The Best Sewing Machines for Beginners: 2018 Starter Picks
Sewing machines have been present for decades in our households, but we only seem to be fascinated by them when we develop an interest in fashion designing, or if you need to fix those buttons and get done with that hemming that has been pending for ages. You might not be aware of your inherent sewing talent unless you get your hands on your mother’s old sewing machine. However, raw talent always needs to be polished and practice makes one perfect. The learning process can get frustrating but you need to learn to be patient and keep practicing until you get perfect at it.
Selecting the best sewing machine for beginners in a world full of options is a tough job, but with your priorities set right and your requirements in mind, you can always select a product that suits you best.
If you’re new to the world of stitching, and are unable to decide on which starter sewing machines suits you best, worry no more. This table gives you the most basic information you might be looking for in the best basic sewing machine and the reviews will definitely help you in shortlisting your choices from several to a few or even one.
Top 10 Best Rated Beginner Sewing Machines: 2018 Picks
As a beginner, you’ll only be needing a machine that possesses the basics. In fact you would only be confusing yourself with a more complicated machine. Usually the sewing machine you will purchase will come with a manual. Some latest machines come with instructional DVDs that feature illustrations and video tutorials that are easier to comprehend than printed manuals. These sewing machines explain everything from setting up the machine, to explaining the utility of each part, and describing which stitch is best for which fabric.
It is advisable to purchase your sewing machine from an authorized retailer, and getting one with a warranty. This is because you might not be aware of the issues you can face in the future and instead of letting your entire investment go to waste, a warranty enables you to send back the product for repair.Most products offer 25 years warranty or more. It is important to keep your warranty cards at an approachable location so that they come in handy when required. The following guide will help you shortlist your criteria to useful ones only.
The Best Beginner Sewing Machine Reviews
1. Brother CS6000i – Best Sewing Machine for Starters
Famous for its versatility, the Brother CS6000i is a one in all sewing machine suitable for all your stitching needs. It is the best brother sewing machine for both basic and advanced sewers. Whether you’re sewing a leather jacket or a quilt, this is your go-to product. It offers 60 built in sewing stitches including decorative stitches and one-step buttonholes, tailored to your specific stitching needs. 27 of the stitches have been designed specially for clothing. These features make this machine suitable for every material regardless of its weight.
The machine is ergonomically designed for beginners to sew comfortably regardless the size and weight of the fabric. The oversized table is perfect for sewing dresses and quilts and built in arm for sewing cuffs, sleeves and other small items. You don’t need to go through the hassle of pushing the thread through the needle, as it is done by tapping the lever on the side of the machine automatically. It is also a great buy for beginners since it offers a very comprehensive manual to understand the basics of stitching. The numbered diagram will help you grasp the threading mechanism in a jiffy.
It is extremely lightweight and you can easily adjust stitching speed as per your comfort. This can be selected through touching the button and viewing the options on your LCD display. Not only that, the machine also allows you to adjust stitch length and width.With the jam resistant technology, this sewing machine is a breeze to use and the automated bobbin adjustment saves you the trouble of dealing with the bobbin thread. The brightly lit sewing area minimizes strain on your eyes especially when sewing a darker shade of cloth. To prevent the fabric from fraying anytime, the cs6000i offers overcast and zigzag stitches. If you’re new to sewing, there will be tonnes of times where you’ll be unsure about the fitting, this is made easier with the basting stitch feature. Similarly, if you do not want the hemming on the fabric to be too visible, you can go for the blind hem stitch.
With a 25 year warranty and a wide variety of presser and stitches, its an all in one package for a reasonable price, which you can rely on to last a lifetime. All these features make it the best sewing machine for beginners.
2. Singer 3232 – Best Affordable Sewing Machine
Singer is a household name when it comes to sewing machines. This specific model comes with 4 presser feet and 32 built in stitches. The presser feet cover the buttonhole adding option, the button sewing option, the zipper and an all purpose sewing option. The automatic needle threader saves you the time and trouble of doing so manually. The 1 step buttonhole is definitely a great feature giving your stitched fabric a very professional look.
