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What is the best machine for a beginner?

vienna67 | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I attending design school a  very long time ago.I threw out my sewing machine years ago but now I would like to start up again.  I am interested in purchasing a new sewing machine. I would just need something basic and I am not looking to spend over $300. Any suggestions?Thanks!


  1. lou19 | | #1

    Better to buy a entry level machine by a good brand with few features than a more exciting looking machine. Cheaper machines are usually a pain. test run a few machines and spot the difference in quality!

  2. Palady | | #2

    Welcome back to the world of sewing.

    Visit  your local Sew/Vac & make acquanitances.  Exchange your wanting & see if there's a trade-in machine that speaks to you.  Bought from a dealer, you should be able to expect support service & help with whatever if necessary.

    Keep us posted on how it goes for you.


  3. alotofstitches | | #3

    If a sewing machine is a foreign object to you like a computer was to me then you need a dealer to sell you & help you along.  If not, then you might look at the Janome 8077.  Our local chain fabric store has them on sale for less than $300 very often.  I test drove one for a mom to purchase for her d. birthday and she has sewn on it all last summer.  It's been a good machine and so far has not had any "quirks" that have been difficult for a novice.  One thing I noticed when shopping for the mom was that the cheaper machines have a lousy buttonhole with very vague directions on how to make buttonholes.  The above mentioned store will allow you to sit and sew before you purchase and will refund with a sales receipt for a certain  time period after purchase but there is no personal instruction.

  4. stillsuesew | | #4

    Just my opinion, but I would not buy from a fabric store unless they have a special section where you can try out machines and where they will be there to answer your questions and service them later.  If the machines are just in a box on the shelf, you will get no followup and many of them cannot be serviced by a dealer.  They are cheap versions of what you will find in a store that sells machines and it often costs more to repair them than it does to replace them.  I once won a $600 sewing machine from a fabric store and when I tried to trade it in at a local dealer who carried the same brand, I was told it was not one of the machines they carried and just had the name on it for the mass merchandising stores. You should be able to get a good machine for $300 from a dealer.  Do not be afraid of used ones.

  5. meg | | #5

    Don't purchase one of those 'school specials' advertized in newspapers; they're junk.  (I know.)  You might consider a nice used machine; your local sew/vac store can help you.  Test drive everything you can sit in front of.  Have fun!

  6. deemail | | #6

    Please consider asking your local repair shop owner for a GOOD reliable used machine...most people don't use their sewing machines enough to wear them out, they just trade up as they require more features.  Your 300 dollars will get you twice the machine if you stay away from the plastic (inside and out) shiny things in that price range that are new.  Simply asking the owner will get you a world of information about the quality of the older machine...ask if he has given the machine a good going over and what was needed, if anything.  Most machines are happier if they get a good maintenance check every year or two (depending on use).  Then, of course, you need to learn about cleaning the lint from and adding oil to your machine on a regular basis.  Ask for an all metal machine...the weight is more and so is the quality of the parts inside.  A little shopping might get you  a real benefit.  I would never buy a new machine in that price range, even for a learner but on the other hand, I would never hesitate to buy an older machine in that price range if it was metal, ran quietly and had a good recommendation from a qualified shop owner.  

  7. Teifi | | #7


    You have already have had some good advice and may have made your choice by now. If not I would throw another option into the 'pot'. I came back to sewing last year, also after a long break. My store recommended a Brother Innovis 10a. This cost just under £200 so is probably around your $300 mark. It is a simple machine to use, has around 9 stitch types  and it does them all really well. Its buttonhole foot and buttonholes stitiching is first class. It runs quietly (apart from a slightly annoying beep each time you press a control key),  feels substantial but is light enough (just) to take to a sewing class.

    I haven't found anything I dislike about it, although I find the automtic needle threader a bit fiddly. It has sold me on Brother machines (I now have the 750E embriodery machine which is also great) and when I upgrade, as I develop my quilting, it will definitely be another Brother machine.

    Hope that helps and good luck in the search.


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