Which sewing machine for beginners is best? Stop guessing and make practical choice for you!
sewing machine for beginners

What is the best sewing machine for beginners? I have this question asked a lot by our students and we always have discussions on this topic. I can relate, I would too feel overwhelmed with so many brands and varieties of sewing machines on the market if I would be a beginner. Do you feel more confused each time you ask opinions on which sewing machine is better and you get different answers from different people?

Don’t worry, the help is here, and I will share my secret to choosing the right sewing machine just for you, trust me! First, let’s forget about brands for a minute and decide on our budget and purpose. Why do we buy and how much money do we have to invest for our sewing machine for beginners?

Sewing machine for beginners – factors to consider:

Let’s start with the budget. There are 2 main categories of sewing machines regardless of the brand: 1 Mechanical and 2 Computerised. Price would vary. If you have a low budget, like less than $450, you will be considering mechanical options only. Don’t be disheartened though.  Look at it like you are buying a car mechanical vs an auto. Both cars would take you from point A to point B, but with one you need to put a bit more effort and thinking ahead, like switching gears. Same with sewing machines. Mechanical would do the same basic operations, but computerised will do the same steps with more ease. You could buy basic mechanical machines starting as little as $135, not that I recommend it, but it is all depends on what is your intention to use it for. While computerised machine cost starts from around $450 and up. Make sure you would check reviews on specific model you decide to buy, as some of them could be a total junk, while others would be decent good working horses!

So now let’s be honest with ourselves and see what for we are buying sewing machine. If we want occasionally to create some home décor items, like cushion covers, kitchen accessories, table runners or hem the pants once in a blue moon. Not planning to use sewing machine often, just here and there, when we feel inspired or just before Christmas to create some unique gifts. In this case you don’t need to invest in expensive sewing machine for beginners and any basic sewing machine will do the job. Unless the budget is not a problem and you would love to invest in convenience. To put it into prospective, is all about loving the sewing process, and looking at your sewing machine as a right tool to complete the job. For about 10 years I was using basic $99 mechanical sewing machine for beginners (purchased 25 years ago), and was loving the process! I created many home décor items and clothing for myself and others, using mechanical, basic sewing machine Jem Gold by Janome

sewing machine for beginner

I still have this machine 20+ years later and still use it! So never think that basic sewing machine for beginners means less possibilities. Here I would rely on good brand reputation like Janome or Brother. Something like this mechanical Janome Sewing machine or alternative this mechanical Brother Sewing machine  Great for parents looking for price efficient starter sewing machine for kids.

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On the other side, if you fall in love with sewing, and would like to create something all the time, starting from basic sewing, then move on to creating garments with lots of buttonholes and cute embroidery features for yourself and family. You look forward to coming back home from work just to finish your next project, you are so creative, you like experimenting with different décor stitching. You are planning to make kids clothing and love to have some embroidery stitching options. Then I would suggest you will benefit from investing in convenience plus extra stitching options the computerised sewing machine would offer.

So, what are the main differences I hear you ask? Good questions. Remember one thing in common is both machines mechanical and computerised would do the job! Now to the differences.

The word computerised does speak for itself. Instead of round dials on a sewing machine, you would have buttons to press and number or picture of your selected stitch, sometimes default width and length would be displayed on a small LCD screen. Not so much a huge difference in terms of performance, but it’s cool modern feature. The other thing is how many stitches you have. Mechanical does include basic all essential stitching. Some have more stitches some have less. Computerised would have many more funky stitching options to use for embroidery options as example. I have 49 in-build stitching in my Brother and my Janome computerised machines in comparison to my basic Janome 10 stitching.

Try to guess how many stitching I use most frequently on my computerised machines? You guessed it – no more than 10, and they are all basic stitching 😊 Again ask yourself, are you really going to use all these extra types of stitching, or is it just cool to have them, for no particular point? Love my brother machine, but it is not so good with sewing thick layers. Like when I have to shorten some jeans, it does straggle going through all the layers of thick jeans fabric without extra tricks.

Next point is buttonhole. My basic Janome, does buttonhole in 4 steps. Which means I manually should twist the dial from 1st step to 2nd then 3rd and 4th.  And I do control the length of the buttonhole by stopping at specific point. Not a big deal I hear you say.  You are right, unless you are planning to make lots of shirts for yourself with lots of buttonholes, and you want them to look perfectly even. Then computerised would help with this task. On computerised machine, you could insert your button for size reference and each of your buttonhole, would look identical to the other one, and it will be done in 1 step. This is convenient, only if you are planning to do them a lot!

The one feature all our students love in computerised machines is a speed control! In those tiny spots where more precision needed, you can set up your speed limit to minimum and be calm and in control of your stitching speed. This is probably the most valuable feature of computerize machine, but you need to be careful, as not all of the computerised machines do have it by default.

So, in conclusion, there is no one specific perfect sewing machine for beginners which will fit to all! And no one should ever tell you to buy a specific model or brand. There are so many opinions, and they could differ. All above is my opinion which developed over 25 years of sewing. So, if you have an opportunity to try different machines before buying your own, that would be a huge bonus. This way you can experience some of the features mentioned above and decide for yourself what is relevant and important to you. That is why in our studio we do provide an option and talk more about different types of sewing machines and have some to try. Then you can make an informed decision about your future purchase with more understanding and less unknown factors. As a brand I do trust Janome and Brother. As new equipment for my studio I choose Janome brand. In Perth we have couple of Janome centers – one in Balcatta, one in Nedlands

If looking to buy online, you can check this computerised model from Brother brand with it ample stitches, speed control, and 1 step buttonhole with 7 different buttonhole styles!

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Remember whatever you choose to buy now, doesn’t’ mean you stack with it forever. You can outgrow your basic sewing machine for beginners and invest in more expensive one in the future. Just start with one, don’t procrastinate to buy your 1st sewing machine and start practicing and learning more.

Hope this information would help you. Please hit me with your favorite features on your sewing machine, so I could share it with all our students.

If you are a beginner who is looking for an option to try different sewing machines before buying, then I invite you to join our Sewing for Beginners Course Level 1 where you can do exactly that. And we can have discussion based on your specific needs what machine could be good for you.

Happy Sewing