It is an extremely user friendly sewing machine for beginners who want a simple but complete device. It offers quick threading and comes with a feature that allows you to adjust stitch length and width as per your requirements. To assist you in complex stitching areas, it offers a free built in arm, that makes it all the more easier to stitch cuffs, collars and tiny fabrics.
For basic functions like hemming and fixing torn clothes or curtains, and to get started with stitching, this is a good sewing machine for starters. Comes with a comprehensive manual that is easy for anyone to understand, and its fee accessories are a treat for sure that do not leave you looking for extra products in the market after the machine arrives. If you are a Singer fan, then this is definitely the best singer sewing machine for your sewing needs.
3. Janome 2212 – Best Value Sewing Machine
The Janome 2212 is a lightweight machine with affordability as its core feature. It’s 12 built in stitches and dial pattern selection make it a convenient option for people of all ages. Its zig zag stitch width and length adjustment allows you to customize the stitch dimensions according to your individual specifications. Its free arm and drop feed make it adaptable to all types of stitching, whether you’re stitching a single or multi layered fabric e.g. a quilt or drapes. Although it is lightweight, quality is not compromised and its simplicity make it a good machine to start with, if you’re a beginner.
Moreover it comes with an additional pack of 10 bobbins and size 14 needles. One thing that you need to look out for is the jamming. This can however be prevented, if used tactfully. You will need to position the needle correctly manually, before starting a new seam for a smooth and jam-free stitching. For those of us who are not too tech savvy, the machine is a great buy as is it is mechanical and easier to operate. There is an in built light to make it easier to sew on a darker shade of fabric. For an affordable price, it is a good purchase for smooth stitching.
4. Brother XM2701 – Best Budget Sewing Machine
The Brother XM2701 is the best starter sewing machine which caters to a variety of experience levels. It comprises of 27 built in stitches ranging from blind hem and decorative to quilting stitches as well. To make buttonholes perfect and error free, it comes with an automatic one step buttonholer. A built in free arm lets you stitch cuffs, sleeves and complex areas with ease. The needle threader leaves no room for hassle with its one touch automated system that makes the threading system easier than ever. You can select your stitch by simple spinning the the stitch selector dial.
The best part is undoubtedly its jam resistant technology through a top drop-in top bobbing that prevents the bobbin from leaving its place and affecting the stitch quality adversely.The clear plate over the bobbin makes sure you know when you’ll be running out of thread. Not only that, but winding the bobbin is also made easier through pushing the bobbin control to the right. The LED light is a great add on for occasional use.
If you want something that you can stick with for a while, then the Brother XM2701 is the best beginner sewing machine. With a DVD tutorial, everything you need to know to set up the machine and get going is only a button away. From my personal experience, this is one of the easiest sewing machines to use.
5. Janome Hello Kitty – Best Inexpensive Sewing Machine
If you are considering it as a good birthday gift for a 12 year old but not one for a 35 year old, then you stand corrected. This is an absolutely fun, all in one entry level sewing machine with all the basic features you can find in a regular one. It is extremely lightweight, mechanical, portable and easy to use sewing machine. It consists of 11 stitches with 2 stretch stitches, a four step buttonhole, three snap on presser feet and a stitch selection dial to select the appropriate stitching mode according to the fabric thickness for consistent stitches.
To assist you in stitching cuffs, sleeves and hemming, it has a free built in arm that makes stitching comfortable. It also has a reverse lever allowing you to stitch backwards. Though its a bit smaller in size, the workstation is the same size as that of a regular sewing machine. Since the bobbin adjustment is manual, you will have to learn your way through it. The bobbin winder works on a push-pull basis. It possesses all the basic stitches and a good choice to practice stitching on. Janome is one of the best sewing machine brands so one need not worry about the reliability of the product.
