Sewing Machines for Beginners

A sewing machine can give you the freedom to make your own projects, from clothing to crafts. When you’re just getting started, however, a standard machine can be a bit overwhelming. What’s more, you probably don’t need all of the stitch variations and other bells and whistles. That’s why a beginner-friendly machine is a great idea.

These sewing machines have fewer options and easy controls, so you can master them quickly. As a bonus, they’re usually more affordable than higher-level machines — a great advantage when you’re just getting started. Naturally, beginning sewers come at all levels. The best machine for you depends on what you want to accomplish and what experience you already have.

If you simply want to make clothing, all you need is a few simple stitches, plus the ability to make buttonholes and zippers. If you want to get a little fancier, you might look for a wider stitch variety. The controls of the sewing machine also have a big impact on its usability. As you search, look for machines with clear, easy-to-understand labels. It’s also helpful to choose models that come with manuals or instructional DVDs.

To help you make sense of the sea of sewing machines that’s available, we’ve selected our five favorite models.

Top 5: Sewing Machines for Beginners Review

Brother XM2701 Sewing Machine

The Brother XM2701 is a simple, versatile sewing machine that’s perfect for beginners. It’s also lightweight and compact, so it makes an ideal solution if you want to tackle sewing projects while you’re away from home. The machine comes with a handy instructional DVD that gives you visual guidance as you learn to use the different functions.

This machine comes with 27 different stitches. You can use the simple straight stitch for standard seams. For knits, the machine has a zigzag and stretch stitch. It also offers options for blind hems, which is handy if you’re planning to make clothing. If you want to branch out into crafts, the machine has a few decorative stitch options to give you greater creative flexibility.

When you need to change the foot on the sewing machine, a quick-change mechanism makes the task a breeze. With the six included feet, you can make buttonholes, zippers, blind stitches, narrow hems, and more. This bundle gives you the ability to tackle a huge range of clothing and other sewing projects, right out of the box. An onboard LED illuminates your work area and makes it easy to change the feet.

If you’re new to sewing, bobbins can be a source of frustration. This Brother machine eliminates that risk with a jam-resistant bobbin. The drop-in system makes loading new bobbins a breeze.

Pros

  • Jam-resistant bobbin system.
  • Included instructional DVD.
  • Six included sewing machine feet.

Cons

  • Some users report problems with the thread tension.
Singer Start 1304 6 Built-in Stitches

With just six built-in stitches, the Singer Start 1304 is a great choice for absolute beginners. Even with its limited stitch count, you can still achieve a great deal with this powerful machine; it includes straight and zigzag stitches, as well as blind hem and scallop options, giving you everything you need to sew woven and stretch fabrics. Plus, with the four-step buttonhole option, you can create professional-looking finishings.

Operating the Start 1304 is a breeze. Each stitch is printed on a front dial — to select a stitch, simply rotate the dial. There are also convenient threading diagrams printed directly on the sewing machine, so it’s easy to load in a new spool. A second spool pin allows you to sew with a double needle. Need to make a hem? The built-in free arm allows you to move the fabric easily under the needle.

This sewing machine is small and easy to lift, so it works well if you don’t have a dedicated sewing area. Simply pack it up between uses and store it on a shelf or in a closet. A flip-up top handle makes it a breeze to carry.

Pros

  • Easy stitch-selector dial.
  • Convenient threading diagram.
  • Compact and easy to store.

Cons

  • The bobbin and automatic threader can be difficult to use.
Varmax Mini Sewing Machine

Whether you’re a beginning sewer or you are simply working with a small sewing space, the Varmax Mini is a convenient option. This model is affordable, so it’s a great way to test the waters when it comes to sewing.

The biggest draw of this Varmax model is its size. It weighs just 2.8 pounds, so it’s small enough to take with you on vacation. If you live in a small apartment, this tiny machine allows you to get started with sewing, all without taking up valuable space.

When it comes to controls, this sewing machine is easy to operate. The ultra-simple controls are accessible for sewers of any level. That doesn’t mean you’ll sacrifice performance — this machine has a cuff slot, so it handles sleeves and pant cuffs. Plus, the large extension arm provides extra support for larger garments while you sew. You can also choose from two speeds or use double threads.

Pros

  • Easy controls.
  • Large extension arm for support.
  • Compact and lightweight.

Cons

  • Very limited functionality.
BCP 6V Compact Sewing Crafting Machine

This tiny Best Choice Products Sewing Machine offers a convenient blend of function and size. It comes with 12 different stitch patterns, giving you plenty of options for clothing and craft projects. We love that the stitch patterns are printed on the front of the machine, taking away the guesswork while you sew. Plus, with a variety of options, you have enough stitches to tackle most beginner and intermediate sewing projects.

