Buying a Sewing Machine

Hey everyone !

Welcome back to my info series of blogs 🙂

Today we are talking about the big one… Buying sewing machine !

I get soooo many messages and emails about which machine to buy as a beginner or advanced stitcher.

And I’ll be honest… its a minefield ! There are many many types of machines out there , and whilst the majority do the same thing , there are a LOT of extras that are useful for different types of sewing.

I’m going to go through a list of basic sewing machines and why I think they are great , or not so great. Now these are my PERSONAL opinions , I’m not a sewing machine guru.. but I have used several thousand of them at this point both old and new teaching various beginners classes etc.


Now , the problem with this category is that these machines are great for single layer repairs of cotton , poly cotton and thinner fabrics , but are totally useless for anything thicker.

Sadly sometimes these machines are sold as ‘sewing machines’ and give the impression they are a bargain general sewing machine , when in reality they fall over or break easily.


See how tiny they are ? They just fall over 😦

The ONLY half size machine I recommend are these Janome ( John Lewis) mini’s.

We have used these in our children’s classes for 7  years now , without a single repair – and they’ve been chucked about quite  bit !

These are great for younger children to practice and stitch on… but I wouldn’t recommend ANY mini machine for an adult or child aged 12+ .



Great for beginners and all round stitchers. These are the more common ones used in our classes over the last 8 years.

There’s quite a few out there , SINGER , BROTHER , PFAFF , JOHN LEWIS ( JANOME) ETC.

Here are a few of our favourites in our classes – and why.

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Singer 8280 – I have several of these for our hire sewing machines. They are a good solid sewing machine with all the basic stitches you need as a beginner , and this machine comes with sewing machine feet/bobbins etc.  Bottom loader.

This is our MOST common sewing machine out of 3,567 students to date 282 students have them.

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Janome j3-18 or John lewis  JL110 coloured/patterned  sewing machines. Great beginners sewing machines. They come in a range of colours and patterns and a little bag of machine feet /bobbins. Although oddly some older models don’t have a zipper foot – but this can be bought separately for around £2-£3. Has a lot of very basic stitches.

Our second most common coming in at 277 students having them in class.

Brother LS14 LKS14

A brilliant top loading sewing machine , has all the basic stitches you need as a beginner and comes with all the sewing machine feet you need. Only downside is you have no stitch length adjustment.

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Ikea. They don’t make these anymore – but you might find one second hand. We had around 35 students with them at one time , and despite the majority being put together incorrectly in the bobbin area in the factory , once re-assembled these machines are nifty little stitchers. Downside – It has a very powerful motor but it’s a light machine , so it will fall over if you push too hard !


There’s a LOT of these out there !

The difference between a mid range and budget is usually that they have more stitches ( including stretch stitches) and an automatic buttonhole. Some have a needle down function , digital display and automatic tension.

These are some classroom favourites.

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Here she is ! My old faithful  , sadly she is no more , but I have hammered this poor machine for over 8 years !

I have a singer confidence 7470. The singer confidence range is quite vast , from basic electronic models all the way up to more expensive ones.

Each machine has a different range of stitches , and some have a built in alphabet. Great for quilters as it has a larger throat than a standard machine , which is also useful for dressmaking.

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Brother HC1850 – A good range of stitches suitable for all types of stitching. Needle down function and this machine can be used without a pedal.

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The bernette 38 is the top model in the bernette 30 series. This computerised sewing machine offers a wide range of functions at an affordable price. It’s a little more towards the top end but the other machines in this series are slightly cheaper and just as good.

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Janome DCS30 special edition comes in a range of colours. This machine features a thread cutter , needle down function and can be used without a pedal.

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Pfaff Passport 2.0

This machine is very lightweight and designed for moving around. It has an automatic bobbin sensor which is super handy if you are not very good at playing bobbin chicken !



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I love them all , these truly are dream machines , they come with some accessories and a range of stitches and possibilities , but oh they run like a dream !

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My next sewing machine…. The Janome DKS100

Needle down , thread cutter , Knee lift , tons of stitches… and oh so quiet !


Singer Quantum – Powerful motor and extension table is great for quilting !

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Janome Atelier – any of them.

Gah ! I’m winding myself up now. I’ll stop.


Obviously there are different types of  machines out there – embroidery machines , over lockers , cover stitch etc , but today I just wanted to cover some of the more basic models.

The rule of thumb is … check the reviews online , go and see a machine and have a go if you can ( John lewis and some sewing shops will give you a demo) and if in doubt , ask a fellow stitcher !

If you are looking for a new sewing machine , that’s great. But PLEASE don’t be put off by using an older machine. Some of the more ancient machines I have seen and used in my time are perfectly fine to use as a beginner ! The older the machine , the more solid they are too ! Usually a bit of oil and a clean and these too run like a dream. We welcome older machines at our classes no problem , but if in doubt pop me a message before class.


Happy Sewing !



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