Best Sewing Machine For Making Clothes (2020)

Do you have an interest in making clothes? Looking for the best sewing machine for making clothes? If you are ready to unleash your inner designer and get working on making some bespoke clothes then you will need the best sewing machine for the job.

You may already have some preferences for the type of sewing machine that you want. Perhaps you have had the opportunity to use a machine that works well. Or you may be looking for an updated version of your current model.  If you are new to using a sewing machine or are buying one for a younger relative then read on.

What is the Best Sewing Machine for Making Clothes?

Searching some of the web sites and gathering information from customer feedbacks and blogs, it seems that most people who are looking specifically for a new sewing machine to make clothes are looking for a machine that offers the following criteria:

  • An easy to use machine that will do all the basics such as variable-sized stitches; insert zippers; buttonholes and will reverse.
  • A machine that will do all the basics but also has other functions that the machine user can apply as they become more confident with the machine e.g. simple embroidery.
  • The machine must be easy to maintain and instructions should be given about cleaning and getting rid of dust and fluff from fabrics.
  • It would be useful if the manufacturers had online tutorials on setting up the machine and also using some of the functions.
  • Most reviewers would like some advice on how to change the tension on their machines. A lot of manufacturers fail to explain how to change the bobbin tension.
  • Value for money is very important as a sewing machine is not something that gets replaced or updated on an annual basis.

The sewing machines that we will look at here are for making clothes. None of these models in that were reviewed below are sold as machines that should be used for heavyweight fabrics or for professional use. There are one or two machines that could be deemed heavyweight and will appeal to people who prefer a machine that is continually stable when in use. All of them are for making clothes which include lightweight tailoring.

There are several different makes of sewing machines in the review. Both Brother and Singer are the go-to manufacturers for a lot of people mainly for their reputation and state of the art machines and accessories at affordable prices. Also included are a few machines that may appeal to the younger sewer or for someone who needs to transport their machine on a regular basis but all the machines in the review can be used to make clothes.

Once you start to make clothes you will soon realize your own potential to make changes to patterns that will bring out the designer within you.

1. Brother Designio Series DZ2400 : Computerized Sewing & Quilting Machine

This machine has some really great features that can bring out the inner designer and the seamstress in you.

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Although it may sound a little daunting to have a machine that can span a range of 185 stitches (130) of these are sewing stitches, it is easy to see the range of possibilities that are at your fingertips. One feature that will always get my attention is buttonholes; not only does this machine offer 8 styles of 1-step buttonholes, it can also automatically adjust to the specific size of your buttons.

What is also surprising is the extra wide table that actually allows you an extra 33% more workspace.
The machine is not designed for the heavy use that it would receive if used by a professional seamstress and neither is it an ideal machine for a young person to learn on. You do need to have some experience.

From quilters perspective, the machine is light enough to pick up and take with you if you are heading to a quilting bee. The only downside that I can see to this machine is that it can only be used in countries that use 120V AC electricity. Trials using a voltage adaptor have not had any success. Make sure that you take some time to check out the warranty as typically it may cover parts but not labor.

2. SINGER 1234 Sewing Machine

This machine is without a doubt an excellent choice for a beginner.

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Admittedly it does have a gimmick added to entice the younger machinist or would-be machinist namely the Tote Bag Project. The machine also comes with access to a free online class, this is especially good if the new owner does not have anyone who can help them over the first few hurdles of setting up, threading the machine and starting to sew.

But on the plus side sewing can be addictive, so one the newbie machinist has grasped the basics they will soon start trying out different skills features (this machine comes with all of the basics such as zipper foot, darning plate, extra needles, and bobbins). There are some really great reviews on this machine. Positive reviews have included backing for the online support, accessories and the tote project which in effect means that you can start your first project as soon as you get your machine.

You can customize your machine by using the decals that come as part of the package. With all of these additions, it is difficult to acknowledge that this is a basic machine, and this is reflected in the price. Negative reviews are very few, and seem to revolve around expectations – it’s a basic machine for beginners but with the scope to produce some really good projects.

3. Michley LSS-505 Lil’ Sew & Sew Multi-Purpose Sewing Machine with Built-In Stitches

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Based on the fact that most sewing machines that cater for the home seamstress tailor (and quilter) are Singer or Brother (manufacturers like Bernina tend to produce machines that are for the avid experienced/professional machinist), so it was refreshing to see a product that is made for the beginner by a different manufacturer.

