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How To Stitch Leather: Useful Guidelines

brown leather

Do you have a leather jacket in your closet? How about a pair of soft, suede boots? How about a buttery-textured sofa in your recreation room? No matter how it’s used, leather will always add a touch of class. Unfortunately, the price of leather makes some people shy away from buying clothes and furniture made with this product. You might balk at spending hundreds of dollars on a jacket or thousands on a furniture set for your family to use on a regular basis.

Worrying about wear and tear on leather products contributes to this anxiety. Luckily, with a little practice and a few household items, you can easily learn how to stitch leather and make basic repairs to leather clothes and furniture. Knowing how to stitch leather is a valuable skill that will come in handy more often than you think!

What Is Leather?

How To Stitch Leather

Image Via pexels

The strict definition of leather is any material made from the skin of an animal. Some people, however, like the feeling of leather but don’t want the real thing. For those people, faux leather is the right choice.

Real Leather

brown leather jacket

Image by pixabay

Cowhide is the most commonly used animal skin for making real leather. However, leather can also be made from lambskin, alligator skin, or even ostrich skin. Craftspeople working with rare, valuable skins have learned how to stitch leather carefully and produce beautiful garments.


For many people, nothing beats the feeling of real leather. These people can easily detect faux leather right away. While faux leather opens up more opportunities for people to enjoy the look of leather, without purchasing the real thing, those who value the feel of leather won't accept anything else.

Real leather comes in several different forms:

Full grain leather

Top grain leather

Corrected grain leather

Split or suede

Faux Leather

faux leather

Image by pixabay

Some people prefer faux leather to real leather. These days, it can be hard to tell the difference.  Most faux leather is made with a fabric backing covered with a layer of vinyl or polyurethane resin.

Reasons for choosing faux leather over real leather include:

Price

Personal beliefs

Durability

Is There A Need To Stitch Leather?

needle thread

Image by pixabay

If your leather product becomes damaged, you’ll have to get it repaired somehow. Cobblers and tailors might be able to patch up your torn leather, but if you prefer to save a little money, you can quickly learn how to stitch leather using the instructions below.

The stitch we’ll teach you in this article is called the saddle stitch. It’s easy to learn, and once you know it, you’ll find plenty of uses for it beyond fixing leather items. The method below is handy for sewing all kinds of thick material, including denim and canvas. You can use it to repair, or even make, leather knife sheaths, holsters, or belts.

Learning how to stitch leather is a great craft option for older children. Responsible children can create patterns in leather using leather carving tools or a wood burner and then stitch the leather pieces together to make coin purses or other items.

Before you start stitching up your favorite jacket or leather skirt, buy some leather pieces from a craft store or use an old pair of jeans for practice.

How To Stitch Leather

Before we get into the details of how to stitch leather, we need to talk about supplies. Gather together the following items:

  • Two darning needles or sewing needles
  • Waxed thread or regular thread you’ve waxed with beeswax or by rubbing it on a candle
  • Awl, pricking iron, or ice pick
  • Stitching pony, clamps, or large binder clips
  • Stitching groover or fork
  • Pliers

When you have these supplies together, you can get into learning how to stitch leather. Follow the steps below:

  1. Using your clamp, stitching pony, or binder clips, clamp both pieces of leather together with the smooth sides facing out.
  2. With the stitching groover or fork, make a row of dots where you’d like the stitches to go. Press hard so that the dots are clearly embossed on the leather.
  3. Next, use the embossed dots as a template to poke holes in the leather. Using your awl, pricking iron, or ice pick, pierce the leather over each hole.
  4. Now you are ready to start stitching!

To begin the stitching process, grab your thread and needle and follow the next set of steps:

  1. Pull out a piece of thread about four or five times the length of the piece of leather you’re stitching.
  2. Thread the needles at both ends of the thread (that’s right, you’re using two needles).
  3. Tighten thread in the needle by passing the needle into the thread (yes, sliding the needle actually into the thread) and then tying a knot at the needle’s eye.
  4. Begin to sew in figure eights, alternating needles. Sew the first stitch, then drop that needle, pick up the other one, and sew right into the same hole, but in the alternate direction.
  5. The result should be snug thread in figure eights across the row of holes.
  6. Be sure to keep the same tension as you stitch. If you begin tightly, don't loosen up; if you begin on the loose side, keep that looseness to the end.
  7. Keep track of each needle's "turn;" Remember that each needle has to go through the same, last hole, that the needle before went through.
  8. Try to create a rhythm as you stitch so that you don't forget which needle comes next and so you remember to keep your tension consistent. 
  9. Playing music as you stitch the leather can help you keep that rhythm! Try it!
  10. When you reach the end, stitch backward for two or three holes, and then cut the thread as close to the leather as possible.

Problems

needle thread

Image by pixabay

Learning how to stitch leather is a challenge. It is easier said than done. If you have experience sewing fabric that experience will not necessarily carry over to working with thicker material.

