Being able to create, mend and alter your own clothes and soft homewares is a fantastic convenience. But a large sewing machine is bulky, takes up space, and needs its own permanent spot to live. You can’t exactly pack it into the car and take it with you on holiday, can you? That’s where handheld sewing machines come in very handy. You can pop it in your bag and take to work, on holiday, to the theatre to fix costumes last minute, or to fix wedding day emergencies. You don’t need to shell out lots of cash for a handheld sewing machine, as they’re extremely cheap…as you’ll soon find out.

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We’ve found the best handheld sewing machines for you to add to your collection of crisis-saving appliances. Read on for 3 affordable, easy and tiny sewing machines to save you in a stitch-related crisis.

Royalsell Handheld Sewing Machine – Quick Handy Stitch for Fabric, Clothing, Kids Cloth Home Travel Use

This little handheld sewing machine is incredibly compact and very, very affordable indeed. It’s battery operated, so you just need to pop 4 AA batteries in there and you’re good to go. The rotary wheel on the side lifts the needle up from the mechanism so you can then lift the fastening plate and insert or remove your fabric. Once you turn the rotary wheel and let down the fastening plate again, the fabric is secured tightly in the mechanism, ready to be sewn. There is a small dial which controls the tension of the thread, so you have full control over this aspect. 

You do need to be careful with what kind of fabric you use with this machine, as it doesn’t like thick or thin fabrics…it prefers something in the middle, around 1.8mm. The ease, handheld size and portability makes this model ideal for simple touch-ups, alterations and emergency mending. 

This would be very handy if you have school-age kids who always happen to have dropped hems, torn sleeves or frayed edges. Get the job done without having to fuss with a manual needle and thread. 

Ownest 2 Pack Travel Household Portable Mini Handheld Clothes Fabrics Sewing Machine

Here we have a model which is even cheaper than the one above, and you get two in the pack. This one is so tiny it looks more like a staple remover (or a stapler itself, for that matter) than a sewing machine! The dimensions are only 11 x 3.5 x 7cm (approximately) so it would barely be noticed if you were to stash it in your handbag or first-aid kit at the holiday home or workplace. This is the kind of item which would be a lifesaver at theatres or dance recitals when there’s just no time for manual stitching or rushing to the main sewing machine.

This is the kind of handheld sewing machine you’d want to employ for very small, simple jobs such as darning doll clothes or adding a few extra stitches to a loose seam. It works by pressing down on the top of the unit over and over, kind of like a little stapler. If you need anything more than a few simple stitches then I would go with one of the other, more comprehensive models. This would be handy for intrepid travels or long trips when you want to be equipped with something to save your clothes if they start to get shabby.

Haitral Handheld Sewing Machine – Portable Quick Stitch Tool

The final (but in no particular order) model on the list comes from Haitral, and is very similar to the model by Royalsell. This model requires 4 AA batteries so you can tuck it away in your bag, luggage, work desk or home craft kit without requiring a power source nearby. It’s truly handheld and is operated by squeezing down (like a stapler) and moving along the fabric where you require the stitching. It’s best on regular fabrics but not so great with very thick (i.e. corduroy or leather) or very thin (chiffon or fine silk) fabrics. You have to remember to tie the thread at the end of the seam as the machine doesn’t do this step for you. This would be ideal for people who have trouble with handling small, fiddly items and tasks (i.e. hand stitching).

FINal Thoughts

A handheld sewing machine is a smart item to own if you find yourself constantly with something to mend, whip up or alter in a flash. Hand sewing is rather tedious and often looks a bit shabby unless you’re a total whiz. A handheld sewing machine can be a safe and easy way for kids (supervised) to get started with sewing and creating fabric-based treasures. 

We think the 2-pack of the Ownest mini handheld sewing machine offers fantastic value and the smallest of the models reviewed here. Great for keeping in your desk drawer, home sewing cupboard or in your handbag. It’s would also serve you really well when traveling, as clothes tend to be subjected to wear and tear and often need a little TLC on the road. The Royalsell model is also extremely affordable and slightly larger than the Ownest model. It is more comprehensive and runs on a battery. The Haitral model is very similar to the Royalsell model and comes with everything you need to operate it. 

The great thing about these models is that they’re affordable enough for you to buy one and give it a go. If it’s not your cup of tea and you prefer to go with the regular machine, you haven’t wasted cash. But chances are you’ll be glad you picked up one of these handy gadgets when unforeseen mishaps pop up and you’re able to come to the rescue quickly and effectively.