Sewing Machine Judge

Guide for Buying a Sewing Machine

Guide for Buying a Sewing Machine

Shopping for a sewing machine can quickly become an overwhelming undertaking. There are so many brands, features and price ranges. There are all those terms that describe the functions and features of the machine, but do you really know what all of that terminology means? Do you know the difference between a bobbin and a feed dog?  If you don’t, you may end up with a machine that really doesn’t fit your needs.

Searching for and purchasing a sewing machine can be an adventurous experience that can open up hours of creativity, can decrease your clothing and home decorating costs or can be used to make some extra income. To get started into the world of sewing, you have to first identify thz features you’ll need in your sewing machine. You have to decide which brand is best and how much you’re willing to spend to get the machine of your dreams.


Getting Started

To help you with this important decision, we’ve put together this guide to buying a sewing machine. When you begin your search for a sewing machine, first ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who will be using the sewing machine?
  • Is the main user a beginner or an experienced seamstress?
  • What type of sewing projects will the machine be used for?
  • How often will sewing be done?
  • Will it need to be packed away after each use?
  • Do you need space to store accessories and supplies?
  • How much money are you willing to spend?

Once you have the answers to these questions in hand, you’re ready to start thinking about the type of machine you’ll be needing.

The User

If the machine is intended for a beginner, you’ll need one with a range of basic stitches. An experienced sewer will want more advanced features. You’ll need to consider the long-term use of the machine, as well. If you are starting as a beginner, but you plan to improve your skills and move up to more advanced sewing projects, then you may need to consider a machine that offers more features than you may need at the beginning. But those features will be there when you’re ready for them.

Your Projects

Consider the types of projects that you’ll be doing with your sewing machine. Are you planning to do dressmaking and designing, or simply doing repairs and alterations? A basic machine with about 10 stitches to choose from should be adequate for this. You’ll want to make sure there’s a “buttonhole stitch” feature if you’re planning dressmaking. If you plan to sew sleeves and trouser legs, you’ll need the “free arms” feature. Will your machine be used for constructing home furnishings and upholstery? You’ll need to look for a machine that can handle heavier fabrics. Maybe you’re planning crafts such as embroidery or quilting. If this is your niche, you’ll want a machine with a wide range of stitch choices.

How Often

If you’re planning to so some sewing on an occasional basis only, it will not be cost effective for you to purchase a sewing machine with a lot of expensive attachments and a huge selection of stitch choices. If you’re planning to use the machine on a regular basis, especially if you’re planning daily sewing, you’ll want a sturdy machine with metal frame construction.

Storage and Mobility

Will your sewing machine have a stationary sewing table to call home, or a rolling cart to house it? If that’s the case, the weight of the machine doesn’t necessarily have to be a factor in deciding which to purchase. If you’re planning to take the machine to classes, or it has to be stored away after each use, then the weight of the machine becomes a factor that must be considered.

Plan ahead as to where your machine will be stored. If you have a stationary sewing table, then storage space is not an issue. Most machines will come with a soft dust cover or a hard case to store your machine for safe and easy transportation and storing. You’ll still need to consider where you’ll store it: in a closet or beneath a cabinet. Many machine models come with a storage compartment in the bottom to help keep up with sewing supplies such as scissors, pins, needles, and extra bobbins and small attachments.


The cost of a sewing machine can range from a very low price, less than $100, to several thousands of dollars. How much you spend on your machine is up to you. Just be certain that you’re getting the features that will meet your sewing needs. Make certain there is a warranty attached to the purchase, either a specific warranty from the store or a general warranty from the manufacturer. Be sure you understand what is covered and what is not.

Three General Types of Sewing Machines

There are multiple brands of sewing machines that are all competing for your attention and purchasing power. There are only three general types of sewing machines, however. Here’s a basic overview of each of the three types:

  • Electronic sewing machines. This type of machine has a single motor that uses an electrical pulse to work the needle. The movement of the needle is coordinated with the material feeding mechanism. All of this is controlled by you with a foot pedal. This design means you have both hands free to guide the fabric. It allows you to control the speed at which you sew. There is generally a dial that lets you choose stitch types and length.
  • Computerized sewing machines. These machines are easy for most to use and are suited to the skills of beginners as well as the experienced sewer. Many who begin with an electronic sewing machine will upgrade to a computerized one as their skills progress. Computerized sewing machines use several motors to control the different functions of the machine. Some of the functions at your control are maximum speed, the needle up/down function and automatic lock-off feature for closing the end of a stitch or pattern.

