As a kid, I always felt a sense of fascination watching my mom sew. She had an old classic mechanical Singer sewing machine, and I would watch with a grin on my face as she spins the handle and the needle moves up and down, the fabrics move along the feed dog, and produce beautiful stitches. The sound of the moving parts of the machine was music to my ears, so much so that I believed I had one of the best kids sewing machines (I’m not talking about toy machines). I remember spending hours trying to use the machine when my mom wasn’t around. I fell in love with sewing and have been sewing ever since.
Kids today aren’t that much different from us. They might have their iPads and iPhones are spend an awful lot of time on social media. But there are a lot of kids asking for sewing machines so they too can sew their own projects. If your kid wants to use your sewing machine, this is a clue that you need to get your child a sewing machine for kids.
There are two main factors to consider when picking a kids sewing machine. These are safety and ease of use. When your child starts showing interest in sewing, you may be tempted to let them have a go on your machine. It’s all good when you are around to supervise them. But your sewing machine is not safe for kids, and they might sneak around and try to use it on their own. They can get severely injured by the needles, or they may even end up breaking your expensive machine.
What kind of kids sewing machine should you buy?
The type of sewing machine you get for your kids will depend on some factors. These factors include age, skill level, and your budget.
You can introduce kids to sewing as early as age 6. At this age, sewing projects that involve hand sewing are the best for them. Kids at this age tend to have very short attention spans and want to complete projects in one sitting. However, you can still introduce them to machine sewing if you want to. You’ll need the right sewing machine for this age group. The machine must be simple and easy to use and have safety features to prevent injury to your kids. A great sewing machine for kids to start with is the Janome Sew Mini. The Janome Sew Mini is the best kids sewing machine for beginner kids. It is lightweight, strong, affordable and child safe.
It comes in a wide range of colors and has fun names such as Fuschia, Honeycomb, and Merlot. One thing I liked most about the machine is that it comes with a finger guard that protects your kid’s little fingers against getting caught under the needle. It has the ability to sew 10 different types of stitches. It is straightforward to use and probably the best kids sewing machine out there. There is a detailed review of this machine in the reviews section below.
Ages 10 – 13
If your kid loves sewing, they should know how to operate a sewing machine by the time they are 10 years old. The best type of machine for kids this age who are still learning to sew are machines with variable speed control and needle down functionality. At this age, most kids will only be sewing straight stitches in a straight line. Some great projects for kids this age include pillowcases and drawstring bags.
A great sewing for kids around this age will be the Brother XM2701. It is a full-featured sewing machine which is very easy to use. The built-in needle threader and drop-in bobbin will be a hit with your kids. It is lightweight and small which makes it portable. The XM2701 has 27 built-in stitches for the kids to choose from and they can make a buttonhole in just one step with the buttonholer. It is durable making it very difficult for the kids to destroy and the best part is it is affordable even with all the extras. Click here for a detailed review of the machine.
Kids 13 and over
For much older kids around 13 years and older, they can start using a full-featured sewing machine and working on more complicated projects. At that age, they are even old enough to start using computerized sewing machines. If you already have a machine at home, they should be able to use it safely if you give them a few lessons on how to use it.
But sometimes, you simply can’t share your machine with them and therefore need to buy one for them. One of the best kids sewing machines for older and advanced skilled kids is the Brother CS600i. It is the best-selling sewing machine on Amazon and an old favorite of most beginner sewers. This machine is very easy to use, even for those who have never used a sewing machine in their life. It will let your kid work comfortably and safely on a wide range of projects. It is durable, lightweight and feature-packed. In my opinion, this is the best kids sewing machine out there for older kids. Click here for a full review of the machine.
What a Kids Sewing Machine Should Have
The best kids machine will be simple and easy to operate, durable and safe. Older kids may be able to use computerized machines, but your 6-year-old will find it overwhelming. What you need is a machine that will help your child develop their sewing skills with as little frustration as possible.
Here are a few features to consider when buying a sewing machine for your kids.
- Type of Feet: Some machines have presser feet that snap on and can be easily removed, and others have feet that are screwed in place and won’t come off without undoing the screws. You want to get to a machine with the fixed presser feet. This type is safer for kids to use.
