Sewing is quickly becoming a popular hobby for the young and old. Sewing isn’t just for grandmothers, like myself. People of all ages are taking up sewing for many reasons.
More and more people are realizing the fun and sense of accomplishment they feel when creating something from scratch or from mending their favorite pair of socks. Another reason for the increase in popularity is constant rise in our cost of living. You can save a lot of money by making your own clothing or mending/modifying your existing wardrobe to keep it fresh and make it last longer.
These are all great reasons to take up sewing, but if you’ve never sewed before choosing the right beginner sewing machine can be an overwhelming experience.
There are so many models with a seemingly endless amount of features, accessories and price points it can be very intimidating. Your choices start from under $100 to well over $1000; where do you start?
I’ve heard it many times and know that it can quickly become overwhelming.
I wrote this post to help those of you who are looking for a good beginner sewing machine, but don’t know where to start. I really hope that this article helps you narrow down what you are looking for. Below, I list some of the top choices I feel are the best beginner sewing machines on the market today.
Whether you want an inexpensive sewing machine or one with more features you can grow into, you should find what you are looking for here.
Our Favorite Beginner Sewing Machines in 2018
There are a few main things you should consider when looking at a model suitable for a beginner:
- Ease of Use
When considering these three factors, I believe ease of use and reliability are probably the most ones to consider. You don’t want to go out and purchase the cheapest product you can find, only to have it break down on you. You also don’t want one with too many features that will make it too complicated when someone is using their first starter sewing machine.
If you do your research you can easily find a balance of all of these factors that won’t break the bank.
Best Basic Sewing Machines under $100
Brother XM2701 – Good Starter Sewing Machine
The XM2701 has the following features:
- 27 built-in stitches with 63 stitch functions
- 6 feet, including blind stitch, buttonhole, narrow hemmer, zipper, button and zigzag
- Free arm
- LED work area
- 25-year limited warranty
The XM2701 has a fun blue and purple design on the front of the machine, which kids and beginners will love. In total, there are 27 built-in stitches with 63 stitch functions. Stitches include blind hem, zigzag, decorative, stretch and more. The dial makes it easy to select the stitch you want.
The great thing about the XM2701 is that the wide range of stitches and functions makes it ideal for beginners to advanced users. This means that you can grow into it without having to buy a new one.
The jam-resistant drop-in top bobbin is easy to load, so you can start your projects more quickly.
One of the more frustrating parts of getting started with any project is having to thread the machine. The XM2701 has an automatic threading function. With the push of a lever, the thread is pushed through the needle.
As usual, Brother includes a range of accessory presser feet, including blind stitch, buttonhole, narrow hemmer, zipper and more. You also get needles, bobbins and other accessories.
The XM2701 is a great option for beginners. It’s easy to use, and the included DVD is helpful for those who have never used a machine. You can see my full of this model here.
Brother JX2517 Lightweight
The Brother JX2517 Lightweight is fun and lightweight and offers a nice range of features. This is more of an advanced choice for beginners, but it’s still easy to use. You’ll be able to grow into this machine, which means that you’ll get plenty of use out of it.
The JX2517 offers the following features:
- 17 built-in stitches
- 4-step buttonhole
- 38 stitch functions
- Automatic bobbin winding system
- 900 stitches per minute speed
- Free arm
- Includes several accessories and presser feet
- 12lb weight
- Dimensions of 12″ x 5.86″ x 15.31″
The JX2517 has 17 built-in stitches and a 4-step buttonhole to take on most projects with ease. It also has 38 stitch functions and a brightly lit work area thanks to the LED light.
Choosing a stitch is easy. Just turn the dial. There’s a helpful diagram on the front of the machine that lists each stitch for your reference.
The free arm makes it easy to sew sleeves and cuffs.
The drop-in top bobbin is jam resistant, and there’s an automatic bobbin winding system for added convenience.
Brother includes several accessory feet, including: zipper, button, butthole, ZigZag. They also include helpful accessories, like a bobbin, needle set and darning plate.
The JX2517 features a simple design, but offers plenty of features that both beginner and intermediate users will enjoy. I also love the pretty floral design on the front of the machine.
If you want a more advanced model for beginners, I think the JX2517 is a great choice. It’s still lightweight and easily transportable, but it also has some more advanced features, like stitch functions.
The only complaint I have is that I’m not sure if this model has a metal frame like some of the other models on this list. It’s still durable and reliable, and sews like a dream irregardless.
Singer Start 1304 – Perfect Simple Sewing Machine
Singer’s Start 1304 offers just the right number of features to make it a great simple sewing machine for beginners. Lightweight and easily portable, the 1304 can be used just about anywhere and is easy for users of all ages to use.
