The Best Sewing Machine for Beginners in 2016?  Read These Reviews

Great productSewing 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 Cheap 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 Amateurs

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.

Top 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 Products Review

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!

Which is Better: Manual or Computerized?

computerized modelAnother 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.

Brother XM2701 Review: From Setup to Sewing, We Review It All

The XM2701 by Brother is a fun, robust sewing machine that offers everything from a lightweight design to 27 stitches that will allow you to confidently sew any garment or project with ease.

Brother XM2701 sewing machineComplete with six sewing feet and an instructional DVD, the XM2701 is the ideal choice for beginners and experts alike.

When reviewing the Brother XM2701 sewing machine, we were able to work through numerous projects to give it a test run. There were some things we absolutely loved about the XM2701, while a few things we would have changed if we designed it ourselves.

Before diving into our Brother XM2701 review, let’s take a look at which features were really strong, and which ones we would have changed.

Pros

  • The built-in needle threader makes setup a breeze
  • Numerous stitching options are offered
  • Sews all materials – even pesky stretchy material

Cons

  • The LED light is dim
  • The presser foot lever is under the arm

For a sewing machine in this price range (under $100), these quirks are easily overlooked. The dim LED light can be remedied by placing the unit in a bright room. But there is nothing you can do about the presser foot lever – you’ll have to reach up under the arm to get it.

I’m not sure why it was designed this way instead of the lever being placed in the back like numerous other sewing machines. With that said, this inconvenience is easily overlooked by its stronger features.

Brother XM2701 Review

Small and simple to use, the XM2701 comes with a 25-year limited warranty, and it includes numerous extras with purchase:

  • 6 sewing feet
  • 3-piece needle set
  • Button fitting foot
  • Twin needle
  • Extra spools
  • 4 bobbins
  • Instructional DVD
  • Screwdriver

And if you’re a beginner or this item is a gift for someone else that is new to sewing, you’ll find that all of these little extras mean projects can be started quickly instead of having to go out and buy other supplies to begin the project.

Threading and Bobbin Winding

The threading system is a major perk of the Brother XM2701 sewing machine. Simple and easy, all you need to do is touch a lever (located on the side of the machine), and the machine will push the thread right through the needle.

Anyone with bad eyesight or that has minor dexterity problems – or anyone that hates threading needles – will find that this is the most effortless way to thread a needle.

When trying to wind your bobbin, you‘ll place your upper thread in the appropriate position, set the bobbin on the winder, push the control to the right – and you’re good to go. The machine will automatically wind the bobbin on your behalf.

So, the complete setup process for a project is simple.

I almost forgot to mention that this is a drop-in top bobbin that is jam resistant. It really couldn’t be any easier to get your bobbin and thread in place.

Sewing is a Pleasure With Tons of Options

Everything is ready to go, and now it’s time for you to begin sewing. There are a few things you’ll want to do first before stepping on the pedal and sewing:

  • Select Stitch: It’s important to select the stitch before beginning. There are 27 total stitches offered, and all you have to do is turn the dial to the right stitch number. Above the stitch dial is a chart of all the stitches and their corresponding numbers.
  • Put on the Light: Dim as it may be, I prefer working with the LED light on. If you’re going to be sewing for a few hours at a time, I recommended switching on a brighter light as you’ll find the light isn’t adequate.
  • Change Feet: There are six feet options offered, and the feet snap on and off for easy replacement at any time.

When choosing the stitches, you’ll also find that the stitch selection includes stitches for decorative sewing, too.

At this low price it even comes with a 1-step auto-size buttonhole maker that works extremely well, so you can make the perfect buttonhole time and time again – no guesswork required.

We completed a myriad of sewing projects with this machine, but we didn’t try thicker jean material. We’re not positive how this model would perform on thick, difficult materials, but we were able to work through stretchy material (often a difficult task) with virtual ease.

While this model doesn’t claim to be a heavy duty sewing machine, some users have said that they worked through denim without an issue, so that’s a good sign.

The Brother XM2701 exceeded our expectations, and this is the right sewing machine for easy transport – for those times when you don’t want to carry around an ultra-heavy model.

If you’re new to sewing or really want to be thorough with your choice, you’ll find that the instructional DVD is priceless. The DVD works you through the entire machine’s setup process, which makes it effortless to get started. Even a person that works with sewing machines often will find tidbits of information in the video that makes life just a little easier.

And in terms of maintenance, this model is maintenance-free from a user standpoint. There is no way to oil the machine. This is a common trait with Brother sewing machines. Servicing the unit as recommended by Brother will ensure that it’s up to any sewing project you throw at it, and will extend the lifespan of the unit.

As an inexpensive, robust sewing machine, the Brother XM2701 is as good as it gets. If you are looking for something with a few more features, then you might want to consider the Brother CS6000i.

Click here to learn more about the Brother XM2701 sewing machine.