Are you thinking about sewing for the first time? Sewing is one of the most useful skills that anyone can have. Not only do you learn how to make alterations, fixes, and create fashion or home decor pieces that are exactly per your taste, but you also get to do something with your own two hands, and then truly enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Children of all ages can pick up sewing in just a day or two because it’s fun, easy, and safe to do. But learning this new, wonderful skill isn’t limited to kids – adults love it too! In order to get started, however, you’ll want one of the best sewing machines for beginners, so that the learning process will be as painless as possible. A great starter sewing machine will gently ease you into the trade one step at a time.
And that’s exactly what you’ll find here today! We rounded up the best sewing machines for beginners which are simple, basic, and incredibly easy to use. Make sure you read our tips on how to get started with sewing at the end of our reviews, as well as our handy buying guide on how to pick the best sewing machine for you!
Best Sewing Machines for Beginners: 2020 Reviews
There’s a good chance that you’re not quite sure what kind of features you should get in a sewing machine if you’ve never done any sewing before, right? To help you out, we’ve put together this comparison chart so you can discover the highlights of today’s best sewing machines. Take a look:
Best Overall: SINGER Start 1304
The Singer Start 1304 is our top recommendation for beginners – it’s affordable, durable, and incredibly easy to use. This sewing machine comes with a bunch of pre-set stitch applications and automatic bobbin winding, which will allow you to focus more on learning, and less on adjusting. The Singer Start is also quite compact and lightweight, so it’s a great portable option.
Reasons to Buy:
57 Stitch Applications. The Singer Start has all the pre-set applications you’ll need for a frustration-free intro to sewing. It has 57 stitch applications you can choose from, and 6 built-in, pre-set stitches. This means that when you choose a stitch, you won’t have to also deal with adjusting the stitch width and length – it gets adjusted automatically. This beautifully basic setting that the Singer Start offers means that all you’ll have to do is pick a stitch – and then get to sewing!
6 Pre-set Application. The 6 pre-set stitches are perfect for any beginner. They include all the options you’ll need for alterations, clothes sewing, home projects, creating buttonholes, and even sewing different fabrics together.
Automatic Winding. We also love the Singer Start for beginners thanks to its automatic bobbin winding feature. The bobbin stops turning automatically once it’s filled, and a handy diagram on the top of the machine will tell you how to wind the bobbin when needed. Additionally, you get both a quick-start guide and an instruction manual that will help guide you through the basics of sewing. You can also find lots of YouTube videos that get to the ins and outs of using this simple machine.
Accessorized. The Singer Start offers a lot of versatility for an affordable price. In addition to the user-friendly functionality, this sewing machine comes with a host of fun, useful accessories that will give you everything you need to start sewing. Things that you’ve never thought you’d need, such as various sewing feet (for different purposes – like zippers, buttonholes, and so on), packs of needles, even lint brushes, and screwdrivers – are included in the purchase!
Compact. We also recommend this Singer model for anyone who wants a small and portable sewing machine. Whether you have a cramped desk, you want to stow away the machine after each use, or you want to be able to take it with you to sewing class – the Start is a perfect choice. It’s lightweight, weighing under 10 pounds, and quite compact. It’s as easy to transport it as it is to stick it in a cupboard.
Warranty. Last but not least, Singer Start 1304 has an excellent warranty. It comes with a 25-year limited warranty on the sewing machine head, a 2-year warranty on parts, and a 90-day warranty on accessories.
Reasons not to Buy:
Weak Needles. The needles that come with this sewing machine are quite lightweight, so you may need to separately get some heavy-duty needles if you want to work with tougher fabrics.
Best on Budget: Brother XM2701
If you’re just beginning with sewing, chances are you’re not willing to dip into your savings for a high-end sewing machine that might end up being too overwhelming and hard to figure out. This is why we recommend the Brother XM2701 model, which is our favorite value-for-money option. The sewing machine is perfect for beginners, as, on top of being affordable, it’s portable, easy to use, and packed with useful features.
