Embroidery has been around for millennia and practiced all around the world. It is an art form that has kept a steady renown throughout history. Today, embroidery can be seen on pillow covers, clothing items, blankets, and more. Many companies use embroidery to add their logo to their clothing.
The art of embroidery can be a fun and interesting way to create homemade gifts for loved ones. If you’re interested in learning embroidery, the first thing you’ll need is a great machine for beginners.
So, what is the best embroidery machine for beginners? The best embroidery machine for beginners is easy to use with a large embroidery space and built-in patterns, as well as a USB port to use patterns from online, versatile in function allowing for both embroidery and sewing, and affordable.
In this article, we’ll give you an in-depth look at everything you need to know to pick an embroidery machine. You’ll learn the best qualities to look for and even find a list of our top 7 picks to choose from.
What Is Embroidery?
Embroidery has origins dating back to the 5th and 3rd centuries BCE. This truly ancient art form has been thriving ever since, used in a variety of ways.
Embroidery is a craft that involves using a needle to decorate fabric or other materials with special thread or yarn. The thread or yarn is often contrasting color to show off the design.
Before electric machines were invented, embroidery was done by hand. The fabric would be stretched over an embroidery hoop, and the embroiderer would hand stitch the thread into the fabric.
Embroidery can be seen in creative designs on throw pillows, dresses, blouses, denim pants and jackets, blankets, hats, and more. The designs are truly limitless, including florals, swirls, letters, stripes, monograms, and specific shapes or logos.
Embroidery Machines Vs Hand Embroidery
Although embroidery machines have been around since 1828, invented by Frenchman Josué Heilmann, many people today still choose to hand-stitch their embroidery.
The great thing about hand embroidery is the level of control. You’re the one holding the needle, guiding it every step of the way. You can choose every individual stitch, changing with ease between a slip stitch, stem stitch, chain stitch, and more.
It’s also a great activity to keep your hands busy, which can help those who are looking for a hobby without any screens involved or people who need to improve their fine motor skills.
On the other hand, embroidery machines have taken this art form and streamlined them with ease. Most embroidery machines come with pre-programmed patterns, and the best ones allow for you to import your own patterns with the help of a USB port.
Embroidery machines were designed to imitate the look of hand-stitching, so unless someone is an embroidery expert, they’d never know whether you did it by machine or by hand.
One of the best things about embroidery machines is that they take less time. They have the precision of a well-oiled machine and will stitch in whatever pattern you program – all without needing any bathroom breaks!
Buyer’s Guide – Embroidery Machines
With so many embroidery machines on the market today, it can be difficult to choose the right one. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll detail the top 5 qualities to look for in an embroidery machine for beginners.
1. Easy To Use
The focus of this article is embroidery machines for beginners, so it goes to follow that the machine you choose should be easy to use.
There’s going to be a learning curve when using any new device or learning any new skill, but the important thing is that the embroidery machine makes this process simple.
Your embroidery machine should come with step-by-step instructions, easy how-to’s, and possibly even links to some videos on how to get up and running with your machine.
A big thing to look for is an easy-to-use interface. The screen and button options on your machine should be easy to read and make sense when you look at them.
Some people like a bigger screen with integrated buttons and options while some people would prefer a smaller screen with more physical buttons.
Both ways are fine; just make sure when you’re looking at the machine’s user panel that it makes sense to you.
2. Built-In Patterns
Nearly all embroidery machines will have a certain number of built-in patterns. You’d be hard-pressed to find one that didn’t!
The goal here is to find one that has a large number of built-in patterns.
When you’re first starting out with embroidery, it will be easier to start with the patterns that come with the machine before graduating to ones found online (more on that later).
Most pattern libraries that are built into embroidery machines are broad enough to suit your beginner needs.
This is especially true when the machine comes with 150 built-in designs instead of a smaller collection, like 20. We think it’s better to start off with as many built-in patterns as possible before graduating to patterns from online or designed yourself.
3. USB Port
Even though you may want an embroidery machine meant for beginners, eventually you’ll get the hang of embroidery and want to do more designs and patterns with it.
This is where the USB port is important. When you’re investing in an embroidery machine, you don’t want to spend a large sum of money only to find you’ve outgrown the machine in a few short months.
The USB port allows you the versatility to go from the built-in patterns to importing your own embroidery design files once you’re ready to move forward with original creative designs.
Although a USB port isn’t necessary if you have a good selection of built-in patterns, it’s always good to have the option if you end up wanting to create something from scratch.
Most good embroidery machines are versatile in their abilities, meaning they can sew as well as do embroidery. You will want to find an embroidery machine that has the additional sewing capability.
Once you start looking into embroidery and sewing machines, you’ll find that the best machines aren’t cheap. They can run anywhere from $600-2,000 on the low end, and when you’re spending that kind of money, you want a machine that can do it all.
Rather than spend that amount of money on two separate machines for embroidery and sewing, it’s best to get a machine that can do both.