Precise control is possible with computerized sewing machines, making production of lots of different stitches easily doable by pressing a key or using a touch pad that is linked to an LCD screen. If connected to a PC, these machines may feature the ability to save past projects or download designs from the Internet through a PC connection.

  • These are a type of finishing machines. They are used for hems and finishing seams but can also have options for decorative stitching. An overlooker can sew the seam, finish the edge and remove the excess fabric in one step. They are good for sewing knitted fabrics such as jersey. It can be useful if you sew frequently.

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Key Terms

There are many key terms that are specific to the art of sewing and sewing machines. You won’t be able to get what you need in a sewing machine if you don’t understand the “jargon” that describes it and the attachments or enhancements that it uses.

To help with that, we’ve put together this glossary of most-used terms:

  1. Auto thread tension: If the machine you choose offers this feature, it means that the machine will automatically calculate the amount of thread tension needed to effectively sew the fabric you’re using. There is generally an override function on this if you wish to set the tension yourself.
  1. Bobbin: This is the term for a small spool for holding thread. It may be made of plastic or metal. It is necessary for the machine to make a stitch. The needle thread comes down from the top and the bobbin thread comes up from underneath. These two threads interlock to make a stitch. The thread you’re planning to use has to be wound onto the bobbin before you can sew with it. Most machines will have a feature that does this. Once the thread is wound on the bobbin, it is placed into a bobbin case and put into its place beneath the needle plate.
  1. Bobbin case: Once you’ve wound thread onto a bobbin, you next fit the bobbin into the bobbin case. The loaded bobbin case will fit into a slot beneath the plate under the needle. If the machine you purchase is a top loading machine, the bobbin case will be put into its slot in the arm of the machine.
  1. Buttonholes: Most machines will automatically sew buttonholes for you, using a 1-step or 4-step process. The more steps required, the more complicated the process will be. Most of the more advanced machines will give you an option of different styles of buttonholes.
  1. Feed dogs: These are the teeth that grip the material and guide it through the machine. They are the zigzag little teeth that move when the needle is in motion. As the needle makes the stitches, the feed dogs slide the fabric, keeping it moving in the proper direction under the presser foot. The feed dogs can be lowered, termed “drop feed dog,” to allow you to do freehand work, such as embroidery or darning, if you want.
  1. Free arm: This is a cylinder-shaped platform on the bed of the machine. By using the free arm, you can sew items such as sleeves or pants legs. To access the free arm usually requires detaching a portion of the base of the machine. This leaves the arm accessible to slide the sleeve or pant leg onto the arm for stitching.
  1. Integrated dual feed: This feature is important if you’re sewing two pieces of fabric together, such as quilting. This feature keeps both fabrics moving in a smooth, equal manner.
  1. Integrated needle threader: This attachment will help you get your needle threaded properly.
  1. Knee lifter: This is a lever that you can press with your knee. It allows you to raise the presser foot while keeping your hands on your work. This feature is especially useful for quilting, sewing around angles or applique.
  1. Lock stitch facility: This features automatically closes sewing sequences so there is no unraveling with wear or use. This makes certain all stitches and stitch patterns are securely locked off when a sewing sequence is finished. This is done by reversing the stitch for a very short stretch.
  1. Needle plate: This is the part of the machine that fits over the top of the feed dogs in the bed of the machine. A hole in the plate allows the needle to pass through. Needle plates will usually have a ruler-like guide on one side for use as a guide in measuring seam allowance and keeping it uniform.
  1. Needle up/down function: With this feature, you can program the needle position so that it always finishes in the up or down position. You’ll need this function when sewing seams that pivot around corners.
  1. Presser foot: The presser foot keeps the fabric in place against the feed dogs as you sew. This keeps the fabric from moving in unwanted directions while you’re stitching. There will be a level that allows you to lift and lower the presser foot. Different jobs require different types of presser foot. Types of jobs that need specialized presser feet are quilting, patchwork stitching, darning, putting in zippers, embroidery and binding.
  1. Stitch selector: On basic machines, a simple turn of a dial will usually allow you to select the type of stitch you wish to use. On a computerized machine, there may be a keypad or touch pad for selecting a specific type of stitch.
  1. Thread cutter: This is a handy feature that may or may not be built into the machine. The thread cutter does exactly what it says: it cuts the thread after you’re done sewing.
  1. Twin needle functionality: With twin needle capability, the parallel rows of needles allows you to place parallel rows of stitches if you need a stronger seam or want a more decorative finish.

