What’s the Project: If you’re looking for the best sewing machine for beginners or if you are wanting an upgrade from what you have, these are some great recommendations for users of all abilities.
Maybe you’ve always loved the idea of sewing. You dream of threading your machine, picking out the perfect fabric, and sewing fabulous creations.
But you need a sewing machine in order to make these dreams come true and finding the right machine can be hard! There are so many brands and then within those brands, there are so many models. They can cost anywhere from $99 to several thousand, so how do you know which sewing machine to buy? Each machine offers many different things and it depends on what you’re looking for.
Some have decorative stitches, some keep it simple. Maybe portability is something you value because you’ll be getting it out and putting it away each time you sew or maybe you’re planning to really use this thing a lot and you want something pretty heavy duty. It really can be hard to choose. But let’s take a look at some options to help you make that choice.
Here’s a review of some of the best sewing machines for beginners (and beyond if you’re looking for an upgrade).
This will be a rundown of some basics and hopefully, give you a good idea of what sewing machine to buy that will be just right for you. Again, it’s going to vary by person. I have my own favorites (which I will talk about), but depending on your budget and your needs, you’re going to need to think about what is a good match for you.
All of these machines are going to include basics like bobbins, a foot pedal, stitch options like straight stitch and zig zag, a free arm so that you can more easily maneuver things, and other basics. They will all sew through things like layers of fabric or lightweight fabric. These are all good machines.
Some may include things like a zipper foot or a buttonhole foot, automatic thread cutters, an LCD screen, one-step buttonholes, and headurability that will allow for sewing on things like leather, denim, and multiple layers.
Best Sewing Machine for Beginners:
Now, the first thing you need to know is that I haven’t been in the market for a sewing machine for about 10+ years, so I haven’t looked into this for a while. But when I was in the market for one I did a lot of research before buying my machine. And after all my research I settled on a Janome. So let’s talk Janomes first.
**These are affiliate links below.
Janome Sewing Machines:
My first beginner sewing machine was a Kenmore—a very basic but very sturdy Kenmore. It was a $200 machine that earned me way more than it was worth when I started my own sewing business and made thousands of dollars sewing things with it. I loved that little machine…until I ran it right into the ground from overuse. (I used it a lot. Hours every single day.) It was a very durable machine. It had everything I needed too, from just the right, but not too many stitch options to ease of use (nothing too fancy on it) to the ability to handle some heavy-duty sewing.
So, as I started looking into getting a new machine I discovered something. Janome and Kenmore are created by the same company (or were at that time anyway). Janome was sort of the big sister to Kenmore. Knowing that, and after reading tons of reviews, I settled on Janome as the brand of my choice.
Since then I’ve bought a high-end Janome heavy-duty sewing machine that has gotten a ton of use as well. It’s got a ton of stitches and embroidery machine capabilities and can sew through just about anything—leather, towels, denim, you name it. I just love it. I can’t recommend Janome more highly!
So let’s take a look at some beginner Janome options that make great entry-level machines.
Here’s the most Basic Beginner Janome Sewing Machine. It’s the 2212 and it’s rated close to 5 stars on Amazon. It should be a very good starter machine and costs just under $200. Not a bad investment if you are just getting started. (This looks a lot like my beginning sewing machine.) I think this one would last you a long time. Here are some important features:
- A handful of basic stitches (12 to be exact) like straight stitch and zigzag as well as a few more stitch options. Enough but not too many that it’s overwhelming.
- The bobbin is put in from the front (some take it from just under the presser foot)
- Manual adjustment of things like speed and stitch length and stitch width
Here is a slightly fancier Janome for not a lot more money. This one has more stitches (30), an automatic needle threader, and is computerized. This is the Janome JW8100. It will run around $329. Here are some of the features it has beyond the one we just looked at:
- Lighter weight (more portability)
- 100 stitches built-in
- More accessories and storage space for accessories
- Computerized screen with things like stitch length and speed control adjustable
Or if you really want to go simple, or have a kid who wants to try sewing, look at this one! It’s only about $100 and it looks almost identical to my first one (which again, was so good!) and it’s PINK! (I love pink.) There are other colors as well. Anyway, this one is pretty basic, but it’s got everything you need for getting started and rates really well on Amazon! This could be a great beginner sewing machine for you or for a daughter or granddaughter.
