how to choose the best kids sewing machine

How To Choose The Best Kids Sewing Machine

Read our buyers guide & product reviews for help 

Congratulations, you're thinking of introducing your child to the wonderful world of sewing!

Once you've noticed that your child may have an interest in sewing, the next step should be to check out the marketplace, and see what kinds of sewing machines are out there.

This guide was written to help you with your research. There are literally thousands of models and kits to buy, but most of them were constructed with adults in mind.  If your goal is to give your child a new life-skill, then you want to make sure you get them a machine that is easy to use and of course safe for them.

There's no set age for teaching your child to sew. Some kids are old beyond their years and can handle learning to sew when they are just 3 to 4 years old. Whatever age you start them at, this guide will help you to choose the safest and right model for them.

Quick Summary: Here are the 5 Best Kids Sewing Machines

My Top 10 Sewing Machines For Kids

My picks are based on a combination of features, price, warranty and overall value.

Image

Name

Auto Threading

# of Stitches

My Rating

Brother XM2701
*Editors Choice*

Yes

27

5 out of 5

Singer 3232

Yes

32

5 out of 5

Brother XM1010

No

10

5 out of 5

Singer 1304

No

6

4.5 out of 5

Singer 2259

Yes

19

4.5 out of 5

Brother XL2600I

Yes

25

4.5 out of 5

Janome Fastlane

No

10

4.5 out of 5

Janome Hello Kitty

No

11

4 out of 5

Michley-Tivax Lil' Sew

No

8

3.5 out of 5

What Features Are Important For A Child?

Choosing the right sewing machine for a kid is a matter of matching their personality to the different features that beginning machines offer. The features that we will be looking at include speed control, brand names, automatic needle threaders, and large dials.

Sewing Machine Speed Control

A kids sewing machine must have good speed control. It should be able to adjust to your child's expertise and level. Kids will get frustrated if they feel that they are sewing too fast or they are losing control.  It's good for the model to have an automatic stop so it won't continue to operate when it runs into resistance.

Brand Name Sewing Machines for Kids

There are many brands on the market, but it never hurts to buy a model with a name that has a track record of quality.

Singer is one of the most recognized names in the industry and has a stellar reputation for well-built, basic machines. Singer machines come with easy to follow diagrams and instructions. 3 models reviewed below include the Singer 3232, the 1304, and the 2259.

Brother sewing machines are also very highly regarded by parents who want a good quality machine that has excellent stitch quality and can deal with a bit of rough handling. Here we look at the Brother XL26001, the LS21251, th XM1010, and the XM2701.

The Janome brand has become increasingly popular for its safety features and multiple options that youth and adults can both appreciate. Popular models are the Janome Fastlane and the Hello Kitty machines.

Rounding out our list is the fund and fabulous Michley-Tivax Lil' Sew & Sew. This is a high quality, lightweight, relatively inexpensive machine that is easy to carry around. It works well for basic mending without expensive, unnecessary, extras.

Automatic Needle Threaders

Ask any parent that has tried to thread a sewing machine with their son or daughter and they will tell you what a headache it is. Children will be able to immediately get right into their sewing project without extra muss and fuss.

Kid's Need Large Dials

Kids will definitely appreciate a model that has a large stitch selection dial, preferably located front and center for easy access. Big tension dials and easy to reach reverse levers also get high marks from children beginning to sew.

Safety Considerations

No matter how vigilant a parent or guardian is, there are always those times when an accident occurs.

That's why it's so important to pick the correct model from the beginning. A child should never start sewing on an industrial machine made for adults. Beginning sewers will naturally make many mistakes, but we don't want those mistakes to lead to a serious injury.

They will put a bobbin in wrong, break needles, jam threads, etc. For these reasons and more, you should start your child's journey into sewing on a lightweight machine that's been constructed with kids' safety in mind.

Portability is also important. Carrying a lightweight machine into the kitchen to sew with mom or dad is much easier than trying to lug around a heavy one.

