Sewing is an amazing craft. You can either pursue it as a hobby or turn it into a business. But if you're getting into it as a newbie, you need to know what the best sewing machines for beginners are.
Fortunately, we happen to be the Sewing Machine Club 😀 and we'll help you choose a great machine to get on your way to becoming a professional!
Once you've got a handle on patterns and sewing, you'll be creating wearable and functional works of art in no time!
The best part is that even kids can easily get into sewing and it can be a fun project for parents and children to work on together.
The sewing machines we'll review here are suitable for both adults and children.
Sewing machine basics: the 101
As a beginner, you’ll probably be wondering what the basics of any sewing machine are. What are the different parts? What should you look for when buying a sewing machine?
To top it off, there are so many companies and so many models and it can get quite overwhelming! To help you cut through the noise, we’ve only selected five of our favorite beginner sewing machines.
Remember, these machines are not just for beginners – they’ll last you a long time into your sewing journey.
What will you need your sewing machine for?
The first question to ask yourself when buying a sewing machine is what you’ll be using the machine for. Are you buying a sewing machine for hobby use, or for something more serious? Or are you looking for something in between that can serve as a hobby machine and pick it up when you need to do some serious stitching.
Here are some of the advantages of having your own sewing machine, even if you’re a beginner:
- You can do small repairs at home(I’ve a klutz so I tear a lot of clothes – it’s very easy being able to repair them myself)
- You can do alterations at home – sleeves too long? No problem, just hem them yourself
- You’re not limited to just repairing clothes. Anything made from fabric can be repaired, like backpacks, tablecloths, etc.
You also have to consider the kind of materials you’ll be working with. All sewing machines can handle simple fabrics like cotton, polyester, and common blends, but if you want to work with heavier materials like denim and canvas, you’ll need a heavy duty sewing machine.
If you want to work with leather, which is even tougher than denim or canvas, you’ll need a sewing machine capable of handling leather!
Computerized vs mechanical sewing machines
Back in the day, sewing machines were completely mechanical and while you could do a few different stitches, everything else was done by motors and pulleys.
Nowadays sewing machines are much more advanced and nearly all good machines are computerized, meaning there is a lot more automation and customization possible.
Computerized sewing machines look daunting at first glance but they’re really easy to use once you get the hang of them, and they’re not that expensive, either.
However, if you’re a traditionalist you may end up getting a mechanical machine!
Stitch types and speed
Finally, the last thing to consider is how many stitches the machine is capable of and how many stitches you will actually need. Most basic sewing machines handle essentials like straight and zig-zag stitches but some machines offer a multitude of options so you can be very flexible with your work.
5 Best beginner sewing machines
1) Our top pick: Brother CS6000i
The Brother CS6000i sewing machine is portable and is easy enough for a beginner to use but also has enough bells and whistles to satisfy a more advanced user – which is why it tops our list for the best basic sewing machines for beginners.
Available to you are a whopping 60 built-in stitches and 7 types of buttonholes for a variety of sewing needs. You’ll also get 9 presser feet, a detachable extension table to sew larger objects, and a carry case for easy storage and transport.
The presser feet are adapted for the kind of work you’re looking to do:
- Monogramming foot
- Walking foot
- Spring action quilting foot
- Overcasting foot
- Zipper foot
- Buttonhole Foot
- Blind stitch foot
- Button Sewing Foot
You can control the stitch type and everything else from the brightly lit LCD screen. Threading the machine is also a breeze thanks to the automatic needle threading system(this is the hardest part of sewing if you’ve got fat fingers like I do), and there’s lots of customization available.
Don’t let the customization scare you off, though – the machine is super easy to use and the customization just makes tweaking advanced settings that much easier for you.
This is a decently fast machine for home use, capable of handling 850 stitches per minute and you can adjust the speed simply by moving the slider back and forth.
This is a huge plus for beginners since you can adjust the speed from very slow to learn how to move the fabric across the plate, then gradually speed up as you get better at it.