Brother Beginner Sewing Machines:
Now let’s talk about Brother machines. I feel like these are sort of the most popular beginner machines right now. I recently borrowed a friend’s Brother while mine was broken and can now safely vouch for Brothers as well. Many of my Learn to Sew Online Sewing Classes readers have recommended various Brother machines and I am giving you their recommendations here.
The Brother CS 6000i is the most recommended machine by my beginner sewing readers. It’s another good starter machine that won’t be a huge investment but will get you going.
It’s got a lot of stitches (60!) and several one-step buttonholes (nice!) and comes with a case. It costs around $210 (but watch for deals) and is rated very highly on Amazon. In fact, it’s their #1 bestseller. And this is very similar to the machine I borrowed from my friend. This is a good machine.
A few important features:
- 60 built-in stitches
- Automatic needle threader and thread cutter
- Comes with several presser feet (different ones for things like zippers or different seams)
- Also a quilting machine. This is great machine to be able to use for quilting at this price!
Here’s another Brother sewing machine that’s a good one. It’s a little pricier, so this is more of an investment, but it’s a good machine with 5 star ratings on Amazon and that’s with 4,000 ratings!!
Here are some of the important features of this one:
- 165 built-in decorative stitches
- LCD screen
- Quilting machine with an extended table area for sewing if you want to make quilts
- Several presser feet (various options like a zipper foot and buttonhole foot)
Basically, after looking around at various Brother machines on Amazon while writing this post, I have to say, they have amazing prices for what they include—lots of stitches and other great features. And they are very highly rated. You can also buy Brother machines at Walmart and Costco! So if you want a basic starter machine that doesn’t cost much, try Brother.
Singer Beginner Sewing Machines:
A reader recommended this Singer Esteem II from Target. It costs about $200 or so and has 4.5 stars rating at Target.com and on Amazon. It has 23 stitches and sells itself as a good machine for beginners and you can’t really beat that price, can you? I suspect this could be a good beginning sewing machine for kids too! It won’t break the bank but is still a good machine. It would be quite portable and easy to work with. Manual adjustment of things like speed and stitch length.
There are a lot of other brands of machines. Bernina’s are the King of all machines and are specifically tailored to quilters. Vikings are amazing but are also very high-end. I didn’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so these are the best sewing machines I could find for beginners.
So consider this a roundup of some very good beginner machines and a few more advanced. Brother seems to be the best option for an inexpensive and very basic starter machine. If you have a little more money to spend, go for a Janome.
Please know that I have not tried most of these machines. I am going off of readers’ recommendations and online buyer ratings. I make no guarantees on these machines, I am just giving you somewhere to start looking. Please know that affiliate links are included in this post as well.
And, take some time to read through the comments section here. Many of my readers have chimed in with valuable information about machines as well!
Good luck with your search for the best beginner sewing machines! When you’ve got it, be sure to Meet Your Sewing Machine and Learn to Sew Online Sewing Classes all here with me at Crazy Little Projects. Now you’re all ready to get started on some sewing projects. Here are some great beginner ones to try.
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Smantha William says
Having read this I thought it was extremely enlightening. I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!
William Bowie says
Hi Amber, Thank you for sharing such informative blog for beginners.
I love your post about best sewing machines for beginners, especially the fact that you have a Janome as well!
I’m a sewing newbie and bought my first machine a couple of months ago. It’s a Janome CXL301. I’m super happy with it and wrote a review as well. The machine is my hero behind the scene and it carried me through good and bad times but we’re constantly learning and improving along the way – stitch-by-stitch. It’s an easy-to-use machine which I can definitely recommend for beginners.
Can’t wait to read more from you soon.
All the best,
Glad you are liking the Janome too!
