When you’ve just started learning to sew, you need a basic, easy-to-use sewing machine for beginners. I often advise beginners to start with an inexpensive machine and progress from there. This is not to say that expensive machines cannot be novice-friendly, but most often, beginners do not need all the advanced features. The best sewing machines for beginners are basic, inexpensive and most importantly, they are easy to use. For the beginner, it can be challenging to identify present and future needs and pick the right machine to satisfy those needs. For most of you who have never sewed before, all you need is a machine that can sew straight stitches and is easy to use. I’ll list the best beginner’s sewing machines later in this article but first, let’s take a look at some essential features to look out for.
Top 5 Computerized Sewing Machines
Essential features to look for in the best sewing machines for beginners
For the complete novice, your sewing needs may include constructing basic clothing, pillowcases, curtains and other basic household sewing tasks. Because these types of sewing do not often require fancy stitching and designs, mechanical sewing machines may be adequate for you. They are less expensive than computerized sewing machines. Again this is not to say there aren’t basic computerized sewing machines suitable for beginners. It’s just that I feel you don’t need all the extra features at this time. But if you are still interested in a computerized machine, then check out my guide on the best computerized sewing machines. All the machines listed on there are easy-to-use and suitable for beginners. Computerized machines might do most of the work for you, but mechanical machines allow you to learn the basic sewing skills you need.
Controls on the best sewing machines for beginners
There are design elements shared by most entry-level mechanical sewing machines that make them suitable for beginners. The basic features almost all machines should have includes a foot pedal, a bobbin winder, a stitch selector, a speed control mechanism, and a tension adjuster.
- Pedal control – The pedal control on a mechanical sewing machine often appears and works similar to your car’s accelerator. The pedal is attached to the machine via a cord and sits on the floor. You start sewing by pressing on the pedal, and you stop sewing by letting up on the pedal. On some machines, the harder you press the pedal, the faster the machine operates. A food pedal is essential for a beginner’s sewing machine because it frees up both hands to perform other tasks, such as controlling the fabric when sewing. Some computerized sewing machines come with a stop/start button which achieves the same thing.
- Speed Contol – It is essential that the machine gives you the ability to sew at a slower speed. Most beginners will have trouble controlling the fabric when sewing at high speed. A beginner’s sewing machine should have a lever or dial that allows you to set the sewing speed to a speed that is comfortable for you. As a beginner, you’ll have trouble gauging the right amount of pressure to put on the pedals to achieve the right speed. A speed control lever allows you to set the maximum speed you are comfortable with. The sewing speed will never go above your selected speed no matter how hard you press on the pedal. The best computerized sewing machines have a button you press to achieve this setting.
- Stitch Selector Control – Some mechanical sewing machines come with different types of stitches you can pick from. This control often comes in the shape of a dial located on the front side of the machine. There is usually a stitch guide diagram on the arm or the bed of the machine. Each stitch style has a number attached to them. You turn the dial to select the number that corresponds to the type of stitch you want to sew. For most beginners, machines that provide a straight and a zig-zag stitch is more than enough. Another feature to look out for on a beginner’s sewing machine is the stitch length control. This is also often controlled with a secondary dial. Short stitches are used to lock the end of a seam, medium length stitches are for normal sewing, and long stitches are for basting and gathering fabric, such as when you are sewing a drawstring bag.
As a beginner, you want a machine with conveniently placed speed control which is easy to decipher and with basic options rather than a complex array of options.
Thread Tension Controller: Getting the right tension on the thread is essential in making clean, strong stitches. If the tension on the thread is not taut, the stitches you make are loose, and your finished seams will come apart quickly. If the tension is too taut, your thread will frequently break during sewing. The best sewing machines for beginners have thread tension recommendations in their manual. It is important that the machine has a dial that you can use to adjust the thread tension to the recommended setting. The best tension controls are easy to operate and do not have sophisticated selection processes.
Bobbin Winding System: The bobbin system contains a small spool of thread that catches and locks the stitches in place. The amount of thread on the bobbin spool is small when compared to the main thread spool on the machine. As you sew the bobbin thread depletes rapidly, and you’ll have to rewind it to add more thread to it.
