Are you looking for the best sewing machines for making clothes? We’ve got you covered!
There are so many reasons to make your own clothes – you can choose the perfect fabric, custom fit the pattern to fit your shape just right, be sure that you are creating quality garments that will last for years.
You can learn new sewing and dressmaking skills, and have the chance to get really creative — not to mention that it can also be a ton of fun.
But clothes making is not without its challenges.
The best way to make sure that the process goes as smoothly as possible is to invest in a high quality sewing machine which is specifically designed for the job.
In this guide we’ll be looking at 8 of our favorite machines for sewing clothes. We’ll look at the qualities you should look for in a machine, and some tips for getting started.
Want the TLDR on our top-rated machines? See 3 of our top picks below!
- The Best Sewing Machines For Making Clothes
- SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 Computerized Sewing Machine
- SINGER Stylist 7258 Computerized Sewing Machine
- Brother XR9550PRW Computerized Sewing Machine
- SINGER Fashion Mate 3333 Free-Arm Sewing Machine
- Janome Skyline S3 Computerized Sewing Machine
- Janome 4120QDC Computerized Sewing Machine
- Janome HD3000 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine
- SINGER ONE Vintage-Style Computerized Sewing Machine
- Features Of Sewing Machines For Clothes Making
- Adjustable Stitches
- Presser Feet
- Powerful Motor
- Automatic Features
- Free Arm
- Extension Table
- Jam Proof Bobbin
- Speed Control
- Tips For Using A Sewing Machine For Making Clothes
- Pay attention to your needle
- Match up your threads
- Smooth things out beforehand
- Take it easy
- Be patient
- Join a sewing group
- Maintain your sewing machine
- Cost Guide and Best Brands
The Best Sewing Machines For Making Clothes
We’ve picked out 8 of the best machines for your clothes and dressmaking.
Starting with one of the most popular machines in the world…
SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 Computerized Sewing Machine
Fully computerized, the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 has an extensive range of 600 stitches, fonts, and buttonholes, which can be easily selected by using the large, easy to read, LCD touch screen control panel.
The top loading bobbin does away with annoying thread jams, and there are handy automatic features to make life easier, including an automatic needle threader and automatic thread trimmer.
The strong motor and robust metal frame of this sewing machine for clothes making give it great stability and durability. The included extension table is ideal for larger or bulkier sewing projects, and the electronic twin needle and vast array of 18 presser feet open up a whole load of possibilities.
Maximum sewing speed is a lightning fast 850 stitches per minute, and sewing speeds can be set effortlessly to suit your requirements using the buttons beneath the LCD control panel.
- Huge range of stitches, both practical and decorative
- Fairly intuitive to use
- Good for beginners and even better for experienced sewists
- Very fast stitch speed
- Choice of hand or pedal speed control
- Convenient automatic features
- Powerful and well made
- Good value for money
- Lots of useful accessories included
- Comes with a hard case to keep the machine protected
- Capable of sewing a huge range of fabrics
- Quite heavy so may be difficult to travel with
- Can be a bit of a learning curve to get to grips with all the features
SINGER Stylist 7258 Computerized Sewing Machine
Priced lower than the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 mentioned above, the SINGER Stylist 7258 Computerized Sewing Machine has a little less in the way of bells and whistles, but is nevertheless a fantastic machine for sewing clothes for sewists who have a smaller budget.
The 100 adjustable stitches can be selected using the simple push button stitch selection, and include 7 effortless one step buttonhole styles, stretch, basic, and decorative stitches.
The Singer Stylist 7258 features an automatic bobbin winder which prevents you from filling your bobbin up with too much thread, practical electronic stop and start button, a high pressure foot lifter to accommodate thick fabrics, horizontal stitching option, adjustable sewing speed with a top speed of 750 stitches per minute, free arm, and programmable needle.
It comes with 10 presser feet which cover all your basic needs for sewing clothes.
- Durable design
- Useful automatic sewing controls
- Nice range of stitches and buttonholes
- Very easy to use
- Light and portable
- Adjustable stitch length, width, and tension
- Great sewing machine for beginners
- Comes with 25 year warranty
- Can be noisy — particularly at high speeds
- Stitch selection can be time consuming as you have to scroll through
- Can sometimes struggle with very thick fabrics
Brother XR9550PRW Computerized Sewing Machine
The extension table of the Brother XR9550PRW is just one of the features that makes it ideal for sewing clothes.