I had never sewn a day in my life but I have wanted a sewing machine for probably the last 20 years. Due to health issues I haven’t been able to work for a few years so I finally decided to fulfill my dream. I started researching machines in my price range and had my heart set on the Brother SQ9185. It was under $200 had a lot of positive reviews and included many extras. I couldn’t find one in any of my local stores and settled for the Brother SQ9285 there weren’t many reviews available for it and the ones I found were very mixed. But I absolutely love it. I had no experience it was easy to setup and I have been sewing up a storm. I loved it so much I went back and purchased the Brother 1634D Serger it was again under $200 and had many extras included I have no complaints. I think both are great machines for beginners who don’t want to start out with an expensive machine.
Bray Williams says
the beginners always needs that one machine that is easy to use and comfortable to run on. they need the basic stitching to learn on. Thanks for the best suggestion you have on the list.
Mike Philips says
Brothers is the best of all for beginner level users. It has a nice controlling and very easy to handle. For a beginner it is not wise to get a costly one. so i put janome behind.
Thank you all for all the tips. I love my Janome its easy to sew articles and it has all the bells and whistles. I cherish that machine only because my sister bought it for me about 5 years ago. I still have both machines, and my granddaughters will be using the singer this summer. They have asked me to show them some simple projects. I’ll never give up my Janome sewing machine simply because my sister bought it for me. I sure miss her she was my sewing partner and I learned how to quilt. Looking forward in showing my granddaughters how to sew.
Esporte e Lazer says
Thank you for share your knowledge, no doubt this very helpe me
Thanks for the list! I’m curious why Bernina’s are geared towards quilters? My mom has a Bernina and has always sworn by it, but it’s out of my budget so I have a Brother sewing/embroidery machine and a Brother serger, and I love both for the price!
I also never have my machines serviced. I do clean them out myself and oil the serger, but I’ve had them for about 4 years and never had them professionally serviced. From what I’ve seen, having them serviced can cost $50-$75 – if I buy a $300 sewing machine and can go even 4-5 years without having it serviced, I’ve saved enough to buy an entirely new machine if anything goes wrong 🙂
Deborah Stevenson says
Need machines to be able to embroidered what ever I want, serger machine , hemer machine and sewing nachine. I been sewing since I was a child (baby doll clothes) and took some classes during school but I’ve been doing alterations for a small business and they are moving out of town and I want to start my own business, can you help me with the machines, even if one does more than one kind of sewing. Machines I use at work are a serger and hemer (2 different machines) and a Kenmore for regular sewing nothing fancy on that machine. Just want to make extra money at home. Really enjoy doing different kinds of crafts also. Thank you and hope you return my email.
I don’t know a ton about machines. I use a Janome Memory Craft that does the embroidery also, but I haven’t tried a serger ever!
I have been on the hunt for a new machine for the last 3 years or so. I say that because I’ve been trying and failing at finding “the one”. Here’s what I’ve learned: wanted to upgrade my pretty basic Singer because I didn’t care for the sliders that adjust the stich length and width. I fell hard for all the bells and whistles the Brother was selling. So much so I got an embroidery/sewing ALSO! First can I just say the Brothers are preset with the needle to the left; yes you can change it, but every time? Within the year it was having trouble, so took it to an athurized dealer/repair center. HE SAID these low end Brothers are crap! He called them a ” clamshell” design which means all the machanized parts are held in alignment by the plastic body:-P. I ended up trading in both machines for a Janome, which let’s say it, always comes with less stiches, and assories for the price. Its been in the shop the last 2 months so I’ve been back to a cheap Singer which just can’t be beat. I really tried to think about the bear minimum hear since its my “back up” machine, and this is what I found: all Singers come with an aluminum interior that holds all the mechanics in place, even the cheap ones. I ended up getting the Singer Tradition 2277 because IT HAS ALL THE BASICS! Even a one-step button hole setting. The only 2 downsides are: the overlock stich is backward, so it’s pretty much useless, and it didn’t come with a blind hem foot. Everything else came included and the stitches cover a wide range materials and projects. Its so easy too use, my 9yo is learning to sew on it, and it was only $100 at JoAnn’s, which will also service it. Once you really get into sewing, you’ll figure out what features are best for you, but until then, this Singer is a safe bet for all beginners.
