Beginners Guide To Sewing Machines

With so many different styles and models of sewing machines out there on the market it can be difficult for a beginner to understand exactly which model will suit their needs. This page should hopefully help answer any questions you may have if you are a beginner when it comes to sewing and sewing machines. 

As this is focused around beginners we will keep any recommendations below the £200 mark for the higher end recommendations. 

Here is a summary of our top 7 recommended sewing machines for beginners. 

Model

Brother LS14

Janome 725s

Singer 1507

Brother AE1700

Singer 3229

Brother FS40

Price

On Amazon

On Amazon

On Amazon

On Amazon

On Amazon

On Amazon

Machine Type

Mechanical

Mechanical

Mechanical

Mechanical

Mechanical

Computerised

# Stitches

14

25

7

17

29

40

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If you are looking for a sewing machine for children take a look at our childrends sewing guide here

Understanding your sewing needs.

One of the first and most important decisions that need to be made when choosing a sewing machine is understanding what the machine is going to be used for. We would recommend that you make a note of all of the different types of work that you want to create with the machine, this will give you some insight into the features that you will need most.

Below are a couple of examples of types of work you may be looking to get done:

  • Getting some embroidery work done. (For this you may be looking for a machine that will allow you to lower the feed dogs )
    • If you are interested in embroider take a look at our [guide to embroidery]. 
  • Carrying out upholstery projects will usually require the use of heavier fabric so you would need to look into utilising a [heavy duty sewing machine]. 
  • If you are looking at creating garments a machine that has an overlocker will a key feature you would want. 
  • If you are a design or fashion student then a lightweight sewing machine may be exactly what you need for easy portability. 

Once you have identified the types of projects and tasks you are going to be carrying out on your sewing machine you can start to get together a list of compatible machines. While you may not know exactly what your machine will be used for in the future this will set the basis for your search. If you are really struggling to decide what machine will fit your needs leave a comment at the bottom of the page and I will do my best to help you out. 

One key point to note at this stage is that although the cheapest machine you find may look as though it covers all of your needs initially it is often better to future proof and ensure that one the machine will last for years to come as well as be able to cope with all of the future projects you may want to work on with it. It can often be cheaper to spend a little more money initially and not have to keep replacing the machine every few years.

 

Your Projects & Materials

You should now have your definitive short list of sewing machines that are specific to your requirements. If you are struggling to weigh up the pros and cons of each why not take a look at our sewing machine reviews.

When you are weighing up the pros and cons, there are a number of factors that need to be looked at and seriously considered.  Motor power is an important factor that can often get overlooked. Motor power plays a more significant part for people who are looking to use heavier or thicker material. I would highly suggest that you take a look at our heavy duty sewing machine guide if you are looking to do work with thicker materials. 

There are a wide array of other features that many people will find essential to them. A good example of one of these is automatic needle threading, this is something that is useful for those who struggle to thread a needle or people with poorer eye sight who can struggle with doing this. As this is an almost essential feature, it is very important to insure that your machine will include this. However don’t be fooled many entry level sewing machines do not contain  this feature. 

 

Mechanical vs Computerised which is right for you 

When looking at the types of entry level machine you will be comparing between mechanical or computerised sewing machines. On a modern mechanical machine the motor is powered from the mains however everything else is controlled by gears, levers and switches within the machine. On the other hand computerised machines have integrated circuits with microprocessors that can control the way the sewing machine works. 

If you are interested in a more in depth look at the [types of sewing machines] you can read our post here.

Mechanical machines have stood the test of time and tend to be the more reliable of the two types we have mentioned. They have no electronics within them that can be easily damaged. On the other hand the computerised sewing machines come with a bunch more types of stitches giving you a more dynamic range.

For a beginners machine I would recommend that you look to get a mechanical sewing machine that has most if not all of the features you require. Computerised machines can still be great for beginners, however the chances of this getting damaged as well as the amount of extra features these machines have can be overwhelming. 

You also want to get a sewing machine that is going to fit within your budget and not break the bank. On average standard mechanical machines tend to come in cheaper than their computerised counterparts. 

 

Stitches

The type and number of stitches is also a major factor that should be looked at when you are a beginner and should play a big part in influencing your decision. When looking at the types of stitches the machines have you need to take into account the types of work you want to be carrying out on them. If you are looking to work with stretchy sports type material then a machine with a straight stretch stitch would almost be essential. You can view our guide on types of sewing machine stitches [here]

Please note that may machines can be quite deceptive with the amount of stitches they have. A good example of this is the Brother LS14 have 14 different types of stitches, however upon closer inspection the majority of these are variations on the simple straight and zigzag stitches that many machines can sew. 

 

Sewing Machine Brand

Possibly the biggest factor that is going to influence a beginner when it comes to sewing machines is the brand of the machine. The majority of the world population would rather have an item from a brand who they know is a well known trusted brand across the globe. Some of the big well known sewing machine brands are: Brother, Singer, Jonome, Juki, Toyota, Berinina. 

There has been a recent influx in cheaper chinese sewing machines flooding the market. While these allow you to have some of the feature that would only normally be available on higher end high priced machines. The main downside to these machines is that they often have poorer build quality and will not come with the warranty you get with the larger brands. Be warned cheaper is not always better, while on the other hand more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better quality. 

 

Accessories

The majority of sewing machines that you will see on the market come with a bunch of accessories right out of the box. These include things such as presser feet or edge guides. It is also good to look at the range of third party or additional accessories that are compatible with your chosen machine.

2 Comments

  1. Samantha

    This was great in helping me find my first sewing machine. I decided to go for the Brother LS14 and even managed to get some money off with an early black friday sale.

    Reply
    • Rachel

      Hi Samantha

      I am glad that this guide helped you.

      The Brother LS14 is a great machine for beginners and I am sure you are going to have a wonderful time using it.

      Reply

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