Saturday, May 20, 2017

Good Sewing Machine For a Serious Beginner

I was just asked about what sewing machine a serious beginner should buy, for less than $250.  It needs to be a good, durable sewing machine, that will grow with skill level.

To get a new machine that would be more durable, you’d need to spend at least $700.  There are a lot of new machines that have lots of bells and whistles, but they all have a plastic bobbin case, that can cause a lot of frustration.

You might want to look on, and see what used machines are available in your area.  For new sewists, I recommend an old Kenmore 10 stitch, or something similar.  I LOVE the old Kenmores!  And you can usually find one in a thrift store for less than $25.  Some only have straight and zig-zag stitches, with a door on top to add cams.  You don’t want that, you want one with built-in cams/stitches.  You also don’t want the old, top-loading Kenmores, as that bobbin/hook system is a nightmare.  You want a front-loading machine with all metal hook and bobbin case, and a few extra stitches built-in. 

If you've got your heart set on a "NEW" machine,  Try a Singer "Simple."  It has the metal oscillating hook and some nice stitches.

Most people only use a handful of stitches.  The ones most people need are straight stitch, zig-zag, blind hem and serpentine (or broken zig-zag).  If you’re a quilter, you need the blanket-stitch for applique.  And a nice decorative stitch or two is good.  If you’re sewing heavy fabrics, you need a front loading, metal hook and bobbin case.  The plastic bobbin cases jam when you sew heavy fabric, and the needle goes right through them.  Then you have to buy a new bobbin case.  If you’re doing light sewing, like piecing a quilt, a cheap plastic machine will work just fine.

The auto thread cutters (under the needle plate) seem like a good idea, but they haven’t been perfected yet, and can cause a lot of grief.

To check the quality of a machine, grab the needle bar and try to wiggle it forward and backward.  If it has forward/backward wiggle, the needle hook distance (a timing setting) is variable and you’re not likely to get as good stitch quality.


  1. The blog is very useful especially for beginners.Really loved the information provided. Thanks for the information,keep posting!

  2. I’m amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and interesting, and let me tell you, you've hit the nail on the head.
    keep it up !
    sewing machine review

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I also like the Singer Simple machine but for a little bit extra money I would go for the computerized Singer Stylist!

    2. Computerized Singers are not what I'd call a great machine. In fact, the Singer Stylist is pretty low on my list. Don't go there!

  4. Totally loving your blog and, as a fellow girl mechanic of sorts, value your "just try it" attitude! Wondering if you can suggest a site for these old Kenmore beasts...was recently gifted one and upon opening the bobbin compartment a spring fell out! I need to learn where it goes and it's purpose so appreciate your guidance and thank you again for all you share!