This machine offers the following features:
- 6 built-in stitches
- 4-step buttonhole
- Removable storage compartment
- 7lb weight
- Automatic bobbin winding
- Dimensions of 13″ x 7″ x 11.5″
- 3 feet included: zipper, all-purpose, buttonhole
- Dual spool pins for twin needle stitching
The Start 1304 comes with six built-in stitches – just enough to tackle most projects.
- Blind hem
- 4-step buttonhole
Choosing stitches is easy. Simply turn the dial on the front surface of the machine.
Users can choose from a mix of decorative, applique and hem stitches to take on just about any project.
The four-step buttonhole allows you to add buttons to garments, while the removable extension table allows you to use the free arm for hemming pants and sleeves.
The Start 1304 is a pretty versatile machine. It can be used for simple projects like pillow cases, or you can use it for more complicated projects like children’s clothing.
Threading can be a pain with some machines, but this one makes it easy. There’s a helpful diagram on the front of the case to help you thread the machine in no time.
There are also dual spool pins for twin needle sewing. The Singer Start also has preset stitch length and width, which takes the guesswork out of this complicated aspect of sewing.
If you’re worried about durability, don’t be. This machine has a heavy-duty metal frame for skip-free stitching, high durability and perfect alignment.
Along with all of these great features, the Start 1304 has a built-in LED light to illuminate your workspace.
I love the Start 1304 because it’s durable, reliable and easy to use. It has just the right amount of stitches to take on most projects without being too overwhelming for beginners. And the heavy-duty frame allows for skip-free sewing.
Singer Simple 3223G
The Singer 3223G is similar to the 3232, but comes with fewer stitches and is a little less expensive. Its retail price is slightly above $100, but I want to include it in this list because you can often find it right around the $100 dollar mark.
It is another option that is a very simple and comes with no confusing bells and whistles. It does however, come with 23 built-in stitches and one automatic one-step button hole.
I wasn’t expecting a ton from the 3232G, but was pleasantly surprised with the stitch quality. If, like me, you work with a number of different fabrics then you will be happy to know that you can adjust the stitch tension to ensure the quality of your work. This model doesn’t come with automatic threading, but with the simple instructions printed on the side of the case, it was a breeze.
An added bonus is the extra-high room found under the Presser foot. This allows you to work with thicker fabrics or work on projects like quilts much easier.
I was very impressed with Singer Simple and think it would be a excellent choice for those who are just starting out.
Beginner Sewing Machines $100+
Brother Sewing Laura Ashley CX155LA
Brother’s Laura Ashley CX155LA is a great option for young users. The machine features a red, pink and purple floral design, and it’s designed for both quilting and sewing. This limited edition model is computerized and some of its features are advanced. This makes the model a better fit for more experienced beginners.
Here’s what the CX155LA offers:
- 100 built-in stitches
- Backlit LCD display
- Full set of accessories
- LED work area
- Maximum speed of 850 stitches per minute
- Variable speed control
- 7-point feed dogs
The Laura Ashley CX155LA has 100 built-in stitches, which includes 55 alphanumeric stitches for monogramming and 8 one-step buttonholes. The machine has an LCD screen that displays the stitch number. A diagram on the front of the case shows all of the stitches for easy selection.
The CX155LA has a maximum speed of 850 stitches per minute, which you can adjust with the slider on the front of the machine. It can also work with a wide range of fabrics thanks to the 7-point feed dogs.
Brother includes a full set of accessories, which includes 11 quilting and presser feet. Plus, the extra-wide table allows you to work on quilts with ease.
For advanced beginners, the CX155LA is a great option and will allow you to grow as a seamstress and quilter without having to buy a new machine.
Brother’s HC1850 is another computerized machine with a bright, fun design. This model is a little more advanced than the previous, but it’s still a great option for beginners. It sews quickly, can handle a range of projects, and comes with more stitches than you’ll ever need.
The HC1850 has the following features:
- Quilting and sewing functions
- 130 built-in stitches; 170 stitch functions
- Flip chart that lists built-in stitches
- Detachable wide table
- LCD display
- LED light work area
The HC1850 is an excellent combination sewing and quilting machine for beginners. In total, there are 130 built-in stitches and 170 stitch functions. These stitches include 42 garment construction stitches, 94 decorative functions, 14 quilting stitch functions, 8 automatic buttonhole styles, and 12 heirloom stitch functions. There’s also a built-in monogramming stitching font for basic monogramming.
The detachable table makes it easy to work on quilting projects. The LCD display and control panel allow for easy stitch selection, and all of the stitches are listed on the front of the machine.
Multiple accessories are included with the HC1850 and the built-on LED keeps the workspace illuminated.
For beginners who want a machine that can tackle quilting and regular sewing projects, the Brother HC1850 is a great option.
