Clothes Making Sewing Machine review: Which Model Is Best?

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BEST BUDGET BUY
SINGER 7258 100-Stitch Computerized 76 Decorative Stitches, Automatic Needle...
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Janome 30 Stitch Computerized Magnolia 7330 Sewing Machine with Accessories...
HIGH-END CHOICE
Janome Memory Craft 6600P (6600) Sewing Machine w/Built-in AcuFeed Feeding Sytem...
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Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8200 QCP Special Edition Computerized Sewing Machine...
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Brother XR9550PRW Sewing and Quilting Machine, Project Runway, 165 Built-in...
SINGER 7258 100-Stitch Computerized 76 Decorative Stitches, Automatic Needle...
Janome 30 Stitch Computerized Magnolia 7330 Sewing Machine with Accessories...
Janome Memory Craft 6600P (6600) Sewing Machine w/Built-in AcuFeed Feeding Sytem...
Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8200 QCP Special Edition Computerized Sewing Machine...
Janome 2212 Sewing Machine Includes Exclusive Bonus Bundle
Brother XR9550PRW Sewing and Quilting Machine, Project Runway, 165 Built-in...
BEST BUDGET BUY
SINGER 7258 100-Stitch Computerized 76 Decorative Stitches, Automatic Needle...
SINGER 7258 100-Stitch Computerized 76 Decorative Stitches, Automatic Needle...
OUR MID-RANGE PICK
Janome 30 Stitch Computerized Magnolia 7330 Sewing Machine with Accessories...
Janome 30 Stitch Computerized Magnolia 7330 Sewing Machine with Accessories...
HIGH-END CHOICE
Janome Memory Craft 6600P (6600) Sewing Machine w/Built-in AcuFeed Feeding Sytem...
Janome Memory Craft 6600P (6600) Sewing Machine w/Built-in AcuFeed Feeding Sytem...
HIGH-END CHOICE
Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8200 QCP Special Edition Computerized Sewing Machine...
Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8200 QCP Special Edition Computerized Sewing Machine...
Janome 2212 Sewing Machine Includes Exclusive Bonus Bundle
Janome 2212 Sewing Machine Includes Exclusive Bonus Bundle
Brother XR9550PRW Sewing and Quilting Machine, Project Runway, 165 Built-in...
Brother XR9550PRW Sewing and Quilting Machine, