Choosing the best sewing machine for beginners is the first step in starting a fun and rewarding hobby. Whether you're looking to make clothes, style home furnishings or create textile art a sewing machine is an investment that you want to consider carefully.
Beginners often want to start with one of the simplest sewing machines, but you need to be sure it can do what you need. In the guide below, we make our recommendations for the best sewing machine for beginners based on our own testing, customer reviews and a thorough comparison of their specs and features. We've included both mechanical and computerised machines at different price points in order to cover different needs.
We've started with quick links to our top picks. You can scroll down for our choices in full and head to the bottom for FAQs on how to choose the best beginner sewing machine for you. If you need more from a sewing machine, see our pick of the best sewing machines overall, and if you're creating craft work in general, you might also want to see our guide to the best Cricut machines.
The Quick List
+ Plenty of built-in stitches
+ Fast and robust
We rate this mechanical option as the best option for a beginner sewing machine that will last, and it can handle denim and other tough fabrics with ease. We found it to be easy to use and super fast, although the speed can make it a little noisy.
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+ Costs less than $100 / £110
+ Good accessories for the price
If you only need to do basic mending tasks, fully fledged machines are overkill. The Singer M1000 is described as a 'Mending Machine' rather than a sewing machine. You can't vary stitch length, and the tiny motor isn't going to cope with more than a couple of layers of denim, but for value, it's hard to beat.
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+ Great value for a computerised machine
+ Lots of features
This great-looking beginner sewing machine boasts a clear LCD display and push buttons that make it super easy to select your stitch, stitch length and width from 60 built-in stitch options. With an automatic needle threader, the Brother CP2160R is also easy to set up.
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The best sewing machines for beginners in full
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The best sewing machine overall
The Singer Heavy Duty 4423 is the best beginner sewing machine if you're looking for something that will last. This mechanical machine will stay the course beyond your first few years of sewing. This durable machine has a motor that’s 60% stronger than standard machines, enabling it to handle denim and other tough fabrics with ease.
Although I've chosen it with longevity in mind, the Singer Heavy Duty 4423 is still easy to use from the outset with simple dials for selecting your stitch and its length. Whilst as a mechanical machine it doesn’t have a vast amount of decorative stitch options, its 23 built-in stitches are more than enough for sewing with any fabric.
In our Singer Heavy Duty 4423 review, we found this is also a very quick machine, capable of sewing up to 1,100 stitches per minute, which is impressive whether you're new to, or experienced, with sewing machines. The only downside is this speed can make it a little noisy.
The best value sewing machine for beginners
Start sewing for under $100 / £110! This basic cheap sewing machine from Singer can handle many everyday mending tasks (it's billed as a 'Mending Machine' rather than a sewing machine). And this may be all that many beginners need. It's very compact, lightweight and portable, and it does create a decent stitch, making it great for quick fixes if you want a machine you can easily store away when not in use. It has four built-in stitches, three needle positions and can hit 350 stitches per minute.
Just be aware that if you do get more into sewing, you may outgrow this machine very quickly. You can't vary the stitch length and the weak motor can't deal with anything thicker than a layer or two of denin (it will just stop working as a safety measure). So while the cheap price makes sense if you don't see yourself wanting to do more complex work in the future, it could be a false economy if you do develop further and find you have to upgrade.
The best computerised sewing machine for beginners
The Brother CP2160R computerised sewing machine is that rare thing, a highly specced machine from a respected brand below £200. I think this feature-packed machine is an absolute steal.
I’d also say it’s one of the prettiest machines around. With a clear LCD display and push buttons it's very easy to select your stitch, stitch length and width from an impressive 60 built-in stitch options.
I am extremely impressed to find seven different buttonhole options on a machine at this price, too. Thanks in part to the included automatic needle threader, the Brother CP2160R is also easy to set up and get stitching with straight away.
