Over the last few decades, the art of sewing is one that has fallen by the wayside. Gone are the days when it was a mandatory skill in home economics class, which, of course, led to fewer men and women knowing how to wind a bobbin (let alone hem a pair of slacks.) Until a few years ago, I was of the glue gun school for sewing. I thought hot glue could tackle any DIY project; unfortunately I have come to learn the hard way that this isn't always the case.
Like many antiquated arts, sewing is quickly gaining popularity and becoming mainstream once again (thankfully!). I personally learned to sew at a sewing cafe in London that specializes in filling the gap left by an absence in-school of home ec courses. Though I really love being able to have this extra skill in my crafting repertoire, I needed to purchase an all-around sewing machine. There are so many machines for all different levels on the market today, and knowing what to look for can be tricky. How many stitches do I need? What is the difference between mechanical and computerized? This article has a great breakdown of things to ask yourself while on the hunt. And when you're ready to make a purchase, here are nine best-selling, top-rated entry level machines to get you going.
With almost 4,000 reviews on amazon with an average 4.5-star rating, this Brother seems to be a winner if you're after a budget-friendly, no-frills sewing machine. Twenty five built-in stitches, a needle threader, thread cutter, drop-in bobbin, auto bobbin winding and one-step auto-size buttonholer gives you everything you need to get started.
The most recognized name in sewing and the brand that everyone's mother tells them to go for. I know that Singer produced amazing machines prior to the computerized era, and many people love their modern Singer machines today, so I had to add one to the list. I added a basic Singer without the computerized functions of some of the other machines in this post due to my epic failure with the Singer Brilliance machine. This machine receives a recommendation from Good Housekeeping for a great beginner machine.
Compact, easy to use and without too many bells and whistles, this is a great beginner option for the young, budding sewer.
This machine is a great price with loads of features and a simple user interface. It ranks as one of the most popular sewing machine buys on amazon with tons of great reviews. Quite simply a great machine for beginners that will help further your sewing skills.
Our Previous Lists:
- Best Sewing Machines for Beginners?
- Good Questions: Best Small-Space Sewing Machine?
- How To Thread a Sewing Machine & Wind a Bobbin
- Tips for Buying & Using Your First Sewing Machine
If you're looking for a variety of stitches, the Brother Project Runway machine should be near the top of your contender list. It offers 100 utility, decorative and heirloom stitches, three thread cutters, a drop-in bobbin system and an oversized wide table for quilting and larger projects.
A favorite lower-end model of quilters, the Magnolia has just enough manual adjustments to effortlessly complete your home or fashion project. Of note is Janome's jam-proof bobbin system; if ever you've worked with a machine that's finicky with a messing bobbin, you'll greatly appreciate that this brand's never fails.
Other Good Resources:
- The Best Sewing Machines For Beginners — She Likes to Sew
- Top Picks for Best Sewing Machines For Beginners — Sewing Made Simple
- A Buyer's Guide to Your First Sewing Machine — Crafts Tuts Plus
- How We Found the Best Sewing Machine — Good Housekeeping
This list might have three Janome machines, but it's for a reason. They make a quality product at relatively affordable prices. If upholstery projects and other home decor DIYs are on your hit list, the heavy-duty HD1000 will zip right through hefty fabrics and leathers.
My personal choice in sewing machine is a Janome, after originally purchasing a Singer Brilliance machine that continued to break. I am a bit biased towards this machine, but I think that Janome really understands the computerized system that the machines are based around today.
At the high-end price range is a Swedish made sewing machine. Viking machines are built to last decades, but might be a bit too intricate of a machine for the beginning sewer. If you're interested in taking some in-person classes and growing your skill set, (and don't mind the investment into a solid machine) this is tool you'll have for years to come.
*Re-edited from a post that originally appeared on 02.27.13.- AH