Best sewing machines for beginners in June 2023

Best sewing machines for beginners; a group of three sewing machines
(Image credit: Singer / Janome / Brother)

There is a lot of choice when it comes to the best sewing machines for beginners, from the simplest sewing machines to ones that do a little more. Deciding on the right sewing machine for you is the first step towards a fun and rewarding hobby that can provide you with a beautiful wardrobe of unique and perfectly fitting clothes, stylish individual home furnishings and creative projects of all kinds. 

Of course this is exciting but also perhaps a touch overwhelming when there are so many sewing machines to choose from. I've rounded up my five favourite machines that are perfect for beginners, any of which I believe will have you stitching in no time and would be a good accompaniment to the best Cricut machines, if you're a crafter. If you need a little more from a sewing machine, read my guide to the best sewing machines in general. (Read out guide 'How we test craft and sewing machines' for details on our reviews process.)

I’ve included both mechanical and computerised models, either of which are great for beginners. 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.

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Best sewing machines for beginners; a grey Singer sewing machine

(Image credit: Singer)
The best sewing machine for beginners overall


Size: 6.25 x 15.5 x 12 inches
Weight: 6.58 kg
Number of stitches: 23 built-in stitches including basic, stretch, decorative, and buttonhole stitches

Reasons to buy

Plenty of built-in stitches to get started
An incredibly fast machine
Robust and made to last

Reasons to avoid

Can be a little noisy

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.

Best sewing machines for beginners; a small white sewing machine

(Image credit: Hobbycraft)

02. Hobbycraft 19S

The best cheap sewing machine for beginners


Size: 16.9 x 9.1 x 10.2 inches
Weight: 7 kg
Number of stitches: 19 stitch settings, including one for stretchy fabrics

Reasons to buy

Incredible value for money
Good number stitches
Comes with plenty of accessories

Reasons to avoid

You may outgrow it

Get set to sew for under £100! I'm very impressed with how much you get for the price of the Hobbycraft 19S to start your sewing journey. With 19 built-in stitches, including a stitch for stretch fabrics and a four-step buttonhole, you’re all set up to sew anything you like, though eventually if you're a keen sewer you may outgrow this machine. 

At this price I thought they might have cut back on accessories but were pleased to discover that it comes with all the accessories you need, such as a seam ripper, spare needles, bobbin pack and an impressive four feet (all-purpose, zipper, buttonhole and button sewing). 

In addition to offering great value for money, the machine is extremely easy to set up and use, making it an ideal machine for beginner sewists. If you're after a first-time sewing machine this is an excellent one to begin with.

Best sewing machines for beginners; a white sewing machine with a floral decoration

(Image credit: Brother)

03. Brother CP2160R

A great computerised sewing machine for beginners


Size: 6.65 x 16.26 x 12.21 inches
Weight: 6.44 kg
Number of stitches: 60 built-in stitches, including utility, decorative, heirloom and auto-size buttonholes

Reasons to buy

Excellent LCD display
A computerised machine at a low price

Reasons to avoid

Instructions could be better

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.

Best sewing machines for beginners; a small white sewing machine with a case

(Image credit: Singer)

04. Singer 5560

The best sewing machine for beginners and beyond


Size: 13 x 22 x 15 inches
Weight: 9.77 kg
Number of stitches: 203 built-in stitches, including one-step buttonhole

Reasons to buy

Small but useful LCD display
Features a lot of built-in stitches

Reasons to avoid

Perhaps too many stitches for beginners

I love the Singer 5560 (also called the Singer Fashion Mate 5560), particularly if you're a looking for computerised machine that has plenty to keep a beginner busy but can still stretch your 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.

Best sewing machines for beginners; a white sewing machine

(Image credit: Janome)

05. Janome 14412-P MOD-50

A fantastic sewing machine for beginners but at a price


Size: 13 x 22 x 15 inches
Weight: 5.76 kg
Number of stitches: 50 built-in stitches including three one-step buttonholes

Reasons to buy

50 built-in stitches for every occasion
Well made and will last you
Lightweight for taking to classes

Reasons to avoid

A little expensive for beginners

I've selected the Janome 14412-P MOD-50 as 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.

Best sewing machine for beginners: frequent questions

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 should I consider when buying a beginner sewing machine?

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. 

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).

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Michelle Rowley
Freelance craft writer

Michelle is a sewing teacher, writer and maker based in the Peak District. As a dressmaking tutor and freelance craft feature writer Michelle regularly writes for Love Sewing magazine as well as Woman's Weekly & Woman & HomeAs a sewing tutor and avid dressmaker she has extensive knowledge of sewing machines and overlockers, and the know-how of how to match different dressmakers' needs and budgets to the right machine for them.

With contributions from