DIY Project Essentials: 9 Top-Rated Sewing Machines for Beginners

DIY Project Essentials: 9 Top-Rated Sewing Machines for Beginners

Claire Bock
Feb 27, 2013

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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