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Sewing Beginner? Start Out with a Small Sewing Machine

If you’ve never sewn before, the first encounter with a sewing machine can be quite intimidating. However, learning how to master a sewing machine, even if it’s a process that takes time, it’s one that you will eventually get used to and end up feeling very rewarded with how much you can accomplish. However, there…
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With a compact size and the basic features that are most needed in a small sewing machine, the SINGER Start 1304 will give a lot of other mini sewing machines a run for their money.
There are plenty of models that can be considered excellent mini sewing machines, products from brands just as Janome, Singer, Brother, and others.

Top 3 Picks

Luckily, you can find sewing machines regardless of your budget and even the biggest brands on the market sell some affordable models, such as the Brother Project Runway CS5055PRW or the Singer 7258.
Janome Aluminum Mechanical Sewing Machine
If you are a beginner sewer, you should know that drop-in (or top loading) systems are the easiest ones to work with. They are easier to re-thread and can help save a lot of time during your sewing projects.
It is suitable for stitching a wide range of lightweight fabrics that measure less than 1.8 mm in thickness. It has a user-friendly design that makes it pretty intuitive to use, but also easy to hold, promising that you can fix clothing even without taking them off.
It includes 18 different stitches that cover more than just the basic ones needed for sewing, a package of accessories that includes a bunch of different feet needed for sewing, a removable storage compartment that can easily be turned into a free arm, and a drop-in bobbin that makes it easier to use this machine if you are a beginner. The machine measures 11.3” H x 16” W x 7.2” D and weighs 18.7 pounds.

How to Choose a Small Sewing Machine


Automatic needle threader


Top loading bobbin

Even with a smaller sewing machine, there are plenty of projects for you to consider when you want to learn how to operate such a device. At first, you might be intimidated by the features found on even the most basic machines, but we wanted to show you just a few project ideas that will help you get the hang of what you’re doing.


Cable Knit Throw Pillows Out of Old Sweaters

Number of stitches

Best for Beginners: Black Janome Aluminum Mechanical Sewing Machine

What a Small Sewing Machine Won’t Do

It really depends on what you need a sewing machine for. A mini sewing machine can be useful for a wide range of users, including those interested in portable machines or those who have recently taken up on sewing and want to learn how to use the basic functions of a sewing machine before investing in a more expensive model.

  • It won’t be able to sew very fast. Larger sewing machines have more powerful motors that can operate at higher speeds, so if you’re looking to work on a large project fast, then a small sewing machine isn’t your best option.
  • It can’t sew through thick fabric. That’s usually because small sewing machines aren’t compatible with needles that are thick enough to penetrate fabrics such as denim. So, if you were planning on sewing winter quilts, you might want to opt for a larger machine.
  • It might not have fancy stitches. Small sewing machines are usually designed for beginners or for those interested in portability. That usually means their design will sacrifice many built-in stitches that heavy-duty machines are equipped with.
  • They will be less automated. Another thing that usually sets apart heavy-duty machines from portable ones is the number of automated processes the device can see through. It is very likely for a small sewing machine to lack automated zipper or buttonhole features.

DIY Ideas & Tips

When you’re first learning how to use a sewing machine, probably one of the most complicated things will be threading it. With an automatic needle threader, you can eliminate this hassle and have the machine do the entire job for you. However, at some point, you are still going to have to learn how to thread a needle, as this is an important skill to acquire if you’re passionate about sewing.

DIY Polka Dot Napkins

Janome Computerized Electronic Sewing Machine

Sewing a Lightweight Quilt

If portability is the main reason why you want to buy a mini sewing machine, the Buyfitcase is one of your best options. It has a pretty compact and straightforward construction, including features and components such as the top-placed power switch, a rotary wheel, a battery compartment, needle arm and tension control. It can be powered by four AA batteries or a 6V power supply, but either of these need to be purchased separately.
Sure, duvet covers can be quite inexpensive, but what if you learned how to make your own? Not only does this help you save money, but it’s a great opportunity to learn to wield the sewing machine until you get used to its most basic functions. This specific project will teach you how to turn an old duvet into a fresh and fancy-looking one. You’re going to need two flat sheets of the same size as the old duvet, matching thread, a few strips of fabric tape, sew-on velcro, and your sewing machine.

