Best Sewing Machines | Guides

Best Small Sewing Machine – Top 5 Portable & Lightweight Machines

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If you’re searching for the best small sewing machine for your sewing corner or for carrying with you on-the-go, I’ll help you through the process of finding one that fits your needs.

Whether you’re looking for a smaller full-size sewing machine or a truly miniature sewing machine, you have lots of options to choose from.  So, read on!

Best Small & Lightweight Sewing Machines

Miniature Sewing Machine vs Small Full-Size Sewing Machine

There are two types of small sewing machines: miniature and full-sized.

Miniature sewing machines are extremely portable and very small, but they will not perform more than basic sewing tasks.  They will travel well and not weigh you down, but don’t expect to have more than a handful of stitches or any heavy-duty capability.  They will also be the among the cheapest sewing machines you’ll be able to purchase.

Full-sized sewing machines are less portable, but there are many machines that are still very lightweight and don’t take up much of a footprint.  They have more features and often cost more too.  The smallest full-sized sewing machines will be mechanical rather than computerized sewing machines.

Which one is best for you depends on what you want to sew.  Only mending clothes?  A miniature sewing machine can do just that.  Wanting to create Pinterest-worthy DIY projects?  Try a full-sized sewing machine, which offers many more options.

Sewing Features & Considerations

Here is a list of things to consider when choosing the best small sewing machine.

Weight and Size

Check the weight and size of the sewing machine before purchasing.  Know the dimensions of your workspace and the maximum weight you can lift and transport.  If you’re wanting to travel with a larger sewing machine, consider choosing a sewing machine rolling tote to help you transport your sewing machine.

Carrying Handle

If the sewing machine is on the larger side, check the back or top to make sure there’s a handle.  My Brother CS6000i sewing machine has a molded handle on the back, whereas my Brother SE625 embroidery machine has a folding handle on the top.

Stitch Options

All sewing machines will come with a straight stitch, though some miniature sewing machines may not come with a reverse straight stitch option.  Other basic stitches like a zigzag stitch, blind hem stitch, overcasting stitch, or a satin stitch might be something you want to look for too.

Presser Feet

Presser feet hold the fabric in place as you sew.  All sewing machines will include an all-purpose zigzag foot, which will cover most projects.  However, if you want more sewing options, a buttonhole, button sewing, zipper, or even overcasting foot might be nice to look for when purchasing.

Buttonholes

If you’ll be sewing garments, choose a sewing machine with the capability to sew buttonholes.  I personally love having a one-step automatic buttonhole function, but you’ll have to decide if that’s a big deal for you compared to a manual 4-step buttonhole.

Automatic Needle Threader

Once you start getting into more sophisticated small full-size sewing machines, you’ll find several sewing machines that come with an automatic needle threader.  A lever and hook apparatus on the side of the machine helps you thread the needle “automatically” rather than having to do it yourself.  While these devices have a small learning curve, they are very helpful once you get the hang of it!

Best Small Size Sewing Machine – Reviews

The first three options will be the small full-size sewing machines. The next two options will be miniature sewing machines.  Feel free to skip to what you feel will work best for you.

1. Brother XM2701 Lightweight Portable Sewing Machine

Brother XM2701 Lightweight Sewing Machine, White

  • Stitches: 27
  • Presser Feet: 6 (zigzag, buttonhole, zipper, button sewing, blind stitch, and narrow hem)
  • Size: 12.1 x 5.9 x 15.3 inches
  • Weight: 12.6 lbs
  • Auto Needle Threader: Yes
  • Buttonhole: Automatic one-step

The Brother XM2701 sewing machine is a mechanical sewing machine that makes the list of best Brother sewing machines and best Brother sewing machines for beginners.  It’s an affordable sewing machine that offers a lot of great functions for beginners and more experienced sewists alike.  It also comes in a nice, compact size.

There are several reasons why I love this small sewing machine.  The first is the inclusion of an automatic needle threader.  While it takes a bit of time to learn, this needle threader assists users with decreased dexterity or eyesight thread the sewing machine.  Also, an automatic one-step buttonhole is included.  This is REALLY helpful if you plan to make garments and are a beginner user.  Lastly, the maximum sewing speed is 800 spm, which is very impressive for a small sewing machine!

Brother sewing machines also come with top-drop, quick-set bobbins, meaning you don’t have to worry about drawing the bobbin thread up by yourself.  The machine does it for you as soon as you start sewing.  Threading this Brother sewing machine is so easy also.  There are diagrams for threading both the top and bottom threads on the machine body itself.

Read more in my complete review of the Brother XM2701 sewing machine.

