Because wardrobe malfunctions, especially in fashion shows and events, are pretty common, it’s a must for fashion designers to always have their handy handheld sewing machines.
They can bring them anyway, plus they are so easy to use. Even those in the comfort of their homes will find this portable sewing machine quite useful.
Isn’t it easier to just fix the loose stitches in your curtain while it’s hanging than taking it down and using your traditional sewing machine?
Before knowing more about the uses of a handheld sewing machine and the things you should consider before buying one, we have to understand first what a handheld sewing machine is.
What is a Handheld Sewing Machine?
Handheld Sewing Machines are stapler-looking sewing machines that are used as an alternative to traditional sewing machines in emergency situations. They are portable, small — as big as a stapler — and can fit in your luggage or even your handbag.
Unlike regular sized sewing machines, handheld sewing machines are mostly used for small repair jobs or basic sewing. They can also work on different types of fabrics like cotton, nylon, silk, and sometimes even thick denim.
These small sewing machines are also a popular choice for people who only need a sewing machine for simple mending jobs, but do not have enough space for a regular-sized sewing machine.
It’s also a better choice if you are in a hurry and prefer to fix your clothes without even removing them.
When to Use a Handheld Sewing Machine
You are probably reading this article because you are planning to buy your own handheld sewing machine. But will it really fit your needs?
To help you figure out if having a handheld sewing machine is enough for your needs, we listed some of the ways you can use this machine.
- Making quick alterations to clothes without even removing them from models.
- Emergency fixes whenever you are outdoors or do not have a nearby source of electricity.
- Altering oversized clothes when you are in a hurry.
- Re-attaching buttons to clothes.
- Sewing curtains without removing them from the curtain rod.
- Quick garment repairs and alterations.
- Altering or repairing beddings without removing them from the bed.
- Adding decorations or hand-quilted look to your quilts.
Using Handheld sewing machines: Pros and Cons
Now that you know when you can use a handheld sewing machine, are you convinced to buy your own portable sewing machine? It is important to note, though, some of the pros and cons of using a handheld sewing machine.
The main selling point of this type of sewing machine is its portability. Because it is lightweight and compact, you can easily store them in your bag and bring them anywhere. It can even fit in your palm.
- Convenient to use
Since it can run using 4 AA batteries, this handheld sewing does not have annoying cords that can limit your movement. You also do not need to have an outlet nearby to use this machine.
Because it does not have cords unlike regular sewing machines, you can easily work anywhere, not just in your workstation. This makes it easier to mend garments or even your curtains on the spot.
- Easy to Operate
Some of these handheld sewing machines are easy to operate, they are even advertised as kids’ sewing machine. It is also perfect for first-time sewing machine users.
- Can perform multiple functions
Aside from mending clothes and fixing loose stitches, these sewing machines can also perform other functions. They can also be used to attach buttons and can also be used in embroidery.
- Consumes less power than regular sewing machines
Because it is more compact and a whole lot less powerful than a regular-sized sewing machine, a handheld sewing machine consumes less power.
Beginners or those who would love to try out sewing will love how cheap these handheld sewing machines are. However, even though they are cheap, they are perfectly functional.
These handheld sewing machines use the basic straight stitch, which is what beginners usually use, to sew fabrics together. So if you are planning to make small crafts with your kids, you can use this sewing machine instead of buying the regular ones.
- Needs less storage space
Because of its compact size, this type of sewing machine does not take much space when you are traveling or even at home. You can keep it in your handbag, or in your drawers at home.
You also do not need a huge workstation when you use it, you can just take it anywhere with you.
- Less time consuming than manual stitching
You can finish mending clothes faster when you use handheld sewing machines instead of using manual stitching. Using a this sewing machine also produces more accurate stitches.
- Difficult to use
While some handheld sewing machines are easy enough to use even for beginners, some are really hard to figure out. Because of this, others resort to trial and error or watching online tutorials and videos on how to use their machine.
- Not durable
Some customers reported that some handheld sewing machines are not durable and prone to malfunctions. This, however, is not surprising because of the really low prices of some of these sewing machine unit.
- Handheld Sewing Machine cannot work on heavier materials
Because of its size and its power, handheld sewing machines cannot handle heavy materials like thick denim. Even the stitches do not hold as well as regular sewing machines.
- Designed for smaller projects or fixes only
If you’re thinking of working on a huge project, using a handheld sewing machine won’t do. These machines are designed to take on small jobs or fixes only and cannot be used for a long period of time. Plus, they can only be used along the edges.
How to use a handheld sewing machine
It’s a little hard to understand how to use a sewing machine without seeing it being used, isn’t it? Luckily, we found this helpful video that shows the step by step instructions on how to set up your handheld sewing machine and how to use it.
Features to look out for when buying a handheld sewing machine
Handheld sewing machines have different features that help make sewing a lot easier. We listed some of the important features to look out for when you are buying your handheld sewing machine.
