Step up your sewing by investing in a machine that’ll save you time, energy and, ultimately, cash. Our handy guide is designed to help you pick the right one.
Buying your first sewing machine can be a daunting task, as can upgrading from your old favourite. The sale of sewing machines has rocketed and more models are being launched to keep up with demand, making the choice even more difficult. Before you buy, it’s important to think about how often you’re going to use your machine, and whether you want a basic model to get to grips with instantly, or if you have time to invest in more complex piece of equipment.
Also consider what type of fabrics you want to stitch on, and if you’re going have a designated table for it in your house, or whether you’re going to have to pack it away after each session, therefore needing something lightweight. Read through our guide which gives you a selection of some of the best models on the market available for budget and mid-range prices, then decide how much cash you want to splash. Take a look here too to find some tips from Janome about choosing a new machine.
When your new purchase arrives, you’ll wonder why you waited so long!
Budget Sewing Machines up to £250
Brother LS14 – £79.99 from Argos
Stitches – 14
This affordable machine is perfect for those who are new to sewing. This highly rated machine has 14 stitches including a 4 step button hole, a drop in bobbin, twin needle capability and comes with several accessories and a 3 year guarantee. It has everything you need to get going on your first sewing project.
Buy it…if you want a cheap machine for make do and mend projects.
Visit Argos to buy.
Austin AS7000 – £175
Stitches – 48
These machines offer a great selection of built-in stitches for you to create all kinds of wonderful projects from quilting to dress making. Features include an automatic needle threader and LED lighting system giving you a brighter, longer life light. If you are looking for a model with fantastic features and great value for money then this model may suit you.
Buy it…for affordable sewing with great features.
Details about the range are online at https://www.austinsewingmachines.co.uk/index.php/
Elna eXplore 220 – priced around £169
Stitches – 16
The eXplore 220 mechanical sewing machine is the key to genuine enjoyment. With it’s full complement of stitches and great features, this easy to operate, affordable, high-quality sewing machine is perfect for anyone learning to sew as well as for experienced sewers who want to add a basic, quality sewing machine to their sewing room.
Buy it…if you want an easy to use machine with a good range of stitches and features.
Visit www.elna.com to find your nearest stockist.
Alfa Style UP 20 – priced around £179
Stitches – 12
This beginner machine offers a fantastic range of basic utility stitches for dressmaking, alterations and general home sewing, with the ability to cope with sheer to thick fabrics. Each machine includes an automatic threader, 1-step automatic buttonhole and even a backlight LED Stitch viewer plus variable stitch width and length.
Buy it…if you want a stylish looking starter sewing machine.
Find out more by visiting https://alfasewing.co.uk/
Husqvarna H|CLASS™ E20 – priced around £149
Stitches – 32
A great reliable machine for a beginner sewer. Easy to use features such as one-step buttonhole and simple threading, plus extra accessories, means that sewers have what they need to get started. This is a reliable machine ready for years of creativity and a “must-have” in your home.
Buy it…for affordable reliability.
Visit https://www.husqvarnaviking.com/en-GB/Machines/H-CLASS-E20 to find out more about this model.
Brother Innov-is 15 – priced around £249
Stitches – 16
This easy to use computerised sewing machine is not only very budget friendly but comes with 16 different stitch options, 3 styles of one step button hole, a quick set bobbin, stop/start button and a sliding speed control. It also comes with a 3 year warranty.
Buy it…if you want to stay ahead of the game.
Visit www.brothersewing.co.uk or call 0333 777 4444.
Janome J3-18 – priced around £169
Stitches – 18
Amazing value machine for the beginner who wants useful features on their sewing machine that are so easy to use with the two dials – one for stitch selection and the other for adjusting stitch length. Complete with an automatic 4-step buttonhole to create great buttonholes whilst the automatic needle threader takes the strain out of threading the needle and it also has a free arm.
Buy it…for exceptional value for money.
Visit www.janome.co.uk or call 0161 666 6011.
