Choosing the best sewing machine for beginners can be an overwhelming task.
The market is overflowing with offerings from the biggest names and also from some lesser-known manufacturers.
Where do you begin?
Research is key and we have done that for you. Time spent now will be money saved in the long-term. Buy the wrong machine for your needs and it could be a very expensive mistake.
With thousands of options ranging from the most basic handheld or mini machine right through to those used by professional designers, you need to focus on the best sewing machine for you.
We will guide you through this process. It need not be too confusing if you are systematic, logical and carefully consider what you need and what you expect.
With sewing machine reviews, it pays to look at many different opinions. By all means investigate the manufacturer’s website but also look for impartial advice.
What Type of Sewing Machine Do I Need?
This is a crucial question to ask yourself before anything else.
Many beginners believe that the most expensive machine will be best but will it be best for you?
Be honest about yourself and your requirements then choose accordingly…
If you are highly confident with technology and enjoy learning new skills then one of the more feature-rich and cutting edge models could be for you. If, however, the thought of a thick user manual and an array of programs and options bewilders you then look at the more basic sewing machines.
A driving factor which should inform your choice is precisely what tasks you expect your new sewing machine to perform. Think about what you will actually use it for.
- Making clothes
- Home Decoration
If your principle intention is to sew your own garments, check that the machine offers various finishing options and button hole making. Variable stitch lengths and a twin needle setting are invaluable.
- Most types of home decoration call for a fairly heavy duty sewing machine.
- Think about curtain fabrics, cushions and upholstery. All of these are medium to heavy in terms of weight. Make sure that if this is your prime intended usage then you opt for something which can handle the job.
- The more basic sewing machines will not make the grade if you want to produce larger quilts.
- Most of the entry-level models, while fine for many purposes, lack the necessary attachments for successful quilting. The cheaper and less advanced machines are simply too limited.
Now that you have thought seriously about your comfort with technology and the reason you want the sewing machine, here are some general pointers.
- Build quality
- Overall performance
These four basic concepts should underpin your research and decision-making process.
Now, some more specific questions you might want to ponder…
- Changing needles. How easy is this? How long does it take?
- How well does the machine cope with multiple layers?
- Stitching ability on heavy materials. Watch out for problems with drop feed and bunching
- Tension control. Without this feature, some tasks can become tricky
- Creating a buttonhole. How simple is this to do and what system is used? 1 step is easier and more accurate; 4 step can be time-consuming and prone to errors. Pay special attention to the accuracy of a finished buttonhole
- Does a bound seam remain true? Quality counts
- Ease of threading and how long it takes. If you have poor coordination then look out for automatic threading feature
- Changing a presser foot. Is this a snap-on adjustment or does it need screws?
- Feed dog control. This is paramount with bulkier fabrics
- Versatility with different projects (quilting, straight sewing, free arm…)
- Built-in stitches. Go for a good range of basics rather than overkill with decorative alternatives
- Adaptability for different skill levels
- Speed. Is this is a priority for you? Remember, though: if the machine cannot comfortably operate at high speed then certain projects may suffer
- Cost vs features: is it worth the investment?
Now that you have assessed your own needs and what you require from a sewing machine for beginners, bear the above advice in mind and check out 5 excellent options…
We have chosen different machines based on different user desires but all are targeted at the beginner.
These sewing machine reviews are very brief and cover just an overview of each machine. This is all you need to whittle down your options to a shortlist before researching further…
BEST SEWING MACHINE FOR BEGINNERS
Brother CS6000i Feature-Rich Sewing Machine With 60 Built-In Stitches
The Brother CS6000i is a computerized free arm machine. It has multiple stitch functions and is an extremely sound and affordable choice. If you are a tech-savvy beginner then this model should be on that shortlist.
As mentioned above, analyzing your own needs is key so read on and see if the Brother CS6000i is the right model for you…
A combination of price and simplicity of use – the user-friendly manual means it’s quick to get going – make this one of the most widely-sold machines for novices.
With so much competition, a keen price and clear instructions is not quite enough so what else does the CS6000i offer?