Accessories vs Attachments

Most sewing machines will come with an assortment of different accessories and attachments as standard equipment. But what exactly is the difference between an accessory and an attachment?

We’ll try to answer that question for you.

Accessories: These are additional tools or extra items that you’ll need to keep close at hand in your sewing basket. They are not things that you’ll need every time you sew, but you don’t want to be without them when they are needed. Some examples are:

  • Instruction manual: it is highly recommended that you keep your machine’s instruction manual close at hand should a problem arise.
  • Seam guide: this tool helps you keep your seams straight. One imperative in sewing, no matter what type you are doing, is maintaining straight seams.
  • Cleaning and repair kit: if you are a frequent sewer, you’ll need to make certain you get your machine tuned up and serviced at least once a year. In the meantime, you need to make it a regular habit to lubricate various parts of your sewing machine with special sewing machine oil. Follow your instruction manual on what to oil and be sure to use the smallest drop that will do the job. The oil must be specifically for sewing machines to avoid damage to the delicate workings of your machine. Once you place the oil, let it sit for a full day before using the machine. This will allow the oil to seep into all the moving parts. Place a cloth or paper towel under the presser foot to catch any drops there. Check screws periodically and tighten them if needed. The tools in the repair kit will have the tiny heads needed to fit the screws in your machine. Wipe the machine down before you use it.

Attachments: Tools or specialized gadgets that you actually attach to the machine are attachments. The best examples, and the most confusing parts for most people, are the many different types of presser feet attachments that can be obtained. Here’s a few of the most widely used attachments and their functions:

  • Zipper foot: this may sometimes be called an adjustable cording foot. You cannot attach zippers without one of these attachments, unless you know how to do it by hand. There are two different models of zipper feet. One slides over the top of the zipper, and is the easiest to use. The other grips the zipper from the side to stabilize it for sewing.
  • Buttonholer: this attachment can be a major help in your sewing or a major problem, depending on which type you have. Look for a buttonholer that will allow you to see your work as you go along, and that slides back and forth easily over the buttonhole placement.
  • Ruffler: this attachment does exactly what the name sounds like: it lets you make ruffles. Many of these attachments will also let you make a nice, neat pleat as well.
  • Hemmer: one of the most tedious jobs in sewing is hemming. This attachment folds over the raw edge of the fabric to create a perfect hem. It takes some practice to get the hang of using this attachment, but it is time well spent once mastered.
  • Binder: this attachment is used when a seam needs to be finished with a binding tape. Attach the binder to the machine and it will fold the binding tape over for you and sew it in place.
  • Edge stitcher: this extremely versatile attachment lets you topstitch for decorative effect along the edge of your fabric. You can make small tuck and sew lace together with this attachment. Attaching bias tape becomes an easy task with an edge stitcher.
  • Walking foot: this attachment is an absolute must if you are planning to sew multiple layers of fabric in place when you’re straight sewing or quilting. This attachment works by keeping the upper layer of the fabric moving on the top while the feed dogs coordinate to prevent the bottom layers from bunching up or sliding out of place. If you’re getting a machine specifically for quilting, make sure it includes a walking foot as standard equipment.

Presser Feet: Specialty Feet That Are Worth Purchasing

Having a collection of different presser feet can be a measure of how serious you are about your sewing. These accessories for your sewing machine can help make difficult sewing jobs much easier if you don’t mind taking a few minutes to swap out one foot for another. Some of these may come as standard with certain machines, depending on the manufacturer. Check with the seller to find out which feet are included with the machine you’re thinking of purchasing.

Here are a few of the more desirable presser feet that can be purchased as an accessory for most machines:

  • Overlock foot: this foot will make the seam edges on knits and woven fabrics nice and neat. If you don’t have a serger, this is an inexpensive alternative.
  • Pintuck: this foot adds a nice touch to baby garments and fine lingerie. The pintucks come in different sizes that will create various size tucks on your fabric with your double needle machine.
  • Edgestitch: this handy accessory allows you to add perfectly straight topstitching to your sewing.
  • Open toe embroidery: if you like to do free-motion embroidery on your sewing jobs, this foot is indispensable. It allows you to see where you’re going as you sew.
  • Jeans: denim and other heavy fabrics are difficult to work with if you don’t have the right accessory. A jeans presser foot will help you make neat, straight seams in this specialty fabrics.
  • Nonstick foot: if you are planning to sew with leather or faux leather, the Teflon, or nonstick, foot will prevent the leather or other fabric from sticking on the surface while you’re stitching.
  • Straight stitch foot: using the straight stitch foot gives you better control of the fabric when you’re sewing with short stitches on fine cotton.