A few sewing safety tips for kids:

  • Always have the pressure foot down before starting to sew
  • Check to see if there's anything under the fabric before starting to cut
  • When finished sewing, use the hand wheel to put the needle down, then put pressure foot down before turning off and covering the machine
  • If your machine has a foot pedal, don't operate it barefoot or with slippers.

Different Types

There are a number of sewing machines on the market designed especially for children and beginner sewers.

We would recommend that you don't buy a "toy" model sewing machine.  They jam easily and may cause your child to get frustrated and give up sewing.

Look for a real sewing machine that is designed for novice sewers and available at a reasonable price. Safety is the number one feature to look for, of course, but there are other considerations and machines to consider, depending on the age, interest, and skill level of your child.

Children 7 and above are at the perfect age to learn on a mechanical sewing machine. There are many models out there that are easy to thread, the bobbin winding is uncomplicated, and stitch selection is a simple. It's important to choose a model that complement's a child's personality. If they get bored easily, you may want to consider a machine that has a lot of features and options.

The Brother LS2125i is a great kids' sewing machine with many options. It's lightweight, budget-priced, and easy to set up. Ten stitches can be selected by turning a dial, including an automatic four-step buttonhole stitch. It offers the variety that children love - it's a top-loader and even winds the bobbins for you! It has a variable-speed pedal control that helps your child to keep up with needle speed.

Another recommended option is the Brother XL26001. It has a switch selection dial, a simple free arm for hem sewing, and a drop-in automatic winding bobbin. It also has 25 unique stitch types that will be ready and waiting once your child has mastered zigzag stitches and a basic straight line.

Is My Child Too Young To Sew?

Children as young as 3 or 4 can be started on a small, lightweight machine that can do standard sewing. Start them off by practicing sewing using no needle, so that they'll get used to the machine. Once you're confident that they know how to keep their fingers out of harm's way, you can put the needle in and have them sew with slowly adult supervision.

Some children may do well with a sewing kit designed especially for them.  You can buy a complete set, that includes kids patterns, machine and accessories.  We generally don't like these kits though because the machines aren't usually all that well made.

A first sewing machine should be lighter than a general purpose machine, have child-friendly safety features, and be less expensive than larger adult models. Studies confirm that boys and girls who start sewing at a younger age are capable of understanding necessary safety measures, can learn early how to protect small fingers from a presser foot, and in general will have a higher level of safety knowledge than children that start at a later age.

Online reviewers speak very positively about the Janome Hello Kitty Sewing Machine for the youngest children. This machine offers a free arm, 11 stitches, a four-step buttonhole, and a convenient carrying handle. There's nothing fancy here, but there's enough functionality so that children can learn basic skills on an inexpensive, reliable machine. The extra high presser foot snaps on and is sturdy. In fact, the three feet that are included are as secure and stable as any screw-on feet. The tension dial and reverse lever are also easy to reach.


Best Sewing Machine For Kids


#1) Brother XM2701 Children's Sewing Machine - Editor's Choice

Why It's Great For Kids: Young sewers will appreciate its light weight, many sewing options, and built-in needle threader.

PROS

  • Contains 27 built-in, unique stitches, including zigzag, blind hem, decorative, quilting, and an auto-size one-step buttonholer that makes nearly perfect buttonholes
  • Comes with a bilingual (Spanish and English) user manual and an informative instructional DVD
  • 25-year limited warranty, and includes free technical online and phone support during the entire life of this product!

CONS

  • Not for use in any country that doesn't support 120V AC
  • Foot pedal is a little too sensitive

This inexpensive sewing machine is a dream for young sewers. With a rating of 5 stars, the Brother XM2701 is lightweight (7.2 pounds), has a one-step auto-size buttonhole, an instructional DVD, and 6 fast-change sewing feet (zipper, buttonhole, zigzag, blind stitch, narrow hemmer, and button). In addition, this machine has a needle threader that's built in, a top drop-in bobbin that's jam resistant, an entirely automatic bobbin-winding system, and a bright LED work area.