This reasonably priced machine has nearly 170 stitches ranging from basic everyday stitches to decorative and alphanumeric stitches and 8 different buttonhole styles for all your project needs.
Stitches can be selected and adjusted using the simple to use push button control panel and LCD display.
This sewing machine for clothes has a maximum sewing speed of 850 stitches per minute, and speeds can be easily adjusted using the 3 speed control slider.
The motor is powerful enough to handle most types of fabric, and sewing is made quicker and easier thanks to the automatic needle threader and thread cutter, top drop in bobbin, and easy bobbin winder.
It comes with 8 different presser feet, and is lightweight and portable, and won’t get damaged during transit due to a protective hard case.
See more: the best sewing cases and bags.
- Excellent range of stitches
- Multiple needle positions
- Easy to transport
- Roomy work table and free arm
- Intuitive to use
- Suitable for all levels of sewing skill
- Easy stitch selection
- Runs quietly
- Cannot always handle very thick fabric or thick hems
- Could be sturdier
SINGER Fashion Mate 3333 Free-Arm Sewing Machine
This mini machine from Singer is a fantastic basic machine for clothes making beginners.
Built with durability in mind using a sturdy metal frame, the SINGER Fashion Mate 3333 has 23 adjustable length stitches which can be selected by simply turning the selection dial, as well as a simple buttonhole stitch.
It features a practical top drop in bobbin, automatic needle threader, a bright LED light to illuminate the work table, and comes with a choice of 4 different presser feet for sewing zippers, buttonholes, and more.
- Very easy to use
- Ideal for beginners
- Durable construction
- Runs smoothly
- Compact, lightweight, and portable
- Has a good range of basic stitches
- Great for smaller projects
- Features are limited and may not appeal to more experienced sewists
- Not a heavy duty machine and may struggle with particularly thick fabrics
Janome Skyline S3 Computerized Sewing Machine
This top quality sewing machine from Janome has a lot to recommend it, from the 120 customizable stitches available and 10 different buttonhole styles plus extra wide 7mm stitch, to some top notch features including a whopping 71 different needle positions for incredibly precise stitching, a superior feed dog system, extra high pressure foot for thick fabrics or for stitching multiple layers and adjustable pressure foot pressure, as well as convenient stop / start button.
Thread tension is adjusted automatically or manually depending on your preference, and the automatic needle threader can be operated with just one hand.
Say goodbye to jammed up threads thanks to the top loading bobbin, which also makes it easy to see when your bobbin thread is running low.
The Janome Skyline S3 Computerized Sewing Machine also boasts an automatic thread cutter, bright backlit LCD screen for convenient thread selection and adjustment, and a sliding sewing speed control with a top speed of 850 stitches per minute.
It comes with a good range of presser feet included such as zigzag, buttonhole, zipper, blind hem, and overedge.
- Fabulous range of stitches including built in lettering and numbers
- Allows for very precise stitching
- Excellent quality machine
- Good sized and well lit workspace
- Sews very quietly with very little vibration
- Lots of useful features
- Fairly easy to use
- Powerful motor
- Incredibly smooth stitching
- Can handle almost any fabric
- Very expensive
- May be a little advanced for beginners
- Fairly heavy
- 120 built in stitches
- 7 one step buttonholes with 1 alphabet
- Machine size is 19" long by 12" wide by 9" high
Janome 4120QDC Computerized Sewing Machine
Make all your clothes sewing projects a reality with this superb all round sewing machine from Janome.
The Janome 4120QDC Computerized Sewing Machine is loaded with great features that make sewing a breeze, such as automatic needle threader and thread cutter, a start / stop button and sliding speed controller for when you prefer not to use the foot pedal, locking and reverse stitch buttons, and a 7 piece feed dog system for smooth fabric feeding.
The top loading bobbin system is not just easy to use — it’s also jam proof.
