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5 easy-to-use sewing machines for beginners

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When shopping for a first sewing machine, consider beginner-friendly options such as top-loading drop-in bobbins, built-in stitches and an automatic needle threader. Westend61 via Getty Images

Learning how to sew isn't easy, especially if you never even learned how to hand-thread a needle. However, the right sewing machine can help make the learning experience less stressful and much easier. While you might be tempted by the bells and whistles of high-end, technologically advanced sewing machine models, beginners are actually better off with a simple, high-quality machine.

If you've never shopped for one before, here's what to look for in a first sewing machine. A built-in threader and top-loading drop-in bobbin will make threading your needle a breeze. And, while sewing machines geared toward experts offer tons of preprogrammed stitches, as a beginner, opt for a machine with fewer stitch options. A lightweight machine is worth considering as well, especially if you are taking sewing classes and anticipate bringing the sewing machine with you.

CBS Essentials has rounded up five sewing machines great for anyone just starting to get their thread on. 

Singer 7258 Stylist sewing machine

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Singer/Amazon

The Singer Stylist 7258 sewing machine is a metal-frame, LCD-screen-equipped sewing machine. It comes complete with an automatic needle threader, and a top drop-in bobbin to make threading easy. As your sewing skills progress, the machine has 100 built-in stitch options, along with six built-in buttonhole options. At 14.6 pounds, this model isn't the heaviest one out there, but it's not the lightest, either. Weight is something to consider if you're looking for something to haul to sewing classes. 

Singer 7258 Stylist sewing machine, $221


Brother XR9550PRW Project Runway sewing machine

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Brother/Amazon

A lighter alternative to the Singer Confidence, this 5-star-rated Brother model weighs in under 9 pounds and is a great option for a beginner looking for a somewhat portable machine. Like the Singer, it has a jam-resistant drop-in top bobbin and automatic needle threader. And, if you plan on continuing beyond the beginner stage, it offers 165 built-in stitches, which will come in handy along the road. Another bonus? Its intuitive LCD display screen makes selecting settings easy.

Brother XR9550PRW Project Runway sewing machine, $222


Singer 4423 Heavy Duty sewing machine, grey

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Singer/Amazon

For beginners planning on working with heavier fabrics, such as denim and leather, the Singer Heavy Duty 4423 is definitely worth considering. Built to last with a heavy metal frame and a powerful motor, it offers 32 built-in stitches and multiple buttonhole options. On the heavier side at 14.5 pounds, it's a little bulky to be moving around regularly. 

Singer 4423 Sewing Machine sewing machine, grey, $180


Brother CS5055 computerized sewing machine

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Brother/Amazon

This computerized Brother sewing machine model offers 60 built-in stitches, a jam-resistant and easy-to-load top bobbin, and seven buttonhole sizes. However, at 14 pounds, it's better suited in the home rather than on-the-go. 

Brother CS5055 computerized sewing machine, $150


Haitral portable adjustable sewing machine 

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Haitral/Amazon

This minimalist sewing machine is small, light and inexpensive. Retailing for about $25, it is a budget-friendly option. It double-threads a needle and offers two speeds, making it perfect for small jobs such as mending and hemming. It can also be plugged into an outlet or operated via battery, making it a great option for on-to-go sewing needs. 

Haitral portable adjustable sewing machine, $25


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