6. Brother XR9500PRW
With multiple stitching functions ranging to 100, including decorative and heirloom stitches, the Brother XR9500PRW is a versatile sewing machine, ideal for working on all sorts of sewing projects. It comes with a built in sewing font for monograms, which is something you would like if you’re starting a small new brand. Its automatic programming make sewing more fun than ever. You can select from the wide range of 140 stitching functions on its LCD screen that also comes with a one of its kind stitch-flip guide. It also makes quilting projects easier with its oversized table and a free arm for cuff and sleeves stitching.
The workstation is also lit with LED lighting. The threading system is easy to use and the bobbin with its drop in top system resistant to jamming while you sew. It consists of 7 presser feet designed for various functions including blind-stitching, button sewing and zippers. The machine is designed to auto suggest which presser foot to use with which stitch. It also lets you adjust speed according to your practice level. One of the best features this machine has to offer is the option to keep the needle down into the fabric at all times, regardless of your foot movement, which is a great relief for beginners. The auto threader seems to be a little fragile and problematic for users and might end up getting the fabric jammed in. Other than that, the machine is definitely one of the best sewing machine for beginners as well as advanced sewers.
7. SINGER 1507WC
SINGER 1507WC is the best simple sewing machine that is suitable for home crafts, cushions, and fashion sewing. It comes with 8 built in stitches for you to select from through a dial and automatic four step buttonhole. Although threading is not automated, it is made quick and easy through comprehensive arrows and instruction for you to follow. To reach complex areas while stitching, for example cuffs, collars, or for hemming, it comes with a free built in arm.
The 4 presser feet are easy to change to from one another. The adjustable stitch width and length helps prevent your cloth from clustering and keeps your seams strong and neat. Its extremely comprehensive manual makes it just as easy to use as an automated one, perhaps easier. A user friendly machine that is a must for everyday basic sewing and fixing or taking to your sewing classes, with the capacity to perform all basic functions. Works quietly without making any noise like the machines in the past and comes with a handy accessory storage so you do not misplace the needles and threads you need. With Singer being a household name in the sewing industry, you need not worry about the durability. However, there are other options to explore if you’re looking for a more trendy and tech savvy sewing machine.
8. Brother XM1010
The Brother XM1010 is an all purpose, full sized sewing machine designed for both beginners and advanced sewers for projects as simple as everyday mending and fixing and complex as quilting and fashion sewing. With its 10 built in stitches, you can select from a variety of options along with 4 presser feet designed for zipper, zigzag, button sewing and buttonhole. Its bright LED lighting lessens the strain on your eyes while stitching, and its jam resistant drop-in top technology along with reverse sewing and automatic bobbin winder makes stitching easier and smoother than ever.
The adjustable thread tension is an exclusive feature designed to suit the fabric you’re working on making stitches smooth and fit. It is pertinent to note that bobbin winding is automatic while the threading needs to be done manually by following the given instructions. The clear view bobbin lets you know in advance when you are about to run out of thread, so that you can make arrangements accordingly. It comes with blind hem stitch allowing you to hem clothes easily on your own. Its additional accessories include needle sets, bobbins and an instructional DVD . Its free built in arm lets you sew difficult areas like cuffs and sleeves with ease and makes hemming convenient as well. If you’re looking for a machine that is good at performing both simple and complex tasks well, then this is the best sewing machine for money.
9. SINGER ONE Vintage-Style
Singer One is the machine of contemporary times suited to the tech savvy users of the 21st century. Its touch based system allows you to select from its wide variety of stitches with quick view stitch setting that are one touch away. Not confined to basic stitching and mending, it also offers free motion embroidery, lets you sew monograms on your fabric. Designed with a wider and more spacious workstation, it lets you take up larger projects too such as quilts and drapes.
Probably one of the best features of this machine are its 3 LED bright lights with a life of 100,000 hours do not heat up regardless of long operating hours. The drop on bobbin system and automatic needle threader lets you sew with the ease of a lever and no longer requires the hassle to raise the bobbin thread before sewing.