There are more than 120 stitches in a wide choice of styles which include decorative stitches and letters and numbers, as well as 7 effortless 1 step buttonholes. Customize your stitches using the large, easy to read LCD control panel.
The Janome 4120QDC Computerized Sewing Machine also comes with a protective hard case and extension table to enlarge your work space when you need that bit of extra room, as well as 7 different pressure feet for everything from zippers to buttonholes and overedging.
- Solid and durable machine
- Great range of features
- Ideal for serious sewists
- Easily portable
- Very versatile for all kinds of projects
- Very smooth fabric feed
- Intuitive to use
- Comes with extension table supplied
- Nice range of stitches including fonts
- Thread tension must be adjusted manually
- A bit too complex for many beginner sewists
Janome HD3000 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine
For sewists who prefer non computerized, mechanical sewing machines, the Janome HD3000 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine is a good option.
Built with a heavy metal frame and a powerful 10 amp motor, this machine for sewing clothes produces quality results fast, with a variable stitching speed of up to 860 stitches per minute.
It comes complete with other time and effort saving features too, from the automatic needle threader to the jam proof full rotary hook, top loading bobbin system with clear window to you can get a clear view of when your bobbin thread is about to run out.
Change between the 18 available stitches plus easy 1 step buttonhole using the dial control, and adjust the stitch length and width using the slider controls.
The Janome HD3000 also has an extra high pressure foot lift with adjustable pressure for sewing fabrics of variable thickness, and comes with 7 different presser feet.
It can also be used for free arm sewing, and comes with a handy hard carrying case for when you need to sew on the go.
- Straightforward to use
- Durable and stable at high speeds
- Runs fairly quietly
- Lightweight and portable
- Fantastic stitch quality
- Sews at fast speeds
- Suitable for beginner and intermediate sewists
- Good for working with multiple layers of fabric
- Jam proof bobbin
- Some machine parts are made of plastic and are less durable
- Limited stitches and automatic features
SINGER ONE Vintage-Style Computerized Sewing Machine
The super stylish SINGER ONE Vintage-Style Computerized Sewing Machine is very easy on the eye, and it’s also very user friendly, which makes it a popular choice for beginner sewists.
It possesses 24 different stitches plus 2 one step buttonhole designs which will suit the purposes of a wide variety of clothes sewing projects.
It also comes with some useful features such as a high pressure foot lifter for sewing thicker or layered fabrics, and an automatic needle threader which prevents you from feeling the frustration of manual needle threading.
Stitches can be selected by pressing the relevant button, and then adjusted for length and width using the easy LCD display.
It also features a top drop in bobbin, free arm, and spacious sewing space, and comes with 5 pressure feet plus a good range of other accessories.
- Good value for the price
- Attractive design
- Well made and durable
- Large work space
- Easy to set up and use right out of the box
- Excellent choice for beginner sewists
- Super bright LED lights mean you won’t strain your eyes
- Performs well
- Runs quietly
- Doesn’t handle heavier fabrics well
- Limited stitch choice
Features Of Sewing Machines For Clothes Making
So what is the criteria we used to choose these machines?
Here are the factors that we look for in good sewing machines for making clothes.
No matter whether you stick to using simple stitches or elaborate ones, a must have option is that stitch length and width are adjustable.
Adjustable stitches mean that you can adapt whatever stitch you are using to numerous different purposes.
For example, a longer stitch is ideal for machine basting and gathering and for sewing stretch fabrics, whereas a tight stitch is necessary to create a strong seam, for keeping things smooth when sewing curves, or for when sewing fine, delicate fabrics.
Modern sewing machines often come with a whole range of presser feet, but when it comes to making clothes, there are 3 that are absolutely indispensable — the buttonhole foot, blind hem foot, and zipper foot.
In addition, a sewing machine that allows you to reduce the pressure of the presser foot means that you can decrease the risk of snagging any delicate fabric on the feed dogs.
Only a sewing machine with a powerful motor and durable metal parts can handle sewing thicker, heavier fabrics such as denim, and it will also stand up well to frequent use over long periods of time.
Why choose to make your sewing projects harder?
Automatic functions such as automatic buttonhole feature, automatic needle threader, automatic bobbin winder, and thread cutter, can eliminate a lot of hassle and allow you to complete your clothes making projects faster and with ease.