In Conclusion

The bottom line is to find what you need, what you want and what you can afford. Your sewing skills will be only as good as your sewing machine. Take your time, find the best sewing machine that’s right for you, and then get sewing!

63 thoughts on “Guide for Buying a Sewing Machine”

  1. Pingback: How to Practice on a Sewing Machine

  2. Hi, thank you for all your great info and tips however I’m still not certain as to which one I should buy. I would like to get myself and my 7 year old daughter one for Christmas. I’m also not sure if I should get 2 just alike or 2 different ones. Neither of us have ever used a sewing machine but we are both very interested and excited to learn! I know it’s something we will both enjoy individually as well as give us a new hobby to do together. She has a design book she has started which is too cute! Her interest as of right now is pillows, blankets, & clothing for animals, dolls, and babies. I am interested in the same types of things as well as eventually learning how to make quilts. I prefer it be able to handle the lightest of materials, to the heaviest. Once we get the hang of it and into the groove, the possibilities are endless therefore I would like to go ahead and purchase something that can handle most types and thickness of materials. Considering I know absolutely nothing about sewing please advise me as to what you recommend for us both. I want something that is dummy friendly in all aspects; including setting up, adjusting/changing settings, easiest to do things such as changing thread (type, color, etc…) easiest to deal with things such as jams, as well as less likely to break, but easiest to care for and fix if something does go wrong with it. I hope it will last us a good while. Also, metal or the heavier duty i’m thinking may be best considering we are clueless. Although I do prefer something that I can move easily or take with me easily if choose. It may eventually have a permanent spot but it most likely will not in the beginning. Your help with this will be so greatly appreciated!! 🙂 my budget is $250 for each. However if there’s one that happens to be slightly over 250 you would highly recommend for my daughter please let me know. Again thank u so much! 🙂

    1. Lisa W. Degregorio


      Hope you are doing great and enjoying your life. Happy to hear that you and your daughter have got the same interests and definitely you’ll enjoy a lot.
      I wonder if you are looking for a sewing machine toy for your daughter, or a bigger one?
      If you’d like to give her an actual piece than you can surely buy the following sewing machines and any of them can be a good fit for you or your daughter or both.
      Tip–Try to pick a simpler one for your daughter, so that she don’t get confused as she is too young.

      1. Janome 18750 Hello Kitty Computerized Sewing Machine
      2. Brother LS2125i Easy-to-Use, Everyday Sewing Machine with 10 stitches including Blind Hem and Zigzag, and 4-Step Auto Buttonhole

    2. You could just do a singer tradition. Its about $100, and covers pretty much everything for beginners. I used it through my first two years of sewing in college, where I started knowing nothing about sewing to intermediate sewing. Just now getting a new one. Its a full sewing machine, so your daughter must be a little careful with fingers under needles, but thats all sewing machines. Its great she wants to do so early! And the machine should be able to handle everything you want to do as well.

    1. Thanks for the suggestions!

      So would that first machine you recommend be suitable for creating my own clothing, not just simple mending or patching of damaged clothing (though I’ll ne doing that as well.)

      And do you have any idea of how long the machine will likely be discounted for? I’m trying to gauge if I should wait a little while to save a bit more or if I should jump on it now before the discount expires.

      Thanks so much for your advice! I really appreciate it.


      1. Lisa W. Degregorio

        Yes, the first machine would work for sewing clothing for yourself. It can do mending, sewing, or creating things on the fly. Every basic sewing machine can handle these tasks. If you are thinking about waiting to save more money, that is a choice only you can make. Best of luck with your sewing adventures.

  3. Hello,
    I have read your guide to buying, However I’m still confused. I know nothing at all about sewing,however my 9 year old wants one for Christmas. She is a beginner to sewing. She has made a pillow at school and that was it.
    So as I do my research, I notice that they all talk about the stitching. I looked at the Brother LS2025i. that you had recommended, but only has 10 stitches. Is that enough? Again, I have no idea about sewing. Just looking to get my 9 year old a sewing machine. I will be purchasing patterns for clothes, and pillows as well. It won’t be used for heavy fabric. Also, is there anything else that I should be buying with the machine? Needles, thread etc….Thank you for your time.

