free arm sewing machine

Free arm sewing machine

What is a free arm sewing machine?

A free-arm sewing machine is a sewing machine that allows you to remove the extension table. The needle plate and the bobbin housing are underneath the needle, leaving the rest of the machine’s base as empty casing. You can snap this free casing on and off. With the extension table removed, you can sew cylindrical pieces easily.

This makes free arm sewing machines very convenient for stitching pieces such as a collar or a hem. With these machines, difficult-to-reach areas are easier to sew. The free arm sewing machine is an ideal product for the beginner.

When you want to stitch in a straight line, you can snap on the table and get a larger workspace.

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In a rush? Here is our best rated free arm sewing machine

Why we rate this the best free arm sewing machine

  • There are six pre-set stitch patterns to choose from: Straight, Satin, ZigZag, Blind Hem, Scallop and 4-Step Buttonhole.

  • This machine is useful for a wide variety of projects even though it is low-price.

  • The Start 1304 is ideal for the beginner as it has features to make sewing easy like an automatic bobbin winder.

  • It includes a built-in reverse stitch setting to reinforce the stitch.

  • The machine has dual spool pins for if you want to do dual needle sewing for hems and decorative touches.

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This is rated our best value for money arm sewing machine

What you need to know

  • The Brother ST371HD sewing machine has 37 different stitch patterns to choose from.

  • It a very versatile machine suitable for both rookie and more advanced projects.

  • The machine also includes an built-in system for automatic needle threading and a jam resistant bobbin.

  • It has a top sewing speed of 800 stitches per minute

  • The machine also has a presser foot pressure system that can sew through many layers of fabric.

  • The frame is strong and durable and it has a rubber base to stop it from moving when you sew.

  • It even has a setting for stitching a zipper insertion, unlike many products in this range.

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The best of the rest

What you need to know

  • The Juki has a 4-, 3-, and 2- thread overlock system which makes it excellent for creating strong hems.

  • It also has a differential feed system (two feed dogs) which is useful when you are sewing wool pieces  to avoid stretched-out stitches.

  • The machine a top stitching speed of 1300 stitches per minute, making it one of the fastest mid price sewing machines.

  • It comes with a built in two thread converter so you can easily convert to two-thread stitching.

  • It includes an adjustable knife so you can change the cutting width.

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What you need to know

  • The Brother XM2701 has 6 quick-change sewing feet, including a blind stitch and buttonhole sewing feet.

  • It has a automatic needle threader and jam-resistant Quick-Set top drop-in bobbin.

  • The Brother XM2701 is easy to use and set up.

  • It has a built-in automatic bobbin winding system, making it excellent for the beginner.

  • The machine comes with 27 pre-set stitches, making it great for experimentation in your pieces.

  • It has a pretty floral/paisley pattern on the sewing machine arm and frame.

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What you need to know

  • The Singer Heavy Duty 4432 is one of the heavier and more robust sewing machines in this range.

  • It has a heavy duty metal interior frame and a stainless steel bed plate, making it sturdy and designed for stitching thick fabric like canvas.

  • It has a powerful motor with a top speed of 1,100 stitches per minute.

  • The machine includes four different presser feet so you can switch between techniques.

  • There is a built-in reverse stitch setting so you can make a seam or hem more durable.

  • The Singer has a drop feed option – you can lower the feed teeth for free motion sewing.

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What you need to know

  • The Luby Beginner sewing machine is designed to be an ideal first sewing machine for a child.

  • It is very light and portable, weighing in at only 6lbs.

  • There are 12 built-in stitches and a four-step buttonhole stitch.

  • You might need to buy a more heavy-duty needle for stitching thick or delicate fabric as the machine struggles to keep steady with these pieces.

  • It comes with a soft cover.

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What you really need to know

  • The Singer Simple 3232 has built-in automatic needle threading so the beginner can set up and use the machine in no time.

  • There are 32 built-in stitch patterns, of which 19 are decorative stitches.

  • It also has a one-step automatic buttonhole setting.

  • The machine can be quite noisy during operation and struggles with tougher fabric.

  • This is a low price Singer, so if you want professional quality stitching you should opt for a more expensive model.

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What you need to know

  • It has two stitch selections – zigzag and straight.

  • While it is not suitable for complex projects or tough fabric, it is good as a first sewing machine for children.

  • It is small and light and comes at a bargain price.

  • The machine has a dual spool system so that you can double stitch, creating strong stitches.

  • As well as a versatile free arm, this machine has a special cuff slot designed for sewing sleeves and trouser legs.

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What you need to know

  • Even though the machine is small and simple to use, it can still easily sew through multiple layers of thick fabric.
  • The UTSPO  mini sewing machine comes with a foot pedal for controlling the speed that you stitch.
  • The machine comes with a built in thread cutter for finishing off stitches neatly.
  • Tends to vibrate a lot during operation, which can leave your stitches messy.

