Going from sewing by hand to using a sewing machine is sometimes quite a step even for an experienced sewer. For a beginner, you want the best simple sewing machine you can find at a modest price.
“Best” for beginners includes the following:
- Not too expensive, in case the sewer decides that machine sewing isn’t a favorite activity.
- Enough stitches to do most projects, but not so many as to overwhelm.
- If getting computer assist, drop in bobbins and auto thread adjustment are nice
- Sews well.
- Variable speed – very slow for difficult bits, and faster for long seams
- Will sew most fabrics, including denim or duck
That’s a lot to ask from a machine, but Brother and Singer both have machines that are supposed to fit the bill.
The Mystique of Sewing Machines
One older lady commented, “I learned to sew on a Singer treadle machine. It was kind of like riding a bike, only sewing instead of traveling. It could handle anything from silk to heavy denim. It was the best machine I’ve ever sewn on, and still is.”
Not many of us are fortunate enough to own a vintage Singer sewing machine and must make do with more modern models. With that said, it is always good to keep in mind what Scotty, the Chief Engineer of the Starship Enterprise said: the more complicated they are, the easier it is to mess them up. A vital part of using a sewing machine is reading the directions.
Three Good Sewing Machines for Beginners
Number 3: Brother CS6000i
It has 60 built-in stitches, 7 styles of a buttonhole, quilting table, and a hardcover. It has a start/stop button which allows use without the foot pedal if desired. It is computerized and has a drop-in bobbin winder. Includes a bi-lingual instruction booklet, a 25-year limited warranty, and free phone support for life. Needs a 120V electrical system (US); not recommended for areas with other systems.
Number 2: Singer 4423, Heavy Duty Model
The reason this is #2 instead of #1 is that it operates at an extra high speed. But if you are a slightly advanced beginner or a person who just wants a good, sturdy machine, this sewing machine will do the job. Set up for 110V (check your meter, if you aren’t sure – used in various areas in the US), it has 23 built-in stitches, automatic needle threader, and drop-in bobbin. It isn’t fancy, it isn’t computerized, but it will get the job done. Works well with heavy fabrics.
Number 1: Singer 1304, Start, Free Arm sewing machine
Super easy to use, great for first-time users, for travel or for alterations. Includes six built-in stitches: straight, satin, zig zag, blind hem, scallop, and buttonhole. Experienced sewers can probably use it straight out of the box. New users be sure to read the directions.
Summing it up: Keep it simple, read the directions, and be patient with the machine and with yourself. Sometimes a simple adjustment can make all the difference in the world between working and not working.