The mini sewing machine is both highly praised and criticized by sewists. Critics usually say that they are no better than toys, can’t sew through thick fabric, and they are not nearly as durable as good old metal sewing machines.
But these harsh words are unjust and wrong founded. I have to say that these critics got it all wrong. And I’ll prove it.
The first fully functional (and full-sized) sewing machines were constructed in the middle of the 19th century. Over the years, manufacturers introduced hundreds of small improvements and variations, but the basic working principles remained the same.
Along with development and popularity, sewing machines became extremely versatile or specialized for a couple of types of projects. So, today we have industrial sewing machines, sergers, embroidery-only machines, mechanical, electronic, computerized, mini, portable, and even handheld sewing machines.
- 1 Why Mini Sewing Machines Are Great
- 2 Advantages of the Mini Sewing Machine
- 3 Things to Consider
- 4 Our Top 7 Choices Reviewed
- 5 Final Word
Why Mini Sewing Machines Are Great
Before I focus on mini sewing machines, let me answer those critics from above.
They are wrong because they are comparing two uncomparable concepts. You can’t compare mini sewing machines with ‘regular’ ones. Because they are not regular, they are – mini.
Let me put it like this: no one tries to compare a small city car with a large family car or any other segment of the auto industry. Larger cars are usually stronger, faster, more comfortable, spacious, and probably more durable. But, small cars are easier to maneuver and park. Also, they are more affordable and consume less fuel. And both kinds will get you from point A to point B. Obviously, each type has its unique advantages.
It’s the same with sewing machines: mini sewing machines aren’t designed to match the versatility and power of full-size, regular, home sewing machines. But they come with a set of advantages to target specific groups that require certain features.
Advantages of the Mini Sewing Machine
In the 21st century, we live pretty much on the go. Our hectic lifestyle requires ever greater mobility and portability. This was probably the driving force behind the idea to construct a mini sewing machine. And then, one thing led to another, so we ended up with these cute little machines.
Even though regular sewing machines are becoming lighter and lighter, they can’t match mini machines. Obviously, they are smaller, therefore they have to be lighter if you use the same materials.
A small, lightweight, compact design provides amazing portability. Just a couple of decades ago, our grannies used to sew on bulky, undestroyable, and almost unmovable sewing machines. Mini sewing machines are so lightweight that you can carry them wherever you go.
Mini Sewing Machines Are Affordable
Once upon a time, one needed a small fortune to buy a sewing machine. Today, high-end machines are still pretty expensive. They come with many bells and whistles and offer myriads of features to justify hefty price tags.
However, beginners, kids, and intermediate level sewers don’t really need most of these advanced features. On the other hand, you can buy a mini sewing machine at a fraction of the cost of a full-size machine. A decent mini sewing machine offers quite enough features to enter the world of sewing without breaking the bank.
Ease of Use
The more advanced sewing machine is, the more it takes to figure out how to use all features and what it is capable of. Eventually, you will reap the rewards, but it can be a cumbersome and stressful process if you lack advanced skills and experience.
Mini sewing machines are easy to use, right out of the box. A simple stitch selection and ready to go features allow you to get started easily. So, you can focus on sewing and improving your skill instead of struggling to cope with machine settings and features.
Some people call these machines “kids sewing machines”. While they are by no means intended for children only, there’s a reason for the moniker.
Teaching your kid to sew can be rewarding for both of you. And these mini machines are perfect for the task. Usually, they have a beautiful design. Ease of use will help your child not to lose interest or get overwhelmed. It is a fun activity that will allow your child to develop creativity, learn a lifelong skill – and get calmer!
Perfect Choice for Beginners
While the colorful design is not necessary for adult beginners, other kid-friendly conveniences apply to adults as well. When we learn new skills, we can be discouraged if it gets too complicated.
So, don’t rush to buy a fancy, computerized, super-machine. A mini sewing machine is enough to take on basic projects and hone your skill.
Moreover, you can easily carry it to sewing classes. Instead of being overwhelmed, you can enjoy your sewing adventures from day one.
Even though mini sewing machines have only basic features, some experienced sewists like to use them occasionally.
I am talking about sewing aficionados who like to have a sewing machine at their disposal wherever they go. Be it a business trip or vacation, they like to sew at least a little bit or to make quick repairs if needed. Carrying a heavy-duty machine is not very convenient.
But, these little machines are light enough and good enough to quench the sewing thirst on travels.
Things to Consider
Choosing a mini sewing machine is easy as long as you know what to look for. It depends a little bit on your preferences, but here are some essentials for anyone.
Number of Stitches and Stitching Speed
If you are a beginner, you only need two basic stitches – straight and zigzag. If you want more versatility from the start, many models have between 10 and 20 built-in stitches.
As for the stitching speed, the higher the better.
The low price tag is sometimes accompanied by lack of some basic accessories. So, look for models that come with all basic accessories to get you started right out of the box.
Free Arm Capability
The free arm allows you to sew cuffs, collars, and pant hems. It is also useful for silk, denim, or even velvet. Without a free arm, you’ll be limited to most basic projects.
Top Loading Bobbin
Most newer models have a top-loading or drop-in bobbin system. I’ve mentioned it just in case. It is a simpler and faster system than a front-loading bobbin system.
You don’t want your machine to dance all over the table while you sew. Mini sewing machines are extremely lightweight so this may be an issue. Check out the stability or even better, test it if possible.
Our Top 7 Choices Reviewed
1. MICHLEY LSS-505 Multi-Purpose Mini Sewing Machine
This cute little machine is as lightweight as it gets. With just over 5 pounds you can carry it around easily. It has some neat features such as forward and backward sewing. You can use it for simple mending and sewing projects. It will struggle with thicker fabric, though.
If you’re interested in this cute little model, take a look at our full review here.
2. SINGER Start 1304
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It is not the lightest mini sewing machine out there because it’s made of stainless steel. So, it is a sturdy and durable little machine for the same reason. It comes with 6 built-in stitches.
3. Brother XM2701 Lightweight Sewing Machine
It is one of the most versatile small sewing machines. It has some advanced options such as an anti-jamming system and automatic one-step buttonhole. Check out the full review here!
4. Janome Fastlane Fuschia Basic
This sewing machine comes in several colorful patterns. While it looks like it targets youngsters, it is among the best performers in its class. With 10 built-in stitches, it’s a great machine for beginners, kids, and as a secondary sewing machine for quick repairs.
5. Singer Simple Sewing Machine Model 3223
Another lovely Singer sewing machine for beginners. It is small and lightweight, but it offers plenty of features for an entry model. With 23 built-in stitches, adjustable stitch length and width, you’ll be able to hone your skills for a long time without wishing for an upgrade.
6. NEX Sewing Machine
It is very easy to use and it offers a decent versatility. With 12 built-in stitches, you can take on a variety of basic projects as well as mending, scrapbooking, and more.
7. Magicfly Mini Sewing Machine for Beginner
This sewing machine is extremely lightweight. It has only one stitch type so you can only take on some basic projects. However, it comes with convenient accessories, two stitching speeds, double thread design, and LED light.
Mini sewing machines are not only cute but also useful. While you can’t start your own business using one of them, they are a great choice for kids and adult beginners. These machines have their limitations, but hey, most of them cost less than some sewing machine carrying cases!
Even if they can’t match the level of versatility and performance of more expensive models, they offer good value for money. So, if you’re at the beginning of your sewing adventures, it might be a good idea to buy a mini sewing machine and save some money for future endeavors.