This is a multi-purpose machine with 8 built-in stitch patterns. There are two-speed settings which means that you have control over the speed far better than you could normally as a beginner. This would suit either a child or an adult that is just beginning to learn to use a sewing machine. It comes will all of the usual features that you would expect from a full-size machine such as forward & reverse stitching. The manufacturer says that it can sew sleeves – well any machine can depending on the skill of the operator.

4. Janome 2222 Sewing Machine

This is one of the more spendy models in the group of sewing machines that were reviewed.

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It is interesting that the product does not seem to want to be sold just as a sewing machine as it needed to be sold with a ‘free bonus kit’ which implies that the product needed an extra boost of some sort to get people to buy it. But what it really has going for it is that it is able to produce buttonholes in one step – a feature that is always a bonus for this clothes maker. However, at the end of the day, it is just a basic sewing machine and probably not one you would get if you wanted to expand your machine skills alongside technological advances.

Around 80% of people who bought this machine gave it a 4+ rating, as they felt that it was a basic machine with just a few extra stitches added on. However, reviews felt that the instructional manual was easy to read and follow. Although it is a machine that should be also to cope with light and medium weight fabric projects, it has been known to cope well heavyweight fabrics. The machine is lightweight and easy to carry but when is use is very stable. On the downside, some machines are known to jam continually but that is only a small number of machines.

5. Brother XM1010 with 10 stitches, 4-Step Auto-Size Buttonholer

Lightweight, portable and a full-sized machine.

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This machine is certainly the one for everyday use whether you are making clothes, doing some alterations or are mending. It has 10 built-in stitches which may not seem like a lot when you are comparing this machine to some of the other all singing all dancing machines and it will produce buttonholes for you in a 4 step process complete with auto-sizing your buttons.

A built-in free arm/flatbed sewing surface to help make cuffs and sleeves makes this machine very desirable. Comprising of all of the basic, practical features including an instructional DVD and the additional 25-year (limited) warranty.

I think this model is the workhorse and possibly one of the best machines that a beginner can learn to sew with. It seems that there are a lot of seamstress out there that would prefer to get down basic sewing and leave the more complex machines to people who are focused on embellishments as opposed to sewing clothes.

6. SINGER Start 1304 Sewing Machine

The SINGER Start 1304 Sewing Machine is user-friendly and heavy-duty at the same time. It has a durable metal frame that guarantees the machine to stay in place while you’re sewing and not mess up your stitches.

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  • Easy to use. It has an easy to use interface, has a dial you can use to switch between 6 built-in stitches that the machine has to offer, as well as threading diagrams printed on the machine itself, so even beginner sewers will have no problem using it.
  • Includes three presser feet. The feet are used for most sewing projects like adding buttonholes, slots, and zippers.

7. Brother XR3774 Full-Featured Sewing and Quilting Machine

Although a little more expensive than the other Brother Models in this review the Brother XR3774 is ideal for advanced sewers and beginners alike.

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This model can blind hem and produce very good quilting stitches. One feature that it has over the other models is that it can produce buttonholes in 1-step. Additionally, it has a Quick-set drop-in bobbin and an automatic bobbin winding system. It seems like this machine takes over all of the little tasks that you a sewer would find troublesome when they are just trying to sew.

Several purchasers favorably likened this model to a Bernina mainly because of the control that they were able to have over the foot pedal. However what was surprising was the people that had purchased this model complained that they were experiencing difficulty with loops on the back of their stitching, this seems to be a constant problem not just with this machine and this manufacturer but it appears across the board. I have added some suggestions at the bottom of the reviews.

8. Sewing Machine Mini 2-Speed Double

The price is mini and so is the machine. This little powerhouse boasts that it can sew anything from silk to denim.

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It is portable and obviously very basic, but it is a good machine for encouraging you people to sew or to keep in a holiday home or in the RV. It has easy-to-use features that include a drop-in bobbin. It is run by a foot pedal or a hand switch. Experience shows that it can be difficult to control such a small machine by using a foot pedal but it can be done. The bobbin case is known to come loose occasionally so be ready to try to realign the bobbin (you may need a screwdriver for this).

Although the manual states that you can sew denim, this may stretching the truth a bit as this is a basic mini sewing machine so you may find it has difficulty with thick fabric and burn out the motor. Because of its size, you will experience difficulty in keeping it steady if you are trying to sew a long seam. The downside to this machine is that the cord that is provided is very short to make sure that you have an extension cord near to hand additionally there have been ongoing problems with the machine jamming.

