I know we already wrapped up the holiday gift guides, but there’s one little item that I don’t think got enough attention. I get a lot of people asking, "What is the best sewing machine for kids?" I love getting these questions. Why? Because it means that you all are raising up a brand new generation of quilters, and I’m convinced that all this world needs is more quilts (and maybe some kindness. But quilts for sure.)
I want to make sure I give you a lot of options for kid-friendly sewing machines so you can find the perfect sewing machine for the mini-sewist in your life.
Since I already mentioned the Janome Fastlane in the gift guide, I’m going to skip over it and give you three more options. But before we get to those, let’s go over some of the things you’re going to want to consider before purchasing the best sewing machine for your kid.
When kids start sewing, independence is a big deal. That’s why you want to make sure they can lift their own machine. You know how athletic your little one is – pick a sewing machine that fits their weightlifting class. (Portability is a plus, too.)
When shopping for simple-to-use sewing machines, you will find that there are two modes of operation: pedal and push-button.
We’re all familiar with the pedal-operated sewing method and know that these can be a bit sensitive...and sometimes make it hard for beginners to control their stitching speed. Push-button machines are exactly what they sound like: they have a button to push to stop and start the machine, kind of like an on/off switch. It can be really great for kids who are still working on coordinating multiple limbs while they sew (I get it, kids. I really do.)
Sometimes, with little sewers, less is more. Advanced quilters may like to have a variety of stitch options, but beginners may find this intimidating. Make sure the machine you buy has the basics: straight, zigzag, and reverse. Don’t sweat the rest (unless you have a prodigy on your hands!)
Falling feet can be a hazard with the little ones… I’m talking about the sewing needle foot. Some machines have feet that fall more easily than others. Check out models that have feet that screw on. Otherwise, if the feet are snap-on, double check that they stay securely in place.
Learning how to sew and quilt can be super frustrating. If kids get too frustrated too fast, they might get discouraged enough to throw this hobby out the window. Some sewing machines have features that can make things a little less frustrating.
My favorite feature that supports learners is an easy machine threading and bobbin loading system. Thread feeding can be really hard to figure out, especially on a new machine, so it's a plus if this is really basic. Some beginner machines even come with nifty arrows printed clearly on the machine to show exactly where the thread goes.
Every kid-friendly machine should have an easy-to-find bobbin slot that’s accessible to little fingers, and a user-friendly winding mechanism is also a must.
Okay! Now that you know what to look for, let’s move on to...
Suzy Quilt’s Top 3 Best Sewing Machines for Kids
(And some straight honesty on what they get right… and wrong.)
The Long-Term Commitment Winner: Brother XM1010
Brother puts out a lot of great sewing machine models, but the XM1010 is really great for kids. The thing I love about this model is that it’s easy to use, but it has some extra features that can really grow along with your child’s abilities.
It features simple bobbin winding and simple threading (which is super appealing… to me, too…) It comes in at a mere 13 lbs., but it’s a full-size machine, which is great if your little sewer is in it for the long haul. And speaking of that, this sewing machine comes with an instructional DVD and 25-year warranty. What? I know!
Strength: This machine is one your kid can stick with for years (and with the warranty, you don’t have to worry about replacing it anytime soon!).
Weakness: The Brother XM1010 isn’t great with thick layers or heavy-duty sewing. If you want to teach your kids to hem their own jeans, this might not be the right machine for them.
Price at time of article: $100
Strength and Durability Winner: Singer 3232
The Singer 3232 definitely has some super-appealing features for kids who want a simpler sewing experience. Though it has a lot of built-in stitch options (32!) the automatic needle threader and 1-step buttonhole options offer professional results to beginners sewers.
This Singer model also allows growing sewists to work on more advanced projects down the road, especially if they’re into fashion. This model feels a bit more grown-up, but without the complicated frills.
Strength: Strength! The Singer 3232 has a full metal frame underneath the plastic cover, and has a presser foot that lifts extra high so it can handle thick layers of fabric.
Weakness: The bobbin is a less accessible on this machine, which can be frustrating, and take a bit to get used to.
Price at time of article: $120
High-End Winner: EverSewn Sparrow 20
The EverSewn Sparrow 20 is the only computerized machine on this list mostly because once you add a computer to a sewing machine the price tag goes up. We all know how fickle our kids can be, so make sure your little one wants to sew before making this investment.
Why is this machine more than twice as much as the others? The answer is that it has A LOT more features. In fact, this machine is used by many adult sewists because of it hits that sweet spot of advanced capabilities and accessible price. Some of the added features this machine has that the others don't include: an LCD display, a faster sewing speed (850 spm), and drop feed so you can free motion sew (with supervision since tiny fingers can easily get caught under the needle).
Strength: Versatility. This machine can sew at the same standard as much more "adult" machines. It can truly grow with your child..
Weakness: Any time you add a computer to a sewing machine there is an added risk of things breaking. If you have a rough and tumble kid who might drop a machine or knock it to the ground, opt for one that is not computerized.
Price at time of article: $280
If you ask me, a good, sturdy sewing machine is worth the investment, even for a new quilter who is just learning the ropes. Have questions about which is the best sewing machine for your kid? Shoot me a comment below!