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What Is A Free Arm Sewing Machine?


The free arm sewing machine is an incredibly versatile tool for sewing and crafting alike. It is an invaluable asset for anyone who sews frequently or for a living. With it’s unique design, it allows for more detailed and precise stitches than regular sewing machines, making it ideal for projects like hemming and cuffs.

The free arm machine is also capable of sewing in tight areas, such as armholes and sleeves, where a regular machine would be unable to reach. This makes it a much more efficient and versatile tool than a standard sewing machine. Not only is it a great tool for experienced sewers, but it is also a great choice for beginners who are just starting out. With the right practice and guidance, anyone can master the art of using a free arm machine.

Keep reading! and here is a guide on choosing a sewing machine In 2023?

What is a free arm sewing machine?

A free arm sewing machine is a type of sewing machine that has an arm that can be moved out of the way, allowing the user to sew around cylindrical objects such as sleeves and pant legs. It is an incredibly versatile and convenient tool that can help you make complex projects easily.

The free arm feature of a sewing machine is usually located on the right side of the machine and is often covered with a removable plate. When the plate is removed, a short arm is revealed that is designed to swivel away from the machine.

This allows the user to access the machine’s feed dogs and bobbin, which are usually hidden when the arm is in place. With the arm removed, you can easily sew around cuffs, pant legs, and any other cylindrical object without having to reposition the fabric.

Many modern sewing machines come with a free arm feature, but it’s important to check before purchasing to make sure it’s included. Below I’ve listed few best sewing machines with free arm feature, don’t to check out. And also check out the top rated embroidery machines under $1000.

How to Use a Free Arm Sewing Machine?

Using a sewing machine with free arm is easy and fun! Here are some steps to get you started:

  1. Read the machine’s instruction manual.
  2. Wind the bobbin and thread the machine.
  3. Set the stitch length, width, and other settings.
  4. Adjust the needle position and the presser foot.
  5. Place fabric under the presser foot and start stitching!
  6. When you’re done, turn off the machine and unplug it.

I hope this helps you get started on your project!

Flatbed vs Free-Arm Sewing Machine

Flatbed sewing machines have a large flat surface where the fabric is placed and sewn, while free-arm sewing machines have a small tubular arm where the fabric is placed and sewn. Flatbed machines are great for large projects with lots of fabric, while free-arm machines are better suited for smaller projects with less fabric.

Types of Sewing Machines with Free Arm

There are mechanical machines, electronic machines, and computerized machines.

Each type of machine offers its own unique features and benefits, so you can find the one that best suits your needs.

Mechanical machines are great for basic sewing tasks, while electronic machines are ideal for more advanced projects.

Computerized machines offer the highest level of precision and control. With so many options, you’re sure to find the perfect free arm sewing machine for your projects!

Best Free Arm Sewing Machine

  • SINGER | 9960
  • Brother CS6000i
  • Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine with Free Arm
  • Janome (HD3000 Heavy-Duty)
  • Juki (Juki HZL-DX7)
  • Janome 3160QDC
  • Bernette 38 Swiss Design
  • Necchi Q132A Sewing Machine

SINGER | 9960

The SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 sewing machine makes sewing easy whether you’re a beginner or an experienced seamstress. While it takes some practice to get familiar with the features, 9960’s ease of use makes it understandable even for first-time users.

The touchscreen user interface is intuitive, and stitch selection is easy, thanks to a large, dedicated stitch selector button. The 9960 also includes 13 built in one-step buttonholes with a button hole underplate, eight alphabetic fonts, and 17 decorative stitches. The SINGER also has a built-in needle threader and automatic needle threader, which makes threading the machine a snap.

The automatic needle threader also enhances accuracy by threading the needle for you, so you’ll avoid eye strain and frustration. The 9960 is also one of the lightest sewing machines we tested, weighing only eight pounds. We did notice some thread jams, but the machine’s automatic needle threader and thread cutter made these easy to resolve.


  • The 9960 Sewing & Quilting Machine has an impressive 600 stitch options, making it ideal for a variety of projects.
  • It has an Electronic Auto Pilot Mode, making navigating through settings and getting the desired results easier.
  • The included accessory kit contains all the necessary tools and accessories needed to get started.
  • The included extension table provides extra space for larger projects.


  • The included instructions may be more complex than desired for beginners.
  • It may take some time to become familiar with all the features and stitch options.
  • The machine is quite heavy and may need help to move from one place to another.

Brother CS6000i

The Brother CS6000i sewing machine stand has a lot of features for it’s price. It sews quickly and smoothly, with 60 built-in stitches. The automatic needle threader and drop-in top bobbin make this model a dream for sewing beginners or those who get frustrated with threading.