Some of the common problems people encounter when stitching leather include:

The needle not fitting through the hole

The needle bending or breaking

Blisters or sore hands

The holes in the pieces of leather not matching up

Conclusion

Though tougher than sewing fabric, stitching leather can be an oddly satisfying experience. When you’ve stitched the piece, you can look at it and know that you’ve conquered one of humanity’s oldest materials. Stitching leather opens up many opportunities for you to repair damaged leather items around the house as well as create new pieces as gifts.  Adding this skill to your home maintenance and crafting repertoire is sure to pay off in the future.  

Brother Lock 1034D Sewing Machine Review

Brother Lock 1034D Sewing Machine

Have you ever noticed that perfectly cut, bound edge on your favorite tee shirt, the one that lays flat against the material without puckering? It probably was made by an overlock serger. Compact and portable, overlock sergers, like Brother Lock 1034D, allow a home sewing enthusiast to create professional looking projects with relative ease.

There are a few special features that make overlock sergers a great addition to your sewing room. They cut and finish fabric in one step, which can greatly reduce project time. It also minimizes the unraveling of cut edges.  

These machines allow users to sew with multiple threads and open the door to heavier decorative thread finishes that would choke a traditional sewing machine. They can create complex stitch patterns that can be either functional or decorative.

Many popular models feature preset stitch patterns that can be adjusted with the flip of a lever or turn of a knob. Simple, functional, and somewhat addictive to use!

What Is the Brother Lock 1034D?

Brother Serger, 1034DX, 3/4 Thread Serger with Differential Feed, 3 or...

Purchasing a home serger can be a substantial investment that can help you take your sewing projects to the next level.  For folks who sew often, the increase in efficiency and productivity can quickly recover the initial investment in a new machine. An affordable option to consider is the Brother Lock 1034D. This popular machine comes equipped with many of the most popular features you will want in a home serger, is relatively straightforward and easy to use, and is backed by a 25-year limited warranty.

Although a novice might be intimidated by the complex threading patterns of overlock sergers, the Brother Lock 1034D's easy to use, color-coded threading system will put your mind at ease. After the first couple of tries, you will be threading your serger like a pro!

Overall, the Brother Lock 1034D is an entry-level serger that is easy to use and performs well under most conditions.

Brother Serger, 1034DX, 3/4 Thread Serger with Differential Feed, 3 or...

Product Specs  

The Brother Lock 1034D cuts and finishes fabric at the same time and allows the user to sew with multiple threads. Key features of the Brother Lock 1034D include a differential fabric feed, adjustable stitch width from 5mm to 7mm, and color-coded lay-in threading.

There are 22 built-in stitches, so you can grow into your new machine, not out of it. The Brother Lock 1034D also has several stitch options including ribbon lock, narrow hem, rolled hem, 4 thread overlock, and 3 thread overlock stitches.

At slightly under 15 pounds, the Brother machine is light enough to be portable but sturdy enough for heavy projects.  Its 25-year warranty offers purchasers long-term peace of mind.

A differential feed keeps your fabric moving smoothly and evenly, ensuring it lays flat without gathering or puckering. This feature easily keeps up with the 1300 stitch per minute speed of the Brother Lock 1034D, so you can sew away without worrying about fabric tension.

Adjustable thread tensions and stitch length selectors are easy to use and readily accessible. Controls are on the left side of the machine which right-handed users may find awkward at first.

A built-in LED light effectively illuminates your workspace, so you won't have to strain your eyes to create the perfect seam or edge.
These features and a relatively moderate price point have made the Brother Lock 1034D one of the most popular home serger machines in the U.S. today.

How It Compares

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.    

  • SINGER 14J250 Stylist II
  • Singer 14CG754
  • JUKI MO644D
Sale
Brother Serger, 1034DX, 3/4 Thread Serger with Differential Feed, 3 or...
  • PERFECT FOR MULTIPLE PROJECTS: The Brother 3/4 Serger lets you to expand your options for finishing, home décor,...
  • 3 or 4 THREAD CAPABILITY: This serger works great with either 3 or 4 threads for added flexibility for overlock seam or...
  • UP TO 1,300 STITCHES PER MINUTE: Get more serging done faster with the ability to sew up to 1,300 stitches per minute;...
  • Ease of Use
  • Performance    
  • Design Quality
  • Warranty

Our Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars

The Brother Lock 1034D features a 25-year warranty on the chassis, 5 years on electrical components, and 1 year on parts, labor, and accessories.

Pros

  • Color-coded threading system
  • Affordable
  • Easy to adjust thread tension

Cons

  • Somewhat loud operation
  • May bunch with very thick layers of fabric
  • No option for 2 thread stitching

SINGER Sewing Machine 14J250 Stylist II Serger Overlock Machine with...
  • 2-3-4 Stitch Capability provides more stitch variety
  • Needle Threader & Wide Open Threading makes set-up a breeze
  • Differential Feed eliminates stretching and puckering on all fabrics

Color-coded and wide-open threading make the Singer 14J250 Stylist II user-friendly. It comes with features not found on some other entry-level home sergers while retaining a moderate price.

  • Ease of Use
  • Performance    
  • Design Quality
  • Warranty

Our Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars

The Singer serger is backed by a 25-year limited warranty with 2-year coverage on electrical components and 90 days on parts and labor.

