If you are in a hurry and want to find out which is the best sewing machine for beginners, then I’d suggest going with Singer Start 1304.
I decided to start sewing my own clothes twelve years ago. My first challenge was to find a suitable sewing machine for beginners. It was a time-taking process as I made a lot of poor choices in the absence of adequate information.
I want to help you make an informed choice without the struggle I faced. Hence, I have compiled a list of the best sewing machines for beginners.
Here are my top 5 recommendations:
- Singer Start 1304
- Brother XM2701
- Singer Heavy Duty 4423
- Brother CS6000i
- Varmax Mini with Extension Table (Upgraded Version)
What to Consider When Choosing a Sewing Machine for Beginners
Don’t get disheartened if you are feeling overwhelmed by the wide variety of sewing machines available in the market. Trying to pick the best sewing machine to match one’s needs is a dilemma that every beginner faces.
In this article, I will discuss the three most important factors you must consider when making your final choice.
To begin with, it is good to know what your budget and goals are. When I say goals, I mean what kind of projects do you see yourself undertaking in both the long and short-term? Are you committed to mastering the art of sewing or you are still experimenting to find out whether this is a suitable hobby for you or not?
The complexity level of the projects you undertake will influence the number of stitches you need to have on your machine. In general, my advice is to not get seduced by fancy stitches, especially if you are just starting out.
Lastly, we’ll discuss whether a mechanical or a computerized sewing machine will be more suitable for your needs.
Additionally, make sure that you are buying only from a well-known brand. This way, it will be easier for you to find accessories and spare parts if you need them.
Exactly how much money are you willing to spend on a sewing machine? If you are an absolute beginner who has never worked on a sewing machine before, then, I would suggest buying a mid-range sewing machine. Just make sure that it has a sturdy frame.
This is because extremely cheap sewing machines are not sturdy enough to allow for skid-free sewing. This can easily taint your very first experience of sewing. You will likely find yourself struggling to keep the machine stable as you try to make a few stitches with it.
I would not recommend buying a very cheap machine except under certain circumstances. You can go for it if you are completely unsure whether sewing might be a suitable long-term hobby or not. Another reason could be that you lack the funds to buy a mid-range sewing machine.
However, keep in mind that sturdiness and stability make a world of difference once you start working on serious projects.
The benefit of buying a cheap sewing machine is that you can get a taste of sewing without spending too much money on it. But if you decide to get serious with the hobby, then you will surely need to upgrade to a better sewing machine.
Before buying a sewing machine, you should also check what kind of attachments come with it. Are there attachments that you can buy separately? Choose your attachments based on the kind of projects you see yourself doing.
For most sewing projects, you are only going to need two stitches: straight and zigzag. If your budget allows, then I would advice getting a machine that has the buttonhole stitch option as well. I’ll recommend this especially if you see yourself getting more advanced with your sewing projects in the long-run.
Nevertheless, keep in mind that as an absolute beginner, you are certainly not going to need a buttonhole stitch any time soon. But if you are planning to use your machine to graduate to more advanced projects eventually, then it’s a good idea to look for this option.
Mechanical vs. Computerized
A mechanical sewing machine is a basic sewing machine. As the name suggests, all settings and adjustments are made manually on it.
In general, mechanical sewing machines are easy to operate and maintain. On the flip side, the stitching is not as precise as what you can get with computerized sewing machines. However, keep in mind that up until a few decades ago all sewing machines were mechanical.
If you are just starting out, then I would recommend going for a mechanical sewing machine as they tend to be cheaper and easier to work with.
Computerized sewing machines are more expensive. They also require greater upkeep than their mechanical counterparts.
At the same time, these machines save time and make sewing projects easier.
With computerized sewing machines, you can get a more consistent and precise sewing experience. It can also take away a lot of stressful guesswork by helping you identify the ideal stitch speed and type for the project you have at hand.
You may also get the option to download embroidery designs online and transfer them to your sewing machine. This way, you can have a rather endless supply of new designs to work with.
Choose a computerized sewing machine if:
- You don’t mind working with technology
- Your budget allows you to choose a more expensive product
- You want to experiment get really creative with your projects
- You plan to take up embroidery
- You don’t mind the upkeep that it requires
Sewing Machine Reviews
As a sewing lover for over a decade, I have made many mistakes along the way. With these reviews, my goal is to shorten the learning curve for you.
