The Best Beginner Sewing Machine: Your Ultimate Guide (2024)

The Best Beginner Sewing Machine: Your Ultimate Guide (2024)

If you're new to sewing, you're likely figuring out which sewing machine to get. I’ve been there before, endlessly scrolling through the different options, reading countless articles, and watching every YouTube video available. In fact, the one comment that I can count on for every sewing instructional video I release is the question of which sewing machine I recommend for beginners.

I decided enough was enough, I had to help the sewing community and answer this question once and for all. After months of research, testing different machines, and asking the more experienced sewists in the Glory Allan community, there was one machine that stood out as the best one for regular usage, and ready for anything you threw at it, and that machine is the Singer Heavy Duty 4423.

If you havn't already, you can watch the Glory Allan YouTube video on this topic, which has some extra info in it.

Machines Tested and Selection Process

So, how did I narrow down my options and choose the perfect sewing machine for beginners? I turned to my trusty sewing community for advice and recommendations. After polling my followers on social media, three brands consistently rose to the top: Brother, Singer, and Janome. Then I eliminated any machines that were over $300 to keep things budget friendly for a beginner sewist. I ordered one machine from each of those three brands, then set out to test each one. Before I breakdown the machines, let me give you my criteria.

What to Look for in a Beginner’s Sewing Machine

There’s three key things I was looking for in the three machines:

Ease of Use: As a beginner, you want a sewing machine that won't intimidate you with its complexity. User-friendly features like simple dials, clear labels, and basic functionality are examples of the basics. Trust me, you'll appreciate the simplicity when you're just starting out.

Stitch Options: While it's tempting to go for a machine with a million and one stitch options, you really only need the basics: straight, zigzag, and maybe a buttonhole stitch. Keep it simple and focus on mastering the essentials before delving into the fancy stuff.

Durability and Build Quality: You want a machine that can withstand the rigors of beginner projects without breaking a sweat. Look for sturdy construction and durable materials that can handle a bit of rough handling.

The Machines

Here’s a rundown of the three machines and how they stack up to those three criteria. 

Brother XR 3774: Priced at $250, the Brother XR 3774 boasts an impressive array of features, including 37 built-in stitches, a quick-set top drop-in bobbin setup, automatic needle threader, and adjustable spool pin. It's a solid choice for beginners looking for versatility and ease of use. One funny thing about this machine is that it comes with a DVD instructional video. While I appreciate the sentiment, who has a DVD player anymore?

Singer Heavy Duty 4423:  Affordable, sturdy, and reliable, this machine is a favorite among beginners and seasoned sewists alike. With its built-in cubby storage, double spool pins, and automatic buttonhole feature, it's a powerhouse that can handle a wide range of projects with ease.

Janome 2212: The 2212 is aesthetically pleasing, and has some interesting features that sets it apart like double spool pins, a front loading bobbin system and the ability to drop the feed dogs That being said, it falls short in terms of features compared to its competitors. Priced at $200, it lacks an automatic needle threader and buttonhole feature, which may be deal-breakers for some beginners.

Machine Testing: Putting Them to the Test

When it comes to choosing a sewing machine, performance is key. There was no way I could make a sewing machine recommendation without putting each machine through its paces with two common beginner projects: a tote bag and a boxy tee. Here's how they did.

Tote Bag DIY

For this test, I wanted to see how each machine handled sewing through a heavyweight woven fabric like canvas, a common material for tote bags.

Brother XR 3774: While the Brother XR 3774 managed to sew through the fabric, it required extra effort, especially on the thickest parts. The machine seemed to struggle a bit, but it got the job done nonetheless.

Singer Heavy Duty 4423: The Singer 4423 effortlessly glided through the fabric with ease. Its sturdy build and powerful motor made light work of the task at hand, making smooth and even stitches through the material. 

Janome 2212: The Janome 2212 performed admirably, with smooth operation and no issues encountered. Despite its less industrial looking design, it held its own when faced with the heavyweight fabric.

Boxy Tee

Next up, I tested how the machines handled knit fabric, a staple for beginner-friendly garments like boxy tees.

Brother XR 3774: Similar to the tote bag test, the Brother XR 3774 required some effort, particularly on the thickest parts of the fabric. It wasn't as seamless as I had hoped, but it got the job done. 

Singer Heavy Duty 4423: Once again, the Singer 4423 proved its worth, effortlessly stitching through the knit fabric without a hitch. Its consistent performance and reliability inspired confidence.

Janome 2212: Like before, the Janome 2212 sailed through the task with ease, delivering smooth, even stitches without any issues.

Final Assessment

In the end, it all comes down to personal preference and intended use. Based off my testing and research, if you’re looking for the best general purpose, reliable machine for regular use, the Singer Heavy Duty 4423 has you covered. There’s a reason it has been featured in all of my videos since I started teaching beginners how to sew.

That being said, I think each machine has it’s own strengths for different sewing purposes.  Here are the recommended use cases for each machine:

Quilters: The Brother XR 3774 is an excellent choice for quilters, thanks to its versatility and range of features.

Home Tailoring: Both the Brother XR 3774 and the Singer Heavy Duty 4423 are well-suited for home tailoring projects, offering durability and functionality.

Thrift Flipper: For those who love upcycling and thrift flipping, the Brother XR 3774's versatility and affordability make it the perfect companion.

Regular Use: The Singer Heavy Duty 4423 takes the crown for regular use, offering reliability, performance, and ease of use for beginners and seasoned sewists alike.

With these recommendations in mind, you can confidently choose the sewing machine that best fits your needs and preferences. Choosing the right sewing machine is the first step on you sewing journey, and I hope this guide has helped demystify the process for you.

Once you've chosen your perfect sewing companion, it's time to dive in and start creating! Set up your machine following the instructions provided, and don't be afraid to experiment with beginner-friendly projects like any of the DIY kits Glory Allan offers.

If you’re looking to pair your machine up with sewing tools, and need some help figuring out exactly what you do or don’t need, check out my article on the essential sewing tools for beginners