When you start sewing, the high-speed needle action can be intimidating. This machine helps by offering two different speeds. You can use the low speed as you learn; later, it’s useful for tricky stitching areas. The machine has a foot pedal and a hand switch to operate the needle.

BCP 6V Compact Sewing Crafting Machine

Although it’s small, this sewing machine has everything you need to complete basic projects. An integrated thread cutter makes it easy to cut off the excess length at the end of the seam, and the integrated light illuminates the seam. With the tension dial, you can adjust the tension of each stitch to suit your fabric. On the base, a small compartment holds your small supplies in easy reach.

Pros

  • Small and portable.
  • 12 stitch options.
  • Two sewing speeds.

Cons

  • Not adequate for high-volume sewing.
Janome Arctic Crystal Easy-to-Use Sewing Machine

This Janome Sewing Machine is designed specifically for new sewers. Plus, with its reasonable price, this machine gives you a chance to experience the legendary Janome quality without the high cost of the brand’s higher-end machines.

Learning to use this machine is easy, thanks to the clear labels. For each of the built-in stitches, there’s an image that shows the stitch pattern, so you can always visualize what the final product will look like. Select the stitch using a simple knob. Another knob allows you to set the stitch length, which is crucial for gathering and working with stretch fabric.

Janome Arctic Crystal Easy-to-Use Sewing Machine

Our favorite part of this sewing machine is that it allows you to progress through the learning process without the need to upgrade too quickly. When you’re ready to tackle button plackets, for example, the four-step buttonhole system enables you to create a professional finish. Since this model has a durable metal interior, it stands up to high-volume sewing.

On the base of the machine, a three-piece feed dog moves your fabric easily. Two spool pins enable double-needle sewing. With the included presser feet, you can tackle a range of projects. If you get lost, the instructional manual can help you get back on the right track.

Pros

  • 15 easy-to-set stitches.
  • Comes with four presser feet.
  • Sturdy interior metal frame.

Cons

  • Bobbin-loading can be difficult.

Top Pick

When you’re just starting out, all of these sewing machines can help you learn the craft. Our top recommendation, however, is the Brother XM2701. With its wide variety of stitches and easy-to-use controls, this machine will carry you through the beginner stage and into more advanced sewing. 

Order the Brother XM2701 today, and get started on your sewing adventure.

Brother XM2701 Sewing Machine

Buying Guide

For many beginning sewers, a sewing machine is an investment. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to pick a machine that’s easy to use, but also complex enough so you can get your money’s worth as you progress. In some cases, you can also use these user-friendly machines for kids. If you’re an experienced sewer, you might want to buy a beginner machine as an affordable backup or to handle simple projects. As you consider your options, here are some things to look for:

Preset Stitches

Most sewing machines come with preset stitch patterns, such as straight, zigzag, and blind hem. When you select a stitch, the machine automatically follows that pattern. If you’re sewing clothing, you’ll probably only use a few stitches. If you want to do basic embroidery or decorative sewing, however, you might want more flexible options.

By buying a machine with more stitch options, you give yourself room to grow. If you’re buying a machine for kids, or if budget is very important, limited options can give you the power to make a wide range of projects without the higher price tag.

Stitch Customization

The number of stitches are only part of the equation; next, you should look at the ways you can customize the stitches. Can you adjust the tension? Can you choose the stitch length? If not, you may find yourself extremely limited when it comes to working with different fabrics. It’s always a good idea to choose a machine that has basic adjustment options.

Ease of Use

When you’re just getting started, a sewing machine can seem intimidating; that might motivate you to buy a simple machine. However, the learning curve is short, so don’t let a more complex system deter you. As long as the machine comes with an instructional booklet or DVD, you can learn quickly.

The exception? If you’re purchasing a machine for kids. For little ones, you’re probably better served by buying a machine with highly simplified controls. That way, your children can sew safely and independently.

Size

Size is a key consideration when you’re buying a beginner sewing machine — especially if you have limited space to work with. Don’t worry if you don’t have a dedicated desk or room for your sewing; many people simply use any open space, and then store their machine between uses. If that’s the case for you, you may want to look for a sewing machine that’s small.

It’s also a good idea to check how much the machine weighs. That way, you can be confident that you can lift it to and from your sewing space. Other features, like a built-in handle, also make this process easier.

Final Verdict

A beginner-friendly sewing machine is a great way to try out a new hobby without breaking the bank. When you have a general idea of your space and your planned sewing projects, it’s easier to choose a machine that meets your needs.

REFERENCE & RESOURCES


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