It should be easy to rewind the bobbin on the best sewing machines for beginners. On some machine’s you’ll have the bobbin winder located on the top of the machine. You’ll have to take the bobbin out and place it on the winder to wind it. Some machines have a mechanism that winds the bobbin within the machine itself.
Other features you might like on a beginner’s sewing machine
There are a few extra features a beginner sewer might want to have on their machines. While they are not essential to complete basic sewing projects, they can add a bit more style to your work and also add additional convenient functions.
Some machines will come with a few extra decorative stitches in addition to your basic straight and zigzag stitches. While you do not need these stitches to complete your projects, they can occasionally be used to add a bit of fun to your work.
Some sewing machines for beginners also come with a buttonhole function that helps you to make buttonholes for your projects quickly. Mechanical sewing machines often require more than two steps to make a buttonhole. As a beginner, you want a machine that requires as fewer steps as possible when making buttonholes. Some beginner-friendly computerized sewing machines will have a one-step automatic buttonhole making feature.
Essential Accessories on a Beginner’s Sewing Machine
It is easy to be taken in by a machine that lists a whole host of accessories. However, for most basic sewing tasks, you only need a few accessories. Some essential accessories of the best sewing machines for beginners includes an excellent array of needles and bobbins, machine oil and cleaning tools.
You also want a few extra feet for your machine. The presser foot is the part of the machine that presses down on the fabric and holds it in place during sewing. You lower and raise the presser foot with a lever or a knee lift. There are different feet to accomplish various sewing tasks. One helpful foot is the zipper foot. It aids in sewing zippers into your work. A walking foot helps to smoothly move heavy fabrics along during sewing to ensure even stitching. The machine you end up buying should have at least these two feet included in the standard accessories. You can buy additional feet as you need them.
Needle Threading on sewing machines for beginners
It is essential that you can thread the machine right. An incorrectly threaded machine can cause a whole lot of headache. It can lead to the wrong tension on the thread and cause it to break frequently during sewing. This can be very frustrating if you have to rethread the machine several times during sewing. Most mechanical sewing machines for beginners will come with a threading diagram that guides you through the threading process step-by-step. Make sure your machine is easy to thread the right way to avoid all the headache. Some computerized sewing machines will come with an automatic needle threader that does all the needle threading for you, saving you the headache of having to thread the needle manually.
Now that I’ve taken a look at some of the features to consider when picking a beginner’s sewing machine, let me give you my selection of the best sewing machines for beginners.
What Are The Best Sewing Machines For Beginners?
#1 Janome Magnolia 7325 Sewing Machine
It is no surprise that the Janome 7325 is my top pick because it is one of the best sewing machines on the market today. It meets every single one of the beginner’s sewing machine requirements outlined above. Although I will refer to this machine as a beginner’s sewing machine, it is so good that it will adequately work for the advanced sewer as well. You could spend more and get a more advanced machine with lots of extra features, but you’d just be wasting money as a beginner. You don’t really need all those extras. The Magnolia 7325 has everything you’d ever need as a novice sewer and more.
It is a basic sewing machine that sews beautiful stitches on a variety of fabrics. It has two easy to read and easy to use dials for selecting stitch type, stitch length, and stitch width. Features such as adjustable needle position, automatic thread tensioner, presser foot pressure adjuster, speed control slider, drop feed, memorized needle up/down, free arm, automatic one-step buttonhole, an easy reverse stitch lever, snap-on feet, built-in needle threader, and 25 built-in stitches make this machine seem like a high-end computerized machine. But it is not. It is a basic mechanical sewing machine that packs a lot of power and features.
It comes with six extra feet including blind hem, buttonhole, and zipper feet. Other standard accessories include a hard case, lint brush, seam ripper, set of needles and two thread spool holders. There is also a storage drawer underneath the sewing area.