Even though this is not an embroidery machine by design, you can do freehand embroidery using the variety of stitches. It’s a great way to decorate cuffs and collars.
You can also use this machine for making quilts, though you won’t be able to handle upholstery or leather using this machine as it is not designed for it.
The user manual is fairly straightforward and the first thing I’d recommend is reading it before you get started so you’ll get oriented with the features and parts of the machine.
At the end of the day this is a fantastic machine for the price and it can grow with you as you progress in your sewing mastery.
2) Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 Sewing Machine
Singer is a VERY well known brand in the sewing machine world and they’ve been around for a long time, often at the forefront of innovation in the industry. Granted, there are only a few brands in the sewing machine space, but Singer is a household name and has been making reliable machines for a long time.
The Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist then is no exception – it is an amazing, albeit slightly costly machine that is good for a wide variety of uses.
Whether you’re using the Singer 9960 for basic repairs, making your own clothes, home decoration, or quilting, this machine can handle it all like a champion. There are 600 available stitches to choose from(though the basic straight stitch and zig-zag will be your everyday choices, it’s nice to have 598 other options).
You can also do basic lettering using the 5 in-built fonts, as well as repair and stitch buttons with the 13 buttonhole patterns.
What makes this machine good for beginners? The automatic needle threader(which lets you thread the machine and have it ready to go within seconds) and large LCD panel that displays the status and information of your current stitch is a huge plus. You can visualize the stitch on the LCD before doing it on the fabric, so there won’t be any surprises.
Below the LCD there are buttons from which you can choose the stitch you want to do – it’s very straightforward and you’ll be ready to go in very little time.
The construction of the Quantum Stylist is very sturdy. The frame is made out of metal, but it’s still portable enough to carry around from room to room or store easily in a closet. Like the Brother CS6000i, the Quantum Stylist also comes with an extendable build plate you can use for large projects.
This machine has a top stitch speed of 850 per minute but you can of course tone it down to your liking.
For extra creative effect, you can mirror certain stitches to give a really unique pattern and design to your craft.
Once you’re done sewing, use the automatic thread cutter to trim the thread and remove your fabric from the build plate. Oh, and did we mention you get 18 presser feet for a wide variety of uses?
Even though we’ve recommended this machine for beginners we still very strongly suggest that you study the manual and then start stitching. It’s easy to get frustrated if you mess something up so the best advice we can give you is to study the manual – it’s quite simple and knowing a few things beforehand will make your sewing adventure a lot more pleasant.
3) Best Inexpensive sewing machine: Brother XM2701
The most inexpensive machine on our list is the Brother XM2701 sewing machine – but don’t let the price fool you because it’s still a workhorse that’s really easy to use and has everything that a beginner would need to get started in their sewing journey.
For less a Benjamin you can get started with sewing.
What’s more, this machine is also really suitable for kids to learn on – the DVD is really good, though nobody watches DVDs anymore, so you can just go to YouTube and find the instructional video there.
Compared to the other two machines listed above there are less bells and whistles but the XM2701 is still as functional as any other machine out there.
You’ll get 27 built-in stitches and 1 step buttonhole stitching, with 6 presser feet that will be enough for 9 out of 10 basic sewing projects:
- Button sewing
- Zig Zag
- Narrow hem
- Blind stitch
The different stitches can be selected using the dial on the side of the machine. Since there is no LCD screen, you won’t be able to see the stitch design in real time but the designs are all printed on the side of the machine so you just have to match the stitch to the number and you’re good to go.
The beginner friendly features in this machine are of course the automatic needle threader and auto-drop in bobbin.
What you’ll need to be wary of though is that the LED is not very bright so you’ll need decent ambient lighting, and that this machine won’t be able to handle heavy materials like canvas or denim.
4) Singer 2277 Sewing Machine
The Singer 2277 sewing machine is their version of Brother’s XM2701(though I am not sure which one came out first).
