When you start to look for the right sewing machine for you there is much to consider. So to avoid anyone wasting money I have compiled an article around what you want from your machine and the best ways to achieve it!
I use my machine for a few basic projects like wheat heat packs or even very similar Pocket Hand Warmers but I do need to get a bit more confident and try new things. We have a few new baby’s due to arrive this year so I am looking at a few fun ideas for bibs, books and more!
Best Value Beginners Sewing Machine
For me the ideal beginners sewing machine does not have to be complete with computerised screens. The simpler the better. That is why I have included reviews for more niche machines here as well, but overall I want to encourage the right purchase. So please feel free to get in touch with any suggestions or additions we have missed here. But lets save the machines with 40 stitches for those of us who would like to explore embroidery as an option.
Small Sewing Machines Household Portable Beginner 2 Speed 12 Stitches
Uten - Beginner 2 Speed 12 Stitches you can see already that this sewing machine is not from a big named brand like Brother or Singer. So does that matter to you? This is the ideal model for those looking to dip a toe in the water of sewing. I know that I have several projects which allow for hand stitching. I do that for a reason. That reason being cost! So if you are making Pocket Hand Warmers for example or wheat heat packs you may not feel you want to spend a large amount of money on a machine you may only use a few times.
It comes with bobbins, needle, needle threader and a power adaptor. Making it ideal for roaming use as well as a full kit ready to go. At the time of writing it sits at around £40 on Amazon. It is 2 speed with 12 stitches. This seems pretty standard for beginners sewing machines. It is ideal for making clothes as you will be able to create seams, hems, buttonholes as well as auto winding feature. It ties in very well with our No Spend Year as you can easily mend clothes with this small sewing machine. You can even use the cut and sew overlock feature.
Overall this scores
- really well for value for money,
- Great for small size in your kitchen
- fab for ease of set up and use
- quick and ideal for using and putting away again
- However, you may want a more powerful motor for sewing denim or thicker materials together.
- No extra frills just the basics – a plus or a negative depending on how you look at it!
Brother LS14S Metal Chassis Sewing Machine
Brother LS14S Metal Chassis Sewing Machine The moment we get to a named and trusted brand the price reflects that. There is a reason they are trusted and Brother have a long history of making machines. That is not to say that new comers can’t make a name for themselves though! This machine is currently around the £80 mark on Amazon.
It comes with
- Zig Zag Foot (on the machine),
- Buttonhole Foot
- Zipper Foot
- Set of Needles
- 3 x Bobbins
- Disc Shaped Screwdriver
- Foot Control
There are a few nice features on this model including the clear cover for your drop in bobbin. This allows you to easily see when the bobbin needs replacing before it is too late. It can be raised slightly to become free arm, ready for cuffs etc. Also it features 14 stitches, all easily accessible on the jog dial. It is not as lightweight as the Uten model above, however it does have a slight size advantage too.
Overall this scores
- very well for value
- fantastic for a three year manufacturer warranty
- works well with thicker materials
- 14 stitches over the basic models 12 stitches
- well thought out little extras like the clear bobbin lid
- Not so well with regards to added extras but for the price it is competitive
- slightly fiddly to get used to but once you have the word is your oyster
Singer 1306 Start Sewing Machine
Singer 1306 Start Sewing Machine, White, 35 x 18 x 29 cm
With this model you also get the trusted brand name. Singer have been in the business of sewing machines longer than we have been alive. So they know what makes an ideal beginners sewing machine. Here we again have the free arm to easily sew sleeves and cuffs. It is a durable model which will allow yo to sew most fabrics. It includes with it;
- all purpose foot
- zipper foot
- buttonhole foot
- darning plate
- needle plate screwdriver
- spoon pin felts
- seam ripper/lint brush
- soft sided dust cover
However it does have the difference of only 6 stitches available, but this does include a 4-step buttonhole. The one I have linked for is priced at £75 at the moment. This makes it a middle priced affordable model. It would make a good gift for a younger sewer, although some people have used it to make a quilt it is more for the basic beginner entry level.