Even if you’re only interested in embroidery and don’t plan on using the machine to sew, it’s good to have the option in case you expand your textile work later. Many fabric crafters find that they have a lot of fun and want to branch out into other fabric crafts!
5. Large Space For Embroidery
Although there’s nothing wrong with a smaller embroidery space, the better machines will have a larger field so you can embroider larger designs. In general, a 5” x 7” embroidery space is ideal, though machines that have a 4” x 4” space are still a good option.
The advantage of a larger space for embroidery is that it opens up more possibilities. The larger space you have, the more details and flourishes you can add to your design.
Your design will be a little limited by choosing a 4” x 4” machine, though it will still make great embroidery. If you love simple designs and want to create small details, that size will be fine.
However, if you want more freedom in your designs to create anything as large or small as you want, we recommend a 5” x 7” embroidery field.
We mentioned a general price point of $600-2,000 as the more affordable range for embroidery machines. You’ll want to try and find a machine generally within or near this range.
Some embroidery machines can be cheaper than that and still work great, but they’ll likely be older models that the company is trying to phase out by selling at a lower cost.
If you want a newer model with the most up-to-date capabilities, you’ll most likely be looking at around $1,000-2,000. Considering some more professional embroidery machines can cost closer to $5,000-10,000, this is a good deal.
When you’re first starting out, you don’t need a large, fancy, expensive machine. This will give you more than you’re ready for at a difficult price point to manage. As a beginner, you want to keep an eye out for a more budget-friendly option to learn with and see if you enjoy embroidery.
Even beginner machines will have enough capabilities to last for years, so you’ll have plenty of time to decide if you want an upgrade down the road.
The 7 Best Embroidery Machines For Beginners
Keeping in mind the 6 qualities we’ve listed above, we’ve provided the 7 best embroidery machines for beginners.
Some of these machines have all of the qualities we recommend, while some only have 3 or 4. Either way is fine, since your goal should be to pick the best machine for you and your embroidery ideas.
|1.||Brother SE1900 Sewing and Embroidery Machine||138 built in designs, 240 stitches|
|2.||Brother PE535 Embroidery Machine||80 built-in designs, 9 fonts|
|3.||Brother SE600 Sewing and Embroidery Machine||80 built in designs, 6 fonts, 710 stitches|
|4.||Janome Horizon Memory Craft 9850 Embroidery Machine||200 stitches, 175 built-in designs, 2 fonts|
|5.||Singer Legacy SE300 Embroidery Machine||200 designs, 250 stitches, 6 fonts|
|6.||Janome Memory Craft 400E Embroidery Machine||160 designs, 5 fonts|
|7.||Brother PE800 Embroidery Machine||138 patterns, 11 fonts|
1. Brother SE1900 Sewing and Embroidery Machine
The first option is middle-of-the-road when it comes to our recommended affordable price range, but it comes with all the features you could possibly want, making this machine a steal.
The Brother SE1900 Sewing and Embroidery Machine comes with 138 built-in designs, as well as 240 built-in stitches for its dual sewing capability.
It also comes with 11 embroidery fonts for any monograms or names and 10 auto-size buttonhole settings.
The hoop area for embroidery on this machine is our recommended 5” x 7” size, great for making any design you choose. You can even preview your design in color on the 3.2” LCD touchscreen display.
Additional bonuses to this machine are the 8 included sewing feet and the advanced needle threader feature. This can save a lot of headaches for those who have a difficult time with threading the needle by hand!
Another great thing about this machine is the USB port to allow you to import your own custom embroidery design files. This machine can really do it all. If you’re looking for an affordable machine with all the features, the Brother SE1900 model is the perfect option for you.
2. Brother PE535 Embroidery Machine
Taking a step back from the previous all-in-one model, the Brother PE535 Embroidery Machine cuts back on some of the other features to offer you a simple embroidery machine at a great price point.
Much cheaper than the Brother SE1900, this model is only an embroidery machine – no dual capability of sewing included. However, this can be perfect for those who already have a sewing machine or have no interest in sewing.
The Brother PE535 is also smaller, offering only 4” x 4” in the hoop area. However, don’t let these smaller features fool you into thinking this machine isn’t worth the money.
The Brother PE535 still has the large 3.2” LCD touchscreen, allowing you to preview all of your designs in full color. You can also view step-by-step tutorials on the LCD display to help you as you learn how your machine operates.
It also has 80 built-in designs to start with, including 9 built-in fonts in English and Japanese. In addition to these designs, this machine also has the USB port so you can import your own designs.
Plus, it has the automatic needle threader!
While it may not have some of the highlighted features of other machines, this Brother PE535 Embroidery Machine is perfect for those looking to start small and cheap as you test the waters and see if embroidery is something you’ll enjoy long-term.
3. Brother SE600 Sewing and Embroidery Machine
Another great Brother model is the SE600 Sewing and Embroidery Machine.
This machine has the dual capability of sewing and embroidery, which is great for those looking to tackle both crafts.