This feature-rich machine has no less than 60 built-in stitches leaving you spoiled for choice. Don’t panic that this translates to a confusing machine… the features, stitch variants and digital capacity mean that the CS6000i is the ideal learning ground for beginners to the art of sewing.
The LCD display is crisp and easy to read. Navigation is a breeze. Choose your stitch by touch and view it without confusion.
There’s an automatic needle threader, diagrams to help you with threading and also a sewing speed control. The more you hone your skills, the more valuable this function will become. One touch of the side-mounted lever and away you go!
How about coping with larger projects? Perhaps you want to undertake some quilting or embroidery? Maybe you want to embark on some detail stitching. The Brother comes equipped with an over-sized table. This is detachable. With sizable blankets or bulky coats, this is a superb and effective addition. Make quilting simple with the CS6000i.
1 step buttonholing is the best choice for beginners and the CS6000i provides this. There is much less chance of misshapen or incomplete buttonholes. You have 7 different styles of buttonholing at your disposal.
With presser feet you have an enviable choice of 9 varieties. This means you can cope with a wide range of projects as your confidence grows. These presser feet span most operations, whether purely functional or more decorative.
Forward and reverse sewing is available. For beginners, this improves the ease of double-stitching seams without the need to stop and shift the fabric.
So, if you want an innovative and lightweight sewing machine for beginners, look no further than the well-reviewed Brother CS6000i. It is compact, easy to use and, as you progress, it will still serve you well. It’s perfect for beginners but more advanced sewers still find it a pleasure to use.
BEST SEWING MACHINE FOR QUILTING
Brother XR9500PRW Project Runway Limited Edition Sewing Machine
This Brother model, the XR9500, is a machine for all levels from beginners to more skilled users.
The XR9500 is highly prized for its quilting abilities.
There are over 100 stitches to choose from. These run from standard utility stitches through to heirloom and decorative varieties.
Buttonholing is again the 1 step type. You are presented with 8 different choices which is more than enough when you are starting out.
If you are a beginner looking to do some quilting then the large expandable table is just what you need.
As with most offerings from Brother, users routinely comment on the ease with which you can get up and running. The manual is very clear and intuitive. As an added bonus, there’s an instructional DVD included. Many of us are visual learners and the DVD is a great free addition.
The needle threader can be awkward at first. Once you know what you’re doing, though, it’s actually fairly straightforward.
Often, lighting is overlooked. The XR9500 comes with an extremely effective light that illuminates the entire sewing area. This is especially crucial for beginners.
The monogramming feature gets mixed reviews. Most say that it’s very simple to put into practice but the quality of the finish is called into question.
There are many accessories and attachments thrown in.
So, despite the impressive array of features, this lightweight and capable sewing machine is a cakewalk to use for absolute beginners. If you want to experiment with quilting then you should certainly consider the XR9500 Project Runway. This machine will serve you well from the moment you set out on your journey and can cope well with even professional decorative jobs.
BEST HEAVY DUTY SEWING MACHINE
SINGER 4411 Heavy Duty Extra-High Sewing Speed Sewing Machine
The requirements of every beginner to the art of sewing differ.
As the name would suggest, Singer’s Heavy Duty 4411 is a real powerhouse and workhorse.
With a tough metal interior frame, stainless steel bedplate and powerful motor, the 4411 can handle everything you throw in its direction.
The rigid frame keeps all mechanisms well aligned. Enjoy durability and skip-free sewing in one nice package.
This able motor means that you can sew more in less time. If speed of operation matter to you then the Singer will not disappoint. The statistics claim an incredible output of 1100 stitches a minute.
There are 11 built-in stitches, essential and decorative both. The 4 step buttonholing system is used. Make sure that you are comfortable with this.
The feed dogs are found under the presser foot. These rotate from front to rear moving the fabric through the machine as you work. The drop feed lever to lower these is handily placed at the back of the machine.
A drop-in bobbin means that inserting, removing or monitoring thread supply presents no problem.
If you are a beginner who requires a combination of speed and robustness and place a priority on quilting then have a close look at the 4411.