Reasons to Buy:
Feature Packed. The Brother XM2701 comes equipped with a bunch of features that will make your sewing journey go smoothly. The machine features 27 built-in stitches, which are more than enough for multiple everyday sewing projects – from basic stitches like straight and zig-zag to blind hem stitch. Best of all, the Brother XM2701 has an easy stitch selector, which means choosing a stitch is as easy as turning a dial.
Great Buttonholes. Furthermore, Brother XM2701 comes with 6 different quick-change sewing feet, including a one-step auto-size buttonhole foot. The buttonhole automatically adjusts to fit all of your buttons. As a beginner, you’ll love using the buttonhole because it takes away the guesswork and will make you more confident.
Automatic Needle Threader. Just like the other Brother sewing machines, the XM2701 offers an automatic needle threader, which perfectly solves one of the most tedious tasks when sewing – manually threading a needle. New sewing enthusiasts typically lose a lot of time trying to get the hang of it, which is why the automatic needle threader is such an exciting feature.
Instructional. We especially love the instructional DVD video that comes with the sewing machine, as well as the wonderful technical support. The instruction video contains clear and easy-to-follow examples of how to get started with sewing and how to perform some basic sewing projects. However, if you still have some problems with the machine, there’s free technical support via email, live chat, or phone.
Easy-to-use. All in all, we believe Brother XM2701 is a great choice as a first machine because it’s very intuitive and easy to figure out. In just a day or two, you’ll be confidently sewing those pieces that you first thought it’ll take you months to figure out.
Reasons not to Buy:
Cheaper Build. If this is not your first sewing machine and you have worked on a more heavily built one before, the lightweight design and plastic parts might feel a little cheap, although the Brother XM2701 sewing machine is highly efficient.
Light Duty. Planning to sew tough fabrics might not be a good idea with the Brother XM2701 sewing machine.
Poor Lighting. Also, some customers have complained that the LED light is a little dim, which means you might need to arrange additional lighting for your sewing space.
Best Heavy-Duty: SINGER Heavy Duty 4411
As the best heavy-duty, yet beginner-friendly sewing machine, we chose the SINGER Heavy Duty 4411. It’s a powerful machine, capable of taking on leather, denim, and other heavy fabrics. Although it’s not our top choice, we highly recommend it for anyone who needs more speed and power.
Reasons to Buy:
Powerful. The SINGER 4411 has all the power and speed to meet the needs of those interested in working with thicker materials, such as denim, leather, and upholstery fabrics. The 105 W motor is a true workhorse that can tackle every project you throw at it without breaking a sweat. Just as a comparison, most entry-level sewing machines feature a motor of only 60 W.
Speed. Additionally, the SINGER 4411 is capable of making up to 1,100 stitches per minute without losing quality. This means that even at the highest speed the machine will stay steady and will never skip a stitch. The speed is controlled by a foot pedal, but beginners should not worry, as the pedal is responsive and easy to get used to.
Easy-to-use. Changing the feet of the sewing machine is fast and easy. The SINGER 4411 features 9 snap-on type presser feet including blind hem, cording, darning/freehand embroidery, even feed/walking, gathering, narrow rolled hem, overcasting, satin stitch, and straight stitch. Thanks to the wide variety of feet, without much effort, your sewing project can turn into a professional-looking piece.
Good Value. We also love the fact that this wonderful model is so affordable, especially considering it can be used in manufacturing. You can look at the SINGER 4411 as a bridge between standard household and an industrial machine.
Warranty. Finally, just like our top pick, the Singer 4411 comes with an excellent warranty of 25 years on the sewing machine head, a 2-year warranty on parts, and a 90-day warranty on accessories.
Reasons not to Buy:
Stitch Applications. Unlike our top choice, the SINGER Heavy Duty 4411 is not made for versatility, as it has only 11 built-in stitches.