The XM2701 has a complete range of easy-to-use features that will please little fingers. Its built-in free arm is specially made to simplify sewing cuffs, pant legs, and sleeves. Just turn the dial to select a stitch, and touch a lever on the machine's side to automatically thread the needle.


#2) Singer 3232 Simple Sewing Machine for Kids

Why It's Great For Kids: Children will love its automatic needle threader and one-step buttonholer

PROS

  • Free accessories include lint brush, edge, seam ripper, pack of needles, quilting guide, bobbins, thread spool caps, darning plate, L-screwdriver, foot control / power cord, instruction manual, and a soft-sided dust cover
  • Includes a buttonhole foot (for adding ribbon slots and buttonholes), 4 presser feet, button sewing foot, and a free arm that allows easy access to collars, cuffs, pant hems or any other hard to reach areas
  • Weighs only 12.2 pounds

CONS

  • This 110-Volt machine can only be used in the US and Canada
  • Bobbin can be tough to access

The Singer 3232 Simple Sewing Machine has a 4.8-star rating and is reasonably priced and simple to use. It features 32 built-in stitches (6 stretch stitches for mending and construction, 6 essential stretch stitches that move along with the fabric used, an automatic, 1-step buttonhole maker, and 19 decorative stitches), a time saving automatic needle threader, and an adjustable stitch width and length, which prevents fabric from bunching and keeps all seams strong. Its completely automatic one-step buttonhole gives professional results with one button touch.

This Singer product has online support, including social media support for connection to other sewers for tricks and tips of the trade. A number of online tutorials are available on threading, bobbin installation, and training on presser feet.


#3) Brother XM1010 Sewing Machine & Instructional DVD

Why It's Great For Kids: Children will love its easy stitch selector dial, LED lighting, and automatic bobbin winder

PROS

  • Includes a bilingual (Spanish - English) manual, an instructional DVD, and a 25-year limited warranty, which includes free technical support as long as the product exists
  • Easy stitch selector allows user to dial stretch, utility, and decorative stitches, as well as buttonhole
  • Includes many useful accessories, including a three piece needle set, darning plate, 4 feet, 4 bobbins, foot controller, screwdriver, and quick-start guide

CONS

  • Power cord could be longer
  • Integrated light is a tiny light bulb, which only lights up left side of presser foot

The Brother XM1010 is an inexpensive and useful machine. It is a lightweight, full-size, portable machine that is specifically designed for everyday mending and sewing. It's ten different, built-in stitches include stretch, zigzag, blind hem, and an auto-size, 4-step buttonholer. Four sewing feet are included - zipper, zigzag, zipper, and buttonhole. It also includes these easy to use features: drop-in, jam-resistant top bobbin, automatic bobbin winder, reverse sewing, easy stitch selector dial, thread tension control, and bright LED lighting.


#4) Singer 1304 Children's Sewing Machine

Why It's Great For Kids: Beginner sewers will enjoy the easy threading system, with clear instructions printed directly on the sewing machine

PROS

  • A free online owner's class instructs users on how to change needles, thread the machine, sew on buttons, sew seams, hems, zippers, and more
  • Preset stitch width and length makes getting started a breeze
  • Free accessories include darning plate, class 15 bobbins, pack of needles, spool pin felts, needle plate screwdriver, lint brush, seam ripper, foot control, power line cord, manual, and quick start guide

CONS

  • This 110-V machine is only designed for Canadian and US use
  • Machine shakes while sewing

The Singer 1304 allows the sewer to change the stitch in one simple step. This very reasonably priced machine. It has six built-in stitches - zigzag, satin, straight, scallop, blind hem, and buttonhole. It has a four-step automatic buttonholer and dual spool-pins that provide twin needle sewing in parallel rows. It also features free accessories (three snap-on presser feet - zipper foot, all-purpose foot, and buttonhole foot), a heavy-duty metal frame, and an automatic bobbin-winding system. A removable free-arm allows easy access to collars, pant hems, cuffs, and other hard-to-reach areas.