There are three power options for a handheld sewing machine. The machine can be battery-operated, power-operated, or both.
For frequent travelers, it is better to use a battery-operated handheld sewing machine since it is easier to buy the needed batteries than look for power converters. However, if you prefer to buy a power-operated machine, make sure to double-check if the machine comes with a power adapter.
Power-operated machines with builtin batteries can also be a problem in the long run. The built-in battery will eventually die down and it can be hard to find a replacement battery especially if it’s not a common one.
Since it is a portable machine, you should also check if it is light enough to be carried anywhere. It should not be too heavy that it will be an added weight to your luggage or your handbag.
When buying a handheld sewing machine, you have to make sure it’s compact and small enough to fit in your luggage or your purse. Some are even ergonomically designed to perfectly fit in your palm so it’s easy to hold and to make straight and accurate stitches.
Your handheld machine usually comes with accessories you will need when fixing or mending fabrics. You have to make sure you have enough space not only for the machine but also for the accessories especially when traveling.
Some handheld sewing machine units do not come with the necessary accessories, and buying them can cost you an extra. Make sure to double-check if the unit you are buying includes the needed accessories.
Here are the accessories that are included in some handheld sewing machine models: bobbin, threads, thread spindle, needles, scissors, measuring tape, and some fabric.
You really have to know exactly why you need a handheld sewing machine. Although it can perform a lot of functions, it’s power and capacity to sew is pretty limited.
If you’re planning to use it for regular sewing jobs and large projects, it is better to buy a regular sewing machine. However, if it’s just for mending clothes and other emergencies, a handheld sewing machine will be enough.
Having a detailed user manual that includes step-by-step instructions on how to set up the machine and how to use it would be beneficial. Taking the time to read and understand the user manual can help you better utilize your machine.
If your machine does not come with a printed user manual, try to check if they offer online videos that will walk you through the steps on how to set up and how to use the machine.
Even though you can buy them for a pretty cheap price, you should still be able to use it for a long time, right? Because of this, you have to always check the reviews of other customers and see if the unit you are planning to buy is durable enough.
Go for models that have metal bodies over those units that are made with plastic. Also, try to buy from trusted brands that are known for making good quality sewing machines.
The quality of the needle you will use in your handheld sewing machine is directly related to the performance of your machine. It is important to check or research the quality of the needle included in the accessories that come with your unit.
Review of the Best Handheld Sewing Machines in 2024
1. SINGER 01663 Stitch Sew Quick Portable Mending Machine
We are starting the list with a handheld sewing machine from a reputable brand, the SINGER 01663 Stitch Sew Quick Portable Mending Machine. This ultra-lightweight sewing machine is intelligently designed to be compact and portable yet efficient.
With its powerful motor, you can easily sew at higher speeds and work through heavier materials like denim and leather. It has the option to run on electricity or using 4 AA sized batteries.
Included when you buy this unit is everything you need for small mending and sewing jobs. The machines come with bobbins, needles, needle threader, thread spindle, and an easy-to-understand instruction manual.
- Efficient and lightweight
- Performs the basic tasks expected from a handheld sewing machine
- Not as expensive
- The seams and stitches it produces are not strong enough
- Quality of product and stitch is not top-notch
- Only works on thin and lightweight materials
2. Handheld Sewing Machine W-Dragon
Aside from being a great option for kids and sewing beginners, this handheld sewing machine can also be used for those hard-to-reach areas. The lightweight and perfectly functional Handheld Sewing Machine W-Dragon is powered by 4 AA batteries or DC 6V 600mA power adaptor.
Instead of manually repairing garments, you’ll be able to save a lot of time if you use this handheld sewing machine. It is said to work on any materials that are up to 1.8mm thick.
This sewing machine has tension control and includes extra bobbins, needles, and a threader.
- Can be used in different crafts
- Portable and compact
- Two powering options
- Includes tension control
- Includes extra accessories
- Won’t work on thick materials
3. Hemelian Portable Sewing Machine From Amazon
Made with high-quality materials, next on the list we have the extremely portable Hemelian Portable Sewing Machine. This handheld sewing machine can run on 4AA batteries or DC 6V power adaptor.
Because it is so easy to operate, it’s a great option for beginners. However, because it can also work on different kinds of materials like silk, denim, wool, and crafts, even the professionals can use it.
- High-quality sewing machine
- Easy to operate, lightweight, and portable
- Ideal for any material
- A little pricey
- Does not have speed control
4. Cordless Portable Electric Handheld Sewing Machine
If you want a handheld sewing machine that you can use right away without doing much set up, you’ll love the Cordless Portable Electric Handheld Sewing Machine. With its efficient and user-friendly design, you can not only sew a wide variety of fabrics but also do embroidery and patchwork.
Because it is pretty simple and easy to use, these sewing machines can be used by the kids even with minimal supervision. It can also perform its job without making too much noise.
