Best Beginner Sewing Machine 2016
In this article, we break down the top rated sewing machines best fit for beginners. Sewing can be a rewarding and enjoyable hobby. Whether you just want to make the occasional pillow case, or are planning to create your own clothes from scratch. It also improves your concentration and focus – and it doesn’t have to be expensive to get started.
If you’re a beginner, you probably don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on an expensive sewing machine. Even so, the cheapest options are often built with low-quality plastic and are unlikely to last a long time. In fact, these may make it so frustrating that you give up altogether.
It’s important to take your time when finding the best beginner model. You need to consider your budget and the types of projects you want to start with. There are a huge number of options available, but it’s usually best to stick with known brands such as Brother, Sunbeam, Singer and Janome.
It’s also vital to consider the features you really need and the features you want. There are always going to be compromises when choosing a beginner model – you probably won’t be able to find one that fits all your requirements without spending a lot of money. Even so, there are some excellent beginner options available that cost less than most people think.
We want to make finding the best beginner’s sewing machine as simple as possible. Listed below are the main considerations when choosing your first one, along with our top five recommended beginner models. If you don’t know which to buy, you can’t go wrong with any of these options.
Our Top 4 Reviews
1. Brother XM2701 Lightweight
The Brother XM2701is a solid, high-quality sewing machine. It’s designed to be versatile and straightforward to use. Features include 27 different stitch types, including a one-step buttonholer, and six sewing feet. The Brother XM2701 also comes with a DVD to get you started as quickly as possible; it’s absolutely perfect for beginners.
The Brother XM2701 is a popular model with happy buyers. Some buyers add that the instructional DVD was useful and most are happy with the stitch quality.
A problem with the Brother XM2701 is that the LED light is too dim to be of use without additional lighting. While this is a minor annoyance, it can be easily sorted by using a lamp or bright workspace.
2. Brother CS6000i
If you’re convinced that sewing is going to become a big part of your life, you may want to spend a bit extra to get a machine with more features. The Brother CS6000i computerized sewing machine, and comes with a range of advanced features along with an LCD display. Settings include 60 stitches, one-step buttonholes, adjustable stitch width and length, and a drop-in bobbin that’s designed to prevent jams.
The Brother CS6000i is one of the top rated models on the internet. A reviewer mentioned that the Brother CS6000i provides amazing value and comes with features you would expect from a high-end machine. An absolute must for entry-level sewers.
One downside to the Brother CS6000i is that it can sometimes struggle with thick fabrics. It is capable of sewing them, but the motor may sound like it is struggling. The fact that it is capable of sewing these fabrics at all is proof of the model’s value for money.
3. Singer 1507WC Free-Arm
The Singer 1507WC is an easy to use model that’s designed for beginners. The 1507WC has a variety of useful features including a quick threading system. Other features include adjustable stitch settings, an automatic four-step buttonholer and four presser feet. The feet are all snap-on for easy removal.
Most reviewers talk about how easy it is to use. They especially likes being able to control the speed using the foot pedal, which is something beginners struggle with.
The Singer 1507WC has relatively few stitch settings compared with other models in this price range. As we mentioned earlier, however, as long as the machine provides basic straight, zigzag and buttonhole stitches, you probably won’t use other options very often.
4. Janome Portable
The Janome Portable is an attractive machine that has many of the features you would expect from more expensive models. It comes with 10 different stitches, a drop-in bobbin and two needle positions. The Janome Portable is also available in nine different colors, including purple, pink and green.
Many mention that it is easy to thread. Some owners even talk about the fact their machine receives lots of admiring comments from friends.
The Janome Portable only has one-speed setting. While this isn’t a problem for simple projects, you may find it restrictive as you improve.
How to Choose a Beginner’s Sewing Machine
Your budget is probably the biggest factor when choosing a sewing machine. While the cheapest can be tempting, especially as many have attractive or interesting designs, they are usually far more costly in the long run. These typically break easily and often produce weak chain stitches that quickly unravel.
The good news is that there are some excellent options available for less than $100. If your budget stretches even further to around $200, you’ll be able to find something with more settings, features and strength.
Electronic ones are powered by a motor and operated with a pedal. Some of the most basic electronic machines only have one speed, while more advanced options speed up or slow down depending on the pressure applied to the pedal.
Computerized models are usually suitable for experienced stitchers. Instead of dials or switches to change settings, these have a control panel and built-in computer. The user can select the type of stitch they require. While computerized models are undoubtedly useful, they are often not the best option for beginners because of the higher price.
True mechanical sewing machines, which aren’t powered by electricity, require you to spin a wheel to move the bobbin and needle. This mechanism is typically only found on vintage models. You should be aware that some people refer to any model without a digital control panel as mechanical.
Sewing machines come with a variety of stitch types. The most basic models only have a few stitches. Advanced computerized machines often come with hundreds of stitch options. While those with many stitch types can be exciting, most people only use basic straight and zigzag stitches on a regular basis. A buttonholer can also be a useful feature.
Most beginner models have at least 10-20 stitch options. This is more than enough to get started and will allow you to complete just about any project. You shouldn’t feel that you need to buy one with lots of stitches, as most will never be used.
Another important setting is the stitch length. Some machines allow you to adjust the length and width of stitches, while others have fixed dimensions. Sometimes you need a tight stitch for extra strength, while for basic designs you may want to use a longer length for speed. Being able to adjust stitch length and width makes a model more versatile.
- Presser Feet Attachments. Sewing machines often come with a range of presser feet. These allow different types of sewing, so you need to make sure you have the right feet for your projects. Examples include zipper and buttonhole feet. Snap-on presser feet are much faster and more convenient to switch, so look for these whenever possible.
- Bobbin Type. Most either use a drop-in bobbin or front loading bobbin. While there are advantages to both, many beginners find a drop-in bobbin easier to use. Some beginner models also have an automatic winding bobbin.
- Usage Frequency. Do you plan on using yours on a daily basis? Or is it only likely to be used occasionally? It’s important to be honest with yourself. For daily use, it’s best to choose a machine with more metal components for extra durability. For occasional use, a cheaper option may suffice.
- Noise. Does yours need to be quiet enough to use while others are asleep? Noise is a commonly overlooked factor. Some can be surprisingly loud, which makes them unsuitable for late-night projects.
- Free-arm. Those with a free-arm make it much easier to perform tasks such as sewing sleeves.
Dimensions. The size is important. If you’re struggling to find a machine that’s small enough for your requirements, there are some ¾ size options available.
Beginner sewing machines are a relatively cheap (well, not as affordable as sewing machines for kids) way to get started with what could be a lifelong hobby. Designing and creating your own clothing, pillows or other projects is immensely rewarding. You also don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on one for most projects.
Your budget is probably the most important factor when deciding on a purchase. While it’s possible to get a decent model for around $60, such as the Janome Portable listed above, you can often find much more advanced features just by spending a bit more.
It’s also important to think about the type of stitches you need and whether you require a computerized machine. Other factors, such as presser feet, noise and the machine’s dimensions should also be considered.
Our top rated beginner’s sewing machine is the Brother XM2701. Available for less than $100, the XM2701 provides exceptional value. It also has enough features to tackle more advanced projects as your skills increase. The combination of 27 stitches, six sewing feet and one step button-holer means that it’s hard to beat the XM2701 in this price range.