Which is the Best Sewing Machine For Beginners?

Sewing is quickly gaining in popularity again. More and more people are realizing the fun and sense of accomplishment they feel when creating something from scratch or are able to mend their favorite pair of socks. You can also save a lot of money by making your own clothing or mending/modifying your existing wardrobe to make it last longer.

However, when you are first starting out, choosing the right starter sewing machine can be very intimidating. There are dozens of models all with competing features and accessories and can be anywhere from $70 to over $1000.  It can quickly become overwhelming. This post will help you narrow down what you should be looking for and list for you some of my choices of what I feel are the best beginner sewing machines in the market today.

There are a few factors you should consider when looking at a machine for a beginner:

  • Ease of Use
  • Reliability
  • Price

All three of these factors together are important. You don’t want to go out and purchase the cheapest machine you can find, only to have it break down on you. You also don’t want a machine with too many features that will make it too complicated when someone is using their first sewing machine. You can easily find a balance of all of these factors that won’t break the bank.

Best Beginner Sewing Machine under $100

Brother XL2600

xl2600iThe Brother XL2600I is an excellent manual sewing machine choice for beginners. It is easy to use, inexpensive, reliable and has all the features a beginner would need.

The XL2600 is a free arm machine that includes 59 built-in stitches, an automatic needle threader and auto-buttonholer. There are a ton of features that make this one an excellent choice. The free arm swings down to give you a flat sewing surface to work on where you can cuff pant legs with ease. The many stitching options allow you to tackle many different projects from quilting, decorative stitches, blind hems and garment construction. I love this machine and you can often find it below $100 if you watch for sales. I wouldn’t hesitate purchasing this one for anyone just starting out in their sewing journey.

=> Click here to view pricing and availability for the Brother XL2600 sewing machine.

Brother XL2610

Brother XL2610The XL2610 looks similar to the XL2600, but there are some subtle differences. The main difference is the XL-2610 has a manual 4 step buttonhole while the XL-2600i has an automatic 1 step buttonhole. Buttonhole length is also restricted on the XL2600i are limited to only 1 1/8 of an inch in length.

This is also another nice sewing machine that is a very good choice for beginners.

=> Click here to view pricing and availability for the Brother XL2610 on Amazon.

Best Manual Sewing Machine For a Beginner

Janome Magnolia 7318

Janome Magnolia 7318If you want a manual sewing machine and price isn’t your first concern, then I would look no further than the Janome Magnolia 7318. Its great balance of price, features and build quality make this a perfect choice for those just starting out and a good choice for those looking to get the best value for their money.

The Magnolia 7318 comes with 18 pre-programmed stitches as well as a 4 step button hole. It also has the following other features: adjustable feed dog, thread cutter, extension table, see-through drop-in bobbin, 25 year warranty and more.

One of the biggest reasons to spend a bit more is for superior power and build quality. With less expensive machines you will have trouble going through thicker fabrics like denim. This machine is great for quilting has the power to go through denim and layered fabrics. The stitch quality is outstanding and it is a breeze to use. This sewing machine lives up to Janome’s excellent reputation for building quality, durable machines. I love this machine and I think you will too.

=> Click here to see pricing information and availability for the Janome 7318.

Best Beginner Computerized Sewing Machines Under $200

Brother CS6000i

Brother 6000i

The Brother CS6000i computerized sewing machine is a really nice machine that is perfect for beginners. It is one of the most inexpensive computerized machines you can buy, has lots of great features and is very easy to use. It has been the #1 computerized sewing machine for a number of years on Amazon because of its great combination of price, features and performance.

This is a great choice for those beginners that are a bit older that won’t be confused or over-whelmed with a lot of choices.