I have had the brother cs 6000i for about 2 years now as a beginner machine. I have made a few projects with it now and have been learning with it as I go. So far, I have had absolutely no problems with the machine. I have had a couple issues, but they were completely my fault and I was able to figure out what I was doing wrong either by looking at the manual or looking online. I have also let my mother borrow my machine a few times and she has never had a problem with it either. I was able to get my machine on sale, so I got a really good deal (about $125). I don’t know if it will make a difference to anyone else researching a machine, but I also read from other reviews that the brother customer service line was a little more helpful than some of the other brands I was looking at. So far, I am happy with my purchase. I would consider upgrading sometime if I felt it was necessary, but right now I’m content with what I have. I feel like it was worth the price I paid!
I have had several machines. The best made is a viking. You get what you pay for. No matter what sewing machine is your favorite, the most important thing to remember is where can you get service and help with a sewing problem? Does the place you are buying from stand behind it’s machines? I had a serger for almost a year and had to have it serviced twice, at no charge to me. The third time they gave me a new, still in the box, machine. Buy the best you can buy. Don’t buy more machine than you need. If you are not going to use the special features or any extras, don’t get them.
I was wondering and noticed you didn’t say anything about a SINGER machine. I need something solid and under 150, have looked into the Singer 4423 Heavy Duty machine. I am very hard on my machine so I basically need a workhorse. Don’t do quilting and don’t need all the fancy stitches. Any suggestions on this one ?
I don’t have much experience with Singers. I would suggest reading reviews on Amazon for the machine you are looking at.
I don’t know to much about any of these machines you re all talking about but my mother has a simple Singer machine she bought a couple of years back and it sews like a champ. I finally bought my first machine last summer and it was a lemon straight out of the box! It was a Baby Lock Sophie. However I purchased it from a reputable dealer and they replaced it after I had mine in the shop for the 3rd time in 2 months. It was replaced with the exact same machine model. So far this machine has earned its keep and hasn’t given me an ounce of problems. It’s loaded with a ton of stitches, automatic threader and its a programable embroidery machine also! The only drawback is the throat is small, so if you plan on quilting large quilts, it’s hard to feed the material through the small throat of the machine, but it can be done. As I have accomplished it! The machine sells for around a grand but they run sells on them as cheap as 700$ sometimes!
hi my name is kandy and i am looking for a machine may be the basic model but i want to know wether it supports zig zag and button hole… And the machine which supports to sew materials like denim( hard fabrics). I am a student and i cant afford more than 150 so please suggest me a machine thats suits my intrest… Thankyou
I always suggest Janome. Even if it is a basic one, it will be a good one!
Hi i would like to know has anyone used the brother xt37, or elna340? i would like to know the reviews
I have a Husqvarna Designer SE, I love it. A bit pricey but after sewing for 50 plus years, just wanted to spoil myself. It is so easy to go from the embroidery to regular sewing. The dealers are awesome and they have classes included with your purchase. They welcome you in, to help with any issues.
Thank you for sharing! I am a beginner of a family if great sewers. I can’t wait to buy a new machine of my own and not use this 1970’s clunker. I have decided to buy a Brother XR9500PRW. My family ways used Singers and we still have my Moms and it still works. But, most of them have bought Brother. Whether it’s the better machine or not, they love theirs and I can’t afford the Bernina. Which I would love to have. So if anyone would like to donate to the cause, I’ll be happy to share my address so you can send it directly to me.
Again, thanks for sharing your ideas!