Related article: Are Brother Sewing Machines Better Than Singer

The included case is handy, and so is the large table. The only drawback we found was that this model doesn’t include a darning plate, which would be a nice addition for fixing small tears or holes. The bobbin does wind on freely, though, so it’s easy to pop out the bobbin and refill it.


  • 60 Built-in Stitches provide plenty of creative options for all types of sewing and quilting projects
  • 2.0″ LCD Display makes it easy to select the perfect stitch
  • Wide Table provides a large workspace for larger projects
  • 9 Included Sewing Feet provide versatility for different types of projects
  • Easy to use and affordable


  • Limited customization options for experienced sewers
  • Can be noisy for some users
  • Threads can get tangled if not handled properly

Janome Free Arm Sewing Machine (HD3000 Heavy-Duty)

The Janome HD3000 Sewing Machine is a heavy-duty machine with a hard case. It’s made well, with high-quality construction, but it’s heavy and awkward, particularly for sewing. The features are quite basic—no automatic needle threader, no presser foot control, and no thread cutter.

The manual does a good job of walking you through how to use all the functions, but it doesn’t explain the reverse lever, the needle threader, or the backward design. The machine also has some drawbacks, particularly in terms of usability.

The reverse lever felt cheap and clunky and was difficult to use. The reverse was wobbly and lacking in function, and it required a light to see while sewing. I also found the needle threader frustrating, because it requires extra steps to pull thread through, and the pushpin on the front of the needle poked my finger instead of pulling thread through.

The bobbin winder, which winds the thread off the bobbin and then back into the bobbin, felt clunky and was difficult to thread evenly. The reverse lever and bobbin winder aside, this machine is a solid but flawed machine that’s perfect for someone who’s serious about sewing or wants a heavy-duty machine to use often.


  • Comes with a hard case for easy storage and portability.
  • 18 built-in stitches provide a variety of options for different projects.
  • Heavy-duty motor and metal interior frame make it a reliable and durable choice.


  • May be too large and heavy for some users.
  • Limited number of stitch options compared to other models.
  • Can be a bit noisy when in use.

Juki Free Arm Sewing Machine (Juki HZL-DX7)

The Juki HZL-DX7 is a durable and versatile sewing machine that is suitable for sewing a wide variety of fabrics, including leather and denim. This heavy duty machine is built with industrial sewing machine technology, and with a wide range of functions, the HZL-DX7 can sew everything from home décor to denim. The 5.0mm stitch width and 287 stitch patterns make sewing a variety of patterns easy.

The 4 fonts make it easy to position the lettering perfectly. The digital machine features automatic thread trimming, which can be set between 5 and 5.5mm. It also has an automatic thread cutter, which trims the threads automatically when the needle returns to the down position. The auto tension function determines how much tension there is on the stitch, so that the amount of stitches is the same.

However, this system is not perfect, and you may need to adjust it. The automatic presser foot pivot function makes it easy to sew corners or pivot with no effort. The automatic needle threader makes threading the needles very easy. Although this machine is programmable, the manual is not very detailed, so you may need to refer to tutorials or watch the videos on Juki’s website to learn more about the machine.

The machine has touch sensitive buttons, which make it easy to adjust the functions without looking at the screen, and to start and stop sewing. With the one-step buttonhole function, you can create buttonholes with only one press. The Juki HZL-DX7 is a reliable sewing machine, and it is sturdy enough for long-term use.

However, the metal frame design makes it heavy, and the transportation case makes it difficult to lift, so you may have to disassemble the machine if you want to use it in a different room. Overall, this is a good basic sewing machine for beginners and experienced sewers alike.


  • Features 287 stitch patterns and 4 different fonts for added versatility.
  • Includes an automatic thread trimmer for easy thread cutting.
  • Has an LED light for added visibility while sewing.
  • Comes with an easy-to-use LCD touch screen for selecting stitch patterns and fonts.
  • Features a speed control slider for adjusting the sewing speed.


  • Does not come with an automatic needle threader.
  • Relatively expensive compared to other sewing machines.
  • Does not have a built-in thread cutter for cutting off excess thread.

Janome 3160QDC

A Janome computerized sewing machine is pretty much as good as you can get. (Easy, right?) This machine has been a pleasure to use. It’s super quiet, and with the computer, you can program the machine for speed, stitch width, length, and buttonhole options.

What I love about this machine is the buttonhole feature: Select which buttonhole you’d like to make, and the machine will sew out the buttonhole for you. You can even select the button placement. The machine has a walking foot holder, a buttonhole foot holder, and a zigzag foot holder.

It also comes with a seam gauge, an emery board, various bobbins, and a needle set. The needle plate keeps the needle from bending, and the needle position is adjustable, so you can change the needle plate to match the size of the hole you’re sewing.