Pros

  • Differential feed eliminates fabric puckering
  • Built-in needle threader
  • Multiple included accessories

Cons

  • Can be shaky during operation
  • Requires 110V electric outlet
  • Tension dials may slip during use

SINGER Serger 2-3-4 Thread Capability Overlock with Blind, Rolled Hems...
  • SINGER SEWING MACHINE: The SINGER ProFinish 14CG754 Serger has 2-3-4 thread capability providing a wide selection of...
  • ADJUSTABLE STITCH LENGTH SEWING MACHINE: Adjustable stitch length and width, differential feed and color-coded lay-in...
  • PORTABLE SEWING MACHINE: Carry handle makes it easy to transport your serger

The Singer 14CG754 serger is a portable, free-arm overlock serger that features adjustable length stitches and many built-in stitch patterns. It has a 2-3-4 thread capability to increase stitch options.

  • Ease of Use
  • Performance    
  • Design Quality
  • Warranty

Our Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars

The Singer 14CG754 Serger is backed by a 25-year limited warranty with 2-year coverage on electrical components and 90 days on parts and labor.

Pros

  • Creative stitch options
  • Portable
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • May bunch with thicker fabric
  • Instructional DVD is unclear and difficult to understand
  • Some people report the machine is jumpy when in use

JUKI MO644D Portable Serger
  • 2/3/4 Thread serger with automatic rolled hem
  • Color coded threading breakaway looper adjustment for stitch length and differential feed
  • Powerful knife system with dedicated drive mechanism

The JUKI MO644D is a heavy-duty home serger featuring a multi-function, quick change presser foot, color-coded threading system, heavy-duty upper and lower cutting blades, and an efficient 1500 stitches per minute speed. Weighing in at just over 18 pounds, it may be a bit too bulky to be considered portable for some users.

  • Ease of Use
  • Performance    
  • Design Quality
  • Warranty

Our Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

The JUKI MO644D serger is covered by a 60-day warranty.

Pros

  • Dedicated drive cutting system
  • Color-coded threading with a breakaway looper

Cons

  • Short 60-day warranty
  • No free arm option
  • Stitch length adjustment is difficult to access

Design Features

All four machines we reviewed are similarly equipped with features to make them user-friendly and suitable for home sewing projects. Differential feeds are included on all four sergers. This feeds fabric into the machine at a steady rate for consistent stitch lengths and uniform pattern designs and eliminates stretching and puckering on virtually all fabrics. This feature makes sewing easier for all and less time-consuming.
 
Color-coded threading systems are also standard on all four sergers. This design feature helps to simplify an otherwise complicated setup task. The Singer 14J250 Stylist II’s wide open threading system was the most highly rated of the group while the JUKI MO644D’s threading system may leave some novice users frustrated.

Although not a necessity, a free arm incorporated into a sewing machine’s design can definitely increase its usability, especially for tubular projects like sleeves. The Brother Lock 1034D and both Singer sergers included this feature, while the JUKI MO644D did not.

Performance

A home serger can help you streamline your sewing projects by cutting and stitching fabric in a single step. The Brother Lock 1034D and both Singer sergers operate at 1300 stitches per minute. The JUKI MO644D's lighting fast 1500 stitches per minute make it the most efficient of the sergers under review. However, the slightly awkward location of its stitch adjustment knob may reduce efficiency when multiple adjustments are needed.

Operating volume and vibrations should also be considered in the evaluation of a home serger's performance. Both Singer sergers and the Brother Lock 1034D were considered noisy by some users. Additionally, the Singer machines seemed jumpy during operation, with some vibrations strong enough to affect thread settings. The JUKI MO644D was relatively quiet and stable in its operation.

Portability

Portability is another consideration in choosing a home serger machine, especially for people who might meet up with friends to work on sewing projects. A built-in carry handle increases portability and can be found on all the machines we reviewed.

The Singer 14CG754 serger was the lightest of the machines we compared at just about 13 pounds, followed by the Brother Lock 1034D. The JUKI MO644D’s weight of slightly more than 18 pounds may make it too unwieldy for some users.  

Affordability

Singer 14CG754 Serger is the most affordable of the overlock serger machines we reviewed. The Singer 14J250 Stylist II and Brother Lock 1034D are both mid-range models. The JUKI MO644D is the most expensive model reviewed. Included accessories such as presser feet, thread, and dust covers should be considered when comparing prices on home sergers.

How Does the Brother Lock 1034D Compare?

The Brother Lock 1034D compares favorably to its peers. Although it may be a tad less intuitive on set up than the Singer machines, it excels in performance and design features and is backed by a market-leading warranty. The Brother Lock 1034D will likely provide you with years of service with only minimal maintenance.

Conclusion

In this review of the Brother Lock 1034D, we had a chance to look at some of the more important features to consider when researching home serger machines, and how the Brother Lock 1034D compares when stacked up against similar models.

Design features, performance, portability, affordability, and ease of use are key characteristics to examine when comparing home sewing machines. When all are considered, we can see why the Brother Lock 1034D is a solid choice for an entry or mid-level home overlock serger machine. Let's look at how we came to our conclusion.