For embroidery, the machine has 80 built-in designs and 6 embroidery lettering fonts. For sewing, it includes 103 sewing stitches with 10 auto-size buttonhole styles.
In addition to the 80 built-in designs, this machine has a USB port, allowing you to import your own designs to your heart’s content.
A big plus – the maximum sewing speed is 710 stitches per minute! If you plan to sew too, this machine will get your projects done in no time. Although it only has a 4” x 4” embroidery field, this smaller size can be useful for those looking to create small designs.
Just as with the other Brother models, the SE600 comes with the 3.2” LCD touchscreen display to help you preview your design in color and walk step-by-step through the process of embroidery.
The machine comes with an automatic needle threader and 7 sewing feet to assist with your sewing needs. If you’re looking for a smaller-scale and more affordable version of the Brother SE1900, this Brother SE600 is the right model for you.
4. Janome Horizon Memory Craft 9850 Embroidery Machine
The Janome Horizon Memory Craft 9850 is on the higher end of the price point, but with good reason. This machine is a major upgrade compared to the previous two and will get you embroidering and sewing in no time.
With sewing, this machine comes with 200 built-in stitches including 6 buttonhole styles. There’s a built-in needle threader, a one-step needle plate conversion, free arm, built-in bobbin winder, and more.
For embroidery, this machine comes with 175 built-in designs and 2 fonts for monogramming 2 or 3 letters. This is the largest embroidery design library so far, and it’s only the beginning.
This machine also comes with the USB port so you can import all your own designs.
When it comes to accessories, the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 9850 comes with several: embroidery hoop, scissors, interchangeable sewing feet, bobbins, and more.
This machine works fast with an embroidery speed of 60-800 stitches per minute.
You’ll also find a lot of convenience features in this machine, like the start/stop button, easy reverse button for locking seams in a backstitch, and a button to bring the needle up and down.
It also has a large, full-color LCD screen to display and preview all of your designs, as well as give you easy options when sewing and embroidering.
If you don’t mind splurging a little to get a more for your money, this machine is perfect for you.
5. Singer Legacy SE300 Embroidery Machine
The Singer Legacy SE300 Embroidery Machine is another great option for those okay with spending in the middle of the price range to get more features – including dual sewing and embroidery capabilities.
Beating the previous Janome model, this Singer embroidery machine comes with 200 built-in embroidery designs, as well as 250 built-in stitches for sewing. Included in that is the 6 alphabet options for monogram designs.
While the LCD touchscreen is black-and-white instead of color, it still works great to give you more control and view over your design. Another fast-working machine, this Singer Legacy can sew 800 stitches-per-minute and embroiders at a speed of 700 stitches-per-minute.
It comes loaded with extra convenience features like the automatic needle threader, bobbin winding while embroidering, and an upper thread sensor.
With the largest embroidery field thus far, this machine boasts a 10.25” x 6” hoop space. This comes in handy when used with the built-in USB port to import your own creative designs, no matter how large!
Although the field can accommodate 10.25” x 6” hoops, Singer doesn’t stop there. They include two hoops, one at the maximum size and one at 4” x 4” to give you more options when embroidering.
It also comes with accessories including the two embroidery hoops, 10 snap-on presser feet, and more. Take your sewing and embroidering to new heights with the Singer Legacy SE300 Embroidery Machine.
6. Janome Memory Craft 400E Embroidery Machine
Another great Janome Memory Craft model is the 400E Embroidery Machine. Although it only has embroidery and no sewing capabilities, this machine is still ideal for anyone looking to dive into embroidery.
With a large embroidery field of 7.9” x 7.9”, you’ll be able to utilize more designs in a larger space.
Aside from the 160 built-in designs and 6 fonts for monogramming, you can also utilize the USB port to import your own designs and go crazy in that large embroidery field!
Janome even empowers you to create any design you want by providing a 7.9” x 7.9” embroidery hoop, as well as optional hoops at 5.5” x 7.9”, 5.5” x 5.5”, and 4.3” x 5” wide.
There’s also a beautiful full-color LCD touchscreen display to preview all your designs and edit them right there on the machine.
Some of the great features loaded into this machine include on-screen editing features, programmable jump thread trimming, adjustable speed while embroidering, flexible stitch traveling, and more.
7. Brother PE800 Embroidery Machine
Our last model is the Brother PE800 Embroidery Machine. While this machine can only embroider and doesn’t include sewing capabilities, it’s still a great model with tons of fantastic embroidery features.
Just as with the other Brother machines, the PE800 has a 3.2” LCD touchscreen with full color and step-by-step tutorials on the display.
This machine has a design library of 138 built-in patterns, including 11 built-in fonts in both English and Japanese.
The embroidery field is our recommended size of 5” x 7”, perfect for any design you choose from the library or import yourself using the USB port included in the machine.
Like the other Brother models, it also has an automatic needle threader to help you get your projects started faster. This machine is a perfect option for any beginner in embroidery.
Up Next: Needlepoint Vs. Embroidery – The Difference