    1. Lisa W. Degregorio

      Hi Crystal! It’s so wonderful you are making the effort to get your young daughter started off right with sewing! It is a skill she can use for the rest of her life. Ten built-in stitches should be plenty to allow her to make the clothes and pillows she wants to make. The most important stitches are the straight stitch, the zigzia stitch, the blind hem stitch, and an overcasting or overocking stitch, If she wants to make quilted pillows, a hand-look quilting stitch works well. The best thing to do is to look at the information on the machine you are considering and make sure it has the stitches you want. The Brother LS2025i you mentioned has all the stitches your daughter will need to make a wide variety of clothing and projects.
      As for supplies, you will need thread, scissors, a seam ripper, seam tape, straight pins, and a seam gauge. Here’s a trick: When you buy a pattern, look in the instuctions. There should be a list of supplies you need to make that pattern. Remember to get good quality thread that matches the garment or pillow you’re making. Your daughter is going to have a great time sewing and enjoy great success with your caring support in this endeavor.

  4. Cindie Beckerleg

    I have been sewing for 40 years but have always used an inexpensive machine which has been working well for me. I quilt regularly and sew myself clothing. I now want a machine that has a seam guide and needle plate guide for 1/4 inch. i’m willing to spend between $500 – $1000. Any ideas? I’ve recently been looking at the Brother PQ1500S but do not know if they have the features I need.

  5. Hi new to sewing and would like to start making my own dogs clothes and lingerie I would be using my sewing machine everyday. And would be stored after each use also later down the road I would be interested in doing jeans still not sure what type of sewing machine I should go with??? I will also be taking my sewing machine to class… any suggestions

    1. Lisa W. Degregorio

      Welcome to my website. So you want a sewing machine not only sew for your own dogs clothes and lingerie but also sew jeans? Congratulation, you came to the right place, lol. I known some choices for you, you can pick the Singer Sewing 4432 or the Janome HD1000 is both great. These machines can sew jeans and thick leather materials, but make sure your needle size is a very heavy, like a #15-16, and go slowly over the seams, I also recommend making sure you have the tension adjusted correctly. Hope I can help you find the good sewing machine for your starter.

  6. Hi! Firstly, thank you for making this guide it has been a huge help! I want to begin sewing and make everything from my own clothes to just simple hems. I know absolutely nothing about sewing machines and would like to find something that is easy and less than $200. What would you recommend would be a good purchase?

    1. Lisa W. Degregorio

      Hi! I think you should start with Brother CS6000i sewing machine, as I said above this is a good sewing machine, with reasonable price and there are many specific guidelines on youtube for this machine so you can easily use and start with simple projects. Enjoy and happy holidays!

  7. Hello, I am new to sewing and looking to get a sewing machine for quilting and basic: pillows, stockings, etc.. I work at a non profit, with brain and spinal cord tumor survivors. We are putting together a monthly quilting class for them, so the machine needs to be easy to use, but advanced enough to move with them as they learn. Also light enough to carry as it will be stored in our offices but taken to class.Your help is greatly appreciated. thank you!

    1. Lisa W. Degregorio

      Hey Jena thanks for dropping by! I think Brother CS6000i sewing machine is suitable for your needs, it is easy to use, easy to change the quilting foot. It has a hard cover, convenient to carry away and stored easily for a monthly quilting class. Hope that helped!

  8. Hello 🙂 Thank you for making this adorable website, it’s really helpful (and I love the website design). I read all those comments and still have some questions.
    I’ve use sewing machine a couple of times before, but I’m still a real beginner. That’s why I’d like to find something easy to use, but I’m planning to improve my skills too. I plan to use it often, and I will be making different sorts of costumes, so the machine should be able to sew leather, fur and heavy fabric.
    Also, my budget is under (or around) 200$, if that’s possible,
    The last question is about the stitcher, I’ve use it before too, but I don’t know if it’s really essential for beginners and or a sewing machine is enough ??
    What would you recommend for my situation :P?
    Again, thank you so much !

    1. Lisa W. Degregorio

      Hi, thank you for follow my articles. If you are a beginner but already knows how to use the sewing machine, I think Brother Designio Series DZ2400 is very suitable for you, this sewing machine not only easy to use but in addition it also can sewing thicker fabrics in case you change foot accordingly. At this price, this one can improve your skills. Depending on the purpose and desired, beginners often choose the sewing machine which is complicated and expensive, but in my opinion, I would like to choose for appropriate and convenience, for example, to sew jeans, you should choose versatile sewing machine can sew jeans not just can quilt. A quality sewing machine is required to have feet from basic to advanced, and of course frequent use is also a very important factor… Enjoy!

