Learning to sew can be intimidating, but the best sewing machines for beginners can help you master this skill in no time. But with tons of options online — not to mention trying to decode new terms like "presser feet" and "bobbins" — it can be hard to sift through the choices. To help you narrow things down, I've deciphered a few sewing machine terms for you, and highlighted some considerations to help make your decision easy.
Helpful Sewing Machine Terms:
- Presser foot: a changeable piece that holds fabric in place and lets you take on various tasks, like sewing on buttons, hidden zippers, or trimming fabric
- Bobbin: the cylinder that holds your thread
- Pre-set stitches: a sewing machine's programmed stitch types (running, blanket, zigzag, etc.) that can be adjusted on a dial or LCD display
- Thread cutter: replaces the need for scissors
- What you're using it for: If you're just looking to make small repairs and sew buttons, you can get by with something simple. If you're looking to sew denim or quilts, however, you'll need a little more power.
- Mobility: Do you have a designated sewing table or do you need to store it easily in a cabinet or closet? Knowing weight and dimensions can help you make the right choice.
- User-friendliness: A few features — like automatic threaders and built-in thread cutters — can help cut down on frustration and speed up your sewing. You'll also need to find the right balance of features: A machine with all the bells and whistles can be overwhelming for a beginner, but you also want a machine that's involved enough to keep up with you as you develop a little expertise.
Now that you've got a lay of the land, here are my picks for the best sewing machines for beginners.
We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.
1. The Best Budget Sewing Machine For Beginners
Designed specifically for simple projects or those just starting out, this beginner's sewing machine features easy-to-read diagrams printed right there on the machine for foolproof operation. It's lightweight and the most compact option on this list, and the impressively durable metal frame prevents skipping while sewing.
There are six pre-set stitch types, with lengths and widths already built in; this cuts down on complication, but gives you a little less versatility in the long run. The front-load bobbin with automatic winding streamlines the sewing process, and the machine comes with needles, a screwdriver, a seam ripper, and three basic presser feet: all-purpose, buttonhole, and zipper.
- Weight: 11.5 pounds
- Dimensions: 13x7 x11.5 inches
- Pre-set stitches: six
- Presser feet: three
Fans say: "A month ago I made a commitment to learn to sew and with this machine I have already done many projects. It is very easy to use and perfect for beginners. I have been able to fix mine and my husband's jeans and make scarves for winter and make a caddy for my sewing machine."
2. The Most Versatile Sewing Machine For Beginners (And Beyond)
With 50 pre-set stitches to choose from, this computerized sewing machine is built for flexibility. Use it for basic sewing and quilting, as well as decorative and heirloom stitching. The LCD screen and buttons allow for easy pre-set stitch selection, along with width and length adjustment. And while the sheer number of stitching options can make the machine feel slightly complicated, the automatic needle threader, built-in thread cutter, jam-resistant bobbin, and smooth feed system really streamline the process.
The machine is the largest option — something to consider if storage is an issue — and comes with a soft shell case, three bobbins, a seam ripper, and a three-piece needle set, including twin needles for decorative stitching and a ball point needle for knits.
- Weight: 15 pounds
- Dimensions: 20x11x16 inches
- Pre-set stitches: 50
- Presser feet: six
Fans say: "It's very easy to use and great for a beginner like me. It has great functions (keep the manual close until you figure it all out). I mainly sew bags and accessories and this puppy powered through several layers of heavy interfaced fabric like it was nothing."
3. The Best Sewing Machine For Heavier Weight Fabrics
If you're looking to make curtains or work with sturdier materials like denim, leather, and canvas, this heavy-duty sewing machine is your best bet. With an all-metal interior and a motor that's 60% stronger than standard sewing machines, this machine is built to take on heavyweight fabrics with ease. But you also have the benefit of being able to adjust the pressure of the presser foot if you're looking to sew sheer or delicate fabrics.
It features 11 pre-set stitches — six basic and four decorative — which is perfect if you're looking for a few options but aren't planning to get into intricate stitching.
While this sewing machine doesn't have an automatic needle threader or cutter, it does feature three adjustable needle positions, as well as a dial to adjust stitch length and width. It comes with 15 needles, four presser feet, a seam ripper, and screwdriver.
- Weight: 14.5 pounds
- Dimensions: 15x6x12 inches
- Pre-set stitches: 11
- Presser feet: four
Fans say: "It is super easy to use and goes at a faster speed than my last one. Today I whipped up a purse that I made with a heavier, tapestry type upholstery fabric and faux leather. I am very pleased with how well the machine worked and being able to focus on sewing and not futzing around with a fickle machine."
4. The Best Sewing Machine for Quilting
This sewing machine comes with a detachable wide table that makes it easy to work on quilts and other large projects. With 60 pre-set stitches and nine presser feet that are particularly good for quilting (including a foot for monogramming), the machine is a great option if you're looking to create some heirloom pieces. (Of course, you can use this for regular sewing projects, too.)
The LCD display lets you toggle between stitches and adjust length and width. And although there's no built-in thread cutter, the needle threader is automatic, and the transparent bobbin compartment makes for easy winding.
The machine comes with twin needles, three bobbins, and a hard shell case.
- Weight: 14 pounds
- Dimensions: 16x7x11 inches
- Pre-set stitches: 60
- Presser feet: nine
Fans say: "I love my Brother CS6000i. It has just enough options and extras, but not too much. I am a novice sewer, I do lots of odds and ends projects and this works for so much. It has lovely stitches and stitch options, I love the drop in bobbin as well. It is easy to thread and simple to use."