Sewing Machines. Which one is best for a beginner?

As an experienced Sewing Instructor, I understand the overwhelming choices that beginners face when selecting their first sewing machine, and I’m here to offer some helpful advice to make your decision easier while ensuring you’re getting the best value for your budget.

First, consider how often you plan to sew and your budget. If you’re on a tight budget and plan to use your machine occasionally for crafts or clothing alterations, you can find beginner-friendly options at department stores, such as those available at Spotlight, starting around $200. These machines are easy to use and perfect for occasional sewing tasks. However, if you’ve caught the sewing bug and intend to sew frequently, I recommend investing in a higher-quality machine.

While department stores offer budget-friendly beginner machines from reputable brands, they typically lack follow-up service. In contrast, dealers provide post-purchase support, making them a better choice if you have questions or face any issues down the line.

For beginner sewing machines, I recommend renowned brands like Janome and Brother, which offer a balance of quality and affordability in the $350-$600 range. While Bernina machines are exceptional, they tend to be pricier, making them a better choice for more experienced sewers with higher budgets.

As a beginner, don’t worry too much about the number of stitches a machine offers. You’ll primarily use straight stitch, zigzag, buttonhole, and maybe a few others for stretch fabrics. Instead, focus on essential features like built-in needle threaders, drop-in bobbins for easy access, thread cutters, and good lighting, which is a significant advantage.

The crucial decision is whether to go for a mechanical or computerized machine. Mechanical machines excel with denim and heavy fabrics due to their robust motors, making them great for topstitching. However, computerized machines have superior features like automated buttonholes, speed control slider (great for beginners) and auto thread cutters which simplify various sewing tasks.

**Some products (but not all) listed here do contain Amazon affiliate links earning a commission on each sale made through those links.**

Singer Beginners Sewing Machine

Janome Myexcel 18W 

For a quality mechanical machine, the Janome MyExcel 18W, priced between $450 and $500, is an excellent choice. Entry-level computerized machines start around $300, but investing $500-$800 will ensure a decent quality one with convenient automatic functions.


At my studio, my students use the Janome DC2150, which retails for about $600.

Janome DC2150

A slightly cheaper option is the Janome DC2030, both being fantastic beginner machines.

Janome DC2030

Additionally, I personally use the Janome Sewist 780DC, it has speed control slider and an Auto Thread Cutter! Slightly higher priced at about $900, but well worth the investment.I

Janome Sewist 780DC

Although I don’t currently have Brother machines, I’ve had positive experiences with them in the past. You might consider the Brother GS3700, priced at approximately $300

Brother GS3700  

or the computerized Brother A16, which falls around $500.

Computerised Brother A16

Don’t overlook the option of second-hand machines. I’ve found great deals on old Bernina machines, approximately 25 years old, for as little as $50. Bernina machines, made in Switzerland, are known for their durability and could last a lifetime.

I’ve shared the machines I’ve used and can confidently recommend. I’m not affiliated with Janome; I simply appreciate the quality they offer, along with old Bernina machines.

I hope this information helps you select the perfect sewing machine, whether it’s new or second-hand.

Happy sewing!

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