  9. Hi, I’m a beginner to sewing and have only used a sewing machine once. I’m starting classes and my teacher recommends I buy sewing machine, but everything she recommended was way out of my price range.
    I am looking for a machine that will be easy to begin on, but will be useable once I become more advanced. My price range is 250-350. I will be using this to make clothing, and will be using fairly thick materials.
    Thank you!

    1. Lisa W. Degregorio

      Hi Claire! with all type of projects you want to sew, Brother CS6000i would be great fit. Just change the foot and/or needle then you can sew variety of fabrics easy, it also suitable for beginners like you with detail operation manual. Check my full review for this awesome sewing machine here: Brother CS6000i. Have fun!

  10. Hi, thanks for taking the time to make this page. I make custom shirts and also make no sew tutus but I want to start putting ribbons on the end of the tutus now and also if I can do some embroidery . I’ve never sewn before but use a needle to close a hole! It is so many out there I need one that will last a while. the price is not the problem. I just want it to be able to use it! Any suggestions for a beginner ??

    1. Lisa W. Degregorio

      Hi Kim, thank you for interested in my articles. With your inquiry, the SINGER 9985 is quite suitable. You never used sewing machine, but I think with this sewing machine you would be extremely easy to use with specific guidelines attached. Thank you for visiting my site.

  11. Hi! I am a busy early teen student who has an interest in sewing. I am a beginner but would like to eventually improve my skills and take sewing classes. I will probably also use the machine more and more as time goes on. My price range is limited and i would like to keep the cost to $150 or lower. I would be sewing dresses and shirts and other commonly worn items as well as doing quick fixes. I would also prefer if the machine were relatively easy to set up, as i know very little about tension and whatnot at present.

    1. Lisa W. Degregorio

      Hi, with your skills and your budget, you can not choose another sewing machine except the Brother CS6000i sewing machine. Why? Well, this best selling machine has everything you need: cheap but simple, versatile, easy to use, can bring to your class or travel easily because it has a hard protective case. With suitable walking foot and needle, this model can easily sew on different fabrics as desired from basic to complex it can also be easily handled. Thanks!

  12. hi! I am beginner at sewing. Since it is my first time ever using a sewing machine, I am looking for one less than $90. Pretty scared if I break one that costs a lot. I would want a sewing machine that can be used to make clothes very simply

    1. Lisa W. Degregorio

      Hi, according to your inquiry, I think Brother XL2600I or SINGER 2277 both are good sewing machines. However, I quite prefer the Brother XL2600I. Check them all and make your decision. Regards.

  13. Hi,
    I just started sewing classes and need a sewing machine. My interest is to sew my designs and reconstruct vintage clothes. I already own 2 professional machines from my grandma but they are from the 70s and 80s. However, these machines are in a different country now and can’t be transported immediately but my sewing needs to start now. Should I buy the less expensive computerized machine now and then swich to the vintage ones I have or rather invest more money into a really good computerized sewing machine? Which would be better if I want to make my own collection and hopefully produce more for sales?
    Thank you so much for help.

    1. Lisa W. Degregorio

      Hello, I think investing in a valued industrial sewing machine will be very useful if you are proficient with it. Juki TL-2010Q or Juki HZL-F600 Computerized will make you enjoy, more creative and benefit from. Love 🙂

  14. I have wonderful ideas with crafts, curtains, pillow covers, etc. but whenever I need something sewed, I must rely on a friend because I do not know how to sew. I recently retired and have a lot of time on my hands. I plan on taking sewing classes, therefore I would need a sewing machine. I’ve looked through and read your posts on each machine you have recommended. I would love to eventually make simple clothes for my great-grandchindren. Please make a recommendation for me as to the machinge that would best fit my needs. I would like to stay under $200. Thank you so much for your time and wonderful site.

    1. Lisa W. Degregorio

      Dear Kathy, I’m thankful that you are interested in my website. I recommend you to buy the Brother CS6000i, very easy to use for beginners like you, besides quite reasonable price, very popular in the market with a lot of features, there are many tutorials for you to start. This machine would be perfect for you. Enjoy!

      1. Thank you Lisa. I had made notes of a couple that seemed to meet my needs and had placed a star by the Brother CS6000i. Your recommendation verified my thinking! Your site is absolutely wonderful, especially for those of us that are beginners. I know I will return for tips and any information I may need in the future.

