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Best Sewing Machine for Beginners Reviewed

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Rebecca Moses
Your guide to this Review is Rebecca Moses

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sewing machine

Most accomplished sewers – or even those who can “get by” – learned how to stitch from someone in their family, and it’s likely that they’ve been using recommended sewing machines since they were young.

Learning how to use a machine when you’re a little (or a lot) older can seem intimidating, since most of today’s sewing machines have a boatload of features that your mother or grandmother could only dream of when hunched over their old Singers: LCD displays, automatic needle threaders and stitch memory.

There are a number of machines, though, which are designed for those just learning to sew – so let’s check out the top 5 best sewing machines for beginners.

1. Janome Magnolia 7318 Sewing Machine

Janome Magnolia 7318 Sewing Machine with Exclusive Bundle

At the outset, please forgive us for giving a top ranking a machine with tacky yellow flower decals prominently placed on its front. If anyone comments on them, just tell them you originally bought it for your daughter or niece who didn’t want it.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about a great sewing machine with smooth, even stitching, simple-to-understand and easy-to-use controls, a large sewing surface, and a convenient foot pedal allowing you to carefully control your sewing speed.

The Magnolia 7318 doesn’t require detailed study of the user manual, either; it’s intuitive to use with a basic understanding of how a sewing machine works.

[youtube id=”nbx8w-tTkBM” width=”750″ height=”340″ position=”left”]

Other positives for this Janome model include 18 stitches, a top-loading bobbin (much easier for beginners to work with than the trickier and often fussy bottom-loading ones), a seven-piece feed dog which pulls cloth at the proper speed, a larger-than-normal ruler on the sewing surface, adjustable needle position, and a buttonholer which makes perfect holes (even though it is a four-step process rather than that used with a more convenient one-step buttonholer).

There are a few negatives (in addition to the flowers), such as the lack of an automatic needle threader or a lever which moves the needle up and down. We think those are small drawbacks, though; what’s more important is that the Magnolia is solid, performs extremely well, and won’t frustrate a beginning user who is trying to learn how to stitch. It’s priced right in the middle of the range you’d expect to pay for a lower-end machine.

Looking at the specifications of the Janome Magnolia 7318 Sewing Machine:

  • Dimensions: 19 x 10.5 x 15 inches
  • Weight: 17 pounds
  • 18 stitches / four-step buttonholer
  • 7-piece feed dog
  • Drop feed
  • Extra high presser foot lift
  • Free arm
  • Top loading full rotary hook bobbin
  • Push-pull bobbin winder
  • Snap-on presser feet
  • Stitch selection dial
  • Warranty: 20 years parts, 2 years electrical, 1 year labor

Check​ ​Janome Magnolia 7318 Price on Amazon

2. Singer 4411 Heavy Duty Extra-High Speed Sewing Machine

SINGER | 4411 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine With Accessory Kit & Foot Pedal - 69 Stitch Applications - Simple & Great For Beginners

Yes, Singer is still making quality machines, even today. And this one is almost as solid as the one your grandmother had, with a metal interior frame and a stainless steel bedplate. It’s about $25 cheaper than the Janome, so if every penny counts for you the 4411 is worth checking out.

The best thing about this sewing machine (other than its quality) is the evenness of the stitching it produces with just about any fabric, including tough ones like denim. A beginner wants to see encouraging results, and the Singer 4411 delivers.

It also has easy-to-use and easy-to-read controls as well as a three-position adjustable needle.  It has a foot pedal similar to the Magnolia’s (although this one is a little touchier to control) and the bobbin drops in from the top.

There is no automatic needle threader which depending on your viewpoint might be an issue.  Some beginners like to get experience threading the needle themselves while other beginners don’t want the hassle.  If you fall into the latter category you could always consider the Singer 4423 which comes with an automatic needle threader.

You do have to settle for less with a second-choice, though. There are only eleven stitches, the four-step buttonholer is a little flimsy and doesn’t perform to the level we’d like, and the “extra high-speed” of the machine means it can run a little too fast for people just learning to control it. Even so, it’s a strong beginner’s machine.

Checking the specs of the Singer 4411 Heavy Duty Extra-High Speed Sewing Machine:

  • Dimensions: 15.5 x 6 x 12 inches
  • Weight: 14.5 pounds
  • 11 stitches / four-step buttonholer
  • Free arm
  • Top loading bobbin with clear view cover
  • Stitch selection dial: 1,100 stitches per minute
  • Stainless steel bed plate
  • Heavy-duty metal frame
  • Top drop-in bobbin with clear view cover
  • Three needle positions
  • Adjustable presser foot pressure control
  • Warranty: 25 years, limited

Check​ ​Singer 4411 Price on Amazon

3. Bernette b35 Swiss Design Sewing Machine

Bernette 35 Swiss Design Sewing Machine

Those who are really into sewing will tell you that Bernina’s machines are among the very best at the top end of the price scale. Bernette is their budget line of machines (Bernina doesn’t actually manufacture the machines, but does consult on the design and approve the final products), and the b35 has much of the quality you’d expect from a Bernina machine.

The machine acquits itself well as a beginner’s choice with a solid metal chassis providing sturdiness, important for novices. This mechanical machine has a satisfactory 23 stitches (utility and decorative stitches), 7 snap-on presser feet/soles and an automatic one step buttonhole function.

