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.
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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.
A slightly cheaper option is the Janome DC2030, both being fantastic beginner machines.
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
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
or the computerized Brother A16, which falls around $500.