What is the Best Sewing Machine for Beginner Sewers?

I recently started sewing (again – I’d taken a few years break) and spent hours searching what is the best sewing machine for beginner sewers. In this post, I answer that question in an easy-to-explore format, comparing three different options of the best beginning sewing machines for different needs. You can find an amazing list of projects to help you learn to sew right hereDisclosure: this post contains commissioned links. 

 

What is the best sewing machine for beginners? These sewing machine reviews round up the three best sewing machines for beginner sewers and share what's best about each.

 

When it comes to making larger craft purchases such as a sewing machine, we often ask the question, what is the best sewing machine for beginner sewers? We want to know which is the single best so that we can have some help navigating this purchase.

 

I believe that everyone has different needs, so I shared a comparison of three top picks for the best sewing machine for beginner sewers so that you can pick what is best for your personal needs. I’ve highlighted pros and cons, which needs each model is good for, whittling it down so that you can make your own informed decision.

 

I’ve based this list of what is the best sewing machine for beginner sewers on a few factors:

  • Personal experience (what I personally own, have tried and used)
  • Peer experience – asking around for others’ experiences and then digging deeper into those models
  • Online reviews – It takes a certain level of experience to read through online reviews, weed out the fake ones or inaccurate ones, and find real feedback. I’ve done all that for you here.

 

What is the best sewing machine for beginner sewers – the 3 top options:

 

 

  1. Bare bones but sturdy: The Brother SM1400 is perfect for someone who is learning how to sew but  isn’t sure they’ll stick to it long-term. It’s also great for basic home repairs.
  2. More features but still affordable: The Brother SE400 Combination Computerized Sewing and 4×4 Embroidery Machine is the perfect choice for when you want something that can do more and with a computerized screen. It’s great for if you want something that’ll work if you decide to start sewing more regularly too.
  3. A real workhorse that’s still beginner-friendly: The Janome DC2014 Computerized Sewing Machine handles thicker fabrics, has more features than the basics and is a solid machine, perfect for longer-term and professional use.

 

 

Disclaimer: I have not personally tried out all of these machines, however I have spent days  compiling a list, eliminating some possibilities, reading reviews, sifting through the reviews for the most helpful and reliable, and taking a lot of the legwork and researching, narrowing down the many many options to these three to help you choose the best sewing machine for beginner sewers!

 

 

 

Reviews of the best sewing machines for beginner sewers:

 

Brother SM1400 sewing machine review:

The Brother SM1400 is a bare bones and affordable machine that’ll get the job done. I have a similar (outdated) version of this model and I find that it’s perfect for home repairs and small projects. That also makes it one of the best sewing machine for beginner sewers to start with, since it is affordable but fully functional.

You don’t have a lot of features, and there’s no computerized screen, but the learning curve is easy and it gets the job done. You can also get similar models – such as this factory refurbished one that I bought for my sister as a wedding gift or this one that has more stitches and a table extension for large projects. 

It’s the best sewing machine for beginner sewers who aren’t positive they’ll want to do it long-term but want something reliable to start with.

 

Features of the Brother SM1400 sewing machine:

  • 14 stitches for blind hems, stretch stitches, buttonholes and zipper insertion
  • Automatic 4-step buttonholer
  • 4 sewing feet: Zigzag J foot, Zipper I foot, Buttonhole A foot, Button sewing M foot
  •  13 pounds
  • 6 x 15.4 x 15.4 inches
  • Bright LED sewing light
  • Flatbed/free arm convertible sewing surface
  • Built-in accessory storage
  • Electronic speed control
  • Forward and reverse sewing
  • Instructional DVD included
  • Quick-set bobbin system exclusive to Brother
  • Top load horizontal bobbin

Pros of the Brother SM1400 sewing machine for beginners:

  • It’s really easy to learn how to use, with a simple stitch selector dial
  • The Brother quick-set drop-in bobbin system is perfect for beginners and helps ensure even stitches.
  • The convertible surface allows for a narrower arm for sewing sleeves and other narrow item, as well as a wider bed for longer stretches.
  • Button features such as 4 step buttonhole stitch, buttonhole foot and button sewing foot make these steps simpler for beginners.
  • It’s relatively lightweight and portable, so if you don’t have a dedicated sewing space, this is definitely one to consider!

Cons of the Brother SM1400 sewing machine for beginners:

  • No one-step buttonhole feature.
  • Very basic stitch features – be aware if you’re going to want more than this has to offer. Most sewing uses the same basic stitches, so it’s okay if you plan to stick to the basics.
  • Mechanical not computerized: note this is not necessarily a con for everyone. It depends how technologically-savvy you are. But you’ll be missing lots of automatic features like automatic needle threaders, cutters, tension, buttonholes etc.

 

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Compare prices:

Because prices and sales are variable, here are a few top retailers to compare prices on:

 

 

 

Brother SE400 Combination Computerized Sewing and 4×4 Embroidery Machine Review:

If you want the combined benefit of a machine that can do much more, as well as a computerized machine, the Brother SE4000 is one of the best beginning sewing machine for beginner sewers that is also good for the longer haul.

It’s a great option if you want something that’ll hold out better if you do stick to it beyond home repairs. It’s got consistently positive reviews, a longstanding reputation as a solid machine, extended features, user-friendliness, and all that at an affordable price tag.