You can finish mending your clothes or hemming your curtains in just a few minutes with this handheld sewing machine. With its rotary wheel, you control the tension with ease and its fastening plate holds the fabric in place while the machine makes the stitches.
- clean and efficient design and the stitching can be controlled precisely thanks to the rotary wheel
- heavier than some of the other products mentioned in this list, though it is still portable and relatively lightweight
- plastic is not of durable quality and tends to get damaged after repeated use
5. Beginner Electric Handheld Sewing Machine Cordless
If you’re looking for a durable yet compact and lightweight portable handheld sewing machine, you should try the Beginner Electric Handheld Sewing Machine Cordless. This unit is made with alternative plastic materials and is powered by 4AA batteries or DC 6V power adapter.
This sewing machine is great for quick alteration and repairs because it’s easy to operate. You just have to align the flat edge and the fabric will move automatically. It even comes pre-threaded.
When working on this sewing machine, it is important to check the thickness of your fabric. The ideal fabric thickness for this unit is 1.8mm, it won’t work as well in fabrics that are too thick or too thin.
This low noise machine has a rotating wheel adjustment and tension control to control the stitches and the tightness of the stitches. It also comes with the following accessories: a long-stick, nine bobbins, a sewing needle, a needle threader, measuring tape, a pair of scissors, an instruction manual.
- Has a sleek design
- Portable and lightweight
- Can run on 4AA batteries or DC 6V battery
- Includes a lot of accessories
- Do not work well with all fabrics
- Does not include batteries and adapter
- Securing thread can be difficult
6. DUTISON Portable Sewing Machine
If you’re looking for a portable yet high-quality sewing machine. You can buy the DUTISON Portable Sewing Machine. It’s made with high-quality plastic and metals parts and can be powered using a 4 AA battery or DC 6V Power adapter — both are not included when you buy the machine.
This sewing machine is a great tool for emergency fixes especially when traveling. It can create simple straight stitches on different types of fabrics and moves automatically.
Because it is a one-line sewing machine that only uses one thread, you have to knot your thread after sewing or the stitches will unravel. Aside from the sewing machine, you will also receive an instruction manual, long stick threader, 2 sewing needles, and 3 bobbins.
- Compact and lightweight
- Moves the fabric automatically
- Includes instructions manual and accessory set
- Battery and power adapter is not included
- Some customers said the accessories are a little less quality
7. Sew Mighty Handheld Sewing Machine
This black and vibrant pink Sew Mighty Handheld Sewing Machine not only stands out because of its design but also because of its incredible battery power. It’s a lightweight machine designed to be efficient and user-friendly even for the kids.
Whether you use it for crafts or to patch up clothes, you can easily use this handheld sewing machine. You can rely on this handheld sewing machine to make high-quality, sturdy stitches.
There are a lot of useful extra accessories included in this unit. You will receive a trio of threaded bobbins, needle threader, replacement needle, spindle, measuring tape, fastening plate, thread tensioner, needle set-screw, and other efficient accessories.
- Comes with a lot of extra accessories
- Vibrant design
- Easy to use
- Does not include batteries
- Can sometimes be difficult to thread the needle
- Jams when the fabric is thicker
Frequently Asked Questions About Handheld Sewing Machines
Are handheld sewing machines any good?
Handheld sewing machines are a great alternative to regular sewing machines when you need a quick fix or during emergencies. They are easy to operate and some can work on a wide range of fabric.
Can you make clothes using a handheld sewing machine?
This type of sewing machine is only used for fixing and mending clothes. They are not intended for making clothes.
How do I use a handheld sewing machine?
First, you have to set up your machine and thread the needle. Then, press the power switch on top to make the machine work. Use your other hand to guide the fabric while sewing.
What fabric can it work on?
The types of fabric a portable sewing machine can work will depend on what machine you are using. Some can only work on thin fabrics, while others are said to work even on thick fabrics like denim.
What accessories does it come with?
The accessories included with the machine also differ. The usual accessories are bobbin, threads, thread spindle, needles, scissors, measuring tape, and some fabric.
Can kids use handheld sewing machines?
Yes. Some handheld sewing machines are advertised as kid’s sewing machine.
What can you do with handheld sewing machines?
This type of sewing machine is usually used for mending and fixing garments. You can use it to alter your pants, fix your curtains, and sometimes even for quilting.
Wrapping Up the best handheld sewing machines
To summarize, a handheld sewing machine is a small and compact sewing machine that can easily fit in your luggage or your handbag. You can use it to fix garments even when worn and to work on curtains even when it’s on the curtain rod.
Before buying a handheld sewing machine, you need to check its features including its power, weight, size, functions, user manual, and the accessories included. We also wrote down a list of the pros and cons of a handheld sewing machine.
To help you better understand how to use this type of machine, we added a video tutorial that you can use as a guide.
So which handheld sewing machine are you planning to buy?