BEST SEWING MACHINE FOR KIDS
Brother XL2610 Free-Arm Sewing Machine
Some sewing machines are great for those at all stages of their craft. The Brother XL2610 is a model best suited to children and complete beginners.
The mainly pre-set options allow for lesser flexibility than might be demanded by more advanced practitioners. If you are just starting, though, or want your kids to enjoy sewing this ease of use is ideal.
There are not too many accessories but bear in mind that you can cheaply get these at the craft store. Don’t let this put you off.
With 25 built-in stitches along with 59 separate functions, the XL2610 delivers in fine style for a basic machine. You can tweak the width and length of stitches to a tolerance of 5mm.
The snap-on presser feet cover all your basic requirements. You get a general purpose and a zipper foot, a buttonhole foot (4 step) and a button sewing foot so your needs are met.
The needle threader and bobbin winder are both automatic.
If you decide to tackle quilting then the Brother can cope with reasonably heavy fabrics. You will, though, need to purchase a quilting foot.
If you want to engage with basic mending or straightforward creative projects then the XL2610 is a superb starting point.
Your children will love the pink color scheme and the fact it’s not too quick actually works as an advantage. When you are first trying to learn to control fabric, excessive speed is not what you are looking for.
It might have plenty of plastic parts, kick out a bit of noise and have certain limitations but the XL2610 is one of the best sewing machines for children and beginners on the market today.
BEST MINI SEWING MACHINE
Brother XL2600I Sew Advance Sew Affordable 25-Stitch Free-Arm Sewing Machine
For a truly simple, no-frills mini piece of kit, you should look at another Brother machine, the XL2600I.
25 built-in stitches allows for ample freedom. As usual, these run from utility to decorative and also heirloom stitching. This means you can tackle everything from daily repairs through to more creative projects.
The buttonhole feature is 1 step to maximize ease of use and functionality. It has an automatic winding system.
It’s an extremely lightweight machine at just 11 pounds. You can carry it between rooms or to a sewing class with minimum fuss.
Be careful with this machine, though. It does not come with a case and has many plastic parts. Take precautions so that you do not drop and damage it. If you want to carry it outside the house it’s wise to invest in a case.
One of the leading advantages of the XL2600I for beginners is the sensibly limited range of features. When you are learning, being baffled with a host of things you will never use is counter-productive. Brother strikes the right balance.
If you are a beginner who wants a no-nonsense sewing machine then Brother’s XL2600I is a smart choice. It copes admirably with all the basics but those 25 stitch options allow for plenty of creativity too. Compact without being too small and fussy, this affordable option is well worth checking out.
Best HANDHELD SEWING MACHINE
Michley LSS-202 Lil' Sew & Sew Mini 2-Speed Sewing Machine
Mini sewing machines have their place. They are so tiny that they can appear almost like a toy but they come into their own when something is ripped and needs repairing.
A machine like this is, by nature, limited when it comes to more advanced undertakings but it certainly has its place.
Whether it’s items you would normally sew by hand or small quilting projects, the Michley LSS-202 is surprisingly able and versatile.
It’s a two speed machine. This allows for impeccable stitch control as well as the double thread.
The top drop-in bobbin means that threading and thread rewinding are not a chore. The Michley can use either bobbins or a full spool to sew. Bobbins are the default choice. If you have your eye on something like a patchwork quilt, though, the full spool will ensure that you don’t run out of thread.
The LSS-202 runs on both electric and batteries so it is perfect for any place where you might be temporarily without power.
Hand and foot controls are provided. The foot pedal affords superior control.
Note: be certain to study the original threading. This can be awkward and the manual is not too clear at illustrating how to rethread. By looking at it before, though, the process can be simplified.
With this sewing machine you must be realistic… Considering the price and its intended use, you cannot expect to get a vast range of features. But you do not need them. The Michley LSS-202 contains all that you want it to do and it performs more than adequately.
Think about some of the above options when it comes to buying a sewing machine for beginners. There is something for everyone so double down on what you need then focus on this when it comes to your purchase.
These sewing machine reviews should give you a good start in your task of choosing the best machine for beginners.