9. Brother SE400 Combination

This machine can embroider, quilt and sew.

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This machine has many advantages as it has features such an automatic thread cutter, can access 67 sewing stitches and 70 embroidery designs that can be used on a 4X4 inch square. Once you have made a garment you can add features to your work through embroidery, quilting or personalize with writing using one of 5 fonts. You can make designs on your computer then merge them into the sewing machine. Like most machines, it has a 25-year limited warranty plus free phone support for the life of the machine.

This is a very affordable computerized sewing machine. I think that the majority of sewists would really like to own this but it can be more temperamental than a mechanical machine, but that must have been said about the difference between a hand machine and an electrical machine. There are plenty of features that can cause problems such as the LCD not working or the embroidery not working as it should do and shipping back to the manufacturers for repair is expensive.

10. Singer Sewing 4432 Heavy Duty

If you are looking for a workhorse then here is your machine.

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It will run at a speed of 1,100 stitches per minute, faster speed equates to more professional results. The stainless steel bed-plate makes sure that your fabric is fed through smoothly. The metal frame means that the machine will remain stable and help prevent skipped stitching. All this comes at a heavy cost and this machine weighs in at a hefty 17 lbs.

This workhorse compares favorably with other computerized sewing machines. It copes well with all weights of fabric up to and including leather for a bag. A highly recommended machine, very reliable.

Bird Nesting, Looping/Loose Stitching

As a first stop always refers to your instruction manual that was supplied with your machine and any online support that is provided by the manufacturer.

  1. Check your tensions, your thread tension, and your bobbin tension.
  2. Do not alter both at the same time. Alter one. Test.
  3. Make any alterations minimal. Once you see a positive result make a note of what you did.
  4. Most manuals provide you with information about making changes to the thread tension. If you are not sure about how to check or change your bobbin tension then check out tutorial videos online.
  5. Make sure that you are using the appropriate thread for the weight and type of fabric that you are using.

This is an ongoing problem and it may take a little time to sort out, but the effort you put in will pay off long term.

11. Sunbeam SB700 70-Stitch Domestic Sewing Machine

The number 70 keeps cropping up with this machine – it has ’70 different easy to use stitch styles and patterns’ and it has a 70-watt motor.

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Sunbeam is using the fact that it has a twin needle plus three needle positions as a selling point but most machines have this feature. The machine boasts that it can make almost anything as it is versatile enough to make clothes for a newborn to curtains that are made from heavy fabric. Is there nothing that this machine cannot do? But truthfully the machine is as they say it’s a compact machine which with the right support and instruction would really help a person who is new to sewing and new to this machine. Inexpensive, budget choice. A plus side to this is that it is very good at supporting decorative projects.

There is no doubt about it this is a popular machine most agreed that it is a good value for money. One of the downsides to this machine is that for some people being lightweight is a bonus but others feel that this is a problem as when they are using the machine it lacks the sturdiness of a heavier model. Also, some people have experienced difficulty with the tension that cannot be resolved.

Best Sewing Machine For Beginners Making Clothes: My Top 3

My research and experience support the fact that it is better to choose the non- computerized models as the most common difficulties are:

  • Chips blowing out.
  • LCD screens going dark

It was general impression that the mechanical machines are more robust but not as much fun as the computerized machines where you can just pick a stitch that you want and put the needle in position and away you go. But the subject of the review was the best sewing machines for making clothes so I’m keen to offer basic models that will do the job without breaking the bank and frustrating starters out there.

Singer 1234: Beginner Friendly

My number 1 pick is the Singer 1234 model.  It is not the cheapest out of all of the small machines, but the free online class and the Tote Bag project is a great way to enthuse a young person or a novice seamstress who would like to make clothes through learning some basic skills first. The only difficulty with this is that the price of this machine. It is nearly the same as a full size, fully functioning machine which you will soon have to buy as this small machine has its limitations.

Brother XR3774 : For Experienced Clothes Makers

Brother XR3774 just takes everything to the next level. It is the big sister to the Brother XN1010, but the features just go up a notch. As it is a specialized machine you can be confident that you are getting the best workhorse for your sewing projects complete with the additional professional features.

Brother XM1010: All-round Model for Making Clothes

Brother XM1010 is lightweight, portable and full size. It works really well for all of your sewing needs. To pick up one feature that could be improved on, the suggestion is that the buttonhole feature could be updated to become a one-step process as opposed to the current four-step, but the automatic button sizing is awesome. There are enough choices of stitches that allow you to make your work just ‘pop’.

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