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The Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab reviewed hundreds of machines to find the best styles for your home sewing projects, whether you love embroidery, quilting, making clothes, or are a beginner sewer eager to learn. These heavy duty machines will help bring your sewing skills to the next level.
When shopping for a sewing machine, the crucial question to ask yourself is: What is most important to me when I sew? Machines come with lots of different add-ons, accessories, and capabilities that may not be relevant to you and just add unnecessary cost, while other features you cannot sew without. Here are some specific features to look at before shopping:
Number and styles of stitches offered: For beginner sewers, you will need just two stitches: Straight and zig zag. More experienced sewers should look for a wider variety. For example, if you love embroidery or quilting, make sure you look for machines that provide those capabilities: If your machine doesn’t offer embroidery or free motion sewing, those features cannot be added later on. Additionally, make sure the machine has the capability to adjust stitch length, zig zag width, and tension so you have more control over your sewing.
Included accessories: Most machines include a bobbin and a presser foot, but some include much more. For the most bang for your buck, check if the machine includes a zipper foot, buttonhole foot, embroidery foot, removable extended work table, and an area for storage.
Extra features: Some machines include specific capabilities that can make sewing a whole lot easier like a thread cutter, automatic needle threader, lights, free arm, blind stitching, and buttonhole capabilities. Once you have them, sometimes you cannot imagine sewing on a machine without them.
Frame construction: For longevity of the machine, you want to look for a metal frame option. Plastic frames are common, but can deteriorate quicker and be more difficult to repair.
As with all sewing machines, make sure to read the included manual carefully before sewing, as every machine has slightly different use and care instructions. Then, sew away!
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Best Overall Sewing Machine
Innov-is NS80E Sewing Machine
This computerized Brother sewing machine is popular for offering many exciting features, while being an easy to use machine. This machine has 80 built in stitches and eight styles of one-step buttonholes, so you can personalize your sewing projects with ease. This machine offers free arm capability when sewing sleeves and drop feed for quilting projects. The large LCD screen makes it easy to adjust the stitch width, length and style. We love that it includes five different presser feet and a wide table for larger projects. Plus, it’s one of the most affordable models in this roundup.
Best Value Sewing Machine
2277 Tradition Essential Sewing Machine
For less than $110, this sewing machine offers the best performance and extras for its value. With a metal frame and classic Singer features, this machine is great for simple projects like hemming, DIY crafts, and mastering the basics. With four presser feet included, you can add buttonholes, zippers, and piping. There are 23 stitches, including straight, zig zag, scallop, and twin needle sewing. Reviewers love its small size, so it can easily be stashed away when not in use.
Best Sewing Machine for Beginners
HC1850 Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine
This sewing machine has an easy to use interface for beginner sewers, but can take on more challenging projects. For beginners, we love that there’s a top drop in bobbin, which is easier to thread than standard styles and a button to stop suddenly if you make a mistake. Plus, the speed is adjustable for extra control. It has 130 built-in stitches, eight buttonhole options, quilting capabilities, and tension settings for high stretch fabrics, this machine is well suited for more advanced sewing projects as you learn.
Best Sewing Machine for Quilting
TL-2000Qi Sewing and Quilting Machine
Juki sewing machines are popular for being sturdy, long lasting quilting machines, tackling multiple layers of fabric with ease – ideal for sewing large quilts, canvas, and other thick fabrics. The bright light makes it easy to see your detail work. This Juki machine boasts features designed just for quilting like automatic thread cutting, knee lifter, presser foot pressure adjustment, and free motion capabilities. Reviewers rave about how this advanced machine stays quite still when sewing quickly and makes minimal noise. If you are a beginner, try a simpler quilting sewing machine instead.
Best Sewing Machine for Making Clothes
Brilliant Sewing Machine From the Genuine Collection
If you plan on using your sewing machine mainly for fashion sewing, you want certain features: Free arm capabilities for sleeves and cuffs, presser feet specific for hems and zippers, and a variety of stitches and buttonholes. This Baby Lock model is ideal. Stitches can be easily selected from the bright LCD screen with 190 built-in stitches. With great ease of use features like adjustable speed, automatic needle threading, and 14 included feet for a variety of needs. Plus, this machine has a maximum sewing speed of 850 stitches per minute for the speedy seamstress.
Best Sewing Machine for Embroidery
SE625 Computerized Sewing and Embroidery Machine
If you want embroidery capabilities, make sure to shop for an embroidery machine in particular. This model offers excellent features, without as high of a price tag. The large, in color, LCD screen makes it easy to preview and edit all embroidery designs. Although the machine already has 80 build in designs, there’s a USB port to import your own designs, plus thousands of options from Brother online. With free motion sewing, a bright work area, and an automatic needle threader, this machine can do both embroidery and standard sewing. You can make your own clothes then personalize them with embroidery designs and text.
Best Heavy Duty Sewing Machine
Heavy Duty 4452 Sewing Machine
One of the most popular heavy duty sewing machines on the market, the Singer Heavy Duty 4452 sewing machine is great for sewing through challenging fabrics like denim and leather. The needles are size 16, which can go through multiple layers of denim fabric. A non-stick foot is included for other challenging fabrics like leather and vinyl. The pressure of the presser foot is adjustable when sewing on more lightweight versus heavyweight fabrics. With 32 built in stitches, this machine is great for heavy duty and standard fabrics alike.
Best Sewing Machine for Kids
Mini Sewing Machine Portable Sewing Machine Electric Sewing Kit with Dual Speed Double Thread
Although it weighs under three pounds, this mini sewing machine can handle many different sewing project. Young sewers can benefit from the simple design for easy threading. It has two different speeds, which is great for kids when first learning. This machine includes needles and bobbins to get started. Plus, it costs less than $40!
Best Serger Machine
Vibrant Serger Machine
Baby Lock sewingmachinesplus.com
Sewing machines help projects come together, but sergers finish them with a professional look. Baby Lock Vibrant Serger helps finish edge with four, three, or two thread edges and rolled hems. There’s a retractable thread cutter for easy trimming when finished. If you’re new to using a serger, this machine has a color coded thread system to follow. The feed and tensions can be adjusted for a personalized experience when sewing on different fabrics. We love that this machine includes over 30 accessories that you’ll need to keep this machine in excellent condition for years to come.
Best Sewing Machine for Advanced Sewers
B77 Sewing and Quilting Machine
If you want the absolute top of the line machine or sew for your job, you need a luxury sewing machine that can withstand constant use and offers excellent features for an expert sewer. Look no further than Bernette machines. Synonymous with high quality, this luxury machine offers embroidery, quilting, and standard sewing capabilities. With a massive library of 500 stitches, and 17 button hole options, this machine can create your own combinations by remembering your exact stitch specifications for specific fabrics in its short and long term memory. Although it is a pricey pick, it’s one of the most affordable Bernette models.
Product Testing Analyst, Textiles, Paper and Plastics Lab Emma Seymour is a test analyst in the Textiles, Paper and Plastics Lab at The Good Housekeeping Institute where she evaluates fiber-based products ranging from bedding to clothing.
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