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Sewing Machines for Beginners

Updated on February 21, 2011
Janome 7330 Magnolia
Janome 7330 Magnolia

If you or someone you know is new to using a sewing machine, this article will help you to make the right purchase on a machine for a beginner. Some of the things to consider about sewing machines for beginners are the price, what you will be using it for and the intensity of interest.

How Much Can You Afford?

This is really the main consideration as there is a wide range of cost in sewing machines good for beginners starting at less than $100 up to more than $500. Don’t ever pay more than several hundred dollars for a machine if you’ve never sewn before – what if you decide you really don’t like sewing after all?

Another option is to buy a used machine from a friend or family member, or look for one locally on Craigslist. I personally wouldn’t buy a used one online for obvious reasons.

Some suggested brands to research are Brother, Kenmore and Janome. (Kenmore is the Sears model and manufactured by Janome) All three of these brands have excellent sewing machines for beginners with affordable prices.

What Will You be Using For?

Quilting has made a huge comeback in the last decade or so and many people (men too!) have bought sewing machines for this reason alone. If this is something you are looking into, don’t bother with the machines under $100. Even though some of them are highly rated and well built, they are too light weight to handle the larger size and thicker layers of a quilt.

If you will be using the machine for garment sewing or other smaller projects the cheaper machines will work just fine.

How Intense is Your Interest?

It’s important to gauge your interest before rushing out and buying something that might end up in the closet gathering dust. The best way to do this is to take a class over a period of time, not just a one day workshop. If you are truly interested, that interest will grow stronger and last.

You can take classes from general fabric stores, quilt shops and sewing machine stores. Look for one that will allow you to use their machines during the class.

Suggested Models of Sewing Machines for Beginners

Brother XL2600i ← Great machine for under $100. Not for quilting.

Brother CS6000i ← Computerized and less than $200. Not for quilting.

Janome 7330 Magnolia ← Top quality work horse. Best for quilting $399

Kenmore Drop-in Bobbin (Model - 18221) ← Good for simple quilting and less than $200

Note: The suggested Brother and Janome machines can safely be bought online at for the best prices. For the Kenmore machines, the best prices are at or


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    • bloggering profile image

      bloggering 6 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for the heads up on the 18221 Bob! I'll check into that. Choose your machine based on planned use. If you only sew now and then - the Brother machines are great and will last you awhile.

      But, if you plan to sew on a regular basis then I suggest spending more for a machine built for constant use. I'm not sure if the Kenmore you're considering is in that category or not. The machines suggested in this article are for those brand new to sewing and just need a something basic to start out on.

      The exception is the Janome 7330 (I own this one) - It is basic enough for beginners, but is also built to handle some abuse.

    • profile image

      Bob 6 years ago

      Kenmore/Janome no longer makes the 18221 (actually, Kenmore sewing machines are soon-to-be obsolete, according to Sears assiciate), but I am thinking of buying a refurb for $140.

      What do you think of this vs. the two Brothers? The XL2600i is $60 dollars less. Is a refurb Kenmore worth the extra 60 buck? Consumer Search rates the CS6000 higher than the Kenmore 18221. The specs on the Brother certainly look good, but I've heard the Brothers are cheap quality machines that are not built to last. They can not be opened or oiled by the user at all. Also, I don't know that I want or need a computerized machine. I'm very comfortable with technology, but I worry that a computerized machine will become outdated too quickly.

      What do you think?

    • bloggering profile image

      bloggering 7 years ago from Southern California

      Good for you in taking a class bugslady - have fun!

    • bugslady8949 profile image

      bugslady8949 7 years ago from The Bahamas

      I am new to sewing and I am planning to take classes in the near future, I want to make garments and quilt but for now I am taking things slow. you did a great job on this hub, it helped me a lot.

    • bloggering profile image

      bloggering 7 years ago from Southern California

      Glad I could inspire you!

    • thewahwife profile image

      Angie Nelson 7 years ago from Nebraska

      I have been telling myself for years that I am going to get a sewing machine and get started. Some day, I will. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • bloggering profile image

      bloggering 7 years ago from Southern California

      Hey knitting and crocheting are great activities and make good inexpensive xmas gifts :-) Thanks for stopping by CennyWenny!

    • CennyWenny profile image

      CennyWenny 7 years ago from Washington

      This is a great guide for beginning sewers. Now if only I could find some sort of talent at it, but alas, I think I shall stick to knitting:)