Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Who hasn’t experienced it, a small hole in the blouse or a tear in the trousers. But do you have to get the heavy sewing machine out of the cupboard? With the hand sewing machine, small sewing jobs can be done quickly and easily. The otherwise rather stiff work at the table can also be done comfortably on the sofa.

With our comprehensive hand sewing machine test 2023, we want to help you find your way around. You are sure to find the ideal hand sewing machine for you with our comparisons. We have compared electric and manual hand sewing machines and shown you the respective advantages and disadvantages.


  • Hand sewing machines are lightweight mini sewing machines that can be used to do simple sewing jobs. Sewing clothes, curtains or even cushion covers can be done comfortably on the sofa.
  • Thanks to their light weight and easy transport, hand sewing machines are practical travel companions for quick repairs. They fit in your handbag or backpack, for example.
  • The small and practical household appliance is an ideal alternative to the large, rather expensive and heavy conventional sewing machines. Especially recommended for sewing beginners.

The Best Hand Sewing Machine: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for hand sewing machines

Which hand sewing machine suits me best and which one should I buy? In the next section we will show you which aspects you can use to choose the right hand sewing machine for your needs.

The criteria you can use to compare hand sewing machines include:

In the next sections we will go more into the criteria.


If only very short and rather small jobs are to be done, such as patching a hole or lifting trouser legs, then the cheaper variant, the hand-operated machine, is sufficient.

However, if there are larger projects to be done, such as sewing curtains or altering garments, then a motor-driven hand sewing machine may be more practical. The even rhythm of the motor makes it easier to sew straight ahead.

In general, electric hand sewing machines are more comfortable. So if you want to sew regularly, a hand sewing machine with a motor will suit you. Otherwise, sewing could turn out to be weight training.

If you have decided on an electric high-speed embroidery machine, you only need to consider whether it runs on batteries or requires a mains adapter. For travel purposes, cordless devices, i.e. battery-powered hand sewing machines, are the better choice.

Ease of use

For beginners in particular, easy and clear operability is a great relief. If you are used to a large sewing machine, you should be able to find and use the various functions just as quickly.

Practising is part of the job, even with a hand sewing machine.

Even for people who have never used a sewing machine before, the hand sewing machine should be easy to operate. A clear layout of the machine and clear instructions can save a lot of trouble.

You can also find out which hand sewing machine is right for you by watching YouTube videos, reading online instructions or reading testimonials. If you are not sure, you can check whether the machine is easy to understand.

Stitch types

Not every manual sewing machine is the same and has the same programmes. With a manual machine, it is clear that there is the straight stitch. An electric embroidery tool, on the other hand, may have several sewing programmes.

Here, too, the question is for what sewing you want to use your hand sewing machine. All machines are designed for straight stitches. Additional stitches such as zigzag or for buttonholes are also basic functions that are practical for regular use.

With these basic programmes, many sewing tasks can already be carried out. Depending on the use, a backstitch or sewing in reverse could still be advantageous.

Here is a short list of different programmes:

  • Forward and backward sewing
  • Zig-zag stitch
  • Automatic button sewing
  • Automatic unwinding
  • Lighting
  • automatic thread tension
  • practical threader

Read the specifications of the hand sewing machine carefully. Make sure you have the stitches and programmes you need for your sewing projects.

Maximum fabric thickness

For some, the small machine may seem fragile. However, these mini sewing machines can withstand more than some people think.

However, to ensure that the right hand sewing machine is used for individual sewing projects, the maximum fabric thickness must be taken into account when buying. This is often indicated as: for thin fabrics, medium fabrics, thick fabrics or from to.

If it is already clear that you will often be working with thicker denim or even leather, then it is important that these fabrics also fit under the presser foot. The presser foot should be raised sufficiently so that the fabrics fit under the presser foot.

Alternatively, thin fabrics such as silk or synthetics should be able to be clamped with the presser foot.

Thread tension

If you are still a pioneer in the sewing jungle, you can use a hand sewing machine with automatic thread tension. However, it should always be possible to adjust the tension manually.

Automatic settings are handy for different projects with different fabrics. This way you don’t have to constantly read the thread tension.