The machine itself is light enough to be portable but heavy and sturdy enough that it does not skip or bounce around during sewing. It has a soft bag in addition to the hard case. The soft bag is useful for carrying the machine to and from classes.
It is the perfect machine to learn how to sew with. It is easy to set up even for someone who has never used a sewing machine before. The user manual is well written and includes step-by-step instructions and illustrations that guide you through any tasks related to the machine. Even as a beginner, you’ll begin sewing beautiful projects within minutes of taking delivery of the machine.
Overall, I will say the Magnolia 7325 is the best beginner’s sewing machine out there. It is an excellent machine for the price and sews beautiful seams on layers of fabrics or heavy fabrics. The Magnolia 7325 is durable and will last a long time. It is easy to use and meets all of the criteria requirements I talked about earlier in the article. So far I’ve only come across many positive feedbacks.
I wish there were any negatives to tell you about but as a beginner or entry level machine, there is none. It is just a great little machine I highly recommend it.
#2 Janome DC2014 Computerized Sewing Machine
I know I said mechanical sewing machines are the best for those who want to get into sewing but I just couldn’t resist making this machine my number 1 pick for beginners. Although it is a computerized sewing machine, the features and user-friendliness make it a perfect beginner’s machine.
And when it comes to making stitches, the machine sews like a dream. It comes with 50 built-in stitches including decorative stitches for you to have fun with, and stitch selection is straightforward. There is a small LCD screen on the front of the machine. Below this is a chart of all available stitch types. To choose a stitch, you just use the buttons below the screen to scroll through the numbers until you reach the number corresponding to the stitch you want. It is also straightforward to select the desired stitch width you want.
Other convenient features on this machine include a one-step buttonhole maker. You can select from 3 different buttonhole styles. The built-in automatic needle threader makes threading the needle a breeze. You won’t have to worry about loose stitches or the thread breaking in the middle of your sewing. The easy-set bobbin system is a great addition. You just drop the bobbin in, and the machine will do the rest. It also has a bobbin winder which automatically rewinds the bobbin for you when it runs out of thread.
One feature that beginners will love about this machine is the speed control slider. You set the slider to the speed that you are comfortable sewing with and no matter how hard you press on the foot pedal, the machine will never sew faster than your desired speed. This will allow you to sew at slower speeds as most beginners find it difficult to sew at high speed.
Another favorite beginner’s feature on this machine is the automatic thread tensioner. Without the right thread tension, your stitches will not be strong enough, and your thread will keep breaking as you sew.
Other features include a locking stitch button which automatically locks the stitch for you at the end of the seam. A free arm which lets you do free motion quilting. A memorized needle up/down button system allows you to set the needle to your desired position at the end of the stitch. Ideally, you want the machine to always stop with the needle down.
One of the important features of this machine for me is the instruction manual. It is very detailed and contains step by step guides that even the beginner will have no trouble understanding. If you ever get stuck on any aspect of the machine, the guide is sure to get you through it.
If you can afford this machine, it is perfect for beginners and has features that will suit you even when you’ve graduated to more advanced sewing. It is sturdy, fast, quiet, dependable, and easy to use.
#3 SINGER 3333 Fashion Mate Free-Arm Sewing Machine.
This machine was introduced to the market in 2016 and is quickly becoming one of the best sewing machines for beginners. It is appropriately priced and has all the basic features a novice would want in a sewing machine.
It is easy to use, durable, functional and affordable. What more can you ask for in a beginner’s sewing machine?
The machine has a metal frame, which gives it a heavy and sturdy build. However, this is not a workhorse or a heavy duty sewing machine. You’ll struggle sewing through layers of denim or leather. But the heavy frame provides for skip-free sewing.
The 3333 is a mechanical sewing machine which is suitable for beginners. The fact that it does not have many electronic parts means there is less for you to break. This also means fewer settings to fiddle with. One feature I like about mechanical machines is that the machine remembers your last settings because all the settings are made with a dial. Inexpensive computerized sewing machines will often forget the settings once you turn the machine off.
