If you're shopping for a child who has expressed interest in learning to sew, it's important to find the perfect first sewing machine. Kids' sewing machines have come a long way over the years, and there are a lot of options on the market.
Popular Kids' Toy Sewing Machines
Toy sewing machines for children are a good option if you're shopping for a younger child. These machines usually sew a simple chain stitch, which is all that's required for a basic seam. The durability of the stitching varies significantly, and users sometimes complain about being able to pull the stitches out by hand. These sewing machines for kids are very affordable, usually ranging in price from $30 to just under $100.
The following toy sewing machines are popular:
- Cra-Z-Art Shimmer n' Sparkle Sew Crazy Sewing Machine Craft Kit - This machine sells for about $40 and includes some fabrics and options for kids to get started with. The sewing machine can be worked with or without the included foot pedal. The model is designed for children 8 years and up and works on four AA batteries. There's also an accompanying website with helpful training videos for kids.
- Fashion Time Little Seamstress Sewing Machine - Another affordable machine designed for children is the Fashion Time Little Seamstress Sewing Machine. It sells for about $40 and comes with a foot pedal, six doll-sized mannequins, fabric and thread samples, gemstones and fashion templates. There's also a booklet included with instructions to help children get started with sewing. It operates on four AAA batteries and is designed for children eight and up.
Three-Quarter-Sized Sewing Machines for Kids
The next step up from a toy sewing machine is a smaller-sized adult machine. Although you'll pay a little more for this type of product, usually between $50 and $150, it's well worth the extra money if you feel your child is likely to become serious about sewing. These machines are made by the same manufacturers as regular adult sewing machines. They can usually perform several simple stitch functions, which makes them great for older children who want to put in zippers or machine stitch hems on doll clothes.
The following small sewing machines are popular for children:
- Singer 1304 Start Sewing Machine - This machine by well-known sewing machine manufacturer Singer is an excellent starter machine for a child or an adult. It has 12 stitch settings and includes everything a full-size machine would have such as extra bobbins and needles, a seam ripper and presser feet. It sells for a little over $100 and gets a 4.1 out of 5 star rating from users on Joann's website. Although it appears small and lightweight, it has a heavy duty metal frame. Singer also provides instruction for buyers on sewing basics on their website.
- Tradition 2277 Sewing Machine - Another Singer sewing machine for kids and teens, this model gets a 100% recommendation from users who would refer a friend to it. It sells for about $150 and has 97 stitch applications, a built-in needle threaders and an easy process for making buttonholes. It also has a free arm for making items that are more difficult to fit.
- Brother JX3135F Sewing Machine - This small-sized unit from Brother comes with three different decorative covers to personalize your machine. It has 38 stitch functions, an automatic four-step buttonhole and a free arm for sewing hard to access items. It's lightweight and easy to transport. It's an excellent choice for the person brand new to sewing and children who need a functional but lightweight machine.
Buying Used Machines for Kids
If you're on a budget but still want your child to start sewing on a real sewing machine, consider buying used. Sewing machines last for years, and some older models are actually simpler than today's computerized options. Look for used machines in your newspaper classified ads and at thrift stores. Buying a used sewing machine online at an auction site is sometimes an option as well, but due to its weight, shipping the machine can get expensive.
If you're buying a used sewing machine for a child, keep the following tips in mind:
- Depending on how much you're paying, consider having the machine examined by a sewing machine service professional. You can have the whole thing oiled and cleaned so it will stay in good working order.
- Consider buying a needle protector if one is available for your machine. These units fit over the needle and keep little fingers from coming in contact with the sharp equipment.
- Look for a machine that is lightweight. A lot of older machines are very heavy, making them hard for children to maneuver. If your child will not have a dedicated sewing station, this could be a concern.
Learning Skills to Last a Lifetime
Whether you select a used machine, buy a three-quarter-sized model, or purchase a toy machine, your child is sure to love learning to sew. In addition to the special sewing experiences you'll share, the skills your child learns now will last a lifetime.