It has a built-in tutorial, which is great for beginners, and I appreciated that the machine would show me which foot I needed for different stitches. You’ll need some basic supplies to get started, but once you have those and have sewn a few projects, you’ll realize how easy the machine really is.


  • Enjoy the latest fashion statement with the Janome 3160QDC in the new tan color.
  • Protect your machine with the included hard cover.
  • Create buttonholes with ease with the included Buttonhole Foot.
  • Enjoy all the other included accessories to make your sewing projects a breeze.


  • The Janome 3160QDC may be a bit pricey for some.

Bernette 38 Swiss Design

The Bernette 38 is a huge step up from the Singer 7258 I recently reviewed (although the Singer 7258 has more features). The Bernette 38 sews beautifully. The tension is adjustable, and you can change various settings with the push of a button. It also has a 5 year warranty, which is reassuring. The bobbin release lever is terrific, and something that all computerized machines should have.

The machine has an automatic needle threader, a “needle up” button, and a “needle down” button. The bobbin is removable, which makes changing it much easier. The bobbin case can easily accommodate a 100-yard (93-meter) spool of thread, and the thread tension can be adjusted with the push of a button.

The machine has multiple stitch patterns, including 11 decorative stitches, 7 utility stitches, 7 buttonholes, 7 stretch stitches, and 1 monogram stitch. There is also a utility stitch, and a button hole function that lets you arrange the buttonholes before sewing. The buttonholes are buttonholes, not zig zags, which means that they look good, but aren’t as stretchy as zig zags.

The foot pedal has a dial on it to adjust speed, which is necessary because the Bernette 38 is very fast. The feed dogs open automatically, and you can put a piece of fabric in the feed dogs and it will feed through. The Bernette 38 is a great machine for quilting, embroidery, sewing on knits, and sewing on all types of fabrics.

It is not limited to the thinnest of fabrics, although you do need some flexibility in your threads. The Bernette 38 is not featherweight, but it is lighter than some of the other computerized machines. It is easy to use, and there are several tutorials on Youtube, from Bern


  • Features a sleek, modern Swiss Design
  • Comes with an easy to use computerized control panel
  • Includes a wide range of stitches and built-in decorative stitches
  • Offers adjustable thread tension and automatic thread cutting
  • Includes a convenient LED sewing light and sewing foot control
  • Has an adjustable knee lift and extra-large workspace


  • Limited to basic sewing functions, not suitable for advanced projects
  • Not compatible with many specialty feet and presser feet
  • Limited to a maximum stitch width of 5mm
  • Can be noisy when in use

Necchi Q132A Sewing Machine

The Q132A is a sturdy, dependable, easy-to-use sewing machine that remains quiet and comfortable to use for the hobbyist. While it’s less sophisticated than machines intended for professionals, it’s perfect for light sewing tasks, including home décor, clothing repairs, alterations, making curtains, and heirloom sewing.

It has seven stitches, including straight stitch, zigzag stitch, and buttonhole, and it includes a handy automatic needle threader, which greatly speeds up sewing tasks. The stitch length and width are easy to adjust, and the levers are nicely weighted, making for smooth adjusting speeds. The machine also has a handy extension table, which slides out to allow for larger sewing projects.

Necchi’s machines also run quietly and smoothly. However, a drawback for some users is that the bobbin case isn’t easily accessible. The top cover screws on and off, but you’ll need a small Phillips-head screwdriver to remove the cover, and the battery cover is thicker than it needs to be, making it more difficult to remove.


  • Automatically threads the needle, saving you time and effort
  • 32 stitch options let you customize your projects
  • Heavy duty performance for heavier fabrics and projects
  • Easy to use and operate
  • Lightweight and portable for easy storage and transport


  • Does not include an instruction manual
  • May be too basic for advanced sewing projects
  • Does not have an automatic bobbin winder

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you use free arm?

Using a free arm sewing machine is really easy. First, you’ll need to raise the arm of the machine. Make sure to detach the presser foot before you do that. After that, you’ll be able to fit your fabric beneath the needle. Have fun sewing!

What are the 3 types of sewing machines?

The three types of sewing machines are: domestic sewing machines, industrial sewing machines, and embroidery machines.

What is a free arm on a Coverstitch machine?

A free arm on a Coverstitch machine is a feature that helps make sewing cylindrical items like sleeves and pant legs easier. The free arm provides extra space so you can easily maneuver your fabric.

Can all sewing machines do free motion?

Yes, all sewing machines can do free motion.


Jacky Butchers

Hi, I'm Jacky Butchers, managing and writing on LetMeSewing. I worked in the field for almost a decade, and I holds a degree in Textile Engineering from the University of the Punjab. I've an extensive experience with a wide range of sewing machines, and I'm is happy to share my skills with those just starting out.