If you want a manual sewing machine and price isn’t your first concern, then I would look no further than the Janome 2212. 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 2212 comes with 12 pre-programmed stitches as well as a 4 step button hole. It also has the following other features: drop arm, 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 product 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. The Janome 2212 lives up to Janome’s excellent reputation for building quality, durable machines. I love this model and I think it is a really good sewing machine for beginners.
Janome Arctic Crystal
This machine offers the following features:
- 15 built-in stitches
- 4-step buttonhole
- Customizable stitch length, ZigZag width, darning plate, reverse lever
- 4 presser feet included
- 3-piece dog feed system
- Free arm
- Retractable spool pins
The Arctic Crystal machine is colorful, lightweight and fun to use. But it’s also great for beginners because it’s so easy to use. This model comes with a quick start guide, YouTube video tutorials and an instruction manual.
The built-in bobbin loading guide makes it easy to load up the bobbin, and threading is a breeze thanks to the helpful guide.
I like that this model has 15 built-in stitches. You may not use them all, but the option is there. Along with a versatile selection of stitches, you also have a four-step buttonhole feature.
The Arctic Crystal also has a front-loading bobbin system and an adjustable stitch length for even more versatility. This is a machine that you can grow into as a user, which means that you’ll get plenty of use out of it.
I also like that this machine has a 3-piece feed dog system for ultra-smooth fabric feeding. You can also work with sleeves and pant legs thanks to the free arm attachment.
From garments to home décor items, this machine can easily take on most sewing projects. It also has a heavy-duty metal frame to give you years of use and skip-free sewing.
Top Computerized Sewing Machines For Beginners
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The Brother CS6000i computerized sewing machine is a really nice product that is one of the easiest sewing machines 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 model 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 Brother CS6000i is surely made to suit people who are just starting off their careers in sewing, so its functionality is really as basic as it can be.
A few years ago, I recently got back into sewing and used this exact product, to start on project from this article. It was great at getting me back in the flow again.
Even though the features of the product is that way, it still has managed to keep all the required tools to perform advanced activities that you will eventually get into once you’ve gone through the beginner stages. It can definitely help speed up the learning curve that most people experience in world of arts and crafts.
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 it. 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 machines you can buy in this price range. You can read my in-depth review of it here.
Singer 7258 Stylist
The 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.
Many people are fond of this particular model as it has all the functionality of an advanced sewing machine but the user experience cannot be more basic than it is now. This is why more and more people keep buying the Singer 7258 Stylist, it’s a user-friendly unit that can hold its ground against higher end models. We absolutely give the Singer 7258 Stylist a thumbs up on this one!
One of the things I really like about this appliance 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. One of the things I didn’t like, is that this product is not so great for heavy duty jobs like upholstery. Although that might be a set back for some people, but it still is a wonderful product to get started with as heavy duty jobs such as upholstery projects are advanced stuff anyways.
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.
My Favorite Beginner Sewing Machine
Singer One Plus
The 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. There is a huge reason why it won such awards, and that is not because it looks cute. The reason why it has won those prestigious honors is because of its great user experience, its functionality for at home use is just off the charts compared to other models in the industry. This has made a huge gap to its other computerized rivals in the market. And that is why we have chosen it as the best computerized 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 device 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 model. Its performance is quiet, smooth, powerful and flawless. Click here to read my full review of the Singer One Plus.
It 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 JX2517 or Singer Start are good choices. They are simple and shouldn’t be as intimidating as a computerized model. However, if you want something that is going to last and be used often then you should consider the Janome 2212.
If a computerized model is for you and you aren’t on a budget, then the Singer One Plus would be the one 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 give the user, leaves a lot of room for growth and many options for projects in the future. They are both popular, inexpensive and well reviewed models that are also very 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?
Another choice you might be thinking about is whether you should get a traditional or a computerized sewing machine. There are some good reasons to purchase either type. Mostly it comes down to your needs.
If you can see yourself creating a ton of different projects and love all of the extra features the purchasing an computerized model would be ideal. If however, you will be mostly using it for small repairs or simple projects that a less expensive manual model is your best bet.
The main advantage of computerized machines is the amount of options that are available. These options make some projects easier and are generally better for embroidery and quilting. They also come with some desirable conveniences such as:
- threading with the push of a button
- quick start and stops
- easy button hole creation
- easy to change to many different stitch patterns
However, these machines can be more of a learning curve because there are so many options available.
Manual machines don’t have have as many options, but generally have everything needed for a beginner. When you are just starting out you really don’t need 40 stitches or 8 different buttonholes. Tons of fancy features can be overwhelming for a newbie. A really good quality mechanical model is usually a good place to start. 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. I’ve tried to provide options for users who are on a budget and also recommendations for those that don’t mind spending a bit more to get a quality sewing machine.
I hope this post helped with your quest to find the best beginner sewing machine on the market today. Happy sewing!