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
All three of these factors together are important. You don’t want to go out and purchase the cheapest one 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 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
The 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.
For young beginners, the auto-needle threader is a nice touch. When helping one of my grand-daughters with this machine (she’s 9 years old) we were up and sewing within about 20 minutes after un-boxing it. After a couple of uses she could handle it perfectly fine. We still work together on projects, but it didn’t take her long to be a little pro.
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.
The 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.
I haven’t had the chance to use this one in person yet, but have heard it is also another nice sewing machine that is a very good choice for beginners.
Singer Simple 3232G
The Singer 3232G 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.
Best Manual Sewing Machine For Amateurs
Janome Magnolia 7318
If 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. The 7318 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.
Top Computerized Sewing Machines Under $200
- Brother CS6000i
60 Pre-programmed Stitches
- 7 One-step Button Holes
- Variable Speed Control
- Singer 7258 Stylist
100 Built-in Stitches
- 7 One-step Button Holes
- Most Simple to Use
- Singer One Plus
221 Pre-Programmed Stitches
- SwiftSmart Threading System
- Highest Quality - Best Value
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 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 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.
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.
Best Computerized Products Review
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.
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.
The Singer One Plus 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.
This model is one of my favorites to recommend. For what you get it is a tremendous value. If you have a bit more to spend that you will be thrilled with the One Plus. I had the pleasure of using this machine over a weekend. Click here to read my full review.
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 XL2600I or XL2610 are good choices. They are simple and shouldn’t be as intimidating as a computerized one. 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 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 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.
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.