Brother Innovis 2800 Sewing Machine Review

the brother innovis 2800 sewing machine

Whether you are just learning to sew or have already gained many years of experience in sewing, a sewing machine is a useful investment for all craftspeople looking to learn how to perform this certain skill. One sewing machine stands out from the rest of the market for its various merits and for its design that is both highly versatile and easy to use no matter how much experience you have with a sewing machine. This device is known as the Brother Innovis 2800, one of the many types of sewing machines under the Brother line of sewing machines.

What Is the Brother Innovis 2800 Sewing Machine?

NV2800D_rightwide

The Brother Innovis 2800 is a sewing machine that contains over 100 embroidery designs based on characters and designs associated with Walt Disney movies. Its main feature is a large color LCD screen that helps users of the machine navigate through the various options for sewing, embroidery stitches, and design. 

The screen also displays tutorials and walkthroughs for guiding beginners through their attempts to navigate the world of sewing. You can also connect the Brother Innovis 2800 machine to certain computers via a USB port.

Product Specs  

The Brother Innovis 2800 Sewing Machine has an enormous number of features. There are over 700 options for utility, decorative, and quilt-stitching options. There are over 120 designs based on Walt Disney characters, 340 on board embroidery designs, and the stitch width and length are adjustable. You can also use the screen of the Brother Innovis 2800 to edit your work, and rotate your embroidery in one, ten, or 90-degree increments at a time. It has a long, proud reputation for being user friendly, in the same vein as the other sewing machines sold by the Brother line, which is renowned for its easy-to-understand user manuals.

Pricing  

The Brother Innovis 2800 can be fairly difficult to find online nowadays, but it can occasionally be found from online retailers such as Amazon, depending on the condition of the machine. However, you will probably have better luck finding other products from the Brother line than the Brother Innovis 2800, with the Amazon options skewing towards their newer machines.

How It Compares

We picked a few similar sewing machine products available on the market to see how they compare to the Brother Innovis 2800. These included:     

  • SINGER | ​Start 1234 Portable Sewing Machine with 6 Built-in Stitches
  • Brother Project Runway CS5055PRW Electric Sewing Machine
  • Brother Jx2517 Lightweight and Full Size Sewing Machine
NV2800D_rightwide

Price

The Brother Innovis 2800 can go for a surprisingly high price thanks to the fact that it is fairly difficult to find nowadays, and the many features of the product can make it highly valued among people familiar with what makes up a good sewing machine. 

Pros

  • It is extremely versatile in its functions
  • Great for beginners while also having some value for advanced users thanks to a wide variety of functions
  • Enormous variety of options in terms of patterns, stitches, etc.
  • Large color LCD screen makes it easy and convenient to use for anyone

Cons

  • Very difficult to find due to the fact that it is somewhat old
  • Potentially no warranty depending on where it is purchased from
  • Prices vary drastically depending on the age of the machine
  • Ease of Use
  • Value for Money
  • Design Quality
  • Warranty

Because the manufacturer has moved onto other products, finding a warranty for a Brother Innovis 2800 may depend on the seller, or may not exist at all.

SINGER | Start 1234 Portable Sewing Machine with 6 Built-in Stitches...
  • SINGER FREE-ARM SEWING MACHINE: The SINGER Start 1234 Free Arm Portable Sewing Machine has 6 Built-In Stitches including...
  • LIGHTWEIGHT AND PORTABLE: This lightweight and portable machine weighs only 7 pounds, making it great for sewing in...
  • AUTOMATIC BOBBIN WINDING SEWING MACHINE: To wind a bobbin, simply follow the numbered diagram printed on top of the...

The SINGER Start 1234 Portable Sewing Machine with 6 Built-in Stitches is designed to be a beginner's sewing machine that executes simple tasks with minimal problems. It is noted for its toughness and ability to sew up jeans and leather, but it is not recommended as a product designed to tackle multiple layers of fabric. It also comes with decorative vinyl stickers to attract younger, less experienced consumers into customizing their very own sewing machine and making it their own.

  • Ease of Use
  • Value for Money
  • Design Quality
  • Warranty

The warranty for the SINGER is terrific, offering replacement parts and repair free from one year of purchase while also promising that the machine will endure up to 25 years, offering free replacement parts (but not repair and labor costs) during that entire time period assuming wear and tear are not the source of the problem.

Pros

  • Great for beginners
  • Simple, easy to use
  • Portable and can be decorated
  • Terrific deal on the warranty
  • It is very affordable

Cons

  • Only good for beginners and simple projects, otherwise fairly unhelpful for the more advanced

Brother Project Runway CS5055PRW Electric Sewing Machine - 50 Built-In...
  • Brother Project Runway model delivers couture-level, consistent stitch quality
  • 50 stitches - customize in style with built-in clothing, decorative, heirloom and quilting stitches. Free Arm for Sewing...
  • Includes complete designer sewing and finishing solutions, with 6 specialty feet, accompanying stitches, and specialty...

