This best selling Brother sewing machine is a great buy for beginners or experienced sewers. (567 Amazon reviews agree!)
Readers email me all the time asking what’s the best sewing machine for beginners. Very often the message comes from someone who knows little or nothing about sewing–a husband buying an anniversary gift for his wife who hasn’t sewn in many years; a grandmother encouraging her teenaged granddaughter to sew her own designs; a mom buying herself a Christmas gift she can use to make clothes for her children and maybe even a little extra money on the side.
Believe me, I know how tough it can be to feel confident that you’re making the right choice. (My husband agonized over choosing the right machine to surprise me with one Christmas. He just didn’t want to make the wrong choice.) After all, you want to get the best possible machine without overspending. It can get super confusing when you’re researching options online, after all there are dozens of brands and hundreds of models. There are good reviews and bad reviews and bogus shopping websites. How do you know what advice is real? Ask a real person who sews.
Why not just buy the cheapest beginner sewing machine you can find?
My first piece of advice is always “don’t shop by price.” The cheap models are just that, cheap. Not only will the machine wear out quickly, but you’ll also have a terrible sewing experience. One pain-in-the-butt machine can make you swear off sewing forever. And that would be a shame. A beginner needs a machine that will make them look like a genius! They need a machine that supports them and helps them gain confidence quickly. Because when your first project turns out great, you’ll start another one immediately. And that’s how you get better–with lots of successes under your belt.
In general, I wouldn’t even look at a sewing machine under $300. Those $75 jobbers aren’t going to cut it. They will frustrate you to no end, and the worst part is you’ll blame yourself for being a “bad sewer” or tell yourself you’re “just no good at this.” When in fact, it’s your machine that’s no good.
Having said that I have found a great low-cost machine that blows all my “rules” out of the water. I now recommend this machine to everyone looking to buy a gift for a beginning sewer and those looking to buy their own first machine. What’s it called?
My recommendation for the best first sewing machine is the Brother CS6000I.
That’s a mouthful, for sure. I don’t know why sewing machine manufacturers can’t come up with cute names like “The Sparky” or “Butterfly” or even “Gorilla Tough XL7.” It’s tough to keep all those model numbers straight. But I digress…
You’re not going to get overwhelmed.
Many sewing machines these days are run by super-computers and have about a thousand stitches built-in, along with dozens of other features you’ll probably never use. It’s almost like you need a special degree to figure out how to use these monsters. But not this time…
The Brother CS6000I is like the Goldilocks of sewing machines
Not too hot, not too cold. Not too hard, not too soft. It has just enough stitches and features to keep you happily sewing for many years. Trust me, you’ll never miss the crazy bells ‘n whistles of the super-computer models. In fact, you may never need to buy another sewing machine at all.
This is a computerized model, and comes with an LCD screen so you can choose your stitches and settings easily. But it’s very intuitive and easy to understand. This computer actually helps make your life easier, not harder.
You won’t get more machine than you can handle. You won’t get cheap gears that don’t mesh and flimsy attachments that break the first time you snap them on. This machine is lightweight, easy to learn, quiet and reliable. Just the perfect partner for learning to sew your own garments, quilts, home decor items–whatever your heart desires! (By the way, it also rocks for experienced sewers who want an easy, reliable machine to carry to workshops and classes.)
Here’s what you will get:
- 60 stitches. That’s about 56 more than you’ll probably ever use.
- 7 different automatic button holes
- Snap-on presser feet
- Extra wide extension table for larger projects like quilts
- Easy needle threading system
- 3 speeds for more accurate stitching
- Automatic needle up or down stop position
- 25 year warranty
Multiple speeds are the best for learning to sew.
This model comes with three speeds–slow, medium and fast. While we all want to finish our projects quickly, sometimes the slower speeds are just the ticket. I’ve taught very young children to sew on a machine because they can slow down and take their time. Beginners build confidence quickly because they get beautiful straight seams and perfect quilted patterns the first time. No unpicking the seam and redoing it. The slower speeds are also great for experienced sewers working on complicated applique or quilting patterns. Sometimes you just need to slow down.
All accessories included.
This machine comes complete with every available accessory. Some companies sell you just the bare necessities and make you spend extra on the fancy gadgets. Not with this machine. In fact, this baby comes with almost all the same attachments as machines costing over $1,000. Attachments like a walking foot, button-holer, zipper foot, hemming foot, and embroidery foot.
An instruction manual you can actually read.
Have you ever tried to read instructions for a new machine and felt like you were reading a foreign language? Well, not with this one. The instruction manual is actually helpful, easy to understand, and a good reference point if you get stuck. It’s actually more like a sewing manual than a machine manual because it shows you how to perform certain techniques like smocking and gathering, teaches you about needle sizes and much more. It’s like Brother really cares about you getting the most satisfaction from their product–what a concept!
Be aware of one thing though, apparently Brother uses the same instruction manual for several machines and many reviewers thought they would be getting a 1/4″ presser foot with the machine because it was shown in the manual. According to the manufacturer, that is not the case. So, you may have to spend a few extra dollars if you need that size foot.
So, what do other buyers think of this machine?
When you look at online reviews, it can be tough to get a convincing number of votes one way or another. Three or four positive reviews are great, but this machine has nearly 400 customer reviews on Amazon alone! That’s really saying something. Of course, be sure to read the positive and negative reviews to get a balanced view of the product before making a decision to buy. I find it interesting to read people’s thoughts before they purchased the machine compared to after they bought it and started using it. Here are a few quotes from Amazon reviewers:
“This is my first sewing machine, so I was worried about figuring out how to use it correctly. However, everything is so easy to do. I was doing projects in no time!” John Willhite
“I don’t sew at all, so I was worried about choosing this machine for (my sister.) She called when it was delivered to say she is just so happy with its performance, …” Christine Greene (Bedford, NY)
“I was worried that the computerized controls would be difficult to learn – not so! I never had to read the directions for that…” Etacarinae (California)
“Since this machine was so inexpensive I was expecting to brace myself for less quality. I was afraid it would be too light and cheaply made…If you (have to) spend less than $200 for a machine, this is a great little machine and you won’t be disappointed.” Donna Devine
“I was afraid it would be flimsy and have a difficult time with the fabrics I use, but it was a champ…” H. Diehl (St. Louis, MO)
“I have never sewn before, but wanted to learn it as a hobby. I was a little nervous because many of the reviews were talking about problems with tension, and I was concerned my inexperience would make that a problem. I haven’t had any problems learning how to use it though. I have had it for about three weeks and have already made about four projects and done some repair work…” T. Sedai
This is a true beginner’s machine designed for regular use with apparel-weight fabrics. Be sure you use a high quality thread and needles to avoid the dreaded “birds nest” at the beginning of your seams. And if you’re sewing on heavier weight fabrics like denim or upholstery fabric, just slow down a little and your seams should come out fine. It takes longer for the needle to go in and out of thicker seams.