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What you need to know

  • The Join Ware mini sewing machine has 12 preset stitches, with a range of decorative stitch patterns and a buttonhole setting.

  • The motor is string enough for most home crafts such as making and fixing clothing, quilting and more.

  • The sewing machine has a ruler along the base for measuring fabric while you sew.

  • There are settings that allow you to adjust the stitch length and width.

  • The machine is very light and portable, making it suitable as a travel sewing machine.

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What you need to know

  • The Singer 7258 is a high end free arm sewing machine with many impressive features.

  • The Singer is computerized, enabling you to easily input precise instructions.

  • This machine comes with 100 pre-set stitches including 6 different buttonhole stitches.

  • The needle is programmable to go up and down and the machine comes with an electronic start/stop system.

  • There is an LCD screen for programming instructions and displaying information.

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What you need to know

  • The Singer Curvy 8763 has a SwiftSmart™ automatic threading feature allowing you to easily needle at the start of your session.

  • There are 13 different needle positions, meaning you can be very precise with how you sew.

  • The 30 different stitches are strong but also defined and intricate.

  • The machine has a sleek design with purple accents.

  • Even though the sewing machine is sturdy and gets through thick fabric, it is still fairly light and portable.

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What you need to know

  • The XM1010 is one of the more basic Brother models, but it still has plenty of useful features such as an automatic needle threader.

  • The product comes with a darning plate and a three-piece needle set.

  • The motor can reach a top speed of 750 stitches per minute, which is suitable for most projects which fabric less thick than canvas or draperies.

  • It has a convenient presser foot pressure dial which allows you to fine tune your stitch for each fabric.

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What you need to know

  • The Singer Promise is one of the cheaper Singer models but still offers versatility.

  • Where more high-end machines can sew a buttonhole in one step, the Promise 1412 has a four-step buttonhole.

  • The machine has a reverse-stitch setting for creating a strong seam or hem.

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What you to know

  • The Brother SQ9285 is a computerised sewing machine and has a LCD display.

  • It features 150 pre-set stitches including quilting stitches.

  • Included with the machine are custom quilting feet.

  • The machine  has a drop feed feature for creative free-motion quilting.

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What you need to know

  • The M3300 is a simple sewing machine, ideal for the beginner.

  • There are 23 pre-set stitches to choose from, making it suitable for most decorative projects.

  • It has a built-in needle threader, saving you a lot of frustration.

  • There is a seam ripper included in the box.

  • It has adjustable thread tension, useful for techniques such as applique.

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What does the best free arm sewing machine cost?

The best rated free arm sewing machine on Amazon starts at $91.14. This is the Brother XM2701 Sewing Machine.

What does a cheap free arm sewing machine cost?

On Amazon, the cheapest  sewing machine with a free arm costs $17.99. This is made by the company iYBUIA.

What features to look for when buying a free arm sewing machine

When you look for a free arm sewing machine, you should consider the material of the frame. A heavy-duty mental frame will make sure the sewing machine stays still during operation, creating a neat finish.

Plastic frames are lighter, but they can move during stitching. This could make it difficult to stitch in a straight line.

You should also ensure that the bed plate is of a good quality, preferably stainless steel. This will also make sure your stitching is even.

Most good quality, modern sewing machines will come with a variety of built in stitches. Look for products with a good variety of stitch patterns such as zigzags and a buttonhole stitch. You should also consider buying a model with variable stitch length.

Many high-quality sewing machines will have a built-in, automatic bobbin winding system. This could save you a lot of time and effort from having to thread the bobbin yourself.

You can also find machines with automatic needle threading. One of the most frustrating things about sewing for beginners is having to thread the needle.

Some cheaper machines do not have adjustable tension settings. It is a mistake to overlook the importance of tension, which can help you achieve an even stitch.

You should also look out for sewing machines with a presser foot pressure dial. With a foot pressure dial, you can adjust the pressure higher when sewing thin fabric and lower when sewing thick fabric.

You should consider  whether you want a light and portable sewing machine or a heavy cabinet model. Some of the light, small sewing machines can be less sturdy and cause the machine to vibrate while sewing.

Some sewing machines feature a retractable knife. This is so you can cut fabric while you sew. You can also find machines with a ruler on the base to measure the length of your fabric.

Check to see that the machine comes with a dust cover. A dust cover is usually made of a soft fabric. It is important to use a cover on your machine as dust can damage if it gets inside the mechanisms.

Want to learn more? Well here is a useful video that provides you with more useful information when looking to make a purchase.

About the author

Kirsty Wiliams
Kirsty Wiliams

Kirsty has been passionate about sewing ever since she helped her grandma sew a scarf at the age of 4. She has written and reviewed many products related to sewing. However, the highlight of her career was winning first prize in a competition to knit a Christmas jumper for charity.

Outside of her sewing and knitting Kirsty has three beautiful girls and any spare time she has is taken up with them.

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