It is extremely simple to use right out of the box, it has variable stitch width, an automatic bobbin winder, twin-needle capacity and a needle thread cutter (always helpful). For the price and with the Bernina name attached, it’s a really good buy if you’re just starting out. (There’s also a more expensive Seville 4 now available.)

Running down Bernette sewing machines 35 review:

  • Dimensions: 17.1 x 11.8 x 14 inches
  • Weight: 15.8 pounds
  • 23 stitches
  • Free arm
  • 860 stitches per minute
  • Heavy duty metal chassis
  • Automatic bobbin threader
  • Extension table
  • Adjustable presser foot pressure control
  • 25-year limited warranty

Check​ ​Bernina Bernette b35 Price on Amazon

4. Brother SE400 Combination Computerized Sewing and Embroidery Machine

Brother SE400 Combination Computerized Sewing and 4x4 Embroidery Machine With 67 Built-in Stitches, 70 Built-in Designs, 5 Lettering Fonts

It may be cheating to include this Brother model in a list of beginner’s sewing machines, but we decided to feature it because it’s a machine you can start out with and then keep as you progress to higher stages – at a price that isn’t much higher than our top-rated choice for novices.

[youtube id=”4HSHVaeBuSI” width=”750″ height=”340″ position=”left”]

Here’s what you get with the SE400: 67 stitches, five lettering fonts, 70 pre-installed embroidery designs (with a 4×4 dedicated embroidery area), and a USB port which lets you easily connect to your computer to download as many designs as you can find online. But it can also operate in a much simpler mode for beginners, with the features you want when just starting out: automatic needle threader, drop-in top bobbin and automatic winding, 7-point feed dogs which move the fabric smoothly and easily, and even a one-step buttonholer. The terrific manuals, diagrams, and tutorials which play right on the LCD screen let you get going quickly, too.

This is a lightweight, sturdy sewing machine which you won’t want to give away once you’ve mastered the basics. It will serve you well for years once you’ve used it to learn on. And it’s only slightly more expensive than the Janome beginner machine we’ve ranked #1.

Running down the specs for the Brother SE400 Combination Computerized Sewing and Embroidery Machine:

  • Dimensions: 20 x 15 x 15 inches
  • Weight: 11 pounds
  • 67 stitches / 70 embroidery designs / one-step buttonholer
  • Free arm
  • 7-point feed dogs
  • 4×4 embroidery hoop
  • Backlit LCD touchscreen
  • Automatic needle threader and thread cutter
  • Free arm
  • Automatic bobbin threader
  • USB connectivity
  • Warranty: 25-years, limited

Check​ ​Brother SE400 Price on Amazon

5. Brother XL2600I Sew Affordable 25-Stitch Sewing Machine

Brother XL-3750 Convertible 35-Stitch Free-Arm Sewing Machine with Quilting Table, 7 Presser Feet

You may not be certain whether you’ll stick with sewing as a hobby once you’ve learned. In that case, you probably don’t want to lay out a lot of money just to figure things out – which makes the Brother XL2600I the machine for you.

We’ll be totally honest. This isn’t a terrific sewing machine; it’s just a really good one to learn on. If you decide that sewing is for you, you’ll want to upgrade unless you’re going to stick to relatively unchallenging craft work. But until you reach that point, the Brother has everything you need to become proficient: a free arm, 25 stitches, needle threader and thread cutter, automatic bobbin winding for your top drop-in bobbin and a one-step buttonholer.

The sewing gets a bit rough when using the XL2600I on thick fabrics, and the mostly-plastic machine clearly isn’t built for the long term. Since we’re not recommending this for the long-term, though, we think it’s a very good value for the novice at around 75 bucks.

Important specs for the Brother XL2600I Sew Affordable 25-Stitch Sewing Machine:

  • Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 9.5 inches
  • Weight: 11 pounds
  • 25 stitches / one-step buttonholer
  • Free arm
  • 5-point feed dogs
  • Automatic needle threader and thread cutter
  • Free arm
  • Automatic bobbin threader
  • Foot pedal
  • Warranty: 25 years, limited

Check​ Brother XL2600I Price on Amazon


  • Rebecca Moses

    Depending on the day, you’ll find Rebecca in a well thought-out ensemble that she handcrafted herself, or in hiking and rock climbing gear. An avid outdoorswoman, cyclist, and cat lover, Rebecca reminds us all on the Groom+Style team just how much we need to get outdoors. She’s worked in spas and salons off and on before going full-time with the G+S team. Linkedin:

4 thoughts on “Best Sewing Machine for Beginners Reviewed”

  1. Your information regarding the Bernette model is off. The photo is not the machine you are referring to in the article. Please double check your sources.

  2. I have been looking for a solid second machine so finding this article has been helpful. Further reading about the Singer 4411 I found out that it does not have and auto thread feature as stated. That’s a big feature for me as once you have one it is hard to go back to not having it.

    • Hi Cheryl,

      Thanks for letting us know about this typo, article updated. It is the Singer 4423, which is available for slightly more than the Singer 4411, that has the automatic needle threader. Link to the product on Amazon ->

      Good luck with looking for your second machine.

      Kind Regards,


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