All hand sewing machines are characterised by their light weight. This means that the lightweight mini version of a sewing machine is quickly preferred for smaller jobs.

The lighter the machine, however, does not mean the better. Every person is different. For some, the lighter the machine, the more practical it is. For others, the lighter the machine, the more practical it is, while for others, the lighter the machine, the more practical it is.

The design of the mini sewing machine is also important. Does it fit ergonomically in the hand? Does the size fit the palm of your hand? Especially if you want to buy a hand sewing machine for children, it should be easy to handle for small hands.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about hand sewing machines answered in detail

In the following guide we want to answer the most important questions about hand sewing machines. We have selected the questions for you and will answer them shortly. After reading our guide, you will know all the basics about hand sewing machines.

Who is a hand sewing machine suitable for?

The machine aims to be easy to use and comfortable to work with. So if you don’t want to fetch the heavy and big sewing machine from the cupboard for smaller sewing jobs, a hand sewing machine is a suitable alternative.

The mini version of the sewing machine is very popular with beginners and children who are making their first sewing experiences. So before investing in a larger machine, you can try it out to see if you like sewing.

Sewing can also be rediscovered in old age. Seniors who enjoy small sewing jobs can sit comfortably on the terrace for this. Perhaps they would like to surprise their children with baby clothes for the grandchildren. Or how so not sew new cushion covers for themselves?

For travellers, a hand sewing machine is a practical companion. It can be used to repair or reinforce backpacks and tents on the spot. Rips in clothes disappear quickly and buttons are simply sewn back on.

Does a hand sewing machine replace a conventional sewing machine?

As a beginner, the small hand sewing machine is a suitable device to find out whether sewing can become a hobby. In other words, it’s a cheaper option for beginners.

As indicated in the previous question, it all depends on the sewing job. A hand sewing machine can replace a conventional sewing machine in simpler work steps. For larger and more complex projects, the machine merely serves as a supplement.


Many households are equipped with conventional sewing machines. (Image source: cottonbro / Pexels)

Depending on the sewing programmes, hand sewing machines can be more versatile. From small repair jobs to sewing curtains. However, depending on the project, special needles or stitches may be needed, for which a sewing machine or overlock is better suited.

How do I operate a hand sewing machine?

Quick and easy operation is the motto of the small sewing machine. Almost anyone can do sewing work with a hand sewing machine.

If you have a mechanical hand sewing machine, you decide on the speed. You sew by squeezing the machine. With an electric machine, on the other hand, you only have to press one button.

You can find out how to thread the machine and how to adjust the thread tension in the instructions for use. How to change needles and bobbins is also described for each machine.

What types of hand sewing machines are there and which is the right one for you?

If you want to get a hand sewing machine for your household, there are two types of products you can choose from.

If you would like to learn more about the different types of hand sewing machines, you can read more about them in the following two sections.

Mechanical hand sewing machine

Mechanical hand sewing machine

A mechanical hand sewing machine is a device that creates seams by squeezing them in the hand. The mechanics is therefore our hand.

  • Requires neither electricity nor batteries
  • Cheaper alternative
  • Easy to use
  • One-sided possibilities
  • no sewing programmes available
  • manual effort required

As the hand sewing machine is purely mechanical, it does not rely on electricity or batteries. There is no need to carry a power supply or spare batteries. Since there is no motor built into the machine, these embroide ry tools are often smaller and even lighter.

The small size and low weight are a definite plus as a travel companion. Be it in your handbag or in your backpack. If a tear suddenly appears in your tent or your hiking clothes are scratched up by a rock face, this little wonder will come to the rescue. Two or three stitches and you can still sleep in the dry.

Since mechanical devices run entirely without electricity, they do not rely on motors, batteries or power supplies. This also promises fewer sources of error, such as a defective cable or contact problems, ergo a longer service life.

Electric hand sewing machine

Electric hand sewing machine

A hand-held electric sewing machine is a motor-driven machine that sews at the touch of a button. Either battery-operated or with a mains adapter. There are also hand sewing machines that work both ways. For long sewing sessions, the cable is connected to the power supply. When travelling, on the other hand, batteries are sufficient.

