Is Sewing an Expensive Hobby? Machine and Material Costs

Thinking of taking up sewing? That’s great to hear! Sewing is a relatively easy hobby to get into and most beginners start out with hand-sewing before working their way up to using a machine which is when things become understandably more costly.

The cost of sewing as a hobby will depend on the equipment and tools you use. A high-end sewing machine and pricey fabric will make it an expensive hobby compared with buying your machine and fabric supplies from a second-hand store.

In essence, sewing is as expensive a hobby as you make it, and if you are content with hand-sewing or relying on thrift stores for your supplies then there’s no reason why you can’t sew frugally and invest in the high-end stuff when you have the budget. To get a full picture of the expenses of sewing as a hobby, keep reading as we look into the costs of machines, repairs, materials, and more.

Sewing Machine Costs

At the lowest end of the scale, second-hand sewing machines and children’s sewing machines can start as low as $50 or $60 but note that the latter may not be the most durable or deliver the best quality result.

Basic mechanical sewing machines come in at a similar price range (roughly $60 to $100), whilst modern computerized sewing machine models with special programming features and settings can begin at about the $160 mark, with the more professional, high-end machines costing upwards of $1,000-2,000.

Best Sewing Machine for Beginners

This mini battery-powered sewing machine comes in a compact and portable 9 x 8 inches for use on many table-top surfaces. It is designed with a threading direction for accuracy and is made with one basic stitching type to help beginners practice and perfect the basics!

Packed with many great features for a budget piece of kit, the Magicfly machine has a finger guard around the needle, dual speed modes, a 10-inch long extension table, a built-in sewing light, 3 needle types, an anti-slip pad on the base, and 42-piece sewing accessory set to get started. It also comes in 3 cute colors!

Sewing Material Costs

Aside from the needles (of which we’ll cover the costs of below), the basic sewing supplies are scissors, fabric, measuring tools, thread, marker tools, and pincushions. The cost of each of these materials will vary depending on the specific type you use for your project needs and the store you purchase it from.

Let’s break them down:


A pair of basic small sewing scissors from a craft store will cost around $4-5, but if you’ll eventually want to look into investing in high-quality dress-making shears that will cut through the fabric like butter – these can range anywhere between $20 and $80.


On average, you should be able to buy sewing fabric for under $5-10 per yard but this varies depending on the fabric type and store. Common fabrics like cotton, for example, may be $7 per yard whilst a yard of silk could be somewhere between $15 and $65.

Here’s a brief rundown of average fabric prices per yard at different stores:

  • Joann’s – $5-12/yard
  • Target – $10/yard
  • Walmart – $8-9/yard
  • Hobby lobby – $7/yard
  • Fabric Mart – $1.99/yard


There’s a wealth of thread qualities and prices out there, but it’s good for beginners to start out with a decent kit of all-purpose threads in a few colors (crucially including black and white thread). You can pick up a set of 30 50-yard thread spools for around $15-20.

Measuring Tools

Most households already own a tape measure or basic 12-inch ruler – both retail at around $4-5 each for a good quality piece. (TIP: be sure to get a clear/see-through ruler and a double-sided tape measure to make things easier)

Marker Tools

Things like water-soluble pens or fabric pencils that can wash out and not leave your fabric forever stained are great tools to have in your sewing kit. These can cost as little as $4 so they’re well worth getting.

Pins, Pincushions & Other Accessories

You’ll start to amass tons of sewing pins and sooner or later, you’ll need somewhere to hold and store all of them in one handy place. It costs as little as $10 for a pincushion and a set of 100 glass-head pins (glass or metal pin heads are better as plastic ones melt).

Other accessories include needle threaders and seam rippers to help you become more precise in your work and undo mistakes here and there. Both tools will come to no more than $4-5.

Sewing Needles Costs

Most beginners will start with hand-sewing needles and these regular needles will set you back no more than $3-4 for a good-quality set of 10, including various sizes and pint styles.

As for sewing machine needles, a set of universal heavy-duty needles from a high-quality brand like Singer may cost up to $12 for a pack of 5 or up to $20 to $30 for a pack of 10 more. Sewing machine needles can become dull really quickly, so it’s best to start out with a high-quality set as this will save you money in the long term.

Sewing Lesson Costs

The cost of sewing lessons typically ranges between $15 and $100 per session due to the diverse nature of sewing courses. There will be basic introductory sewing lessons for absolute beginners, doll-making, dress-making, alteration and needlework techniques, and all at beginner, intermediate, expert levels and everything in between.

Sites like Skillshare are a good way to save on sewing lesson costs as they often run deals and free trials for first-time users. Check out this list of online sewing classes for 2022 to see if anything takes your fancy!

Repairs and Maintenance Costs for Sewing Machines

On average, the cost to repair a sewing machine can range between $60 and $150, but costs can vary wildly from this estimate depending on the specific type of sewing machine you have. More modern computerized machines and multi-needle embroidery machines, for example, can cost upwards of $240 to repair.

Repair and maintenance rates for sewing machines can be as low as $6-8 for minor repairs up to costing nearly the same amount for a new sewing machine itself. For this reason, some question whether replacing the machine altogether is the best option. If your machine is a treasured possession and you use it often, however, the repair charges will obviously be worthwhile to you.

Let’s look at how much you can roughly expect to pay for each type of common sewing machine repair/maintenance check:

  • Basic tune-up: $75 to $100
  • Single spring replacement: $180
  • Cleaning and oiling: $90
  • Timing fix: $50 to $80
  • Average Industrial sewing machine repairs: $300

Your frequency of use will also factor into how often you’ll need your sewing machine serviced (if it’s daily, then it normally needs servicing every 6 months, if it’s monthly, then a service every 2 years is advised).

To curb the steep repair fees, it’s a good idea to learn some basic repairs from online tutorials or the machine’s manual (if provided). You should also try to prevent common sewing machine issues from occurring in the first place to avoid regular costly repairs down the line!

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