The thoughts, sewing projects, and fabric oglings of a dedicated sewist.

How to Choose a Sewing Machine

Buying a Sewing Machine

I often get asked about good sewing machines for beginners. After doing some research, I have a couple of specific machines to recommend. These recommendations are for brand new, simple, beginner machines. You can buy better machines for around the same price if you are willing to search for a good used machine (I recommend the Yahoo group "Sew It's For Sale", Craigslist, and Ebay for used machines), but I understand that this takes a lot of extra time and effort.

Here are my top two recommendations:
1) Janome 2212, $149 at Amazon
Pros: Great basic stitches, all metal parts (hard to break), vertical bobbin (also hard to break), decent with thick fabric, sturdy, lightweight, adjustable stitch length
Cons: Poor light, some problems with breaking needles (buying Schmetz brand seems to fix the issue)

2) Brother CS6000i, approx. $139 on Amazon
Pros: Speed control, adjustable stitch length, basic stitches, lightweight, good quality for price
Cons: Poor light (you'll need an extra lamp), drop-in bobbin (my repair guy says that often beginners break the plastic in a drop-in bobbin and it's an expensive fix), not great for thick fabrics or many layers (handbags, heavy fabric), mostly plastic parts

I think of these as starter machines and you will likely need to upgrade in a few years if you do a lot of sewing (as in more than 10 hours a week).  

You can read reviews on and on (I recommend because this is a sewing specific site and you get perspective from a mix of ability levels from novice to advanced).

And if you want to know what I drive, I have a Pfaff 1222se from the early 1970's. It has a built-in walking foot, all metal parts, and it will sew through ANYTHING. You can find this machine (only used) on Ebay for around $300. I also have two sergers, the classic beginner serger, a Brother 1034D, and a state-of-the-art Babylock Evolution. 

Let me know if you have any questions!
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