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When I first decided to take up sewing back in 2010, I was pretty lost. Starting a new hobby, with new equipment and new terminology was a little bit … daunting. I certainly had no idea about what was the best sewing machine for me, and when I googled the topic, I could only find information on sewing machine models available in the States, but not in Australia.

To say it was a confusing minefield was an understatement.

Knowing which sewing machine to buy is still a confusing minefield, unfortunately, as  many independent sewing machine shops have closed down, and many staff in the large big box retail shops don’t know much about sewing machines at all.

You might have seen a sewing machine for sale in your local Kmart or BigW, but they don’t let you take a test run and they’re also not known for selling the best sewing machines.

With this in mind, I’ve written the definitive guide to the best sewing machines available in Australia in 2018. I cover all the different types of sewing machines on the market, my specific sewing machine recommendations, and outline what to look for when buying your first sewing machine.

I answer all your questions from ‘where can I buy a sewing machine’ to ‘what makes a good sewing machine’.

Together we’ll look at the best sewing machine brands, how to get the best sewing machine deal, as well as pitfalls when buying a sewing machine online.

I’ve also included some tips on buying secondhand sewing machines as well. Because if you can snag a good quality pre-loved machine then I’m all for that, too (Hint: don’t tell my husband, but I’ve got two vintage machines as well as my regular Janome sewing machine and Janome overlocker ! )

Top sewing machines comparison table

NameNumber of stitchesBest usesPrice
27Beginners to dressmaking and basic home decorationCheck price

Things to consider when buying a sewing machine

Type of sewing you’ll be doing


Your skill level



Best sewing machine brands

Types of sewing machines

Sewing machine reviews 2018

Best sewing machine for beginners

When you're first taking up any new hobby, it's really easy to get carried away with buying the latest and greatest sewing machine with all the bells and whistles.

I say this is a very bad investment.

Personally, I think the best sewing machine for beginners is a simple sewing machine with basic functionality, good quality stitches and is easy to use. I recommend steering away from the cheap sewing machines and spending a little more. Cheap sewing machines are cheap for a reason: they mostly have poor stitch quality, they break down easily and are not worth fixing, and you'll end up getting frustrated easily.

Sewing frustration and fun do not belong together, and I don't want that for you!

I want you to enjoy your new hobby, and be confident in the items you sew. I also don't want you to waste your money on the fanciest, most expensive machine out there either.

The best starter sewing machine is:

  • easy to learn and use
  • good quality, basic stitches
  • inexpensive yet reliable
  • good value for money.

At a minimum, it should have the following features:

  • basic adjustable stitches including straight, zig-zag, stretch and back-tacking (and accompanying straight seam/all purpose foot and a separate zig-zag foot).
  • a four-step buttonhole stitch, with accompanying buttonhole foot (although a one-step buttonhole foot is even better)
  • not be computerised, as computerised machines are much more expensive to buy and to fix.

Considering all these recommendations, my pick for the best sewing machine for beginners is a Janome MS5027. It ticks all these boxes and is available from most sellers for under $500. It's terrific value from a reliable sewing machine brand.

Best cheap sewing machine

Best kids sewing machine

Best sewing machine for making clothes

Best sewing machine for quilting

Best embroidery sewing machine

Best overlocker

Best coverstitch

Tips on buying a secondhand sewing machine

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