        With sincere thanks,

        1. Lisa W. Degregorio

          Awesome, thank you for your kind words. I am very happy when my site can help you to start your sewing. Have fun!

  15. Hi,
    Thank you for all the useful information as a total beginning shopping for a sewing machine is quite overwhelming. However; I’m still a little lost I have no experience in sewing or ever using a sewing machine. I’m looking to use my sewing machine to make wigs as I’m a hair dresser and it will save me a lot time rather than doing it but hand. All I know is that I need the sewing machine to be able to do zig zag and the same needle for jeans so it can go through the weft of hair extensions. Could you recommend something for a totally beginner like myself. Many Thanks.

    1. Lisa W. Degregorio

      Hello, I think Brother CS6000i sewing machine would be a perfect choice for you, very easy to use, full of guides and the best thing is you can sew many different fabrics, from thick to thin materials by replace the needle and/or the propeller. And I believe that with this sewing machine you will have many beautiful products with quite reasonable price. Have a nice day!

  16. Veronica Alcala

    Hi! Thank you for your awesome website, however, as a beginner I’m still overwhelmed about all those types of sewing machines. Anyway, could you please recommend a versatile and economical sewing machine wherein I can use for alterations or repair of different types of fabrics eg. denim, cotton, nylon etc. I even wanted to use this for making bags, curtains and pillow case in the future. Is this Brother CS6000i versatile enough to accommodate all of these types of fabric and sewing requirements I’ve mentioned?
    Could you recommend something reasonable and versatile sewing machine for me please. Thanks and more power to you!

    1. Lisa W. Degregorio

      Hello, I think the Brother CS6000i fit most types of fabric that you want to do, just only one consider is for nylon, I never try this kind of fabric so I do not know can sew or not. You can sew your bags, curtains and pillow case, no worry at all, this machine is extremely easy to use. Enjoy

  17. Hi! I’m so excited I stumbled upon your site! I’m a beginner, and am looking for a quality machine but within my budget of $150 (or less). I’m looking to use the machine to make children’s dresses, tutu’s, headbands, baby’s bibs, and projects such as those. I was looking into the Janome 2212, or the Singer 7258 Stylist. What is your opinion on those, or do you recommend something different? Thank you!

  18. Hi there! I was so ecstatic to find your site, I’ve been looking for the right sewing machine for me and this really helped in my research. I was wondering if I could get your input on what the right machine for me would be. I’ve taken sewing classes and done a lot of beginner/ intermediate projects. I really want to be able to make clothes (dresses, shirts, skirts, etc.) and other projects. I’ve been looking at the Brother CS6000i and the Singer 7258. Please help me figure out which one is better for what I need or if another machine would be best for me.
    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi, you are considering on two good sewing machines with similar functions and price too, and giving advice, I would love to choose the Brother CS6000i, because of the number of users who happy with it, easy to use and a lot of feet to sew your desired projects. Enjoy!

  19. This was great! I really would love to get your suggestions for a sewing machine for wig making. Something for a beginner, low to moderate cost, to simply sew on wefted tracks (weaving hair) to wig caps. I’ve seen so many and I’m getting frustrated. Thank you in advance for any assistance.

  20. Hello Lisa,

    I am very very new to sewing, I took a Home Economics course in middle school where I was introduced to a sewing machine and for the most part my parents taught me how to sew by hand needle and thread. But that was many moons ago. I am interested in finding a wide range sewing machine – sewing anything from denim repair to simple alterations using other fabrics, to stitching leather wallets or purses and maybe in the distant future designing clothing altogether. Is there a machine for a beginner that can do all that? Do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks for sharing

    1. Hello, I think if you are new, the Brother CS6000i sewing machine is excellent. However if you want to sew leather, you may need a dedicated machine for sewing leather, also known as the leather patcher industrial sewing machine. And because you want to design clothing, so an industry sewing machine is quite suited, but this line of a sewing machine is not intended for beginners. Enjoy!

  21. HI, I have a Viking 940 and may have to replace it. I find there is a huge divide between using a machine for clothing and quilting. I am mainly interested a machine that can do both in clothing (knits) and free motion quilting. I AM NOT NOT NOT interested in the embroidery which seems to be a major feature among many of the choices. Secondly, customer support is imperative which leads me to replacing my machine with a Viking.

    The Viking prices are giving me some serious pause. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks for any advice here!

  22. Hi Lisa,

    Please am about to start my sewing classes and I really need a sewing machine that is affordable and that can sew children clothes, my clothes, dresses, garments, clothes for beddings, pillow cases, curtains, etc.