I inherited my mother’s singer from the sixties and learned to sew on it. Bobbin always got thread wrapped around it. Got a second Singer for my sixteenth birthday; eventually same issue. At 48, bought new singer and same issue. I do know how to adjust tension and machines are oiled and clean. Sewing has become a chore and frustrating and I used to love it. I will never ever buy or recommend a singer. I have my grandmother’s singer from the thirties and it works better than the other three. It takes up too much room to use because it is built into a sewing cabinet and is not portable. Getting a new machine soon and going to buy the best I can afford. I am going to spend hours trying them out then going to wait for a sale.
I read with interest the good qualities of the various machines mentioned and just have to add my bit as well. 40 Years ago I bought an Elna SU sewing machine and am still using it today. Even when sewing at the high speed, my machine runs noiselessly! The Elna makes wonderful buttonholes and I won’t change it for any other brand.
My Pfaff 1470 is dying (25 years old) and too much to repair. $160 not including parts. Ouch that hurts. So I’m looking at a new/used machine. I would like to upgrade to an embroidery machine with a 5×7 hoop mostly for monograming. I’m a pretty advanced seamstress with most of my experience in French hand sewing (Christening gowns and baby clothes.) I’m liking the Janome’ and Bernina has a great reputation. It’s this maintenance and repair thing that’s killing me. Do I buy from a dealer with a better warranty package or just buy a super reliable machine on line or at a box store. I probably don’t need the sewing classes can I get tutorials on line if I need them? Who has the best manufacturer warranties? Help!
I bought a Janome about 8 years ago and i believe it’s only been in the shop once? So I think they are pretty trustworthy and you may not need a lot of repairs
Most people who get embroidery capable machines rarely use them because there is so much to do to switch from regular sewing to embroidery. Its a real pain. I would get a decent embroidery only machine that you can leave set up and use at the drop of a hat and then get a good reliable machine for your sewing needs. It will be worth every penny in time and hassle saved.
Marie Quale says
I have a Pfaff Tiptronic 2020 and I love it. There are 46 stitch options. It is about 12 years old and I haven’t had to repair it yet, only had it serviced twice. My repairman told me to never get rid of it as it is all metal, no plastic or nylon parts. I started with a Kenmore, used it for about 20 years and gave that to a person who needed a sewing machine. I then went to a Viking and for the first three years had no trouble. I had just finished sewing all the wedding dresses, bride’s,4 maids, and mine and it broke down. It was a computer problem. They replaced 3 boards and finally wouldn’t do it anymore. No satisfaction from the manufacturer for replacement. The Janome sounds very good. Maybe some day, I would go with an embroidery machine.
I love the information here. I have just one question. How do these machines do with heavy duty materials, such as canvas or polar fleece? I currently use a Brother LS-1520 and I pretty much hate it. It has never produced a quality stitch and is very finicky about fabric types.
I have never actually tried these machines other than that first janome I listed which can sew through anything.
I am an avid sewer and started out years ago on an entry level Singer. I always wanted a Bernina but the one I really wanted was out of my price range until I thought outside the box. I got on eBay and hunted down the machine I wanted and then the bidding war began. I ended up getting the machine I wanted for way less than it was worth and I use it all the time. Point being, if there is a machine you really want, there are a lot of used models out there with very few hours on them.
I just bought the Janome 2212 and hope it works out. I am replacing a singer that never really worked. Thanks for this review it was a big help in deciding.
How is it going?
Good information, thanks! My mom’s whole family sews with Bernina machines and swear by them – I was lucky enough to inherit my grandma’s Bernina but it’s very old – old enough that they don’t make parts for it anymore and I just don’t think I can justify the cost of another Bernina when this one doesn’t work anymore. I almost bought the Brother machine since they frequently have them on sale at Costco, but I’ll have to look into the other ones you recommended!
I have a Pfaff and lurve it!!! I also love Bernina and that’s kind of my dream machine 🙂
Which is best machine for
I have a Janome but not a lot of experience using the embroidery part of it.
Kim McCulley says
I own that exact Kenmore! I love these recommendations. My adult daughter is interested in sewing and I’d love to surprise her with a machine. I’ll be keeping my eye out for a rock bottom deal on one of these models you’ve recommended. Except for a Brother. My first machine was a Brother and I. Hated. It. I almost gave up on sewing.
