Sewing is quickly becoming a favorite hobby again and not just amongst grandmothers like myself, but also many others around the world.
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.
These are all great reasons to take up sewing, but if you’ve never sewed before choosing the right 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. With the choices between dozens of models starting 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 machine, but don’t know where to start. I really hope that this article helps you narrow down what you are looking for. I list for you some of my choices of what I feel are the best beginner sewing machines in 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
Out of all three of these factors ease of use and reliability are probably the most important. 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 a machine with too many features that will make it too complicated when someone is using their first 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 Sewing Machines under $100
Brother JX2517 Lightweight
The Brother JX2517 Lightweight is a fun, lightweight machine that offers a nice range of features. This is more of an advanced machine 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.
This machine offers the following features:
- 17 built-in stitches
- 4-step buttonhole
- 38 stitch functions
- Automatic bobbin winding system
- 900 stitches per minute sewing 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 sewing 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 machine 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
Singer’s Start 1304 offers just the right number of features to make it a great option for beginners. Lightweight and easily portable, this machine 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 sewing
The Start 1304 comes with six built-in stitches – just enough to tackle most sewing 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 machine to thread the machine in no time.
There are also dual spool pins for twin needle sewing. The machine 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 sewing, 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 sewing 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 machine 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 machine 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 sewing.
Beginner Sewing Machines $100+
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. 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.
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 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 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 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.
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 machine. Its performance is quiet, smooth, powerful and flawless. Click here to read my full review of this machine.
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 machine. However, if you want something that is going to last and be used often then you should consider the Janome 2212.
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?
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. It also depends highly on your need and comfortability with such machines, if it makes it easier for you to use a computerized model then go for it, although some people would still choose a manual sewing machine for the most part.
Computerized machines come with more options and have options that make some tasks really easy and are generally better for embroidery and quilting. 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 available.
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 appliances. 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.