Mid-Range Sewing Machines from £250 to £600
Elna eXperience 520S – priced around £369
Stitches – 30
Be creative with this adaptable, computerised machine. Not only will it stitch through denim, and a huge range of other dressmaking fabrics, but it has decorative stitches for quilting and patchwork, so you can be free to create exciting home accessories too. You can easily choose the width and length of the stitches with the automatic buttons and have fun experimenting for years to come.
Buy it…if you want everything at the touch of a button.
Visit www.elna.com or call 0161 666 6011.
Janome M50 QDC – priced around £539
Stitches – 50
The new Janome computerised M Series machines have more standard features and accessories than the average machine. They deliver with more power, more stitches and more accessories.Quality tools will help produce amazing sewing. Sew with the power, precision and confidence you get with a Janome M Series Model 50 QDC.
Buy it…for a feature-packed mid-range machine.
Visit www.janome.co.uk or call 0161 666 6011.
Brother Innov-is F420 – priced around £599
Stitches – 294
The latest Brother Innov-is mid-range sewing machine boasts the same winning features as its popular predecessor with extra features to make this a winner!
Packed with great features including automatic threading, tie-off button and a thread trimmer to make your sewing so easy, this machine has just about everything you will need for your sewing.
Buy it…if you want a machine with lots of stitch options at a great price.
Find more information on the Brother website https://www.brothersewing.co.uk or call 0333 777 4444
Bernette 38 – priced around £499
Stitches – 394
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. Stitches include the stretch stitch for elastic fabric and eight different 1-step buttonholes and three alphabets. In addition, it has a memory function to store various combinations of patterns and access them again at a later date. The bernette 38 has a useful speed regulator, which can be adjusted on the display. As the top model, this impressive sewing machine also has a bright LED sewing light, a threader and both an automatic and a manual thread cutter.
Buy it…if you want a high quality machine at an affordable price.
To find out more visit Bernette’s site here.
Husqvarna Jade 20 – priced around £589
Stitches – 82
Sew large home decoration projects, quilts or garments easily thanks to the large area to the right of the needle, 200mm (almost 8″). The sewing space is the largest compared to most other sewing machines at this price point. Plus it is packed with many other great features and is of a sleek modern design.
Buy it…if you want a larger machine for a reasonable price.
Find out more at https://www.husqvarnaviking.com/en-GB/
Juki HZL-H80HP – priced around £399
Stitches – 197
The Juki HZL-H80 offers easy-to-use computerised functions such as direct pattern selection, a needle up/down button, memory function and an automatic needle threader. It’s an ideal machine for sewers new to computerised machines and at an affordable price point.
Buy it…if you are new to computerised sewing machines.
Fidn out more at https://jukiuk.com/
When choosing a sewing machine, compare the list of features that come with different machines. You’ll find some of the following technical terms, which we’ve cleared up here for you:
Bobbin – A small spool that holds thread which is fed up through the needle plate.
Feed dog – The mechanism in the metal needle plate that automatically feeds the material under the needle.
Drop feed dog – Some machines have this function, meaning you can move the fabric around manually – great for free machine embroidery or free-motion quilting.
Free arm – You can usually remove the accessories box to create a free arm in the base of the machine to help you sew around cuffs and hems of trousers.
Knee lifter – A lever that can be manoeuvred by your knee to lift up the presser foot and drop the feed dogs, enabling you to keep your hands on the fabric.
Lock-stitch – This locks the first stitch in so you don’t need to reverse stitch to secure the thread and you can finish off with a lockstitch too. Much neater than having to reverse stitch.
Needle plate – A piece of metal in the bed of the sewing machine, which the needle passes through.
Presser foot – This holds the fabric in place by pressing it down onto the feed dogs. You can buy different ones for specialised jobs. Look out for the clip-on variety, which are easy to attach. Find out more about presser feet here.
Sewing bed – The base of the machine, that often houses the free arm.
Start/stop button – Eliminates the need to use a foot pedal control. You can start and stop the machine at the touch of a button.