The 7 Best Kids Sewing Machines
This wiki has been updated 25 times since it was first published in December of 2016. If you have a budding fashion designer in the family, but you're not quite ready to give your young one a full-sized, fully-functioning (and expensive) sewing machine just yet, try starting him or her off with a kids' version, and let your child have some fun while learning the difference between a zigzag stitch and a buttonhole. Just be sure to supervise, as these models really work. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
July 15, 2020:
After some consideration, we have opted to remove the Nex Portable at this time, mainly because some of the features are just too frustrating to figure out, even for adults. But we have kept the Cool Maker Sew N' Style, even though it is not a full-fledged sewing machine for beginners. It allows young kids to get in on the fun, even if they are not quite coordinated enough yet for a machine with a fast-moving, sharp needle.
For those children who are ready to tackle a real sewing project — with appropriate supervision, of course — we still think the Brother XM2701 represents a good value. It offers 27 stitches and comes with plenty of accessories, including six feet; it's equally useful for creating new garments and performing repairs, and will grow with your young sewist from the beginner to the intermediate stage. This is also true of the robust Singer 4411, although some do find it a little hard to thread. Don't be surprised if you need to lend a helping hand to a young user.
And, finally, we've added the Brother LX3817A. An attractive aqua color, this full-size model doesn't have too many features that might intimidate newbies, but it still has everything required for successful garment making. This is unlike some similar models for young users, like the Varmax Mini, which doesn't have a reverse and so struggles to lock seams properly. Plus, this Brother model, unlike the relatively similar Singer 1304, has a drop-in bobbin, which many find easier to use than the latter's front-loading bobbin.
April 27, 2019:
There are two schools of thought when it comes to sewing machines for kids: one says that it's better to start children on toylike units that are small and simple, while the other maintains that kids can learn on a regular beginner's machine. We've here decided to keep both types for all of the crafting and parenting styles out there. For the former, we still like the Varmax Mini and the Nex Portable. The Varmax is the less complicated of the two and also the one likely to be grown out of faster, as there's no reverse feature. But because it's inexpensive, it won't be too frustrating if your child decides that sewing is not for him or her. We also kept the Cool Maker Sew N' Style, which has safety features that make it appropriate for kids 6 years old and up. It doesn't allow for true sewing, though, so you'll have to find more felt and yarn once your child has used up the materials that come with it. As for child-appropriate beginner machines, we like the Janome Arctic Crystal, the Brother XM2701, and the Singer 4411. They're all tough enough to take some abuse and will grow with your young sewist into the intermediate stage. Do note that these are "real" sewing machines, so younger kids will need supervision.
Husqvarna Viking H Class 100Q It's more feature-robust than some beginner models, with 20 built-in stitches and two one-step buttonholes, but the Husqvarna Viking H Class 100Q is still simple enough for most older children to use successfully. And if you have a teenager who wants to take classes, this machine is perfect for carrying along, as it is lightweight at only 15 pounds. husqvarnaviking.com
Why Learning To Sew Is Good For Kids
Sewing strengthens a child's hand-eye coordination and motor skills, which she'll need to complete plenty of tasks in the classroom, from reading to solving puzzles.
When it comes time to choose a recreational activity for your child after school, on the weekends, or during summer break, a lot of options will compete for your child's attention. She may want to play video games, go to the mall, or join a sports team. While learning to sew may not be the first thing she asks to do, you should nudge your child in that direction because this ancient craft has a lot of benefits. Sewing strengthens a child's hand-eye coordination and motor skills, which she'll need to complete plenty of tasks in the classroom, from reading to solving puzzles. It can also improve a child's attention span, since children have to sit for extended periods of time with their sewing machines if they're going to complete their project.
Sewing can also boost a child's self-esteem. It does this on two fronts: 1) If a child is sewing, then she isn't watching television, an activity that has been shown to lower most children's self-esteem, and 2) She'll feel very proud about having a physical object to show for all of her hard work. No video game provides a real reward that you can touch, wear, and flaunt to the world. Your kid will love being able to tell people, "I made this sweater." This positive experience will encourage your child to stick with other projects in life, rather than quit when things are challenging.
This fun craft gives your kid a way to express her creativity, too. Extensive studies have shown that participating in creative work can relieve stress and anxiety, and promote an overall sense of well-being. When your child is grown up and looks back on her early years, don't you want her memories to be of a time when she felt calm, at ease, and free to express herself? Giving her a sewing machine can make that a reality.
Fun And Simple Sewing Projects For Kids
To first get your child invested in her sewing machine, you want to keep projects fun and easy. One simple idea to get you started is hooded towels. Using just one bath towel, one hand towel, a few buttons, and pieces of felt, your child can create a cute and cozy hooded monster that they can use to dry off after showers. To start, they should fasten the hand towel to the larger one, creating a hood. From there, they can give the towel monster as many eyes, horns, and odd features they like using felt and buttons. With the addition of their newly created monster towel and a few fun toys, your child may actually start to enjoy bath time.
Home-made scarves are also a unique gift idea for any of your child's friends with birthdays coming up.
Getting your child to bed on time is very important for several reasons, but if you have a finicky child, you need all the help you can get making his bed more appealing. Let your child sew his own decorative pillowcases. You can buy fabric featuring your kid's favorite cartoon characters, athletes, shapes, and colors. This is a rather straightforward sewing project so your kid can easily make several pillowcases. He might snuggle up to his pillows more easily if he feels a sense of pride in them.
Scarves with pockets are another easy sewing project. Plus, your kid will probably need scarves during the fall and winter. If he gets to wear his own creation, he'll be that much more likely to bundle up on his own before leaving the house, without you having to constantly remind him. If you add a couple of pockets to the scarf, then your child can put his hands in there when he's cold, rather than carrying mittens with him, which, let's face it, he'll probably lose or forget somewhere. Home-made scarves are also a unique gift idea for any of your child's friends with birthdays coming up. A giant piece of wool or felt will yield several adorable scarves so your kid can match with his buddies.
What To Look For In A Kid's Sewing Machine
If you already know your child loves to sew and will want to bring her machine everywhere she goes, including when you travel, then get her a model that can both plug into the wall and run on batteries. This way, she can pull out her sewing machine on a train, in the airport, or anywhere else where wall outlets are limited, and keep herself busy. If you do intend to transport the sewing kit around, make sure it's lightweight, compact, and has a carrying handle. You may also want a model that has onboard storage for things like thread and needles.
Of course, if you want to use your child's machine periodically, there are models that are quaint enough for children, but strong enough for an experienced seamstress.
The avid sewer in your life will appreciate a few features that let her work on more elaborate designs, like a reverse stitch option, hand switch and foot pedal control, and a small light to illuminate her work if she sews at night. She will probably also appreciate easy speed control to give her total command over her projects. Many machines have several of the more complex stitches built-in, like the blind hem, stretch, or zig-zag, helping your child fly through more complex designs.
Some kids' sewing machines are built with parents in mind, like those featuring nearly silent operation. Even though you're happy that your little one loves her sewing machine, you probably don't want to listen to it all day long when you are trying to relax. Of course, if you want to use your child's machine periodically, there are models that are quaint enough for children, but strong enough for an experienced seamstress. Those are the perfect option if you don't have the space for both an adult and children's machine in your home, but you want both you and your kid to enjoy the craft.