The Brother Project Runway CS5055PRW Electric Sewing Machine is a machine that is designed to be easy to set up and use, with many efficient features including 50 built in stitches. Each of these 50 built in stitches comes with multiple stitch function, giving users plenty of control over their own projects while also being easy to use.

  • Ease of Use
  • Value for Money
  • Design Quality
  • Warranty

Most users agree that the Brother Project Runway machine is easy to use and features a well structured manual that ought to ensure both beginners and more advanced sewers can use the machine and enjoy it.

Pros

  • Heavy duty and tough
  • Inexpensive and quiet
  • Huge variety of stitches and multiple stitch function
  • Great for beginners and advanced users alike

Cons

  • Too much plastic
  • Not a strong warranty

Brother Jx2517 Lightweight and Full Size Sewing Machine.
  • 17 Built-in Stitches, Including an Automatic 4-step Buttonholer. 38 Stitch Functions, Brightly Lit LED Work Area. Free...
  • Easy Automatic Bobbin Winding System. Easy-to-use Blind Hem Stitch. Jam Resistant Drop-in Top Bobbin. Pattern Selection...
  • Included Accessory Feet - Buttonhole foot, Button Sewing foot, Zipper foot, Zigzag foot. Other Included Accessories -...

The Brother Jx2517 Lightweight and Full Size Sewing Machine is a portable and inexpensive sewing machine designed to be primarily used by beginners. It became a hit in the sewing world thanks to its convenience and ability to appeal to beginners.

  • Ease of Use
  • Value for Money
  • Design Quality
  • Warranty

As a sewing machine designed to be used by beginners to accomplish basic sewing tasks and create simple stitches, the Brother Lightweight is meant to be straightforward to work with. However, more experienced sewers may be frustrated by the machine's inability to take on more difficult tasks, which bumps down the ease of use for the more ambitious. (It is, however, tougher than most beginner's sewing machines.)

Pros

  • Easy to transport and use
  • Tough for a beginner's sewing machine
  • High variety of built-in stitches for such a simple machine

Cons

  • Difficult to get a warranty
  • Very much for beginners, not advanced users

Conclusion

After looking through four different brands of sewing machines, the verdict comes down to what your skill set is and how much you can afford. Those looking for a beginner's sewing machine are encouraged to purchase the Brother Innovis 2800 or Lightweight over the SINGER, with the variety of features on Brother's machines making them ideal for beginners, along with their tough design quality. The only potential is finding good versions of them online that are covered by warranty. For a more advanced user, the Brother Project Runway is probably the way to go, with a variety of features and toughness that make it convenient for the average user. However, those looking into a sewing machine purchase are advised to take an honest look at what their sewing level is before making a commitment to one particular brand of a sewing machine.

Cheap Sewing Machines to Check Out

old cheap sewing machines

You want to learn to sew, but you aren't sure if buying a cheap sewing machine is a good idea. There are plenty of inexpensive machines that can transition from beginner, through intermediate, to master sewist. In the sewing machine industry, you can still purchase cheap sewing machines and get years of use out of them.

I purchased a Brother basic model back in the late 1980s to teach myself to sew. It is still my favorite little machine. It has been used to create everything from shorts and sleep pants to t-shirts, skirts, and business attire. Hemming jeans, making Halloween costumes for my daughter, and curtains for an entire house. It was even used to make industrial-grade commercial products using 69-pound thread and sewing through two layers of strapping to attach Velcro hook and loop. Over thirty (moderately abusive) years later, that is still my go-to machine for everyday sewing projects.

Determining Your Needs in a Sewing Machine

The first step in selecting a sewing machine is to determine what your needs are. What do you plan to do with it? Will you need a wide variety of stitch styles or just a standard array of the most common stitches? Will you be making clothing? Costumes? Curtains or drapes? Ask yourself as many questions as you can think of about what you plan to do with your sewing machine. The answers will guide you in making a wise selection for your first sewing machine.

Once you think you know what you're shopping for, go window shopping. Things to consider:

  • Budget (that's why you're checking out cheap sewing machines, right?)
  • What type of thread can you use -- spool or cone
  • Is it easy to thread (or self-threading)
  • Are bobbins easy to wind and replace
  • Does the owner's manual come with cleaning and maintenance instructions
  • Does it make buttonholes - how many steps does it take
  • Are any attachments (walking foot, buttonhole foot, etc.) included
  • How many types of stitches are available
  • Is it computerized
  • Does it embroider

While we could keep adding to our list, we won't. Most sewing machine retail stores will have several machines set up that you can "test drive." Plan to spend several hours there and machine hop. Check out the features, and have a sales associate explain things that aren't familiar to you. Sometimes that feature we desperately need might be the one we didn't even know existed.

Cheap sewing machines are the best way to go

woman using a modern sewing machine

The majority of cheap sewing machines on the market are built with quality parts and made to last. Manufacturers still believe in crafting a quality product. They can sew through several layers of denim or more substantial fabric. Cheap sewing machines should not be confused with toy sewing machines.

Many smaller machines are low-maintenance. Oil them and keep them clean. With proper care, these cheap sewing machines will deliver years of use and sew through hundreds of yards of fabric.