The embroidery features allow you to easily customize gifts or create custom products for sale, adding a whole new dimension to your sewing projects.

The Brother SE400 is a best sewing machine for beginner sewers who don’t know their way around a sewing machine because it has lots of automated features and on-screen help.

 

Features:

  • Advanced sewing features with 67 built-in stitches and 98 stitch functions
  • 4×4 embroidery with 70 built-in designs, 120 frame pattern combinations and 5 lettering fonts
  • One-touch automatic thread cutter for both top and bobbin thread
  • Automatic needle threading
  • 7 feet included: buttonhole foot, overcasting foot, zipper foot, button fitting foot, monogramming foot, blind stitch foot, embroidery foot
  • Built-in workspace light
  • Connects to the computer for thousands of additional embroidery designs as well as for updating your machine’s system
  • Back-lit touch LCD screen for easy access and viewing of your different styles of stitches and embroidery designs
  • Built-in embroidery card slot
  • Built in tutorials
  • Built-in design editing for the basics: sizing, rotating, etc
  • Easy bobbin-winding system
  • Quick-set bobbin system exclusive to Brother
  • Flatbed/free arm convertible sewing surface
  • 7 point feed dogs for smoother fabric feeding
  • One-step buttonhole

 

Pros of the Brother SE400 Sewing Machine for Beginners:

  • Built-in tutorials makes it easy for beginner sewers to get started with it.
  • The machine tells you which foot to use for which stitch, taking the guesswork out of it for beginners.
  • The embroidery feature is a plus that I personally dream of on my machine. I love personalizing things and that makes all the difference between turning a gift into something meaningful.
  • Threading the machine and losing the thread is a big frustration in using sewing machines. The automatic features on this one helps to remove that frustration. And reviewers report that the threader on this machine is among the best in the industry.
  • If you’re design-savvy, you can even create your own designs using separate software.
  • Because it’s a fully-featured machine, it’s likely to last even if you get more serious with your sewing. It’s a real “big girl” sewing machine to me.

 

Cons:

  • It’s less portable than more streamlined options – so if you don’t have a dedicated space for your sewing machine, keep that in mind.
  • It’s a small embroidery area – great for beginners, but if you plan to get into the embroidery heavily, you may want a larger area.
  • It has more stitches than most beginners will use so you probably don’t want to get it just for the stitch features.
  • Computerized machines sometimes have shorter life-spans than mechanical. They can be a struggle for people who aren’t computer-savvy.

 

GET IT HERE!

Compare prices:

Because prices and sales are variable, here are a few top retailers to compare prices on:

 

 

Janome DC2014 Computerized Sewing Machine Review: 

If you’re looking for a solid workhorse sewing machine without all the frills, this machine is the top-rated option. It is pricier than the other ones, but is built to last, to work with heavy duty fabrics, and to get the job done.

It’s a smaller machine than the Brother SE400, uncomplicated, and therefore a good option if you want something powerful and computerized, but don’t necessarily deal well with all the techi-ness of the Brother.

This sturdy machine is reported to be quiet, fast, and dependable, and is great for beginners who hope to one day take lots of sewing jobs. The learning curve on this one is small, making it a great sewing machine for beginners.

The year on the model number indicates the year of that version, so definitely look into newer versions if you’d like! Reviewers claim that the only differences are the colors.

The Janome DC2014 is the best sewing machine for beginner sewers who know they’ll want to do more with their sewing soon.

 

Features:

  • 50 sewing stitches
  • 3 one-step buttonhole styles
  • 8 sewing feet
  • Stop/start button
  • Simple screen shows the selected stitch
  • Speed control slider
  • Drop-in bobbin
  • Automatic thread tension control
  • Free arm
  • Extra high presser foot lift
  • Automatic needle threader

Pros of the Janome DC2014 sewing machine for beginners:

  • Reviewers keep raving about the manual! That’s something you don’t often see, but a well-written manual can make it or break it for beginners.
  • It’s easy to control the needle speed even if you’re a novice.
  • There is a stop-start button that you can use instead of the built-in sewing pedal – a cool feature to have!
  • You can control the speed of the feed using an easy slider, a really helpful feature for beginners who don’t necessarily have a good feel of that control.
  • One-step buttonhole options streamline the process

Cons of the Janome DC2014 sewing machine for beginners:

  • Primitive computerized functioning – can be a pro or a con, depending what you’re after
  • It’s a heavy machine so it’s not ideal if you need portability
  • It’s pricier than the other options on this list (but not nearly as costly as similar professional-level models)

 

GET IT HERE!

Compare prices:

Because prices and sales are variable, here are a few top retailers to compare prices on:

 

 

So what is the best sewing machine for beginner sewers if I have to choose one?

I highly recommend the Brother SE400 – not necessarily for all the extra thrills, rather for the automated features (buttonholes, threading, cutting, etc)  and the on-screen guides – as a great sewing machine for beginners. It comes at a more affordable price point than the Janome with much more beginner-friendly options.

While the one I have is more like the Brother SM1400 (the first on this list) the SE400 has been sitting on my wish list and I plan to buy as soon as I can spring it (the one I have now was purchased second hand from a family member).

 

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What is the best sewing machine for beginner sewers in your experience? Which sewing machine did you start with? Comment below!

 

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