If you need to complete simple projects or do some mending but don't want to haul out a full-sized sewing machine, a hand-held sewing machine might be a great option. Although these mini-machines can't handle heavy-duty projects or complicated tasks, they are very convenient for quick and easy sewing jobs.
Models of Hand Held Sewing Machines
Several manufacturers make hand-held machines. Typically these machines cost under $25, and they offer various features.
Lil' Sew and Sew
The Lil' Sew and Sew is a popular hand-held machine that retails for about $15. You can purchase this model online and at some department stores. Consumers reviewed this machine at Amazon.com.
This model has the following pros:
- At less than a pound, it's very lightweight, making it easy to pack in a suitcase or carry on a camping trip.
- It operates on four AA batteries for portability.
- Alternatively, you can plug it in with a 6-volt AC adapter to save on the cost of batteries.
- This model includes a thread bag.
- Consumers report that it works well for the price.
This model has the following cons:
- Consumers complain that the manual is difficult to understand.
- Others report that the machine does not work as expected.
- Some complain the this machine doesn't work well for heavy fabrics like denim or canvas.
If you're considering a White QuickStitch, keep these advantages in mind:
- This machine comes with lots of accessories, including four bobbins, three needles, a needle threader, and a spool pin.
- This model is made to attach buttons, and it comes with replacement buttons and button-attaching stems.
- It uses four AA batteries.
- It accepts thread from a bobbin or directly from the thread spool.
- Consumers report that this machine works well.
- This machine is sometimes available on eBay for under $10, making it a very affordable option.
The White QuickStitch has the following disadvantages:
- It does not operate with an AC adapter to save batteries.
- This machine may be hard to find, since it is no longer being made.
Handy Rex Sewing Machine
The Handy Rex Sewing Machine costs under $20 and is available at most sewing retailers and some department stores. It claims to have the power of a standard-sized sewing machine.
This model has the following advantages:
- It is inexpensive.
- It comes with extra bobbins and needles.
- It runs on four AA batteries and is completely portable.
- This machine can also operate using a separate AC adapter, which is handy if you don't want to use up batteries.
In reviews on Amazon.com, some consumers complain about these disadvantages:
- This machine may be poorly made. There are reports of knobs falling off and springs coming out.
- It may be hard to use and thread this machine. Some consumers report that it only makes holes in the fabric.
- The body of this machine is plastic, so it may not be as durable as a metal version.
Singer Stitch Sew Quick
In terms of consumer reviews at JoAnn Fabrics, the Singer Stitch Sew Quick is one of the least popular hand-held machines on the market. It retails for under $20.
This model has the following pros:
- It operates on AA batteries, making it portable.
- It can operate using an AC adapter, which is not included.
- It comes with four bobbins and three needles.
- The manufacturer promises "sewing machine power in the palm of your hand."
Consumers had the following complaints:
- The instructions are very hard to read and understand.
- Some report that the machine is difficult to use.
- When the machine sews a seam, the seam is not durable and can be ripped out by hand.
- Many say it is easier and more time-efficient to sew by hand.
- You must tie a knot at the beginning and end of a seam by hand.
- This machine is difficult to thread.
Where to Buy
You can buy hand-held machines at the following stores:
- Amazon.com has several models for sale.
- Sears carries Singer equipment, as well as other brands.
- Walmart carries some models.
Pros and Cons of Hand-Held Machines
Depending on how you plan to use your sewing machine, you may find that a hand-held model will work well for you. These little sewing machines have some distinct advantages and disadvantages.
There are several reasons a hand-held machine may appeal to you:
- They are portable, often using AA batteries and weighing less than a pound.
- They are small and easy to store.
- These machines are affordable, usually less than $25.
- Hand-held machines fit in a suitcase or camping backpack, making them good for travel.
Hand-held machines have a few disadvantages as well:
- They typically don't offer the same level of quality as a regular sewing machine.
- Hand-held machines have limited functionality, making them useful for mending or small projects only.
- These machines can usually only perform a forward lockstitch.
- Some models are difficult to use.
Do Your Homework
If you're considering a hand-held sewing machine, it's important to do your homework about the various models and options. Give some thought to how you plan to use the machine and whether you'd be better served by a simple table-top sewing machine instead.