The decision to get a sewing machine and learn dressmaking skills is a bold one, and some people stumble at the first hurdle of finding the right machine. Part of the problem comes in choosing the right company, especially when you learn how many sewing machine brands there are.
How many sewing machine brands are there?
Too many to list in one guide. There are hundreds of producers across the world trying their very best to produce the best sewing machine ever, or perhaps something a little special in embroidery or quilting. There will always be a market for these products as generations continue that desire to learn how to sew. There will also be those with years of experience looking for a modern machine to help them build on their skills. So, you will find well-known names and some you have never heard of fighting to capture little niches in the market.
For example, on one end of the scale, you will have the Brothers and Singers of the world, with countless happy customers and specialist equipment. On the other, you will have companies better known for other equipment that happen to dabble in this market. For example, there are Toyota sewing machines from Japan. Also, Husqvarna – the lawnmower people – have a series called Viking.
Which are better American, Japanese, or European sewing machines?
This is a difficult question to answer because you don’t always know where your machines have come from. For example, we all know Singer as one of the leading names in American sewing machines and their founder as an incredible inventor. But, a lot of their machines are made in Japanese factories.
Which are the most popular sewing machine brands right now?
One of the best ways to get an idea for the market in the US right now is to see which machines are the most popular on Amazon.com. I have scanned through the top 50 and – at the time of writing this guide at least – there were some outright winners and some curious contenders.
You will often see Singer and Brother highlighted as the best in the world, and Janome often finishes off that top three. However, while there are some great Janome machines around, they don’t make the cut on the Amazon bestseller list. The affordable Janome 2212 Sewing Machine is there at #40, but that’s it. Instead, you get some alternative brands in there thanks to their beginner-friendly options or miniature models.
Singer sewing machines.
I have to start off with Singer because it is the first name that comes to mind and the best-seller on Amazon. Even those that have never sewn in their lives are aware of Singers. The classic design of the old metal sewing machine is a Singer. This company has created well-loved models for decades. You can learn more about the Dressmaker model in my other guide. There are plenty of them for sale with some on the more affordable end of the scale and others not so much. Some of the modern versions aren’t as stylish as their mid-century ancestors. But there are thousands of happy users.
The Singer Heavy Duty 4452 Sewing Machine is a great example of a robust model that retains some of the standard features. You can do a lot with this machine and it should last a while, which is probably why it is the #1 best seller right now. The Singer Start 1304 is more compact and beginner-friendly, putting it in competition with an interesting brand below. For more heavy duty sewing machines reviews click here.
Brother sewing machines.
Chances are that if you didn’t learn to sew on an old Singer passed down from previous generations, you learned to sew at school on a Brother. That was certainly the case for me. Brother is just as popular right now because you can get a brilliant range of smart machines. There seem to be more models designed with computerized elements to the displays and for uploading designs. This is always going to be a hit with younger generations.
The Brother GX37 is a cute little option with a small number of built-in stitches and feet to play with. It seems like a good starter model and, with just over 14,000 reviewers online, many agree. Slightly further done the list are some alternative models for sewing and quilting, which takes Brother in an interesting direction. The Brother XR9550 is a great choice with lots of room to move.
KPCB sewing machines.
This is the name that you wouldn’t expect to see so high up the rankings unless you have used one yourself. They don’t always get quite the same ratings as a Brother or a Singer, and that isn’t a big surprise considering the drop in quality. They are what they are – a small, affordable solution for those just starting out that don’t want the expense or learning curve of something more high-end. I see the appeal of something like the KPCB Sewing Machine for Beginners. This tiny device could work well in a student’s dorm room and is inexpensive. You also get a surprising amount in the box.
Aonesy sewing machines.
Aonesy is another name that pops up more than I would have expected in the best sellers list. It might not be the first name that you would turn to if you had some previous experience and a decent budget. However, this is another affordable alternative to the big guns. No one should expect to be able to do too much with these machines as they are more basic and compact. But, that is the point. You can learn the basics of dressmaking and repairs here on a portable model before upgrading to a Brother or Singer with a fancy display and different options. The Aonesy Mini Sewing Machine is a great entry-level option for a lot of younger users.
Don’t be afraid to look at alternative sewing machine brands.
Singer and Brother rule the market, but they aren’t the only sewing machine brands out there. You should be able to find something suitable for your needs with either. But, that doesn’t mean that KPCB, Aonesy, Janome, Husqvarna, Toyota, or anyone else won’t have what you need either. Shop around. You might be pleasantly surprised.
I’m a stay at home mom with our two kids. I really enjoy doing crafts with my toddler however, that is typically a challenge with her limited attention span, messiness, and desire to always have clean hands. So, I’m always looking for ways to make crafting an enjoyable experience and fond memory for the both of us.