I love your website. I’m gearing up to make one of your messenger bags as a gift. I’ll post a picture of it when I finish!
Thank you. Your work is appreciated.
Thank you!!! 🙂
I have an Atlas delux which was made by brother in the 50’s and I LOVE IT! It makes a most beautiful basic stitch. I wanted another machine to do the fancy stitches so I bought a Brother machine at Walmart. Sadly this machine has spent a lot of time in the shop. My repair man said that brother has two different factory lines. One of them produces machines to be sold at Walmart and SAMs club and he recommended never buying a Brother sewing machine there. Just FYI
Sara - My Merry Messy Life says
Great post, Amber! I think I might get one of the Brother machines since I’m not going to be sewing a whole lot yet. Thank you so much for all the info – this made my search SO much easier!
What about Husqvarna. I live by these machines and find they are better than any machine you’ve mentioned. Some of the machines you’ve recommended have no service available. The extra feet and bobbins are scarce and when repairs are needed where do you go.
I would suggest that anyone buying any brand, buy from a reputable dealer with help available, lessons included, and trained repair men.
Also what about getting machines cleaned. The cost to repair 100.00 machines is seldom worth it.
Just some ideas for people to consider.
amy Kohn says
BROTHER!!! I was a beginner about 3.5 years ago and didn’t want to spend a fortune on a machine. I got a basic machine from walmart for around $79. I love it!!!! It has all the basic stitches and gets the job done. Since I am a little more experienced now, I want to get a serger. Well back to Walmart I went. They only had one serger in the store and it was a singer. well……after messing with it for weeks, I was about ready to throw the thing out the window. I sold it for not even half of what I paid for it. I just needed it to go. I then order a basic brother serger from amazon. I haven’t began to mess with it yet but I am hoping that it will hold up to my brother expectations.
I had workhorse Singer from the 1970s for 35 years. When it died I got an inexpensive Brother on closeout that I wasn’t happy with–not sure what model–but it was clunky. So I “test drove” a Bernina and after much agonizing, and figuring this was going to be my last machine, I bought it. It is the cheapest and simplest Bernina. there was a sale and I paid cash, which often gets you a break, and for $850. I now have a fabulous machine that sews like a dream.
If you can afford it a bernina is worth the money and will last for a very long time.
I am a novice sewer…have been using my grandmother’s old Singer for a few years. I recently purchases a Janome 8050 and LOVE it! It’s very user friendly, especially for a beginner.
Overstock.com!!! I got a Kenmore/Janome almost exactly like your beginner one for $99!!!!! My daughter learned how to sew on a Janome at school so I wanted to keep her with the same type of machine. Haven’t used it much as I am just learning to sew but I’m pretty sure my machine will last for a long time 🙂
Thank you for your review! I have a few seasoned quilter friends trying to convince me to start with the Bernina but it is quite an investment. I am glad to read good things about the Janome, I am looking at 2030QDC or 35??QDC, they look like they will do me for a while until I decide if quilting is for me. Any thoughts?
I don’t quilt, but I think Janome’s are pretty respected by quilters. I bought mine at a quilt store.
Kate Bleyenberg says
I am happy to see the Singer Esteem II in your list of recommendations! I have had this machine for 3 years and have not had any problems whatsoever with it. I sew a lot of custom orders and the machine is in use all day about 2 days each week, so I think it has had a lot of use and I have never had to have any repairs on it. I highly recommend this machine too!
can u recommend a good starter embroidery machine?
Mine is a Janome and I know they have others so I would recommend them for sure.
the topaz 20 from Husqvarna. Best dollar value, selection of stitches, USB port, and a variety of hoops.