The CS6000i comes with 60 built-in stitches, 7 one-step button holes a quilting table and so much more. The auto-needle threader is easy to use and there is a start stop button as well for those that would rather not use a foot pedal. There is also a jam resistant quick set drop-in bobbin and variable speed control where you can set the stitch speed that is great for those that want to ease into sewing. Another really nice bonus is the 25 year warranty and life-time phone support. I strongly feel that this is one of the best inexpensive computerized sewing machines you can buy in this price range. You can read my in-depth review of it here.

=> Click here to see pricing and availability on Amazon for the CS6000i.

Singer 7258 Stylist

Singer 7258The Singer 7258 is a very popular model for beginner and intermediate sewers. It is a winner of the Consumer Reports “Best Buy” award two years in a row and comes with a amazing 100 stitches, 10 presser feet, 7 automatic 1 step buttonholes and much more.

One of the things I really like about this machine over the CS6000i is the fact that it is built with a solid metal frame making it much more capable of working with heavier duty fabrics.

The Singer Stylist 7258 is also a very easy sewing machine for beginners to use. It comes with automatic threading, auto-thread length and width, easy load drop in bobbin system and a handy auto-pilot feature that allows you to operate it without a foot pedal. Click here to read my full review of this sewing machine.

=> Click here to see pricing and availability for the Singer 7258 on Amazon

Best Computerized Sewing Machine

Singer One Plus

Singer One PlusThe Singer One Plus is jam-packed with features, but doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg. It is the 2013 and 2014 winner of the Women’s Choice Award for the Best Home Sewing Machine.

It comes with an amazing set of features including: 221 stitches, automatic needle threader, large sewing space, start/stop button, speed control, stitch elongation, drop-in bobbin, heavy metal frame, removable free arm and much more.

This machine is so easy to use. The SwiftSmart threading system, drop-in bobbin, start and stop buttons all make setting up and sewing fast and a joy. Beginners to experienced users will all find a lot to love with this machine. Its performance is quiet, smooth, powerful and flawless. Click here to read my full review of this machine.

=> Click here to see pricing and availability for the Singer One Plus on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

Singer One Plus 4It is really up to you whether you want to start out with a manual or computerized sewing machine. Both have their positives and negatives. If you are on a budget or want something to use only periodically, then the Brother XL2600I or XL2610 are good choices. They are simple and shouldn’t be as intimidating as a computerized machine. However, if you want something that is going to last and be used often then you should consider the Janome Magnolia 7318.

If a computerized machine is for you and you aren’t on a budget, then the Singer One Plus would be the machine I would choose, especially if you plan on working with thicker fabrics. It has an amazing list of features and the performance at this price level is very hard to beat.

If you are looking for something less expensive then I would recommend the Brother CS6000ior the Singer 7258 Stylist. The amount of features all of these machines give the user a lot of room for growth and many options for projects in the future. They are both popular, inexpensive and well reviewed machines that are easy to use.

I hope that you found this article useful. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask them below. Thanks and happy sewing!

Attention Hello Kitty Fans

If you are a beginner who loves Hello Kitty then you may want to start here before continuing with the sewing machines on this page. There are a number of wonderful sewing machines made by Janome that are all outstanding quality that any Hello Kitty fan would love to use.

Is the Best Beginner Sewing Machine Manual or Computerized?

Another choice you might be thinking about is whether to get a traditional manual sewing machine or a computerized one. There are some good reasons to purchase either type.

Computerized machines come with more options and have options that make some tasks really easy. With the push of a button you can thread a needle, start/stop it, create a button hole or change to many different stitch patterns. However, these machines can be more of a learning curve because there are so many options.

Manual machines don’t have have as many options, but have all the ones you will need for a beginner. When you are starting out you really don’t need 40 stitches or 8 different buttonholes or any other fancy features of some of the more expensive machines. A really good quality mechanical machine is usually a good place to start out. This is especially true for youngsters. Fewer options and less computerized parts also means you will have a lot fewer things that can go wrong. Click here to see some sewing machines I recommend for small children.