  • Speed
  • Regularity
  • More comfort
  • Different sewing programmes possible
  • Somewhat more expensive than the mechanical model
  • More complex handling

A hand machine that runs on electricity has many convenience features. All you have to do is press a button and you can start sewing. This also promises more regular results.

For even more convenience, the various sewing programmes can help. In addition to the basic functions of straight and zigzag, other stitch types are possible. Be it a backstitch or automatic button sewing.

If you want help with threading or thread tension, you can choose a manual sewing machine that takes care of these tasks.

How much does a hand sewing machine cost?

The price is quite individual. Electric hand sewing machines are generally somewhat more expensive than mechanically operated devices. Such a household accessory can already be purchased for little money.

If you want the hand sewing machine to have different sewing programmes, you will have to invest a little more.

When comparing different devices, the accessories could also be decisive. What else is included in the price besides the sewing machine?

What alternatives are there to a hand sewing machine?

Thanks to today’s technology, there are a wide variety of sewing machines that are suitable for specific sewing tasks. One of these alternatives is the hand sewing machine. It is an inexpensive alternative to conventional sewing machines for small and rather simple sewing jobs.

For those who want to tackle more daring and complex sewing projects, a beginner’s or beginner’s sewing machine is a good choice. There are also a variety of models for children. These are already equipped with more stitches and functions than the hand sewing machine.


Overlock sewing machines are suitable for sewing clothes.
(Image source: cottonbro/ Pexels)

For aspiring sewing professionals, conventional sewing machines are the better choice. Some of these are computer-controlled and equipped for a wide variety of tasks.

If you want to be even more specific, you can compare other sewing machines. Perhaps an overlock sewing machine or a felting machine would be more suitable? Depending on the case, is it an embroidery machine that is just right?

Types and categories Description
Beginner and entry-level sewing machine For first sewing experiences, the inexpensive entry-level models are suitable, which are lighter and simpler, but still already have many functions.
Children’s sewing machine There is a selection of smaller sewing machines for children. These are not only adapted in size, but also have additional safety measures.
Compurter sewing machine For sewing professionals, there are hardly any limits. Computer sewing machines have countless programmes with embroidery and functions to support any sewing project.
Free-arm sewing machine Sleeves or trouser legs can be turned without encountering resistance. The free arm makes the textile more flexible to work with.
Felting machine Specific machine that allows many felting techniques.
Industrial sewing machines suitable for continuous use and extremely stable. They are often much larger.
Overlock sewing machine As a supplement to the sewing machine, the Overluck enables a variety of other stitches and possibilities. Primarily for working on the edge of the fabric.

As you can see, the hand sewing machine is a suitable alternative to the various sewing machines before making larger investments.

How do I thread a hand sewing machine correctly?

Depending on the type of hand sewing machine you have, the machine will assist you with threading. Always follow the instructions for use of the hand sewing machine.

  1. Basically, the thread spool is inserted on the spring so that the thread comes out on the right side of the spool.
  2. The thread can then be pulled through the hole in the thread guide on the side.
  3. Next, the thread is pulled over the top of the thread tensioner between the two plates.
  4. Now the thread is passed over the second thread guide, which is located on the underside of the needle arm.
  5. Finally, the thread only has to be pulled through the needle from the back to the front, through the eye of the needle.

Before you start sewing, you can adjust the thread tension on the side of the machine. Depending on the machine, this can be done manually or automatically.

What needle do I need for a hand sewing machine?

The needle is an important part of a sewing machine. This is also the case with a small hand sewing machine. Machines often end up in the service department and it is quickly discovered that the needle is the source of the “bitchy” sewing machine.

Needles are a wearing material and depending on their quality and use, the sharp things last longer or less long. If you choose the right needle right away, you can look forward to better results later. This avoids needle breakage, bent needles and tedious changing.


The right sewing machine needles contribute to the sewing result.
(Image source: Manfred Richter/ Pixabay)

There is a wide range of needles that you can try out. There are needles that are specifically suitable for one type of fabric. For example, jeans needles or jersey needles. Of course, there are also universal needles that can be used to cover a lot.

It is therefore advisable to keep a small selection of needles on hand. This way you can start your individual sewing projects spontaneously without having to run after the right needle. A reserve is also practical, as broken or bent needles can happen.

Image source: emprize / 123rf