I got my first sewing machine as a wedding present from my mother-in-law. It’s a Singer Slant-O-Matic from 1957 with a million bells and whistles. The index lists features such as border designs, buttonholes, corded applique, embroidery, and more.
I’d used my mom’s Singer machine a few times growing up. She wanted to make sure I had some idea of how to sew. However, when I got this new machine, I was flabbergasted by the many parts and pieces. It took me an embarrassing amount of time to thread the needle and figure out where to insert the bobbin.
I’ve mastered the straight stitch now, but I’ve yet to touch the embroidery features. I may someday work up the courage to experiment with some of the unique settings of my Singer machine. In the meantime, I’ll stick to my simple projects and the basic functions of the sewing machine.
Because my machine turned out to be too advanced for me, I decided to do some research on the best sewing machines for beginners. Though there’s definitely something to be said for advanced features, it can be helpful to start with something more simple. This guide should help you decide which sewing machine will meet your needs without offering too much.
The Singer Slant-O-Matic comes in a useful carrying case and is incredibly hardy because it’s made of metal.
This list includes sewing machines with important features and accessories that are useful for beginners but not too complicated. These machines can be a great starting point as you delve into this part of the crafting world. They range from very simple to more complicated, so you can find exactly what you’re looking for.
Common Sewing Machine Brands
There are many, many brands of sewing machines. Like most appliances, you can find hundreds of different kinds of sewing machines. However, some of them stand out more than others. Here are three sewing machine brands which you’ve probably seen before. They’re commonly used and generally liked.
Singer is one of the most well-known sewing machines in many homes across the world.
Singer has been around since 1851. In the years since, Singer has released many different sewing machines. Some are designed for practicality, some for durability, others are built for a specific project such as quilting or embroidery.
Singer created the first zig-zag machine and the first electronic machine. It was also a pioneer in payment installments, which allowed women to purchase sewing machines without an unattainable up-front cost.
There are tons of different models of Brother sewing machines with unique uses.
Brother Industries was started in Japan in 1905. It’s an electrical equipment and electronics company, making much more than just sewing machines. You may have seen Brother printers, typewriters, machine tools, and more.
Like Singer, Brother has a wide variety of sewing machines. They may be built for heavy-duty sewing, embroidery, quilting, cover stitches, lettering, and more. Some are designed to be lightweight and portable while others are designed to be as durable as possible.
Janome was the first brand to use the round bobbin, which is used in most machines now.
Janome sewing machines have existed since the mid 1900s when the Japanese company Janome Sewing Machine Company bought an American sewing company called New Home.
Janome was one of the first brands to use a round bobbin, and the first to create a programmable computer sewing machine. They sell sewing, embroidery, quilting, and serger machines. Janome also sells plenty of accessories as well as software for their machines.
Elements to Look For in Your First Sewing Machine
Before we get into some of my favorite sewing machines, let’s take a look at the elements that are important for a first sewing machine. With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to even know what to look for. Here are some elements that are important when it comes to finding a good sewing machine.
Before you start any sewing project, make sure you have all the accessories and equipment you need.
In order to consider the versatility of a machine, you need to decide what you will use your sewing machine for. If you hope to someday become a master seamstress or seamster, you might want a machine with a few extra features.
If you just want to learn to sew in order to hem curtains, make pillows, and other simple tasks, all you really need is a straight stitch and maybe a zig-zag stitch. When deciding which machine to buy, take a look at the number of stitches it offers and the style of stitches.
The last element to look for when it comes to versatility is the features. There are machines that are great for quilting or embroidery that can still be easy to use as a beginner. Depending on what kind of projects you have in mind, you may also look for a machine that has multiple feet, removable arms, and special needles.
The next thing you want to look for is durability. How long will the sewing machine actually last? Although sewing machines with plastic frames are lightweight and more affordable, they may not be worth the low cost, as they won’t last as long as sewing machines with a metal frame.
Machines that have several features may also have extra parts that can break off easily. If you plan to move your sewing machine often, it’s a good idea to get a more simple machine that won’t break from the extra handling.
On a similar note, you should consider whether or not you need your machine to be portable. If you plan to carry it to and from a sewing class, you’ll want a sewing machine that is lightweight but also strong enough to withstand the stress of being carried.
Ease of Use
Finally, since this is an article about sewing machines for beginners, you’ll need to look at the basic uses of the machine. How easy is this sewing machine to use?
Part of this includes looking at what accessories come with the machine. You may not want to buy a sewing machine if you will also have to buy a million pieces to fit with it. A sewing machine with all the accessories included will be much easier to use as a beginner.