Manual Needle Threader. Another drawback of the Singer 4411 is that it has a manually operating needle threader, which means there’s a learning curve when it comes to threading the needle and raising the bobbin thread. It’ll probably take you some practice, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll see it’s pretty easy to set it up.
Best for Quilting: Brother CS7000i
The Brother CS7000i sewing machine is our top recommendation for beginners in quilting. It’s stable, durable, and perfect for absolute beginners, as it comes with many automated features. Large projects are not a problem, as the Brother CS7000i comes with a large table and a bunch of specific, built-in quilting stitches.
Reasons to Buy:
Stitch Applications. While the previous Brother CS version had 60 built-in stitches, the newer CS7000i model features an additional 10, or a total of 70 built-in stitches, including decorative stitches, unique quilting stitches, and 7 styles of one-step, auto-size buttonholes. Thanks to this upgrade, you’re getting a lot more versatility and freedom to explore different styles.
Great Buttonholes. The one-step, auto-size buttonholes are especially beneficial for beginners, as they’re very easy to use and will save you a lot of time.
Automatic Needle Threader. Another automatic feature is the needle threader, which is a true life-saver for professionals too, not just amateurs. Instead of getting frustrated while trying to thread the needle, the automated needle threader pushes the thread through the eye of a needle in less than a second, allowing you to keep your focus on your work.
Adjustable Speed. We also love the adjustable sewing speed offered by the Brother CS7000i model. Depending on the project you’re working on, sometimes you’ll need to slow it down and this machine gives you that option with the click of a button.
Easy-to-use. As a beginner, you’ll be happy to know that Brother CS7000i comes with a quick set-up bobbin, which means you can start sewing as soon as you bring the machine home. Plus, you’ll also get a quilt guide for beginners, so there’ll be nothing stopping you from making an amazing looking quilt in no time.
Reasons not to Buy:
Light Duty. Quilting is a large project but typically makes use of light materials. And while the Brother CS7000i is great for quilting, it’s not the best choice for heavy-duty sewing.
Bulky. Also, featuring a large table for quilting, the Brother CS7000i is quite large and heavy, so keep in mind that you won’t be able to move it around easily.
Our choice for the best sewing machine for beginners is the SINGER Start 1304. Singer as a brand is very reliable and trustworthy, while their Start 1304 sewing machine is a well-rounded and user-friendly model. It comes with a bunch of pre-set stitch applications and fully automated features that will deliver a pleasant experience to any new sewing enthusiast. Being compact and lightweight makes the Singer Start 1304 a practical companion to your sewing.
When looking for a budget-friendly starter sewing machine, you should check out the Brother XM2701 model. We believe this sewing machine is a great choice for anyone who wants to learn to sew fast and easy, without spending too much. It comes with a variety of stitches and feet which are perfect for everyday sewing projects, while the set up and the sewing process are fully automated.
When you need power and speed to tackle heavy materials with no struggle, we recommend the SINGER 4411 sewing machine. Coming with a 105 W motor and up to 1,100 stitches per minute speed, the SINGER 4411 is a perfect choice for sewing denim, leather, or upholstery fabrics. Beginners interested in learning how to sew on tougher materials would probably be most satisfied with this model.
The Brother CS7000i sewing machine makes quilting fun and easy, which is why we believe it’s a great choice for anyone who’s interested in making some colorful quilts. It comes with a detachable extension table for quilting and unique quilting feet. This sewing machine is highly versatile and feature-rich, which means it’s also a great choice for anyone who wants to experiment with a lot of styles in their crafting projects.
How to Get Started with Sewing
What Are the Basics of a Sewing Machine?
If you’ve ever seen someone stitch together a seam or attach a button by hand, then you’ve got the basic concept of what a sewing machine does as well.
Instead of having to use your hands to put a needle with thread through materials, the sewing machine does this for you! This makes sewing an easy skill to develop over time, but don’t be fooled – it isn’t as easy as it looks! One of these basic sewing machines is perfect for someone who is getting started with making crafts at home, such as the octopus costume in the video below from Martha Stewart’s show.