An absolutely essential feature for clothes making is a free arm.
The free arm is accessed by removing the accessory tray to create a slim arm ideal for sewing sleeves, hemming pants, and other similar tasks.
An extension table can make things a whole lot easier when handling large volumes of fabric.
The same goes for a sewing machine with a large throat, as it’s far easier to push material through as it is being stitched.
Jam Proof Bobbin
Nothing is more frustrating than a jammed bobbin which snarls up your thread and fabric and ruins all your hard work. A jam proof, top loading bobbin eliminates this problem.
Some sewing machines for making clothes can whizz along at an astounding rate, which can save a lot of time.
While high speed stitching is a big plus point, speed control also needs to be easily adjustable so that you can slow things right down for when sewing tight, tricky areas and fragile fabrics.
More: If you want to get even more sophisticated with your designs, check out our guide to the best clothing design software.
Tips For Using A Sewing Machine For Making Clothes
Pay attention to your needle
In order to get good results, you need to make sure that you are using the right needle for your chosen fabric.
Stretch jersey fabric for instance require a rounded needle, whereas tough denim requires a super sharp and sturdy needle.
Match up your threads
Whatever type of thread you are using, be sure to use the same thread for the bobbin as for the top thread to avoid any thread tension problems which could lead to thread getting jammed or snapping.
Smooth things out beforehand
Ironing your fabric before starting to sew it with your sewing machine makes it much easier to handle and will give a better end result.
Take it easy
It can be easy to let your needle run away with you — particularly if your sewing machine has a fast stitch speed — but going too fast brings the risk of making mistakes, so slow down when you need to to avoid losing control.
It takes time to learn to use a new sewing machine and to get to grips with new sewing techniques.
Be patient and master things slowly instead of trying to jump right in at the deep end — it will work out much better in the long run.
Join a sewing group
You will be able to exchange ideas, learn more quickly, have a helping hand if you run into a problem, plus have fun and make new friends.
Maintain your sewing machine
Your sewing machine will look after you if you look after it.
Keep it well maintained to ensure that it keeps working correctly for many years to come.
Cost Guide and Best Brands
Sewing machines vary wildly in price, and how much you spend will depend largely on which brand you are buying, what features the machine has, and how durable it is.
When deciding which sewing machine to buy, you should really not pay any less than $150 to ensure that you are getting a machine of reasonable quality which can handle sewing a variety of fabrics and which is robust enough.
If you have a bigger budget and are serious about sewing clothes, then an investment of around $500 to $1000 will get you a top notch machine with a great range of features — or you could go all out and buy a machine for as much as $5000 from some of the best brands available.
So which brand should you go for?
There are some fantastic, quality sewing machine brands to choose from, each with their own merits.
Here are some of the best:
Japanese brand Janome has earned a place in the top sewing machine brands due to producing machines to a very high standard of quality which offer good value for money and which are accessibly priced.
Brother are well known as a leading electronics manufacturer, but the brand originally started out making sewing machines in the early part of the 20th century.
Today they are one of the best affordable sewing machine brands — particularly for entry level machines.
Perhaps the most famous manufacturer of sewing machines, US brand Singer began creating innovative sewing machines as far back as the 1850s.
Unsurprisingly Singer has a solid reputation, although in more recent years they have moved their factories over to China which some sewists feel has resulted in a slightly lower build quality of Singer sewing machines.
Swiss brand Bernina have been going since 1893, and have a reputation for making extremely high quality sewing machines — they even patented the very first hands pressure foot free knee lifter.
While Bernina do make incredible sewing machines, the high quality comes at a price which forces them out of budget for many sewists.
Creators of the much praised Viking series, the Husqvarna sewing machine line has some excellent high-end machines.
Tokyo based brand Juki have been making industrial and home sewing machines since the late 1940s.
Pioneering Juki invented the very first first rotary needle thread take-up system, the first automatic needle threader and thread cutter, and the first automatic thread tension system.
Juki may not be the most well known brand, but they produce exceptionally durable machines that are designed to handle heavy duty projects and long hours of use.
Which do you think is the best sewing machine for clothes making?