- Pedals or no pedals: You’ll find that younger kids will have a tough time using a standard pedal with their machine. It will be difficult for them to coordinate pressing the pedals and moving the fabric. Ideally, you want to get a machine that has a stop/start button to make it easier for younger kids to operate. Older kids can learn to use machines with pedals.
- Variable speed control: Younger kids cannot handle a machine that is very fast. You want to get a machine that has variable & consistent speed. This will let your kids make smooth and clean stitches without having to use the pedals.
- Machine Weight: Of course you’ll want to consider the weight of the machine you want to buy for your kids. The weight will very much depend on the size of your kid. Older and stronger kids will be able to work with heavier machines safely whiles your 6-year-old should get a much lighter machine like the Janome Mini Sew I mentioned above.
- Warranty: If you have kids, then you know they have this habit of breaking things around the house. Make sure you get a machine that is not only durable but offers a good warranty should it get broken.
#6: Threading & Bobbin: This is not high on the requirements, but if a machine makes it easy to thread and insert the bobbins, you and your kids will be much happier. Otherwise, be prepared to put in a few sections teaching them how to thread the needles and insert & remove the bobbins. A machine with a drop-in bobbin feature is the best.
Reviews of the Best Kids Sewing Machines
I want to take a closer look at my top 3 sewing machine picks for kids. These are the machines I’ve always recommended to anyone who asked me for kid’s sewing machine recommendations.
#1 Janome Sew Mini Sewing Machines
The “sew mini” series from Janome is designed with kids in mind. It is an easy-to-use machine that even a 6-year-old child can use. What I love about it is that it meets all the criteria for a child’s machine. It is easy to operate, safe, durable, lightweight and affordable.
It was the first machine I got for my 7-year-old girl when she started showing interest sewing and wanted to use my machine. Needless to say, both of us were very pleased with this machine.
One of the best features of this machine is the finger guard. Kids are accident prone and may get their little fingers stabbed by the needle. But the finger guard that comes with this machine ensures that it doesn’t happen. Some machines have very low presser feet that leave very little space between the presser feet and the feed dog. But they do not include a finger guard. Even though those machines make it hard for kids to put their fingers under the needle, the finger guard on this one just makes me feel much more at ease. The finger guard means needle threading is just a little bit more difficult. It does not have automatic threading. However, the machine is so easy to use that your child will figure out a lot on their own.
It comes with a drop-in bobbin which makes it easier to load. The bobbin cover is transparent so they can tell when they are running out of bobbin thread. There are three plastic bobbins and two size-14 needles included with the machine. But you can also use a size 12 with this machine. It has a reverse lever located on the front of the machine. And the machine has a free arm for free arm sewing if required.
The machine comes with 10 built-in stitches, which is more than your kid will ever need to sew. It says 10 stitches, but there are really only three stitches with varying length and widths, which adds up to 10. But it is more than enough for your child. You just need to turn a dial to select the stitch you want to sew. It is perfect for completing a variety of kids sewing projects, including papercraft, scrapbooking and doll clothing.
Even though this is a kid’s machine, I am able to use it for some light sewing work on lightweight denim and flannel.
It only weighs 5 pounds which make it perfect for young kids. Despite its small size and lightweight, it is durable and won’t break no matter what your kid throws at it.
It comes in a wide array of colors to pick from and has fun names, which your child will love.
The only negative I have with this machine is that it does not have a built-in light to illuminate the work surface at night.
#2 Brother XM2701 Lightweight, full-featured sewing machine.
For years, the Brother XL2600I has been a favorite of young sewing enthusiasts and beginner sewers alike. So why I’m I not reviewing the XL2600I? This review features the XM2701 because it is a newer version of the XL2600I and costs the same. This machine has a lot more advanced features than the Janome I reviewed. It is the ideal sewing machine for older kids with a bit more sewing knowledge but will also work as a first machine for kids around 10 years of age.
The Brother XM2701 is easy to use and comes with a lot of features such as auto needle threading, a drop-in bobbin, and a 1-step buttonhole maker. It includes a DVD instruction guide, an easy to read user manual in multiple languages and 25 years limited warranty.
I recommended this machine for one of my friends who needed a machine for her 10-year-old sewing bee, and I’m happy to say she absolutely loves it. Her 10-year-old was able to set up the machine by herself by simply watching the instruction DVD. She loves making and altering her own clothes and making cute and personalized gifts for her friends with this machine.