You also want to look through the manual to decide whether or not the instructions are clear. Many sewing machines today come with DVD instructions or links to YouTube tutorials. These guides can help you get started on your first sewing project in no time.
Roundup of Best Sewing Machines for Beginners
Let’s get into it. Which machines are easy to use, durable, and versatile? Here are a few sewing machines I recommend for people who are new to sewing. They start with the simplest machine and lead up to some machines that are still easy to use but include a few more helpful features.
KPCB Mini Sewing Machine
KPCB is one of the smallest and lightest sewing machines on the market. This machine weighs less than three pounds, making it extremely portable. In addition, it can be powered by battery, so you can even sit outside to sew.
In order to remain small and light, the KPCB Mini Sewing Machine has relatively few features. It only offers straight line stitching, though it does also include a thread cutter and automatic bobbin winding.
Because this mini sewing machine is mainly created out of plastic, it may not last as long as some of the other machines on this list. Still, it’s easy to use and works well if you are new to sewing and just want to become familiar with a straight stitch or complete small projects.
Start 1304 Singer
The Start 1304 Singer has made many lists of best beginner sewing machines, with good reason. The machine is made with a metal frame for increased durability. It comes with a limited 25-year warranty.
It weighs 11 pounds, making it relatively easy to move and store, especially compared to some other machines made with a metal frame.
This machine is designed for beginners. It comes with an easy-to-follow instruction manual, easy threading, and all the necessary accessories for getting started. The Start 1304 Singer comes with six basic stitches, giving you a few more options. However, to keep things simple, the stitch length and width are preset.
Janome Arctic Crystal Easy-to-Use Sewing Machine
Not only is the Janome Arctic Crystal Easy-to-Use Sewing Machine practical, but it also comes in a unique turquoise color sure to stand out in your craft room. This machine is a winner of the Women’s Choice Award.
It has a metal frame and weighs 12 pounds. The Janome Sewing Machine comes with 15 stitches, including the ability to make buttonholes. You can adjust the width and length of stitches.
This machine is versatile and great for a variety of projects. It comes with accessories, an easy-to-read manual, and access to several YouTube tutorials. There is a built-in bobbin diagram and a quick-start guide, making this an easy choice for beginners.
XM2107 Brother Sewing Machine
There are a few Brother machines that are great for beginners. The XM2107 Brother is another winner of the Women’s Choice Award. Along with an easy manual, the Brother machine comes with free tech support and easy threading.
The XM2107 has a few more options than the previous machines. It allows for 27 different stitches and can do buttonholes in just one step. The XM2107 also has six different feet, so you can use it for a wide range of projects.
It weighs just over 12 pounds and has a metal frame. It’s still fairly portable and will hold up well throughout the years. If you need to store it in between uses, it won’t be too heavy. In addition to the Women’s Choice Award, the XM2107 is also an Amazon’s Choice product.
I decided to include the Brother ST371HD sewing machine in order to have a heavy duty option on this list. Many of the easiest and simplest sewing machines can’t handle thicker fabrics such as denim and leather. The ST371HD is great if you know you’ll be working on heavy duty projects.
This sewing machine, also a Women’s Choice Award winner, can do 37 stitches, including buttonholes. It has easy threading as well as several additional accessories, such as extra feet and extra needles.
Although the ST371HD has a built-in handle, it’s the least portable of these options. It weighs over 18 pounds. This is partly due to its metal frame, which also makes it more durable. This sewing machine comes with a 25-year limited warranty.
My first sewing project was recovering the cushions on this rocking chair. They aren’t perfect, but completing a project successfully still feels great!
Using Your Sewing Machine
Now that you’ve read up on some of the features that make these sewing machines a good choice for beginners, it’s time to get crafty! Decide what kind of projects you want to complete, how portable your machine should be, and what price you want to spend.
Once you’ve chosen and purchased a sewing machine, take some time to become familiar with your new machine. Read the manual before you sew anything! Once you’ve read the manual and threaded the needle, you can start by sewing a scrap piece of fabric to get a feel for the pedal and to make sure everything is working.
You can then move into an easy project such as sewing a tablecloth. For this, you just need to buy a large piece of cloth, cut it to the right size, and hem the edges. This will be a good way to learn how to sew in a straight line and use the sewing machine.
Once you’ve finished that, you can move up to some more complex projects. Sewing a pillow was one of my first sewing projects, and it turned out great! As you practice using your sewing machine, you can check back here on Happy DIY Home for more project ideas.
If you get stuck somewhere, don’t worry! It’s okay to take your time learning how to sew. Remember to read the manual and don’t forget that the internet is full of tutorials and sewing help. A quick search should give you plenty of options for sewing help. You’ll be back on track and sewing in no time.