11 best sewing machines for every skill level, so you can mend & customise your way to a more sustainable wardrobe

Good sewing machines will bring you a lifetime of use and joy – a fact which many millennial women are cottoning on (sorry) to. John Lewis reported a huge surge in demand for crafting during the pandemic, with sales for mechanical sewing machines specifically rising by a staggering 127%. And things don’t seem to be slowing down in 2022. In fact, the high street hero has actually struggled to keep the best sewing machines in stock ever since.

It’s no surprise. The humble sewing machine has a plethora of uses, from upholstery and quilting to embroidery or dressmaking – and with many of us realising a desire to mend old clothes in a bid to be more sustainable about our fashion habits, even the most basic machines are there to support.

“The public consciousness has been steadily growing around textile waste for a few years now, and so many of us don’t want to contribute to fast fashion mountains,” Merion Willis, LoveCrafts’ Craft Editor told us. “So, making our own clothes has been a great way to be more mindful about what we wear and how we contribute to the planet’s health. Add to that, the freedom to make what we really want to wear is very exciting.”

If you’re keen to embark on a home sewing project, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed by choice. Which brand of sewing machine is best? What is the best sewing machine for beginners? What on earth is a four-step buttonhole?

Fret not: with the help of Merion, we’ve pulled together an edit of the best sewing machines on the market, for entry-level sewers right through to the more experienced sewers. With these heavy duty machines, quilting machines and embroidery machines, you can embellish denim, embroider your pre-loved blazer, make cushions and even fashion your very own summer dress. Here’s everything you need to know.

How do I choose a sewing machine?

“When you buy a sewing machine, aim to buy the best machine you can afford for your budget,” Merion said. “This will ensure that you don’t outgrow it if your ambitions bloom.” 

“Always make sure the machine has good lights, a good selection of basic stitches and speeds, and it’s good to consider guarantees and servicing plans if you’re going to use it for work.”

High-quality sewing machines come with lots of useful features and add-ons, from foot pedals to free arms, LED lights, loading bobbins and varying stitch patterns. It can all get a little overwhelming, but here are the basics to consider:

  • “Think about what you want to make with it,” Merion suggested. Will you be sewing denim? In which case, consider something heavy-duty.
  • How many stitches are offered? “Do you need 300 decorative stitches, or do you just need straight stitches, zig zag and buttonholes?” Merion asked. Some of the sewing machines in this edit have over 20 stitches, from zigzag stitch to slant pin stitch – but for ease of use, beginners will only really need a straight stitch and a zig-zag.
  • Extra features: Make sure the machine also has the capability to adjust stitch length, zig zag width, sewing speed and tension, so that you have more control over your sewing.
  • What accessories are included? Accessories like a bobbin and presser foot tend to come as standard but pay a little more (for the Janome 7025 Sewing Machine, for example) and you’ll benefit from hard covers, spool caps, a seam ripper, spare spool pin, spare bobbins, quilter guide, blind hem, buttonhole and over-edge. Oh, and “always make sure the machine has good lights,” Merion warned. An absolute necessity on any level machine.
  • Does it come with a year warranty? “It’s good to consider guarantees and servicing plans if you’re going to use it for work,” Merion suggested. Something like the JL220 sewing machine would be great, as it comes with a two year guarantee included.

Which brand of sewing machine is best?

Janome, Singer and Brother are the best and most popular brands of sewing machine. All three of them are stocked on John Lewis, and whether you’re a beginner or an advanced sewer after the Singer Heavy Duty, they’ll have a sewing machine that’ll last a lifetime. Bernina is another popular brand worth considering.

For more from our Commerce Editor Sophie Cockett, follow her on Instagram @sophiecockettx.

Which sewing machine is best UK? Scroll for our full edit.


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