The Singer 3333 is one of the best sewing machines out there for beginners on a budget. It has easy to use controls and is a perfect machine for sewing small and less fanciful projects. Basic clothing, curtains, pillowcases and you can make other crafts with this machine without any issues.
There are a few features on the machine that make it perfect for even those who have never used a sewing machine. The user guide is enough to get you started within a few minutes of taking delivery of the machine. And you also get free enrollment to the online Singer owners classes if you need it.
It comes with 23 built-in basic, stretch, and decorative stitches and a stitch selection dial for easy stitch selection. You can also adjust the length of the stitch with a secondary dial. A needle threader makes it very easy for the beginner to thread the needle. A diagram guides you if needed. A top drop-in bobbin makes it very easy to set the bobbin and bobbin thread. There is a 4-step buttonhole maker to make buttonholes for your various projects. It also comes with a thread tensioner and a speed adjustment lever.
This is a good affordable sewing machine with simple controls and functions suitable for the beginner sewer. It doesn’t have many extra features and options that will just confuse you. It will meet most of your household sewing needs, but if you want to larger and fancier projects, you might need to get a different machine.
#4: Brother LS2125i Easy-to-Use, Everyday Sewing Machine For Beginners
Update: There is a new version of this sewing machine called the Brother XM1010. It is an improvement on the LS2125i with a few extra features. I recommend that you get the new version if you want to buy this machine. It comes with everything described below plus some improvements.
For those who require only basic sewing features without the bells and whistles at an extra low price, the Brother LS2125i is for you. It sews straight, zigzag and satin stitches. It is perfect for basic sewing projects, crafting, mending and scrapbooking projects. These three stitches are more than enough for the beginner sewer. It is also one of the best kids sewing machines out there.
It has most of the features I want on a beginners sewing machine. A needle threader, a thread tension adjuster, a stitch selection dial, a stitch-length adjusting dial, an easy bobbin winding system, and variable speed foot pedal. The speed increases or decreases depending on how much pressure you put on the pedal. Think of how your car responds to you pressing the accelerator. I would have preferred that the machine has a speed control lever or slider, but at this price, maybe that is asking for a bit too much.
Some of the basic features include 10 built-in stitches, a 4-step auto-size buttonhole making, a built-in elastic and blind hem stitches, auto-set stitch length and width adjuster, quick snap-on-snap-off presser feet changing, the ability to convert from flat bed to free arm sewing, easy bobbin winding, and an upper thread tensioner.
If you are on a budget and want to buy a first sewing machine to learn how to sew with, this is the best option for you. A friend got one for her then 19-year-old daughter a few years ago. She still uses it and loves everything about it. Unless you sew commercially, this machine should cover all of your basic sewing needs. This is one of the best cheap sewing machines on the market today.
#5 Brother XM2701 Sewing Machine For Beginners
The Brother XM2701 is one of my favorite sewing machines for beginners. It is the successor to the very popular Brother XL2600I and much cheaper than its predecessor. Although it is not a computerized sewing machine, it has many features typically found in computerized sewing machines. It meets all the features I discussed above and is, therefore, a perfect beginner’s sewing machine.
There is a stitch selector dial which can be used to choose your desired stitch from the 27 built-in stitches including quilting, decorative and blind hem stitches.
The automatic needle threader is a bonus. You usually only find this feature on computerized sewing machines. It makes threading the needle pain-free.
You’ll also love the one-step buttonhole maker. It works very well and helps you make buttonholes for your projects in just a single step.
The bobbin system is an easy to set jam-resistant drop-in system with automatic bobbin winding in the machine. This is a plus because you don’t have to stop sewing, take the bobbin out and wind it on a separate winder.
The machine comes standard with 6 extra sewing feet including zigzag, zipper, buttonhole, and narrow hemmer feet.
The machine weighs 14.5 pounds and provides a sturdy base for sewing. And speaking of sewing, the stitches made by this machine are some of the best I’ve seen for the price range. It produces crisp, clean and secure stitches.
If you are a beginner and are looking for a good basic sewing machine at an affordable price, this is a machine you should definitely consider buying.