Although an ideal machine for kids, this machine is quite capable of being used as a second machine for the adult hobbyist. It comes with 27 built-in stitches to choose from, 6 different presser feet for different kinds of sewing tasks, a drop-in bobbin, auto needle threading, auto bobbin winding and the ability to sew a variety of fabrics including denim.
It also comes with 4 extra bobbins and 5 needles. You can also do quilting with this machine if you want to. It has an LED light that illuminates the sewing area at night. However, I have to admit it is not the brightest light you’ll ever use.
If you are looking for a first machine or a full-featured sewing machine for your kids, this is one of the best to get them. It is lightweight, durable and very easy to use.
And if you want it even cheaper, you can buy it open-boxed, pre-owned for about half the list price from Amazon.com. You get a 30-days money back guarantee so you can return it if you don’t like it.
Brother XR3774, LS2125i and XM1010 are all excellent alternatives to the XM2701.
#3 Brother CS600i Sewing Machine.
I have already reviewed the CS600i as one of the best sewing machines on the market today. Despite being a full-featured sewing machine, it is still mainly a beginners sewing machine and ideal for kids that want to do more intricate sewing projects. It is lightweight and easy to use but comes with a lot of features such as 60 built-in stitches, automatic needle threading, 1-step buttonhole making, drop-in bobbin, a start/stop button so you can use the machine without foot pedals, LCD Screen, speed control.
It comes with 9 additional feet including a walking foot, an extra table attachment to give you a larger work area for large projects and a protective case. You also get a 25-year limited warranty on this machine.
It is a perfect machine for your kids to learn sewing, crafting, and quilting. Click here to read our full review of the CS600i.
All three machines are ideal for kids, and they will have loads of fun creating their own items.
How to Get Your Kids Involved in Sewing
From as little as 6 years of age, there are loads of fun sewing activities you can do together with your kids. It is important to remember that, very young kids have very short attention spans and their interest can change to a different activity in an instant. So to get them to love sewing, you have to work at their pace. If you are working on a project together and their interest shifts to something else, then it’s time to put away the project for another day. Don’t force it on them.
Here are a few tips on how to get your kids to love sewing
For very young kids (about 6 – 10 years old)
- Work on very simple and small projects. Because of their short attention spans, kids this age will love to complete the project in one sitting so keep it small and simple for them.
- Hand sewing is an ideal starting point for them. However, you can also get them a kid’s sewing machine such as the Janome sew mini, which is a great sewing machine to start very young kids on.
- To make it easier for them, you may want to do all the cutting for them. If they want to do their own cutting, get them finger guards if you can and closely supervise the cutting yourself.
- You need a lot of patience with kids. If they lose interest, then it is the end of the session. Put away whatever you were working on for another day. Don’t rush them and most importantly, let them have fun. Don’t take the session seriously.
For older kids (10 years old and above)
- At this age, they might already be comfortable using a sewing machine, and If not they will pick it up very quickly at this age.
- Ideal projects for this age group will depend on experience and what they want to do. But ideally, they will be working on projects that mostly involve straight stitching in a straight line. Pillowcases, colorful headbands, blankets for dolls, scarfs and simple drawstring bags are all fun projects they can make.
- They can even make their own monster dolls which will unleash their creativity.
- By the time they are about 12 years old, they should be ready to start reading and sewing commercial patterns.
For older kids (13 years and older)
- At this age, your kids are advanced enough and capable of using full-featured sewing machines or even computerized sewing machines. They are ready to start making more intricate and elaborate designs.
- At this age, ideal projects may include sewing their own clothing, altering their clothes, making tote bags, pockets, quilting, and embroidery. They can start working with items such as elastics.
- Stuffed animals are also fun to make for this age group.
There are tons of fun projects kids of all ages can work on. If you don’t know where to start but want to introduce your kid to sewing, two of the best books to get them are
- Sewing School: 21 Sewing Projects Kids Will Love to Make by Andria Lisle
- My First Sewing Machine: Fashion School: Learn to Sew by Alison McNicol.
These two books are guaranteed to get your kids hooked on sewing. Sewing is a fun activity to share with your child so get them a kids sewing machine and start creating a lifetime of memories together.