#5) Singer 2259 Tradition Easy-to-Use Sewing Machine

Why It's Great For Kids: Perfect machine for the sewer that's just learning - has easy threading and stitch selection

PROS

  • Accessories include buttonhole foot, all-purpose foot, zipper foot, button sewing foot, two thread spool caps, edge / quilting guide, screwdriver, class 15 bobbins, lint brush, seam ripper, needles, power cord, foot pedal, machine intro DVD, and instruction manual
  • Has a 25-year limited warranty with online and social media support, as well as video tutorials on installing a bobbin, threading, and presser feet training
  • Has adjustable tension, automatic pressure control presser foot, a four segment feed-dog system, and a heavy-duty metal frame

CONS

  • The automatic threader did not work as well as competitors
  • Too many needle jams

The Singer 2259 saves time with its easy, quick threading feature. Kids enjoy the adjustable zigzag width and stitch length. This machine features 19 built-in stitches with a fully automatic four-step buttonhole, four snap-on presser-feet, and easy stitch selection. It is reasonably priced and has a free arm and on-board storage, as well as a simple stitch selection dial. Nineteen built-in stitches offer many options for decorative sewing, home decor, crafts, and fashion sewing.


#6) Brother XL2600I Sewing Machine

Why It's Great For Kids: Fantastic choice for the novice sewer and for those daily sewing projects

PROS

  • Compact, lightweight style (11 pounds) and simple bilingual manual (Spanish and English) is ideal for beginning sewers
  • Quality accessory pack includes blind stitch, zipper, buttonhole, narrow hemmer, and button sewing foot, class 15 bobbins, screwdriver, twin needle, standard needle pack, darning plate, small screw-base light bulb, and extra spool pin
  • Has an outstanding 25 year limited warranty, plus free phone support for entire life of this product

CONS

  • Can't be used in countries that don't support 120-Volt AC (even if voltage adapter is used)
  • Reverse stitch option does not work as described

The Brother XL26001 features a thread cutter, needle threader, auto bobbin winding, drop-in bobbin loading and a one-step auto-size buttonholer. It also has 25 built-in stitches (including decorative, utility, and heirloom stitches), each one capable of multiple stitch functions, and a free arm that permits fast and simple sewing of shirt sleeves or hems on pants. This very versatile machine is ideal for kids creating or altering clothing, quilting, crafting, home decor, and so much more. This is a fantastic product for a very affordable price.


#7) Janome Fastlane Fuschia Children's Sewing Machine

Why It's Great For Kids: This machine weighs only 5 pounds and features a presser foot with finger guard to protect small fingers

PROS

  • Can be used with chiffon, flannel, knits, cotton, and lightweight denim
  • Ideal for dorm living and apartments, as well as for sewing with friends or taking to classes
  • Has a built-in accessory tray, a 4-point feed dog system, and an adjustable tension control dial

CONS

  • Stitches don't feel as quality as competitors
  • Bobbin occasionally does not pick up

The Janome Fastlane, is one of the finest, most reasonably priced children's sewing machines on the market today. This portable machine is the right choice for sewing and alterations on the go. It's ten built-in stitches include zigzag, crescent (for custom hems), and straight with 2 needle positions, accessory storage, a free arm, easy reverse, a top drop-in bobbin featuring a transparent cover, and threading diagrams. Its multiple sewing functions include paper crafting, scrapbooking, mending, general crafting, creating doll clothing, applique, seaming, quilt piecing, and zipper insertion. This product comes with a 25-year limited warranty.


#8) Janome 11706 Hello Kitty Sewing Machine

Why It's Great For Kids: A durable sewing machine that's a reliable product for children to learn to sew on

PROS

  • The front-loading bobbin is perfect for children and is a "real" sewing machine, not a toy
  • It's lightweight, has an excellent stitch quality, and the sound is uniform
  • Plastic bobbin can be replaced with Singer class 66 metal bobbin

CONS

  • Needle timing was off and wouldn't pick up bobbin thread

The Janome 11706 features a free-arm, carry handle, 4-step buttonholer, and eleven stitches (including two stretch stitches). This lightweight kids machine (12 pounds) is portable and is an excellent choice for taking to sewing class or dorm rooms. The Janome Hello Kitty also has a three-piece feed dog, an extra-high presser-foot lift, a push-pull bobbin winder, snap-on presser feet, stitch selection dial, and a vertical oscillating hook bobbin. This sewing machine is well made, has an easy-to-follow manual, and creates nice, even stitching.