DIY Duvet Cover

SINGER Start 1304 6 Built in Stitches
As one of the most versatile small sewing machines, this Janome computerized model seems to be a regular beast in spite of the category it pertains to. It comes with 120 built-in stitches which should be more than enough for different types of projects. We also love the fact that it can sew through multiple layers of fabric without giving you any trouble. The needle can be moved into 71 unique positions, which further underlines the idea that this is truly a versatile sewing machine.

DIY Cable Knit Throw Pillows

This is another important aspect that might serve those of you looking to buy a small sewing machine provided that the reason you need it is because you want to be able to carry it around. Lightweight machines are easier to carry compared to their heavy-duty counterparts, but they should also be compact in size and maybe have a carrying case or handle that makes transportation easier.

DIY Denim and Faux Fur Throw Blanket

The kit includes 42 different accessories, such as 32 bobbins, needles, an extension table, a portable bag, needles, and others. The machine works with a power supply or batteries (which are not included with the purchase), so you can pretty much pack this baby and take it with you wherever needed. It’s compact size and lightweight surely contribute to its portability.

Best Small Sewing Machines

SINGER Start 1304 6 Built-in Stitches

However, there are certain sewing machines that are better for people that are just learning how to use one, so let’s explore the world of small sewing machines and see just what they can do.
Some of the features that are worthy of mentioning include the integration of six stitches for essential sewing techniques, three presser feet, a rotary dial that help you select the desired stitch in a second, a metal frame that translates into durability, a threading guide for easy threading, an integrated light that will illuminate the sewing area for situations with low visibility, and a reverse lever for better-securing seams.
If you are a beginner sewer or if you want a sewing machine that’s small but able to help you with most of your sewing project needs, then you have to check out this Janome model. With a gorgeous black casing (well, if you ignore the fact that it’s a fingerprint magnet), this sewing machine comes with all the features you want to see in a small sewing machine, with a little something extra on top.

Best for Price: SINGER Start 1304

  • Durable metal frame construction.
  • Variety of accessories included.
  • Automatic bobbin winding system.
Best for Price: SINGER Start 1304

  • Includes 18 different stitches.
  • Comes with a wide range of presser feet.
  • Storage compartment can double as a free arm.
Best for Price: SINGER Start 1304

  • Includes a wide range of accessories.
  • Integrated LCD for easier settings navigation.
  • 120 built-in stitches.
Best for Price: SINGER Start 1304

  • Integrated light.
  • Includes 42 accessories.
  • Power supply and battery operation.
Best for Price: SINGER Start 1304

  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Power supply and battery operation.
  • Intuitive and easy to figure out.
Best for Price: SINGER Start 1304

  • Two power sources.
  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver.
  • Easy to figure out.

  • Both power sources are sold separately.


What is the best small sewing machine?


Is a mini sewing machine worth it?

Handheld Sewing Machine

What is a good cheap sewing machine to buy?

Sewing a Lightweight Quilt

What’s a good sewing machine for beginners?

While there are plenty of things you can get done with a miniature sewing machine, there are also things that such a piece of equipment won’t be able to handle, and it’s really important to know about this before hand, to avoid any potential post-shopping frustrations:


Making a lightweight quilt is way easier and way less intimidating than it sounds. It also shows you that making a good quilt doesn’t necessarily require a huge investment in materials, as you’re going to need a couple of different types of cotton quilt fabric, some batting, a couple of wide strips, coordinating thread, and a bunch of sewing accessories aside from the actual sewing machine, such as scissors, safety pins, and regular pins.

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