Overall this scores
- well for those who want a brand name without a massive cost
- as a good gift for the younger sewing enthusiast
- it does not have the range of stitches that we have seen in the ones above,
- however it does have 4-step buttonhole
- ideal for cuffs and sleeves
Best Mini Sewing Machine
A mini sewing machine is one that I think I would get on well with. It should be compact enough to fit in a smaller space. Light enough to be transportable. I have images of me travelling the countryside with my crochet in one bag and my sewing machine in another. Visiting friends and drinking tea, whilst sharing embroidery secrets. Perhaps it will actually be more likely that I have a small patch of a kitchen unit somewhere and have to repair school uniforms late on a Sunday night. That seems more of a possibility.
Portable Sewing Machine – Wenmily
Portable Sewing Machine Mini Sewing Machine Two-Wire Two-Speed Pedaling,Small Desk lamp
You are not getting a named brand here, but at below £20 for the unit and all accessories this seems like there must be a catch. It shouts about being;
- lightweight and compact
- a double line – pretty standard really but at least it seems to understand the basics for sewers.
- two speed settings
- two stitches – pedal switch and push button switch
- 1 year guarantee
For me this seems a little too cheap, perhaps you might think it would suit a youngster (not a toy though) in your life for their Christmas present. I think it may have the reverse effect of putting them off! It does have some good reviews from customers using it as an occasional sewing machine. For me I would like a more long term investment.
Overall This Scores
- well for someone with very little space
- it is ideal if you have never tried a sewing machine before and want to try – or as a gift for someone
- This is not to be confused with a toy due to its compact nature
- for those only wanting one or two stitches.
12 Stitches Household Sewing Machine, Mini Size Handheld with Foot Pedal 2 Speed Double Threads
Already you can see that is a slightly more sophisticated model. With 12 stitches you can start to use this mini sewing machine in all sorts of situations. The cost is still minimal with it sitting at around the £50 mark. I would still consider this an ideal first time sewing machine. It features;
- [Multi Practical Functions] Featuring 12 stitch patterns
- Auto thread rewind
- Sews sleeves
- Drawer Included, for storing small things
- Built-In sewing light
- Built-in thread cutter, measuring tape, tension adjustment
- Forward reverse sewing
- Button hole
- Double speed (High & Low).
For me sewing sleeves is an important element and it fits in well with the make do and mend mentality. If you are looking for a sewing machine to get you back into sewing this is perfect as it even features a foot pedal.
Overall this scores;
- ideal for those returning to sewing, who want the features of a more expensive model
- perfect for a model under £100
- Low noise output
- Not such an ideal machine for those who wish to sew chunkier fabric.
I may be a bit smitten with how compact and useful it actually is!
Best Embroidery Sewing Machine
Brother FS40 40-Stitch Electronic Sewing Machine
Brother FS40 40-Stitch Electronic Sewing Machine with Instructional DVD I have put this in price order. At the moment this one sits at under £200. But only just. It has 40 different stitches. So you can see this is quite different from your normal sewing machine. The embroidery stitches are supported with the DVD and would not suit a beginner to sewing. This may be more suitable for an experienced sewer who is new to embroidery though. There is a drop in bobbin and drop feed mechanism as well. The quick touch stitch selection and length and width adjustment is useful to master each stitch. It also features 5 X 1 step button holes.
Included in this box;
overcast stitch foot
blind stitch foot
button sewing foot
1 seam ripper
extra spool pin
set of needle, spare bobbins
screw driver disc
instruction guide & instructional DVD
Overall This Scores
- Well for a confident beginner looking for more than just a basic cheap sewing machine
- Those who would benefit form a speed control
- If you would like a wider range of stitches
Best Overall Sewing Machine for Beginners
The best value ones we have looked at all come in at under £100. So now let’s look at the slightly more pricey, the middle range and the money no worry option!