Just an FYI-Costco sells Brother machines online if you are a member! I got a nice inexpensive starter machine(XR-7700)with 70 stitches through them for $130. It looks like they do not offer that particular model anymore but have one up from that with 130 stitches for $170. It has been a great machine for me to learn on. I have had it for a year with no problems and have made many outfits for my kiddos! Thinking about purchasing the Brother serger through Costco as a starter=)
Donna Viar says
After teaching beginning sewing, these are my thoughts. The entry level brother machines were basically trash. They were in the repair shop constantly and did NOT give a quality stitch. My advice is to save your money and buy the best quality you can afford. If you are fighting with your machine all the time, you will never enjoy the process of sewing. If possible buy from a store where you can get help if needed. Amazon has a place in the market but if you need help you are in trouble. Find the best repair man in your area. He will become a trusted friend. Do your homework – test drive machines at dealers stores. All features are not necessarily what you need. You may pay more for them and never use them. Basics, a good straight stitch, ziz zag stitch, overlock stitch, zipper foot, buttonhole stitches. You can do a ton just with these stitches. Hope this helps.
I have to disagree, I have had entry level brothers since 1993 3 of them and none have ever been in the shop for anything other than a cleaning. My 93 mechanical model is still running strong 20 years. My refurbished mechanical is about 8 years old, runs great, my computerized is 3 years runs great, all have given me stitch consistency and a very straight stitch. I also have one of their TOL which I also love, traded in my babylock also made by them, and also a good machine. Keep in mind all brands can have lemons, and also people can be using machines improperly. I found as a beginner these machines very much suited my needs for quilts clothes and bag making, and never had problems
Carolyn F says
I agree with Shavon, I have a brother over 40 yrs old and it works very well, It is all metal inside so may never wear out. The bobbin winder did break, but it was plastic as most insides are in machines in the last several years. I have another brother not as old but about 30 yrs old, all plastic inside, I am having problems getting the tension in bobbin just perfect but it is me, not the machine. Great beginner machines. I want a new one that will do quilting, embroidery, buttonholes and overlock so am looking for new machine.
Glad to hear it because I am buying a Brother this weekend
I agree with Donna. Every modern sewing machine works great when new and/or sporadically put to action.
The modern beginners-Brother however won’t last longer than a couple of years in my experience. Mine started to splutter after a year of occasional weekend use (tension was off, skipped stitches etc); *two* of my friends had similar experiences with their mechanical Brothers. (Planned obsolescence strikes again). It completely put me off sewing for a while. Then I saved up for a Pfaff Hobby 1142 and my sewing life became paradise (have it only for a couple of months so the durability verdict is still out). My friend bought a Janome 415 and is in love with it.
I have a Pfaff hobbie 250. It is about 18 years old and I thought I was in heaven when I started using it. I had a white that was my second best machine and I literally wore it out. My worst machine was a kenmore. It never did work right but I didn’t know it wasn’t the way machines worked until I got a good one. My guess is that it was just a bad machine. Friends have used them with no problem. I have used several Singers and they are ok, but don’t last long and need readjusting all the time. I also have found that machines that are heavy last longer than the new lightweight machines. Their gears last longer. I love sewing.
Oh sad that your Kenmore was bad. It’s my understanding that Kenmore is always actually another brand. The one I had was Janome but maybe yours was something else.
Donna, I could not agree more. I, too, teach beginner classes and about 90% of the students show up with entry-level Brothers that are a disaster. The students really have trouble learning to quilt because they are constantly battling with their machines! I would highly recommend that beginners save their $130 or so and sink it into a Janome instead.
The best repair man in my area is a woman! She made my 45 yr. old Singer sing. It’s a workhorse and a joy, but if/when it ever gives out, I’m going to at least look at Berninas. Just to compare. But if it offers more than the Singer that’s available at that time, I’ll switch.
Just a note to Em, the woman having trouble with Singer’s bobbin getting thread wound around it, I have that problem every now and then, and it’s always my fault. It can happen for various reasons, but if you look hard enough, you’ll find what you’ve done wrong. One common reason is that the thread has slipped out of one of the thread guides.