Although it has the stitch length and width adjustments set to optimal positions, personalization is a key feature of this product, letting you set stitch length and width according to your requirement. Its presser foot comes with a sensor, being one of the contemporary features of this machine, that lets you sew with ease by setting your foot in the right position. Though its a technologically advanced sewing machine, it is designed for both amateurs and advanced users, producing great results making your work look similar to that of a professional.
10. Brother Project Runway CS5055PRW
If you don’t really have trouble operating automatic machines, then this sewing machine is a considerable option. It is a computerized machine that lets you sew with ease on all kinds of fabric. It has 50 built in stitches, letting you select from a wide range of stitch functions including decorative, embellishment, and quilting etc, the options being printed on the machine and to be selected from the LCD display for your convenience. Suited to your specific needs, it offers 5 one step buttonhole styles, includes a twin needle for an extra fine touch to your stitching, and six presser feet including monogramming and overcasting foot.
The LCD display suggests the correct foot that varies with the type of stitch. To facilitate motion quilting, it comes with a drop feed system and easy bobbin winding keeps the thread in its place, making your sewing smoother. The vertical pool spin is one of its exclusive feature that ensures consistent feeding for threads with speciality. The one touch lever system makes threading a breeze through its automatic needle threader. The machine is lightweight and easily portable however it is likely that you may face issues with thread tension and the bobbin jamming issues. It might also be difficult to replace the machine and you would definitely not want the investment to go waste. But this is more of an exception than a rule, so weigh your options accordingly.
Types of Sewing Machines
Sewing machines can be broadly categorized into four categories and understanding each type will help you find the right type for yourself.
These are the sewing machines your mother has been keeping in the storage for years and years and the ones you’ve seen her fixing torn patches on. The don’t run on electric power and are simpler than all other types of sewing machines. They don’t offer a wide variety of functions like the technologically advanced ones, but are perfect at what they do. They’re hardly made anymore and if you manage to find one, it would be a second hand piece sold by someone. However, if you’re not looking for a hefty investment to make, you can always learn the basics and practice on these machines and buy a relatively expensive one once you get your hands on it. These machines function with a wheel on the side and the feet pressers are absent. These machines are best suited for basic sewing and lightweight fabrics.
Although it is hard to differentiate between computerized and electronic machines and you may confuse the two, but electronic sewing machines are powered by an electronic motor while computerized sewing machines come with LCD screens and are programmed by software. They have electronic foot pedals to control the sewing speed. They often come with a variety of functions and stitching patterns for you to select from. They operate with a dial and the motor controls the bobbin and feed dogs. They’re faster, more advanced as compared to the mechanical sewing machine and are a considerable option if you’re only a beginner.
Computerized sewing machines are more advanced and designed for the modern times. They are programmed through software and are operated by touch systems and display information on screens. The stitch length and width are automatically set at a user friendly level, however these machines are designed to be highly customized, therefore users can change and adjust functions according to fabric and stitching requirements. The best part about computerized machines is their ability to store designs and patterns and frequently used functions on display. These machines might cost you more than the usual ones but their wide functional variety let you experiment with functions on a whole new level and end up making your own personalized creations. Computerized sewing machines are good for newbies as they take out a lot of manual work and help them learn fast.
Overlocker sewing machines are generally designed for professional use and you might not find one of these in households. The basic purpose of these machines is to finish seams and hem fabric neatly, and to prevent the cloth from fraying. They are different from the usual stitching machines in the sense that they make use of around 2-9 threads and multiple needles for an overcasting stitch. This is to ensure the fabric doesn’t fray. It is done after you’ve cut the excess fabric that causes clustering and makes the overall look of your project untidy. These are not designed to sew zippers or buttonholes and are not advisable for everyday stitching and sewing projects.
Tips for Buying a Good Starter Sewing Machine for Newbies
Buying sewing machines for newbies is not as easy as you think. You do not want to spend a fortune on a beginners sewing machine for a liking that you have developed overnight for sewing. Also, it is highly possible that you may run out of the passion you currently have for sewing clothes a month later. Therefore you might only be needing a machine that is suitable to complete everyday sewing requirements. Thirdly, you don’t want to be overwhelmed by the number of functions the newer machines have to offer. Therefore, it is advisable that you start with a best budget sewing machine without compromising on quality.