That’s why having one of the best sewing machines for beginners around can really help you out. These machines are specifically designed with the beginner in mind to make sewing as easy as possible. The best sewing machines won’t compromise on the final results, however, they are scalable and flexible to let you take over some customization and your skills develop.
Most sewing machines can be used on any desk or table. Some have a pedal that needs to be used, while others have wider tables on the casing of the machine that takes up some extra space. You’ll need to learn about how to wind a bobbin and how to thread your machine, which is a unique process for every make and model.
That’s why reading through the best sewing machine reviews can give you a tremendous advantage during the shopping process!
What Are the Benefits of Using a Sewing Machine?
The primary benefit that the skill of sewing provides you with is the gift of customization. You can create stunning clothing, curtains, and blankets with just some basic stitches that you’ll find on almost all entry-level sewing machines. Although it does take some time to make your own things, you’ll also soon discover that you can save an amazing amount of money just by using fabric to create your own items!
Sewing machines also help to develop your creativity. For kids and adults alike who are looking for a hobby that is both fun and useful, sewing fits the bill. An afternoon is all it takes sometimes to create some basic items! For those who are willing to put in more work and time, some amazing embroidery and quilt work can turn a house into a home or be the perfect gift for a loved one.
What Are Some Common Problems?
Here are two words for you to remember as you get started: thread tension. If your thread tension is too low, you’ll end up having your stitching get bunched up and you won’t get a clean stitch. That can eventually cause the sewing machine to jam up and you’ll have a nest of a mess on your hands!
Having thread tension that is too high is also problematic because it can cause your thread to break. That can cause the thread to get lost inside the body of your machine or get caught in the gear mechanisms and that’s a costly, uncovered repair for many makes and models.
Being able to thread the needle effectively is also something that the best sewing machines for beginners do well. Look for needles that have an eye that faces the front and won’t move up and down so you don’t stab or pinch yourself as you’re trying to get started on your first sewing project.
How to Choose the Right Model for You
Although manual sewing machines are generally cheaper, they also require more overall skill. That doesn’t mean a beginner can’t learn these skills effectively, but it does mean that the learning curve can set a beginner back and they could accidentally cause some damage to their new sewing machine. Look for automatic options instead that let you get going with one-touch convenience.
The best sewing machines are going to provide you with multiple stitching options. Basic, entry-level models will have about a dozen or so stitches that you can use. Upgrading to an automatic sewing machine will often give you about 100 total stitches and some buttonhole alternatives so you can create fashion that represents your personal swagger! Then all you’ve got to do is feed the material at the right time and in the right place to get an outstanding result.
You’ll also want to look for autopilot features that can help you quickly sew in almost any environment. The average manual sewing machine is controlled with a foot pedal that acts like an accelerator pedal on a vehicle. You control the speed, but this also increases the chances of mistakes. The best sewing machines will let you set the speed with a touch or button instead and then let you keep that speed until you stop it.
What Are the Prices of Beginner Models?
Most of the sewing machines that are geared toward beginners are highly affordable on Amazon today. Many of them are priced for less than $200 and will effectively help you begin building the skills that you want or need. More expensive options can be priced in the $500 range, but those are for people who are willing to invest extra time in the skill development process.
A Few Words Before You Go…
Hopefully, you’re now feeling encouraged and ready to start your sewing adventures. Of course, every time we are new at something and are doing it for the first time – the first day of school, first day at work, first partner, first batch of cookies – we get a knot in our stomachs.
Don’t let that knot be fear or anxiety – let it be excitement!
And with these basic, simple, easy-to-use sewing machines, you’ll have nothing to worry about. Soon enough, you’ll be passed making fixes and alterations, and you’ll be ready to take on a new challenge!
Want to see my top picks one more time? Here they are:
Last update on 2020-09-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API