Once new friends learn about sewing as my hobby, their next question is usually about sewing machines for kids. Now that my kids are older and starting to sew, and I’ve taught a small sewing class for our homeschool co-op, I feel equipped to share some thoughts!
It makes me so sad that the top results for searching this on google are from people who clearly have never actually sewn a thing. I’m working on ordering these machines for myself to try firsthand and will update this post once we’ve used them for a while. Please let me know if there is one that you love that I haven’t included! I don’t work with any sewing machine companies and try to stay unbiased as I can; sometimes bloggers seem to include a ton of different machines hoping you’ll just click through on one of them, but I’m only linking the ones I would actually buy myself after researching them.
Check these related posts out while you’re at it:
- 20+ cutest sewing kits for kids
- 20+ easy sewing projects for kids
- The best tips for teaching kids to sew
- 10 free simple embroidery patterns for kids!
Not ready to pick one today? Pin this round-up of sewing machines for teens with this link!
Factors for The best sewing machines for kids
New vs. used
I’m sure many of you will be thinking, buy a vintage machine! That isn’t my personal recommendation, but you can read this most on what I think about vintage vs. new sewing machines here. I’ve linked to the machines on Amazon because it is fast & easy, and their customer service is great, but please consider visiting your local Brother & Janome dealers as well.
Dealership machines tend to be a little more expensive but also have more metal parts instead of plastic. Another huge bonus is developing a relationship with the shop, since you’ll want to go there to get it cleaned or serviced. Sometimes they will even include in person sewing lessons with your machine purchase!
Another considering is to shop secondhand. Be wary; you’ll want to make sure they’re willing to plug it in, show you how to thread it, and sew something before you buy. Check craigslist, Facebook marketplace, or your local dealer who refurbishes them.
Most entry level sewing machines have similar functions and features. Kids learning to sew don’t need a zillion stitches or fancy options; they need to be able to do a zig-zag and straight stitch, thread the machine easily, and access the bobbin without too much fuss.
Two other features that aren’t mandatory but I prefer are a “free arm” which you can see above. This makes it much easier to sew something like a sleeve or a circle, since you can keep the bottom layer separate from the top by sliding it over that free arm. The other is to have a stop/start button option instead of using a foot pedal. In my opinion, this makes it much simpler to intervene if a kid needs help but also is one less thing to worry about. You can set the speed to super slow and let them focus on keeping stitching straight instead of maintaining a speed with their foot.
What to avoid at all costs
Don’t buy one of these toy sewing machines for kids if you want your kid to actually sew! I have seen them in person and they are junk, they fall apart quickly and will frustrate new learners. In my opinion a “finger guard” just makes it harder to sew and I prefer to focus on safety instead of prevention. A needle through the finger would be traumatic but not life threatening, so it’s a risk I’m willing to take instead of buying a safe sewing machine that won’t actually function well.
Recommended sewing machines for kids
After reading reviews both on Amazon and in private sewing groups, I came up with two models that I think are great for beginners including kids. If there is another one you think I should consider, please let me know! They’re both under $150 and well made enough to retain resell value if it ends up being a phase instead of a hobby. Both these machines are about 12 pounds, which I think is good because that means they won’t slide around while you’re sewing but are still easy to move around.
The Brother CS6000i is beloved by the online sewing community, and for good reason! It has a computerized screen to select stitches and comes with 8 different feet (those are the little metal pieces by the needle and can be interchanged depending on the project), including an automatic buttonhole. I’ve used this machine with kids and love it!
- Speed selection and no foot pedal option! As I said before, this is key for me when working with my kids on sewing.
- Needle auto-threader, which makes getting started super easy
- Comes with an oversized “table” (that can also be detached); this is great for sewing larger projects like pajama pants or lap quilts.
- Removable free arm
- Comes with a hard case to keep it dust free
- Has too many stitch options, in my opinion, it’s overwhelming
- Not very cute
My second pick is the Janome Pink Sorbet. It can be a bit confusing; they carry a separate, specific Janome childrens sewing machine but the reviews on Amazon and in sewing groups seem to support it not lasting very long. Which is a shame because it is so darn cute! The Pink Sorbet reviews are great though. It comes with 4 different feet and has no LCD computer screen, which is one less thing to potentially break in my opinion.
- Removable free arm
- Super cute color options
- No auto-threader
- Doesn’t come with a cover