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July 08, 2022 3 min read

So you want to start sewing, but you need a've come to the right place. Today I am going to share my top tips for getting started on a beginner machine.

 Sewing Room

This post contains affiliate links of which I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. If you want to learn more about affiliate links you can look here. 

Here are my top three recommendations, and then I will expand on each point below. 

  1. Buy a beginner machine for around $85-$200. 
  2. Service a machine that was passed down to you, generally $75-$100.
  3. Buy a used machine from a site like FB marketplace anywhere from $40 and up.

Ok, so the first option of buying a new machine might be the most expensive, but it’s also the least risky. When you buy a new machine you know everything is going to be working properly, no missing parts, and could set you up for the easiest learning experience. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to learn how to sew only to have your machine acting up every time you start working. One great thing about a beginner machine is that even basic sewing machines still have the necessary tools and settings to do things like zippers, buttonholes, sew clothes, make quilts and more!  Brother, and  Singer are both well recognized brands that carry basic beginner models. 

We have twoBrother machines (one is my daughters machine, and the other I use as a backup for if my machine needs to be serviced) This would be a nice one to learn on. 

Brother Sewing Machine

Here is a  Singer model that you can get for under $100. 

singer sewing machine

The next option is learning on a machine that was passed down to you.  A few generations back it seemed almost everyone owned a sewing machine. Many of those sewing machines have been passed down to the younger generations, but not always with a lesson in how to use them. Sometimes people think they need to get a new machine because the one passed down isn’t working well, or is missing the operating manual etc. Well here’s the good news. If you have a heavy machine made of metal with all of the parts intact, it probably just needs to be cleaned and serviced. The timing of the needle coming down sometimes gets off and needs to be adjusted, plus over time the lint can really build up around the gears and such! The saying “they don’t build them like they used to” is true for sewing machines just as much as anything else. All of the newer electronic functions and stitch settings on modern machines can be great, but they are also way more likely to go out over time. Whereas the older solid metal machines are built to last and might just be the best machine you ever own. I put it second on my list because it is a little more risky than buying a new machine. A servicing is typically $75-$100, but that doesn’t include any extra parts that might need to be ordered, or the possibility something more serious is wrong. 

Lastly, the most risky, but possibly most affordable option is to buy a used machine off of the internet. (Heck, I have a friend that bought a second hand machine that hadn’t even been taken out of the box. Score!) Buying anything electronic second hand always can be a risk. Just because it “runs” doesn’t mean it necessarilyruns well.  I’ve come up with a few good questions to ask if you are buying a used machine…especially if you are not able to try it in person first. 

  • Does the machine run properly?
  • Can you show me a picture of the stitching front and back?
  • Has it ever been serviced? 
  • Does it have all of the parts and manual? (Not a deal breaker, but good to know. You can buy a lot of parts online and find pdf’s of owner manuals with the model number.)
  • Can you give me the model number? (Then look up that number and check the reviews online!)
  • Was it used in a smoking home? (I once bought a secondhand machine that even the hard plastic shell had such a strong cigarette smell nothing would get rid of it :( it gave me such a headache I had to get rid of it.)

Ok, I think that about wraps it up! If you have specific questions I would be happy to try and answer them. If you decide to get one I would love to hear what you end up with and how it works out for you! I will try to update soon with a follow up blog of the best sewing items to purchase once you get the machine checked off your list. 

 - Terri 

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