces you to advanced features. Otherwise, manual models may be harder to navigate and computerized models may be intimidating for a beginner.
Learn all about stitches possibilities
Sewing machines come with built-in stitches which vary in number from one model to another. The larger the number, the greater the variety of patterns, embroidery and stitches you can create.
Look for a model with adjustable stitch length and width to suit different types of fabric and stitching, such as stretch, buttonhole and baste stitching. Heavy fabric may also require more stitch length and width than lighter ones.
Putting feet down
Sewing machines come with various number of presser feet designed for different purposes like monogramming and creating buttonholes and zippers.
Putting a downward pressure on the presser foot holds the fabric in place as it moves between the main foot and the feed dog. Multiple layers and heavy fabric require more exertion of pressure than sheer and lightweight fabric.
High speed quickens the sewing process so you can have more work done in a short time. For instance, SINGER Heavy Duty 4423 and Brother Serger 1034DX have a high sewing speed of 1100 and 1300 stitches per minute respectively.
Look for a model with adjustable speed option which can suit different stitching and fabric styles.
Weight, size and durability
Sewing students who may want to take their machines to classes should pay particular attention to the size and weight to ensure portability. These factors should also be considered when evaluating your available space to ensure they can fit in for set-up and storage.
Durability of a sewing machine is influenced by the type of material used in designing it. Look for a sturdy material, such as the heavy duty metallic frame and stainless steel bedplate which are featured in SINGER Heavy Duty 4423.
Take it easy – helpful features
Free arm: It makes it easy to stitch narrow and circular fabric like cuffs, sleeves, collars and hems which are harder to access.
Top-loading bobbin: The top placement makes it easier to insert and remove because you only drop in the bobbin. Look for one with a transparent case so you can keep an eye on the thread supply.
Automatic needle threading: No matter how steady your hands are or how excellent your vision is, you will struggle through threading the needle the manual, whether by seconds or minutes. An automated option will save you time and effort.
Automatic thread tensioning system: Tension is one of the main issues faced by beginners who end up breaking the thread or bunching it up. An automatic alternative does the work for you so you can get the right tension for your fabric.
Reverse stitching: It secures the seams so they do not rip open.
Light the space
Look for a model with bright LED lighting which can illuminate your working area to improve your vision in dim lighting or when sewing at night.
Most of the models in our list come with long warranties that last 25 years. A lengthy warranty will take care of any defects and malfunctions and save you money on replacement. It is also a sign of confidence in the durability of the machine.
Learn the price range
Sewing machines vary in pricing depending on their features and functionalities. If you are a beginner on a budget, you can choose an entry-level model in the $100 to $250 pricing range which will have all the basic functions you need to hone your sewing skills before upgrading to a more sophisticated model.
Thread tension is the major issue that beginners face. Low tension causes jamming and bunching up of stitches while high tension breaks the thread or traps it in the gears. Needle threading can also be a major headache. An unstable needle which moves up and down will stitch you instead of the fabric. Look for a needle whose eye faces you to make threading easier.
Cleaning and oiling your sewing machine prevents accumulation of dust and lint from fabric and lubricates the moving parts to improve performance. Our guide on How to Oil and Clean a Sewing Machine – Step-by-Step Tutorial provides you with more details on how to go about it to increase your machine’s lifespan.
Brother CS6000i has versatile user-friendly features that make it suitable for both beginners and intermediate sewing enthusiasts. It has well-marked thread placement spots, automatic needle threading and bobbin winding, extra presser feet, adjustable speed, and an LCD display with a selection of 60 pre-set stitches. It is easy enough for beginners to operate it yet advanced enough to grow their skills to an advanced level.
Janome 2212 is for beginners who want to take their machine to their classes and sewing hobbyists who enjoy having it nearby at all time. Numerous built-in stitches and a high sewing speed enable you to create and fix your outfits while overcoming time constraints.
SINGER Heavy Duty 4423 is the best sewing machine for beginners who want to stitch thick fabric like denim. It has a high sewing speed of 1100 stitches per minute, adjustable stitch width and length and a conveniently placed bobbin. Durability is enhanced by a heavy duty metallic frame and a stainless steel bedplate, and the dust cover keeps your machine clean.