Jenn B says
I agree with going to a sewing machine dealer as well. Also save up your pennies and buy the best machine you can afford as in general your very quickly grow out of the basic beginner machines. I bought a cheapo beginner from argos, set it up.had it for 24 hrs and sent it back, it was so obviously a cheap machine. After a bit of research, i found a local dealer and explained my needs and how little I knew about sewing. after trying around 15 machines i fell in love with the brother innov is 350. It was such a brilliant machine that i grew out of that in 1 year, after more research, i found the husqvarna machines where for me,firstly i got the sapphire (i think 950q model, well the top sapphire range) as at that time i had also purchased the janome 350 embroidery machine, me being me, realised i needed a combi sewing/embroidery machine, did a great deal with my husqvarna dealer, i got the ruby deluxe, they gave me 3 full days of lessons for free, plus large table, and because id had the sapphire, all the feet etc id purchased worked on my ruby. Well after me waffling for ages. Im basically saying buy the best you can afford and from a dealer where they also service and mend your machine on sight. Im not saying go straight out and buy a £££££ machine lol.
Brigitte Logue says
Most of the machines mentioned here are plastic and break easily. If they spend time in the repair shop you do not want to by it. Get a used Pfaff. They are a work horse. You can get a very good machine used because most people don’t know much about these machines. I have three of them. Two I bought used. The old one I paid $20 and it is worth $500. The last one I bought I paid $200 and it is worth $2500. I teach sewing in my home and have sewn for over 50 years. A Pfaff does not have plastic parts nor do they breakdown often. It sews through many layers of fabric with ease and you can hem jeans without any problem. It will sew through 16 layers of jean fabric with ease. If a machine can do that you have a good machine.
Mary Anne Erwin says
Brigitte, Very interesting comment about Pfaff. I have an 18 yr. old Pfaff that I paid
$1800. It is a wonderful machine. However, my job and forced me to work and travel more than planned and I got away from sewing. I am getting back into real sewing again and have trouble finding anyone who is familiar with Pfaffs
I live in NJ and am interested in finding help. Do you have any suggestions?
Great post! I get this question too, I have only one machine, a Brother Boutique, its from 1950, its orange and white and the most awesome machine ever. It does not do Free Motion or Zig Zag but it will go forward and backward. My Gram gave it to me about 5 years ago and I could not be happier, a little old repair man came over to clean it once and said to never ever let it go for it will go forever. There are no plastic parts its all solid metal. Thank you for your post on machine I hope I never need it ; )
You can free motion on any straight stitch machine. Just set your stitch length to zero and you don’t even have to cover the feed dogs. As long as you can find a free motion foot for your machine you are good to go. I have seen people quilt small projects on old Singer Featherweight machines!
I have a similar situation, I have my deceased mother’s singer. It is all metal and runs well. I was carrying it back and forth to sewing classes, and it is just to heavy. I have decided to purchase a new machine and am going with a brother. I will never part with my old singer and believe it will outlast the new fancy computerized machines of today.
Carol Ginzburg says
Glad to hear you will never part with your old Singer. I still remember the day I brought my old Singer – table and all! – to the curb and offered it free to a passerby. How foolish I was! I somehow thought newer would be better, but I was so wrong! The old machine may have needed regular tune-ups from a professional, but it was so easy to thread! so easy to insert the drop-in bobbin! I’d love to have it back! I’ve since purchased and given away a Singer and a Brother – both were so much more complicated and certainly not better than my old simple Singer. I think some of these companies have been sold to others and you don’t really know what you’re getting.
Good deal! I was told by a re[air man 37 year. sago not to buy a machine with plastic parts as all they do are break down and were not worth the expense of repair.So it’s good to know you have an honest guy to fix your machines. Good l.uck!
Audra @ Renewed Projects says
I have a Bother LS 2125i that I bought for around $60 on Amazon. It doesn’t have as many stitch options but for a beginner-sometimes-sew-er its been a great machine. I would definitely go with Brother again.
I’m a big Brother fan. I have 2 of their sewing machines (one was in the repair shop for over a month and I broke down and got a backup) and a serger. They are great machines.