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2. Singer Start 1304 Sewing Machine

singer start 1304 review

  • Stitches: 6 (straight, satin, zigzag, buttonhole, scallop, blind hem)
  • Presser Feet: 3 (zigzag, buttonhole, zipper)
  • Size: 13 x 7 x 11.5 inches
  • Weight: 11.5 lbs
  • Auto Needle Threader: No
  • Buttonhole: 4-step manual

For Singer sewing enthusiasts, the Singer Start 1304 sewing machine is a nice entry-level sewing machine that will travel easily with you.  It isn’t as fully functioned as the Brother XM2701, but some argue this may be a plus for users who are looking for a simple, basic sewing machine.  As such, it’s one of the best Singer sewing machines for children.  (It’s the one my daughter uses.  Read my Singer 1304 review for more information!)

It’s easy to set up and use, and the limited choices limit confusion for novice users.  If it turns out sewing is your new favorite hobby after a while, you can always upgrade to a more fully-featured Singer sewing machine later.

Each of the 6 built-in stitches comes with preset lengths and widths.  You’re not getting a ton of variety, but I’d say 80% at least of the sewing I do involves only a straight stitch!  Before modern sewing machines, only straight stitches were available on many sewing machines.

Recently, the Singer M1500 was introduced as the newer model of the Singer 1304.  It’s gotten a little facelift but is operationally identical.  (Read my Singer M1500 sewing machine review to learn everything you need to know!)

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3. New Home Janome Basic Sewing Machine

Janome Lady Lilac Basic, Easy-to-Use, 10-Stitch Portable, Compact Sewing Machine with Free Arm only 5 pounds

  • Stitches: 4 stitches (straight, zigzag, multi-stitch zigzag, and crescent) with 6 different length, width, or needle position variations
  • Presser Feet: 1 all-purpose
  • Size: 10.5 x 5 x 9 inches
  • Weight: 5 lbs
  • Auto Needle Threader: No
  • Buttonhole: None

The Janome Basic Sewing machine is one of the most portable sewing machines that still offers a decent amount of options to users.  Janome is a well-known sewing machine brand that’s been on the market since before I was born.  It’s a respected household name with a great track record and customer support system.

At around 5 pounds, you can pick this tiny sewing machine up and cart it with you to sewing classes.  Or put it in and out of your closet if you don’t have a dedicated sewing space.  (This was me in the college dorm ages ago!)

The Janome Basic features 4 stitches with different options for needle position and length or width.  While it’s way more advanced than a toy sewing machine, it doesn’t have everything that a full-size sewing machine does.  It is GREAT for kids and users not looking for anything snazzy.  For instance, it has one speed only, which is fairly slow.  It also does not have a buttonhole stitch, so you will have to know how to make your own.  There is no on/off switch and just turns on when the machine is plugged in and the foot pedal pressed.  It also doesn’t have a built-in light over the workspace, so you may need to add an auxiliary sewing light if you have poorer near vision.

I love how this sewing machine comes in 10+ colors.  For users looking to add personality to their sewing room or just like the thought of smiling while sewing on a bright pink machine, it’s perfect.

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4. NEX Portable Sewing Machine

NEX Sewing Machine, Crafting Mending Machine, Children Present Portable with 12 Built-in Stitches

  • Stitches: 12
  • Presser Feet: 1 all-purpose
  • Size: 10.8×4.8×10.2 inches
  • Weight: 5.5 lbs
  • Auto Needle Threader: No
  • Buttonhole: 4-step manual

The NEX portable sewing machine features slightly more than the Janome Basic sewing machine but has a fairly comparable price tag.  If you don’t mind an independently branded sewing machine, the NEX sewing machine offers a lot of functions in a very compact machine.

With 12 stitches, there’s an included buttonhole stitch as well as an overlocking stitch.  While there is only one presser foot included, it does come off and can be replaced with most other generic presser feet.

Because this falls in the realm of miniature sewing machines rather than full-size, there are some other nifty features.  Such as, you can use batteries to run the machine!  While you can use the included power adapter, if you’re wanting to sew on a camping trip, for instance, there’s no need to find a source of power.

Unlike other true miniature machines, this NEX machine has a more stable base and also a reverse stitch function.

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5. KPCB Mini Sewing Machine with Extender Table

KPCB Mini Sewing Machine with Upgraded Eco-Friendly Material

  • Stitches: 1 (straight only, no reverse)
  • Presser Feet: 1 all-purpose
  • Size: 8.6 x 3.5 x 6.8 inches
  • Weight: Less than 3 lbs
  • Auto Needle Threader: No
  • Buttonhole: None

The KBCP miniature sewing machine is exactly that: miniature.  It weighs less than 3 pounds and can fit inside a very small space.  The extendable wide table, which you’ll see in the picture above, is detachable, meaning the machine itself takes up even less space.

It’s not a full-featured sewing machine but finds its place in the sewing machine community as a small sewing machine that costs very little and functions for people looking for a simple sewing machine to do basic sewing tasks.  For example, mending clothes or making uncomplicated alterations.

There’s no zigzag stitch and also no reverse stitch, so just keep this in mind before purchasing.

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Best Small Sewing Machines – Conclusion

I hope these compact sewing machine reviews have given you food for thought when it comes to choosing your next sewing companion.  Please let me know if I can answer any questions for you!

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