Brands That Cater to Beginners

While there are many manufacturers of sewing machines, not all of them produce cheap sewing machines suitable for beginners. The two most well-known brands that do cater to beginners are Brother and Singer. Both have been around since the dawn of time (or so it seems). We found a few others that also produce good quality cheap sewing machines that will bring a lifetime of enjoyment to the sewing room.

Brother International Corporation

Brother International, founded in 1954, originated in Japan and currently employs 17,000 people. They conduct business in more than 100 different countries. Their United States headquarters is in Bridgewater, New Jersey. They also maintain a vast distribution center in Tennessee, spanning a million square feet. They have sales and support staff around the US.

While Brother manufactures more than just sewing machines, they continue to put quality workmanship into each machine they produce. A few of their cheap sewing machines made our list.

Brother Intl LX3817 Lightweight and Full-Size Sewing Machine
  • Brand New in box. The product ships with all relevant accessories

Amazon Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars

This little machine is probably one of the most basic Brother models currently on the market. It is also one of the least expensive models we found. This machine arrives packed with features, including 17 built-in stitches and a four-step automatic sizing buttonhole.

The Quick-set bobbin system is jam-resistant, uses a clear bobbin and has a drop-in loading system with a clear view bobbin cover. This allows you to see how much thread remains on your bobbin during a project. There are four extra sewing feet included for special projects.

A bright LED light illuminates the work area. Upper thread tension is easily adjusted with the control dial to avoid having loose or puckered stitches. It includes a free arm, which allows you to sew sleeves and cuffs easily. An instructional CD shows customers how to use their new sewing machine.

After reading the reviews, most of the lower rankings on Walmart had to do with problems with the store, not the machine. Previous customers had returned machines without all the bits and pieces, and the items were placed back on the sales floor as new. The customers who were satisfied with this little machine were delighted and wrote glowing reviews.

Brother Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine, HC1850, 130 Built-in...
  • COMBINATION SEWING & QUILTING: The HC1850 is a fantastic multipurpose sewing and quilting machine that is easy to use...
  • 130 BUILT-IN STITCHES: This quilting and sewing machine includes 8 styles of one-step auto-size buttonholes and multiple...
  • QUILTING FEATURES: The HC1850 comes with a detachable wide table, spring action quilting foot, and the ability to do...

Amazon Rating: 4.4 out 5 stars

At the higher range in the Brother line-up is the HC1850, which is a fully functional quilting, sewing, and embroidery machine that can sew simple monograms. With the features included in this machine, you might expect the price to be out of our range, but affordability is great. Available at Amazon and many other online and local retail stores including Walmart. 

Significant features

This machine is far from average when it comes to cheap sewing machines. With 130 built-in stitches, there is very little that this machine can't do. In addition to having many decorative stitches, this machine has eight different styles of auto-size one-step buttonholes.

There are eight specialty presser feet included. These accessories increase the capabilities of this little machine. The spring-action quilting foot, coupled with the detachable wide table, allows this machine to perform free-motion quilting. The monogramming foot and 55 included monogram stitches make monogramming easy.

The features just don't quit. This machine has a Quick-set drop-in bobbin, a simple bobbin winding process, and a self-threading needle. The simple threading system makes it a breeze to set up to start sewing. The machine works with or without the foot controller pedal. The LCD is backlit, making it easy to see and use the push-button selector to change stitches. An adjustable sewing speed and LED-lit work area make it easy enough for beginners and versatile enough for seasoned veterans.

Brother includes a DVD with useful tutorials and a bilingual user manual. The manufacturer also includes free phone and online technical support. Not just for a year -- for the life of the product.

What owners have to say about this machine

Comments extoll the virtues of the machine and the ease of use. Some of the negative comments were that the machine frequently jammed, rendering it unusable. The majority of the positive comments included some variation of "I love this machine" or "best machine I've ever owned." The most repeated tip from current owners is to watch the included DVD before you begin using this machine.

Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine, CS6000i, 60 Built-In Stitches, 7...
  • SIMPLE-TO-USE SEWING AND QUILTING MACHINE: The CS6000i sewing and quilting machine is user-friendly. The stitch selector...
  • AUTOMATIC NEEDLE THREADER: This quilting machine includes an automatic needle threader that perfectly pushes thread...
  • ADJUSTABLE SEWING SPEED: The Brother CS6000i sewing and quilting machine features an adjustable stitch speed that gives...

Amazon Rating: 4.4 out 5 stars

Another great little machine by Brother International is the CS6000i, a combination quilting and sewing machine. This little machine can sew up to 850 stitches a minute and is very user-friendly. It has an easily adjustable speed control so that you can set the pace that you work. The stitch selector allows you to choose the stitch you want from the 60 available stitches quickly and easily.

There are nine extra presser feet included. With automatic needle threading, there is no more magnifying glass and fighting with shaky hands to get the thread through the eye of the needle. Raise your hand if you've ever struggled with this... *writer raises hand high*

While the machine arrives equipped with an extra large table for more significant projects and quilting, the table extension is removable. This free arm feature allows you to quickly shift to shirt sleeves or cuffs, and smaller projects.