Above you will find a few beginner sewing machines that I recommend in each of the manual and computerized categories. You will find selections for those that are on a budget and why I recommend for those that don’t mind spending a bit more. If you can, I highly recommend choosing the non-budget recommendations. You’ll find you will have less issues with them and they also produce much more consistent results.

Embroidery Machine Stitches: Choosing the Right Stitch the First Time

Embroidery machine stitch types are confusing. There are several stitch types to choose from on your machine, and trying to pick the right one for your project may be a hassle. We’re going to be going back to the basics in this article to help you become a master of embroidery stitch types.

We’ll be taking a look at the most common stitch types on embroidery machines and when you should use each stitch.

Embroidery Machine Stitch Types: The Big 3

You’re probably waiting to hear about a dozen different stitch types, but the truth is that stitches all do the same thing. While there are three main stitch options or types, they all follow the same premise:

  • Point to point lines

There are no fancy knots or loops to worry about – just lines. And these lines allow us to make virtually any pattern we wish. While embroidery machines have become more sophisticated, they really only have a few stitches that you’ll be working with.

Sure, you have different options available to you, such as lettering, but everything will fall within the following three stitches:

1. Straight Stitch

A straight stitch is the foundation of all embroidery. These stitches will repeat a line of stitches, and they may vary in length and width. When using a straight stitch, you’ll have a repeat of single lines to make a single pattern.

Thicker lines are made by repeating a stitch over many passes.

And the machine will be able to use software to make fancy lines and curves. Since patterns are meant to be fun and exciting, curves and shapes are able to be made, so everything isn’t just straight. You can make anything with the straight line from logos to ornate pictures and more.

When you want to use a straight stitch, remember that they’re used most often for:

  • Detail work
  • Shading
  • Single color drawings
  • Outlining

And if you’ve done any manual work before, you’ll find that the straight stitch is very similar in nature to the manual stitch. A manual stitch allows stitches to be plotted individually, and this is exactly what the straight stitch has to offer, too.

2. Satin / Column Stitch

Satin stitches are most commonly used with text. While these stitches can be used outside of text, they provide a shiny look that is perfect for most designs. The anatomy of a satin (or column) stitch is essentially a stitch that tracks back and forth over a small area.

When this stitch is made, it will alternate between a straight and angled stitch.

Unbroken, long threads allow the satin stitch to exist. When threads are long and unbroken, they are able to maintain that “shiny” look. You’ll want to use this stitch on areas that are less than a centimeter across and other project areas, including:

  • Inside text
  • Borders

Anything that is narrow and can be enhanced with a shiny look will be the perfect spot for satin stitches.

3. Fill Stitch

The fill stitch goes by many names, such as the ceding or tatami stitch, too. For ease of identification, many embroiderers have settled on the “fill stitch” name. This stitch’s purpose is indicated by its name: it is used to fill patterns.

Alternated lines are used with these stitches that makes them look woven.

You can change the density of the fill to provide a different effect, but generally, these stitches are used when you need to completely cove the base material. For example, you can make a fill of circles or squares that are all one color.

And you can make blended colors, too, for added effects.

While satin may be more appealing and have a nicer overall finish, satin stitches aren’t the best option for larger areas. Fill stitches aren’t “shiny,” but high-end machines allow you to make curved lines with these stitches, providing the appearance of volume and adding to your embroidery versatility.

Keep in mind that when trying to blend colors, the process is a delicate one and very tedious.

Mastering Stitches for Advanced Designs

Embroidery machines have far fewer stitch options than you would find when embroidering by hand. And since this is the case, it can be harder to make a desired design without practice. We recommend learning the way the stitches are formed (we mentioned this for each type), and practicing to see where each stitch works best.

What is most important to remember is that all of these stitches are the building blocks to anything you can create.

Again, it’s common for a person to want to jump right into a design and get frustrated by not knowing which stitch is the best option. Mastering stitches is all trial and error, so sit down with an easy project first and progress until you have a complete understanding of the versatility and purpose of each stitch.

Click here to read our reviews of our favorite home embroidery machines.