Your success as a sewist depends a lot on picking the best machine to match your goals and needs. Hence, I want you to read all the reviews thoroughly and make the most informed choice possible.
Now, let’s jump in.
Singer Start 1304 Sewing Machine is a great option for someone who is just starting out. It falls on the cheaper side of the price spectrum. Yet it’s not too cheap and, hence, is also more durable and performs better.
It comes with 6 in-built stitches – straight, satin, zigzag, scallop, blind hem, and a four-step buttonhole. Keep in mind that the prices of sewing machines tend to go higher up depending upon the number of stitches and other extra features they offer. If you are a beginner, then six stitches will be more than enough for your needs.
I particularly like the fact that this sewing machine comes with a heavy duty metal frame underneath the plastic exterior. It is lightweight enough to be carried from one place to another.
Thanks to the metal frame, it is also sturdy enough to provide for a skid-free sewing experience. (Once you start sewing, you’ll realize just how important this is)
Most people find this machine fairly easy to set-up. It anyway comes with instructions and diagrams so there isn’t much guesswork involved in getting the machine to work.
Another thing I particularly like about Singer Start 1304 is that the motor runs quite smoothly and doesn’t make a lot of noise. Trust me, it can be quite a nightmare if you end up with a noisy sewing machine!
- Great beginner sewing machine as it won’t overwhelm you with complicated features
- Comes with six in-built stitches – straight, satin, zigzag, scallop, blind hem, and a four-step buttonhole
- Threading is easy
- Easy sewing machine with quick set-up (comes with clear instructions and diagrams)
- The motor runs smoothly and quietly
- Comes with a metal frame – allowing a relatively skid-free sewing experience
- Portable and lightweight
- LED light for keeping your sewing projects well-lit
- Might not be suitable for advanced sewing projects and for working with heavy duty fabrics
- Speed can be controlled only through the foot pedal – might take some practice to apply the right amount of pressure
Brother XM2701 lightweight sewing machine is another great option for beginners. It is available at an affordable price and comes with 27 built-in stitches. As a beginner, you are likely not going to be using most of them but it’s good to have the option to do so.
Brother XM2701 is one of the best starter sewing machines. It is extremely easy to set-up and use. In fact, even a 10 or 12-year-old can do it. I would highly recommend that you watch the instructional DVD for step-by-step instructions. This is especially important if you don’t know how to use a sewing machine.
Threading the machine and using the stitch selector is quite a breeze even for a newbie. The LED light is bright enough to keep your work area well-lit while you are sewing.
Since the machine is lightweight and portable, you can easily store it away when not in use.
The motor runs fast and smooth with accurate stitching.
Brother XM2701 works well with most lightweight fabrics. However, I would not recommend it for heavy duty fabrics.
- Lightweight and portable
- Easy to set-up & comes with a very helpful instructional DVD
- Twenty-seven built-in stitches provide you a wide range of options to broaden your sewing skills
- LED light keeps your work area well-lit
- Sewing is accurate and fast
- Easy threading
- Easy to adjust the stitch length and width to suit different sewing projects
- Works well with light-weight fabrics
- Case/cover not included
- Long-term durability can be an issue
Singer Heavy Duty 4423 is truly an engineering marvel at a very reasonable price point. It can handle both lightweight and heavier fabrics with ease. In fact, customers have reported sewing vinyl upholstery and even a wooden yardstick with it!
This would be an ideal sewing machine for you if you plan to eventually expand your sewing skills to include heavy duty projects. You won’t have to buy another sewing machine in the near future then.
The best thing about Singer Heavy Duty 4423 is that it’s a very easy to use sewing machine. Even if you have never used a sewing machine in your life, you won’t have any issue learning to use this beast. Just make sure that you read the manual properly and familiarize yourself with the basics of sewing before getting started.
When it comes to sturdiness, the metal interiors and the bottom bed frame make it a solid piece to work on. The machine is durable and utilitarian. Yet it is lightweight enough to be portable.