Brother seems to have thought of almost everything with this machine. It includes a dual-language user manual and a DVD to show buyers how the machine works. With the free online and phone technical support the only thing they missed was the kitchen sink.

Pricing and praise

The low cost of this machine belies all the features it has. You can buy this little powerhouse at Walmart, Amazon, other online outlets and many free-standing retail stores in your local area.

Out of more than 7,000 reviews on Amazon, most are positive. Users discuss the ease of setting up this machine for first use, for both beginners and seasoned users. The most consistent complaint was that the machine had difficulty with thicker fabrics or transitioning over existing seams. Many of the other complaints are most likely user error due to not setting the tensioning correctly.

Singer

In 1950/51, Isaac Merritt Singer developed and patented the first sewing machine designed specifically for home use. The Singer company has continued to produce quality machines that are affordable for over 165 years. In 2017, Singer jumped into the computer app field with their innovative Sewing Assistant App. The app provides on-the-go assistance for your sewing machine troubles, questions, and general help to keep your sewing projects on track.

Singer offers a full array of free online video tutorials. From your first stitch to the complexities of threading a serger, they seem to have tried to cover everything.

Singer Classic 23-Stitch Heavy-Duty Mechanical Sewing Machine, 44S
  • Brand New in box. The product ships with all relevant accessories

Amazon Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

If you're into speed-sewing, this little machine hums along at 1,000 stitches per minute. The base model is the 4411, which includes 11 standard stitches driven by a strong motor and housed in a heavy duty metal frame. It has a stainless steel work area over a top-loading drop-in bobbin system.

This machine includes an automatic needle threading option with fully adjustable stitch sizing, including length, width, and density. There are three needle positions. With the included Quick Start guide, you can be sewing those Halloween costumes in no time.

The model 44S is available at Amazon, Jet, and Hayneedle online and at various local retail sellers such as Home Depot and Walmart. Pricing varies drastically depending on the retailer and the number of pre-programmed stitches. It is available in a light grey or the standard white (grey costs extra).

With just under 1,700 reviews, 66 percent of the Amazon reviewers rated this machine at 5.0 stars.

The Singer 44S model is a base model that is available with different stitch counts. The model 4411 has 11 stitches, model 4423 has 23 different stitches, and the model 4432 has 32 stitches. This will make a difference in pricing and machine capabilities when purchasing, so be aware. If you're expecting 32 stitches and you order the 4411, you will be coming up short.

Sale
SINGER 7463 Confidence 30-Stitch Electronic Portable Sewing Machine
  • Sewing machine with push-button selections for 30 pre-programmed yet adjustable stitches
  • Drop & Sew system; needle threader; 13 needle positions; automatic tension; two one-step buttonholes
  • Free arm; StayBright LED light; heavy-duty metal frame; on-board accessory storage

Amazon Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars

This machine has a simple push-button stitch selection and size adjustment levers on the front panel. There are 30 stitches pre-programmed, and all have adjustments for different stitch length. There are 13 needle positions, a drop-in bobbin system, automatic needle threader, and automatic tension adjustment.

A removable accessory compartment turns the sewing deck into a free arm attachment for sleeves and cuffs. The workspace is well-lit with an LED light. While it carries a limited 25-year warranty, if you use it outside the US or Canada it will not be covered.

The Confidence 7463 ships with a lot of accessories, including a seam ripper, lint brush, a dust cover, a needle plate screwdriver, and much more. Five different presser feet increase the versatility of this machine.

The people who reviewed this item on Amazon seem to either love it or hate it. With the 5-star and 1-star ratings split at 52 percent and 38 percent, respectively, the people who love it outnumber those that don't. 

A bit more to the expensive side of the spectrum. It is available at Amazon. Hayneedle, and brick and mortar establishments like JoAnn Fabrics and Walmart.

Juki

Juki America, Inc. opened in 1974, but the parent company, Juki Corporation, has been operating for more than 75 years (since 1947). Their headquarters is located in Tokyo, Japan, while Juki America is in Doral, Florida. They maintain a worldwide presence and operate in over 170 countries.

To provide better customer service and sales, Juki established an authorized distributor network. Distributors, trained by Juki, provide marketing, technical assistance, and support throughout the Western Hemisphere. While many Juki machines target the commercial sewing market, they are a formidable component of the home sewing machine market and are becoming increasingly popular with home users.

Amazon Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Although most Juki machines remain too high-priced for many household budgets, they do market a line of cheap sewing machines that contain many of the features that make their industrial line so popular. Because there are limited customer reviews, we opted to combine the affordable Juki options into one section. Models rated on Amazon are:

  • Receiving only 3.0 out of 5-stars -- Juki HZL-27Z Sewing Machine
  • With 3.5 out of 5-stars -- Juki HZL-353ZR-C Sewing Machine

Many people submitting the lower ratings had prior experience on Juki industrial machines. They expressed disappointment at the lower-performing household models. Many of the comments refer to the larger Juki machines and compare them to these smaller machines.