#9) Michley-Tivax Lil' Sew & Sew Sewing Machine

Why It's Great For Kids: Can be used by children as young as 4 years old (with supervision)

PROS

  • Good instructional video is available on their website
  • Ideal for simple stitching and hemming with such light fabrics as cotton
  • Can be controlled either by a switch on machine or by the foot pedal

CONS

  • The bobbin threader is plastic and feels cheaply made
  • Many users have reported having problems with the tension setting

The Michley-Tivax Lil' Sew and Sew LSS-505 provides eight built-in stitch patterns, double thread, and double speed, forward and reverse sewing, and two speeds for easy use. It sews sleeves, features a built-in sewing light, and includes an adaptor, drawer, thread cutter, thread bag, and foot pedal. This machine uses DC 6Volt power and comes with a one-year limited warranty.

The Lil' Sew & Sew is one of the least expensive children's machines on the market today and has a reputation for efficiency and ease of use. Its light weight (5 pounds) allows sewers to carry it anywhere, and its built-in LED light does an excellent job of illuminating the entire work surface.


Conclusion

After looking at and comparing hundreds of sewing machines, and reading what seemed like thousands of reviews, we came up with a list of what we consider the top 10 best sewing machine for kids.

We considered simplicity, safety features, variety of options, and cost. The top machine for children, in our opinion, is the Brother XM2701 full-featured, lightweight model, which earned a "stellar" five-star rating. Its broad range of simple to use features will please even the most finicky new sewer. This machine's 25-year limited warranty shows just how much Brother stands behind their product.

Two machines are tied for second place with a rating of 4.8 stars - the Singer 3232 and the Brother XM1010. Both are simple to use and reasonably priced. The Singer 3232 has 32 built-in stitches (19 of which are decorative), in addition to an automatic needle threader, one-step automatic buttonhole, and an adjustable length and width stitch. The Brother XM1010 shines with bright lighting and has an easy-stitch selector dial, plus an automatic bobbin winder.

Thank you for checking out our list of what we consider to be the best sewing machines for kids on the market today. Good luck, and happy sewing!

Maria Geer

I started this blog because I love to sew :) ​The purpose of this website is to provide you with sewing tips, review the latest products and most importantly, build a community for us to express our love for sewing.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Joy Candrian - May 5, 2017

The one machine that 2 of my sewing students own is the Singer 1304. This machine is not a good one for kids because it only has one speed and a machine that can adjust the speed it so much better for beginner sewers. The other problem with this machine is it’s always getting jammed! I would not recommend it at all.

Reply
    Maria Geer - May 5, 2017

    Hi Joy – thank you for your comment. Actually, I have always had good luck with the 1304 for kids and beginners….but I also understand where you are coming from and will ask some of my friends for their opinions as well. Thanks!

    Reply
Wendy - October 7, 2017

I introduced my grandchildren to sewing using my machine with sliding speed regulator, needle down and start button.

They, 5 and 7 years of age, very quickly picked up how to lift the presser foot, put fabric under, lower the presser foot and sew. I set the sewing speed very low. The 5 year old girl liked the stop/start button without the foot pedal, whilst the 7 year old boy could reach the pedal and preferred using it.

I started them off without thread and using heavy weight interfacing until they got the gist of what to do. I showed them how to thread the machine and needle and how to put in the bobbin.

I think children are more likely to enjoy sewing when the machine works well. The frustration when a machine jams or won’t work properly will put them off. So, I believe letting them use my adult machine under my supervision. They even took to free motion thread drawing like ducks to water when I showed them how to move the fabric/interfacing by themselves under the needle and using the darning foot. They wrote their names and drew pictures in thread. I was amazed at how they followed the steps I showed them, in correct order. They think sewing is very ‘cool’!!

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