Being a computerised machine there's some assumptions on Brother's part that you'll have some experience, which is why perhaps the instructions are a little lacking in detail. But you can find videos online to help, and once up and running the Brother CP2160R is excellent.
The best sewing machine for improvers
I think the Singer 5560 (also called the Singer Fashion Mate 5560) is particularly good for beginners looking for computerised machine that has plenty to stretch their skills further down the line. With 203 stitches and a removable wide extension table, this machine will serve as a great first machine if you have quilting on the list of things you want to be able to do with your machine.
The Singer 5560 has a lot of built-in stitches so a beginner may find it a little overwhelming but it ensures this machine can grow with your skill level. The small LCD display makes it easy to see the stitch you’re using at all times, so there is help to get used to this kind of machine.
The best high-end sewing machine for beginners
I've selected the Janome 14412-P MOD-50 as I think this is a great beginner machine due to its easy-to-use speed selector and interface, making stitch and speed choices simple. I particularly like how the easy to navigate interface displays the foot you should use for the stitch you have selected, which makes it great for first-time sewists.
It’s the only machine on my list with the option to select your speed and the slower speed option can be very useful when you’re just starting out. This is also one of the lighter sewing machines in this guides, making it ideal for taking to classes and a friend's house for a sewing session.
The Janome 14412-P MOD-50 takes its name from the 50 built in stitches so the machine will still serve you well once you’re up and running at full speed. Overall this is an excellent sewing machine for beginners but it's also one of the more expensive on this list.
Are computerised or mechanical options the best sewing machines for beginners?
Both computerised and mechanical sewing machines can be good sewing machines for beginners, each with their own advantages. Mechanical machines typically have fewer built-in stitches and buttonhole options but are simple to use and easily repaired. A computerised machine can store more information and therefore offer more functions and stitch designs.
Which sewing machine brands are good for beginners?
The main brands we'd recommend would be Janome, Singer, Brother and Bernette; these often have good sewing machines for beginners that come with everything you need to get started at good prices. These are often good machines designed to introduce you to sewing and then upgrade. You may often find that store-exclusive sewing machines from places like Hobbycraft and John Lewis are rebrands of some of these named machines.
What accessories does a new sewer need?
I've listed some of the key accessories anyone new to sewing machine may need, but also do a little research as often the best beginner sewing machines will come packaged with accessories. Also research to see how a sewing machine can be expanded with new feet and tray tables, as you will grow in skill.
- Seem rippers These are used to tear out seams, hems, buttons and snaps. They can also be used to easily unpick mistakes – so beginners will need one.
- Fabric scissors These are sharper and more precise than standard scissors and whatever you do don't cut paper with them!
- Pinking shears These are used to cut fabric to size and leave the edges in small triangular shapes, so the fabric doesn't fray.
- Tape measure For measuring your fabric lengths.
- Rotary cutter A handy tool to cut long and clean lengths of fabric without pulling or tearing.
- Parchment paper Essential for patchworks and quilting, these also come in triangles and circles for more complex projects.
What is the easiest fabric to sew?
Cotton and linen is great, as would be old shirts and clothes cut up into quarters – reusing old clothes for projects means if you make a mistake it doesn't matter. Beginners should avoid stretchy materials as these are hard to work with (some newer sewing machines for beginners do have a setup to sew stretchy material).
How to choose the best sewing machines for beginners
There are a number of things everyone buying a beginner sewing machine should consider, including whether you want a mechanical or computerised machine, what built-in stitches it features (look for type rather than number), you'll want a good warranty and finally think about the weight – as a beginner you'll want to take it to classes or a friend's house to practise.
How we chose the best beginner sewing machines for this guide
Over more than a decade online, Creative Bloq has reviewed and tested a wide range of craft tools, including sewing machines. Our craft reviewers test devices in real use situations with different fabrics and techniques to compare how they perform in practice. We also compare manufacturers' specifications and consider pricing to factor in value as part of our evaluation.