Best beginners sewing machine – over £100
Singer Confidence 7465 Sewing Machine
Singer Confidence 7465 Sewing Machine With the extra price tag comes a lot if extra features! You will get;
- 50 built-in stitches with 2 styles of 1 step button hole.
- Direct stitch selection of 6 most popular stitches with pre set stitch width and length for each stitch. Auto tension.
- LED screen and drop feed. Automatic needle threader with 2 LED lights.
- Carry handle and soft dust cover
- Easy to use computerized machine from the Singer Confidence range
The automatic needle threader makes it a real winner for me, and perfect for those of us who haven’t been blessed with the best eyesight. The LED screen is fantastic for those wanting to utilise all of those 50 built in stitches and it allows you to see what you are working with.
You also get all of these features too;
General purpose foot
blind stitch foot
satin stitch foot
buttonhole opener/seam ripper and brush
3 spool pin caps
2 felt spool pin discs
auxiliary spool pin
pack of needles
soft dust cover
foot control and lead
You also get the comfort of knowing that you are buying a Singer Sewing Machine.
Overall this scores;
- well if you want a beginners sewing machine that you can grow in to!
- If you want to use a variety of stitches and techniques
- If you have a middle sized budget and want a ‘named’ machine
Jaguar 596 (Quilting Edition)
Jaguar 596 Sewing Machine (Quilting Edition)
This particular version also contains £150 worth of free accessories. Quilting Extension Table, Walking Foot, Hard Case, Cut & Sew Attachment, Embroidery Foot, 24 German Moon Thread, 5 Scissors, German Needles, 25 Bobbins, Bobbin Box. All thrown in for free. It is also the ideal beginners sewing machine for quilting. It is the ergonomic design which makes it ideal for quilting – those chunkier fabrics will be a breeze as well!
I am loving the automatic threader feature and I think that has to be a must for a beginner to sewing. It has 100 stitches, so you can imagine why this is a quilters dream machine! Highly decorative and ergonomic. There is also an LCD display screen featured so you can see the stitch selection made. It features;
100 Stitch Selections.
Free Arm / Flatbed Convertible.
Quick Snap-on Feet.
Needle Up/Down Button.
Extra Needle Penetration Power.
10 Buttonhole Styles.
12 Auto 1-Step Buttonholes.
Twin Needle Facility.
Adjustable Foot Pressure.
Backlit LCD Front Display Panel.
Horizontal Spool Pin.
Auto De-Clutch Bobbin Winder.
Variable Stitch Length & Width.
Superior Feed System (SFS).
Drop Feed with Plate.
Speed Control Slider.
Overall this scores;
- Really well for the ambitious beginner – there is a lot more here than you may think you need but you will grow as a sewing master!
- Very good value for a mid-point machine (around the £250 mark) with all of those free accessories thrown in
- Perfect for those of us who like to quilt – the double penetration needle sounds like a filthy Mills and Boon sentence but actually means it can handle all sorts of upholstery fabrics too.
- The computerised features are intuitive and easy to use.
Can you tell that this one sounds a bit flash and I am under its spell? It must be because it is a Jaguar! So if you are testing the waters to see if you really want to be a seamstress this would be perfect! If there was a prize for sexiest sounding sewing machine, this would win hands down. I feel like I am on Top Gear circa the Jeremy Clarkson years though, it really must be the Jaguar effect.
Best Buy Summary
If you are looking for a sewing machine below £100 there are plenty of options. In fact I would go as far as to say you can get a machine below £20 and not worry too much. However you will soon outgrow that machine. I have well and truly fallen in love with the Jaguar above. My motto is to buy once and spend more is cheaper in the long term and produces less waste.
You could also get caught up in the trap of spending >£1,000. If you did this you would need to spend a lot of time learning how to use the machine and this would put a novice off. The jaguar provides that balance between allowing you to do simple stitches and giving you scope to expand.
So if you are looking to learn more about how much you enjoy sewing have a look at those we have recommended.
We will keep you posted as to our next purchase and then start to really show off our projects!
First project update! Have a look at our project for creating a keepsake from old baby clothes!