    Wemmy from Nigeria.

  23. Hey! I am a beginner, and I need a sewing machine that is preferably under 150 dollars that will last for a long time. I know I will be sewing denim quite often as well as other clothing. What sewing machine do you recommend?

  24. I learned machine sewing in the 70’s, about a million years ago. I haven’t used anything computerized or electronic. I don’t sew often, mostly mending and crafts. I would like to do some quilting, piecing, and binding after retirement though. I need a machine that can be easily stored.
    What machine would you recommend?

  25. Hello. I know NOTHING about sewing. I cannot even sew a button on. I really want to learn how to sew and want to make handbags but really want to learn to quilt. What is a good machine that would make it easy for me? Please help!! Any suggestions would be GREATLY appt existed. I read the guide, but need ALOT of additional support! Thank you!!

  26. Jennette Gerlitz

    Hello! I’m new to sewing and am still a bit confused after reading this. I’m a fast learner and don’t mind technology, what I want to be able to do with my machine is make baby and children’s clothing, accessories like hats and bags and some heavy duty stuff like backpacks and even baby carriers (ergo style with the thick padded straps that I’d have to sew through). I’d love to be able to sew stretchy thread and or stitches that stretch and finally I’ll probably want some basic finishing functions until I can get a serger. Is this too much to ask for out of one machine? I’ve found ones that seem to be able to handle utility functions but are they also good for the finer basics? I’m definitely looking to grow into the machine as opposed to starting small. My budget is around 300 and I want to buy from Bed bath and beyond because they have an incredible return policy so I won’t have to worry about it for years to come. Can you recommend a couple of good ones or at least tell me that all machines can sew stretchy stitches and have finishing functions so that I can narrow my focus 🙂 thank you!

  27. Hi, I am a beginner as well in sewing. My goal for sewing is to do some embroidery/monograms for myself , and eventually, hopefully, be able to make some clothes with zippers, etc. and pillowcases as well. I wouldn’t want to spend more than $200 right now on a machine. I read your post above, and there’s different foots? For hems and zippers, etc. I am looking for a machine that covers all the basics, and some more advanced things for the future. Any advice would be great! Thanks

  28. I’m interested in sewing. My sister, mother, and aunt all enjoy their sewing machines. It’s a skill I’d love to have for myself. I’m very new and so I’ve never used a sewing machine before.

    My interests are crib beddings such as fitted sheets, throw blankets, bed skirts, comforters, and also baby clothes likes onesies, pants, shirts, and dresses.

    Mostly the goal is baby bedding. What kind of sewing machine that’s affordably 150$ or less, best for me?

  29. Hi I am fairly new to this. About 20 years ago I made a set of curtains and a Doona Cover on a friends machine. I am now wanting to sew some basic shirts, curtains and perhaps start quilting. I am looking at spending around $300. What would you recommend?

  30. I just received a brother 2701 and a brother 6000 as gifts so I need to return one. I don’t know how to use a sewing machine and only want to use it to finish my needlepoint pillows. Which one would you suggest is better for this purpose? I will not be seeing clothes! Thank you as I am confused!

  31. Hello,
    I have been sewing for many years. For my 21st birthday, my mother bought me a simple Kenmore machine, and I have used it and used it and used it; it has been very reliable, but limiting at the same time. I am about to turn 60, and want a quality machine that allows for quilting blankets, mending sleeves, compensating for fading vision, and frustration-free/reliable/non-tempermental. My first impulse is always to buy items made in the USA, but will purchase from certain other countries if the quality just doesn’t compare with that made in the USA. Please advise.

  32. Hi, Lisa!

    Thank you so much for your amazing website 🙂 Being new to sewing, I got a lot of interesting and useful information thanks to you! I do have few picks for the sewing machines, but still want to ask you if you can suggest 2 more options so I can finally choose the right one. I used sewing machine just couple of times many years ago, so I actually forgot all of that already. I have a budget of max $200 and will be using my sewing machine for making my own clothes, wanna learn how to make jeans, pants, everything that considers to be clothing, also possibly bedding like pillow shams etc.
    Please, please, please, if you can suggest any 2 good sewing machines for my needs, I’ll greatly appreciate this!


  33. I am a complete beginner but i really want to make stuffed animal art dolls. I would need a machine that could sew faux fur easily. I would prefer something that isn’t super pricey. I dont need anything fancy. Any suggestions?

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