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!
25 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to Buying the Best Sewing Machine for Kids”
Have you ever reviewed sewing machines for us grown folks? I am definitely more inclined to listen to fellow quilters on their recommendations, and since my machine is having problems, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the best mid-range prices (mid range price to me is between $700-$2000) machines on the market.
Earlier this year I wrote a sewing machine review. I think it’s still relatively to date. Personally, after sewing on a Viking, Pfaff, Bernina and Janome, I will probably always pick Janome. Before buying a new machine, if you have time to test out a couple different brands from dealers in your area you will feel more confident in the final purchase.
I keep thinking about picking up the little Janome derby machine for my kids. It is super affordable and I have heard good things. Have you tested/tried that little one?
The Derby line from Janome is suuuuper cute! I want one just to put on my shelf as eye candy! My guess is that at $60 and only 5 lbs. it is made entirely of plastic and can handle very simple projects with lightweight fabrics. If you have a young one who is anxious to learn how to piece quilts, I think this could be perfect. Since it’s so portable, it can easily be moved from room to room so as you’re going about your day, you can keep an eye on the sewing progress.
My one concern would be that your kid would outgrow this machine quickly. At this price, it could be an affordable way to see if your child wants to stick with sewing without a large investment in a machine they may never use again.
…but that bubble gum pink machine?? I mean…YES obviously you need to buy that! hahaha
Thank you for the reply!! They used to have a bright orange one that had my heart…but pink, fuschia, teal are so dreamy too. Thank you for the input.
You forgot to mention EverSewn…(-:
We are an innovative, Chicago-based company that is focused on encouraging the next generation of crafters, sewists, and artists to keep this amazing industry filled with creativity!
Unlike traditional sewing machine companies, our focus is on current trends, and how these incorporate into the everyday lifestyle of a modern or a newly emerging sewist.
Check out our Machines- love at at first stitch!
Thanks, Philipp! Can’t wait to try one out at the next Quilt Market. Also VERY excited about the sewing table you are giving me. 😉
What Eversewn model would you recommend for a 5 year old to learn on? I’d like it to also be good for an adult
I am wonder what your strengths and weaknesses would be for the Janome Fastlane for kids? Also, your recommendation for a machine for a 9 year old girl…she has sewn a bit on my Janome (pillow case and easy skirt). Thank you!
I think overall Janome makes great machines. I mention the Fastlane in my Gift Guide for New Quilters. The strength of that machine, aside from it’s obvious cuteness ;), would be the price and simplicity it offers. The weakness would be that after a year of sewing with it, your 9 year old girl may want a “big girl sewing machine.”
I really want to learn to sew but I have such issues with learning to thread the machine and the bobbin, the tension, etc. I am an adult with some learning issues (adhd) and would like your recommendation for the easiest machine to use. I so not want to sew patterns – I just want to learn to quilt and do art projects – thank you
I would recommend starting off with an inexpensive sewing machine, learning the basics, and then growing from there as your love of sewing grows. Here’s a blog post all about the best inexpensive sewing machines – https://suzyquilts.com/4-best-inexpensive-sewing-machines/
Suzy, I would really like to see a reply from you regarding the Eversewn machines that Philipp spoke of above. Have you tried them yet? I am considering for my sewing studio business and would love your opinion. Thank you! Jennifer. Urban Stitch Studios
EverSewn machines range from about $120 – $500, so if you are wanting a sturdy sewing machine for your home studio, I would recommend shopping their mid to high range selection. I personally have not sewn on one, but the reviews online are all really positive. One thing I like about EverSewn is that it is a sister company of Bernina, and one thing I know for sure is that Bernina makes really high quality, long lasting machines. I’m guessing that you’ll have a similar experience with EverSewn. This line is possibly a little expensive for a child’s first machine, but since you know what you’re doing and plan on sewing for years to come, I think it would be a great purchase.
If you end up pulling the trigger, let me know what you think! xo
I am sending my daughter in law to buy a kid’s sewing machine. I am wondering if you would recommend a push button model for me. I lost both legs and 4 fingers 2 years ago. I can sew using my machine with my knees. But I can only keep at it about 20 min.
Hi Karen, I think most sewing machine brands carry some machines with this feature. From what I can find, this seems to be a common feature on a lot of Brother machines, so that may be a brand for you to look into. If you are looking for something less expensive, I know the Brother PC420 has the push button feature. I found this YouTube video on the start/stop button using a Brother Innov-is 350. I think that machine may no longer be available since it was a special edition, but it looks like there are other Brother machines in that same Innov-is series with the start/stop button.
Help! My daughter is turning 7 in Jan. I don’t know how to use sewing machine either. She does not like hello kitty. What would be best option? Thx
If she does not like Hello Kitty, the Brother or Singer machine would both be good options. Also, have you heard of the Ever Sewn brand? They are easy to use, sturdy machines that start in the $150 range and come in a couple different colors.
If you’re looking for a sewing projust that does not use a sewing machine (could be a good starting point), I suggest the Bohemian Garden wholecloth quilt. I have a 3 part video tutorial on making it from start to finish and a sewing machine is not required.
Hi Suzy.. what would you recommend for my 6 year old? It’s been 2 decades since I’ve touched a sewing machine. But I remember the basics. She has hand sew-ed a couple of toys, but she wants a sewing machine. We are opposed to battery-operated and would like something that she can grow up with.
Thanks a bunch!
For a child so young, I would avoid a computerized machine, since those can be more fragile. The Brother and Singer listed above would be good options. Also, EverSewn makes really nice machines geared towards beginners. The EverSewn Sparrow 15 is a pretty little machine with all of the basic features a budding sewists needs.