We know that comparing apples to oranges never works, so please keep that in mind if considering one of these cheap sewing machines from Juki. With no more than 18 reviews on any of the three models, there isn't much to judge.

As a frequent sewing machine user, I would not personally rule out these models based on such a small smattering of reviews. I would, however, visit my local sewing center and test drive them rather than opting for sight-unseen online purchase options.

Janome Sewing Machine Co., Ltd

Better known as simply Janome, this Japanese company has been making sewing machines for almost 100 years. They have an American facility, Janome America, in New Jersey. They are a world leader in sewing machine production.

Janome holds the distinction of introducing the world to programmable sewing machines. They developed the Memory 7 machine in 1979 and continued to produce quality and innovation in the field.

There are rumors in several reviews for Janome machines that they do not honor the included 25-year warranty on their machines. They do, but there is a catch. You need to purchase your machine through an authorized dealer. The good news is that they maintain a handy list of dealers on their website, searchable by zip code.

Even better - Amazon is a registered Janome dealer, so purchases from Amazon do fall under their warranty. A word of caution here -- if you click the link on Amazon that says something like "Available at other dealers," those sellers may not be authorized dealers even though they are selling through the Amazon platform.

Sale
Janome MOD-30 Computerized Sewing Machine with 30 Built-In Stitches, 3...
  • Janome Computerized Sewing Machine with 30 Built-In Stitches including 3 One-Step Buttonholes
  • Easy Threading with One-Hand Needle Threader
  • Top Loading Bobbin with Clear Cover and 7-Piece Feed Dog System

Amazon Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars

This little powerhouse has 30 pre-programmed stitches. It utilizes a simple drop-in bobbin with a see-thru cover so you can monitor thread usage. With one-hand needle threading, it is a breeze to get started. While made for the home sewing market, this machine has a specialty needle plate and a 7-piece feed dog system (those are the little grooves that "walk" your material across the work surface).

The LCD is backlit and has easy-to-use keys for stitch selection. There are three available one-step buttonhole stitches. There are four presser feet included and a free arm for cuffs and sleeves.

Many of the less than favorable comments related to the light weight of the machine and use of plastic components. Some users had difficulty with tensioning adjustments. The positive reviews were glowing.

The Janome MOD-30 can be purchased online via Amazon and Hayneedle, and at local retail stores JoAnn Fabrics and Home Depot. The Janome MOD-Series has a total of 7 versions, each with slightly different features. The number of stitches is the most notable difference. Because this affects pricing, those offering less than 30 stitches will be less expensive, and those over the MOD-30 will be more expensive.

Sale
Janome 2212 Sewing Machine
  • Easy turn dial pattern selection
  • 12 built-in stitches including a four-step buttonhole
  • Stitch width adjustment and length adjustment ensures ease of use

Amazon Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars

For a base-level machine with only 12 available stitches, this little Janome might be just what you need. Unlike its computerized siblings, this machine is mechanical. There are manual tensioning control and adjustable stitch lengths. It can sew up to 1,000 stitches per minute, has a front-loading bobbin, and free arm. Stitch patterns change quickly with a dial on the front of the machine.

It includes a four-step buttonhole stitch among the 12 stitch patterns. There are snap-on presser feet to quickly change from zigzag to regular straight-line stitching or to make a buttonhole. The work area is well-lit with a bright light. You will have to deal with manual threading and a manual reverse, but it does have automatic bobbin winding.

This is promoted as an entry-level machine and is great for beginners or seasoned seamstresses with no need for all the fancy bells and whistles. This model is available at JoAnn Fabrics and many online outlets including Amazon. If you opt for this model, please make sure that you purchase it from an authorized Janome dealer.

Customer satisfaction with this machine is very high. Out of 447 posted reviews on Amazon, 409 were positive, and only 38 had negative ratings. The positive comments rave about the simplicity, ease of set up, and efficiency of the machine. The negative reviews complain of jammed needles, a voided warranty due to purchasing from an unauthorized dealer, and wobbly stitch lines.

Janome 2206 Sewing Machine
  • Front Loading Bobbin
  • Free Arm
  • Speeds up to 860 spm

Amazon Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars

The Janome Model 2206 is a little sister machine to the Model 2212, with many of the same features, but a lower stitch count. With only six available stitches, it is more fundamental and has a lower price tag.

There are only nine reviews for this machine on Amazon, but seven of the reviewers gave this machine the full five stars, and one gave it four stars. The only negative review was a three-star rating with a comment saying the machine was good for small projects like quilt blocks. There are no reviews posted at JoAnn Fabrics and only two posts on the Walmart listing for this item. Both of those set the rating at four stars. The comments speak of the ease of use and general reliability of this little machine.

More from Janome

Janome makes several other models that fit within our price criteria. They all have the same great features as the few we detailed above. Some ship with bonus kits containing things like seam rippers, extra bobbins and other sewing notions. The stitch counts vary on them. A quick, but not complete, list of other available models:

These cheap sewing machines are brightly colored, well-built, and perfect for a younger seamstress just learning to sew. Janome is making a serious bid to join Brother and Singer in teaching the world to sew.