Today’s machines offer up to 100 built in stitches but you don’t need to be carried away by that. At this stage, you only need a straight and a zig zag stitch. All of your sewing projects can be completed with these two. However, it would be nice if your sewing machine offers a buttonhole stitch, a blind hem stitch and a utility stitch.
An automatic needle threader will ease your task and is a great time saver.Similarly an adjustable speed control is also useful when you’re sewing different kinds of fabrics. You will also want a free arm if your work requires a lot of sleeve and cuffs stitching, as it facilitates you while sewing hard to reach areas.
Attachments and Presser Feet
Don’t be carried away by the number of presser feet your sewing machine has to offer. There’s a good chance of you not using all of them. Selecting your machine based on its presser feet variety entirely depends on what you intend to sew. If you plan on quilting, you will be needing a spring action foot, walking Foot, and a 1/4″ foot. If your sewing will revolve around garments, you want your machine to have a zipper foot, overcast stitching foot, buttonhole foot, and button attaching foot.
Once you start sewing, whether by hand or machine, it is important that you are stocked with essential items. For hand stitching, you will require straight pins, needles, seam ripper, a measuring tape, marking crayons or pencils, a variety of threads to experiment with, scissors and shears. If however, you’re starting with a sewing machine, you should get bobbins, threads, sewing machine oil, extra sewing needles. These accessories might be available in a promotional package with the sewing machine, or might be a part of the package. In that case, you won’t need to purchase any additional material and you can begin right away.
Basic Sewing Tips For Beginners
Make sure you have bright lighting in your workstation and are not putting a lot of strain on your eyes while sewing. Usually automatic and computerized sewing machines come with built in LED lights but you need to ensure that the lighting is bright. This will also assist you when working on darker shades of fabric. Position the light to your sewing surface and the machine’s workstation and never to your eyes.
Surface and Positioning
What surface you set your machine on also makes a difference and has an impact on your sewing quality. The surface should be smooth and stable, strong enough to handle the weight of the machines. Usually the latest models are designed to be lightweight and portable, you will however be needing a surface steady enough to support the machine. Position it on a height suitable for your sitting posture. Since you will be spending hours in this position daily, you do not want it to affect your posture adversely leaving you tired and worn out.
When starting a stitching project, it is advisable that you purchase more fabric than required, because you’re only human and can sendup making a mistake while cutting or sewing the fabric. Anything could go wrong, therefore it is better to be prepared beforehand rather than ending up quitting the project. Choosing your fabric correctly is one of the most import things you need to learn as a beginner. You do not want to start away with tricky fabrics like silk. Rather, start with cotton. Lightweight fabrics allow you to practice better and a fabric type that stays steady in its place is the one you want to begin with.
Similarly, select your thread wisely. 100% all purpose polyester thread is required for your everyday sewing projects. Cotton threads tend to break easily but can be used for sewing delicate fabrics. A heavy duty thread can be used for home decor projects but is not recommended for garments.
Preparing the Fabric
Another mistake you do not want to make is starting to sew a fabric without washing or pressing it. Washing a fabric lets it shrink according to its tendency and pressing it prior to sewing makes it appear tidier and professional once you’re done with the project. You save yourself the hassle of making alterations later by doing this earlier.
A combination of a creative mind and skillful hands can be put to use by studying a few basics and getting a know-how of sewing essentials so that you can select your machine and other products wisely. Again, perfection comes with experience and you will get better at things with time. Good and bad experiences are both part of the learning process and you’ll grow with it as time passes.
The first step towards becoming a sewing expert is having/developing an interest in learning the art. Every skill requires you to learn step-wise and that can only be done if you have a liking for something. Once you learn the basics, you can always find new and exciting products in the market to experiment with and who knows, you might end up creating your own fashion line.
Summing it all up, if you still haven’t finalized on a machine yet, take my advice and go for Brother CS6000i which is without any doubt the best sewing for beginners who want to learn basics.