The bright LED light does a great job keeping your sewing projects illuminated. The motor works fast and creates very precise stitches.
It comes with 4 presser foot attachments – an all-purpose foot, a zipper foot, a button sewing foot, and a buttonhole foot. This is more than enough for most projects a beginner will be doing.
- Very easy to use
- Highly versatile – suitable for both lightweight and heavy duty sewing projects
- 23 built-in stitches – 6 basic, 12 decorative, 1 buttonhole, and 4 stretch stitches
- Well constructed, sturdy, and durable
- Lightweight and portable (Doesn’t require a lot of storage space)
- Powerful motor that can sew through multiple layers
- Fast, strong, and accurate stitching
- Has a bright LED light
- Parts and labor warranty limited to 90 days
- Doesn’t come with presser foot attachment for quilting (in case you are planning to get into that)
Brother CS6000i is a feature-rich, efficient, durable and versatile sewing machine. Unlike the other options in this article, this is a computerized sewing machine (all the other sewing machines are mechanical).Brother CS6000i is fairly easy to use. Since this is a feature-rich computerized machine, a lot of people end up making user errors. Hence, I would suggest that you read the manual properly before getting started. It is important to acquaint yourself with all the different features and settings this sewing machine offers.
It comes with 60 built-in stitches that include 7 styles of buttonhole stitch and a wide array of decorative stitches. The 9 presser foot attachments allow you to work on a wide range of sewing projects. Brother CS6000i comes with the following presser foot attachments – overcasting, buttonhole, zipper, monogramming, blindstitch, zigzag, button fitting, walking, and spring action foot.
The machine is well-built. It is solid and sturdy. At the same time, it is lightweight enough to be moved around easily.
Thanks to the automatic threader, threading the machine is also super easy.
On the whole, this is a great product for someone who is just starting out but plans to expand their sewing skills over time.
- Computerized – hence, delivers more precise stitches than mechanical machines
- Easy to use – comes with a good instructional DVD
- Very affordable for a high-quality feature-packed computerized sewing machine
- Automatic threader with self-threading mechanism
- Sturdy yet lightweight
- Speed control button
- Suitable for quilting
- It’s a great investment if you plan to do more advanced sewing projects in the near future
- Can be overwhelming as it is very feature-rich (but if you follow the instructions and read the manual properly you can get it to do exactly as you wish)
- May not work well for heavy duty projects
Varmax Mini Sewing Machine with Extension Table is the upgraded version of the original Varmax Mini Sewing Machine. This is the cheapest sewing machine on our list. It is a tiny machine that does a reasonable job with basic sewing projects.At 3 pounds, it is super lightweight. You have the option to run this machine either on battery power or through the adapter. However, make sure that you are not using both at the same time as that can damage the machine.
The extension table certainly makes sewing more convenient. You can turn on the machine either with the foot pedal or with the on/off button. However, you’ll likely only use the foot pedal for this task as it would be a chore to keep switching the machine on and off while sewing.
This sewing machine is very limited when it comes to features. However, it could be a good option for a total beginner who is exclusively looking for an inexpensive sewing machine.
Once you grow more confident with your sewing skills, you can consider upgrading to a sturdier more feature-rich machine.
- A good cheap sewing machine that’s also compact and portable
- Uncomplicated and easy to operate
- Does a decent job with basic sewing projects that require only the classic straight stitch
- Option to run on battery power
- Comes with a lamp for the sewing area (not very bright though)
- Comes with an extension table for a stable and smooth sewing experience
- Option to use either the on/off button or the foot pedal to start/stop sewing
- A great option if you are nervous about spending money on a more moderately priced sewing machine
- Not a sturdy or reliable machine for the long-term
- Very limited with features
If I were a beginner, I would opt for Singer Start 1304 Sewing Machine. In my opinion, this is the best basic sewing machine at an affordable price. Since it is mechanical, it does not require a lot of maintenance and is also very easy to use.
The internal metal frame makes the machine quite sturdy. Yet it is portable and lightweight enough to be carried around. I also like the fact that the motor runs smoothly and quietly.
With 6 built-in stitches, you have a solid base to get started with on your sewing journey. The 1-year parts and labor warranty makes it quite a safe investment for a beginner.