It’s a sturdy machine built on a metal frame and is very easy to use, making it ideal for beginners to start learning basic sewing skills on it.
The standard beginner-friendly functionality is present:
- Automatic needle threading
- Automated buttonholes
- 23 built-in stitches
Sometimes I feel like the number of stitches is just marketing speak – for most projects, you’ll rarely need more than 4 to 5 kinds of stitches. Everything else is just a bonus, and after one point, it’s a fancy feature to have more than a useful function to use.
You’ll also get three presser feet: all purpose, buttonhole, and button sewing. As you can see, the Singer 2277 has less features than the other machines listed on this page so far but that’s really the point – sometimes, as a beginner, you just want a simple but functional sewing machine.
Price wise, the Brother CS6000i is just a little more expensive but if you feel the computerized machine is a bit daunting for a first time user then the Singer 2277 is a good choice.
Even though the stitches are limited and the features are less, the machine is still very functional – the free arm for example lets you sew cuffs and sleeves very easily.
The stitch selection dial is really straightforward, too – instead of numbered stitches, the dial has the stitches printed on it so you just match the pattern to the stitch you wish to use and you’re good to go.
Of course, the only drawback of this is if the decal wears away after heavy use, then you’ll have to apply the stitch pattern on the dial by hand so you’ll remember!
Note: The decal does not wear away very easily – it will withstand a LOT of wear and tear.
Finally, one last thing to note is that the speed can only be adjusted by how much pressure you put on the foot pedal. If you press very hard, the machine will go very fast, so make sure you apply even pressure to get a good, steady sewing speed.
5) Combination sewing machine: Brother SE400
The last sewing machine on our list of sewing machines for beginners is a powerhouse: the Brother SE400.
The Brother SE400 is a combination sewing and embroidery machine and is a hugely capable unit. Though at first glance it may seem more appealing to advanced users, beginners will certainly be able to use it, too, and grow with it as well.
The reason we’re including this machine here is that it’s a combo of embroidery and sewing, so if you’re looking to get into embroidery for the first time then the SE400 is a good place to start.
Brother’s SE400 is a lot more expensive than the other machines listed here but considering this is a dual-purpose machine, the price is a bit justified. If you’re getting cold feet about investing so much into a beginner machine, then consider starting with one of the simpler machines we’ve listed above.
In the SE400, you’ll get:
- 67 built in stitches for normal sewing and quilting
- 70 embroidery designs
- 5 fonts
You can also connect your sewing machine to your computer and upload designs you acquire from sites like iBroidery.com in this way, your machine will never go out of date and you’ll always be customizing it.
For embroidery, there is a 4″ x 4″ workspace attachment.
The machine is controller by a touch screen LCD display which shows you the current status and stitch and allows you to make other changes to get the perfect stitch.
Automatic functions to make life easier include needle threading, thread cutting, and quick set bobbin dropping.
The presser feet you’ll receive with this machine are:
- buttonhole foot
- overcasting foot
- zipper foot
- button fitting foot
- monogramming foot
- blind stitch foot
- embroidery foot
Switching between sewing and embroidery is fairly easy as you just have to switch out the presser foot and install the embroidery hoop.
One thing to note here is that the hoop is just 4″ by 4″, which may be a little small especially for large names. A hack around this is to use spray adhesive instead of the hoop to secure the fabric.
As always, study the manual and make sure you’re aware of everything and you’ll be good to go 🙂
You can also keep the manual handy next to your sewing table so you can quickly refer to it whenever you need to.
Conclusion: which is the best sewing machine, then?
I hope you found this roundup of beginner sewing machines useful – I’ve tried to select as diverse a range of machines as I could so you could easily find a suitable machine, whether you wanted a computerized machine, a combination machine, or just a simple little mechanical machine that does basics like a charm.
It should be noted that most of these machines come with a limited 25 year warranty and are only suitable to use in the USA and Canada due to their voltage.
If you’d like some more information on how to get started in sewing, I’ve found this series on YouTube very useful.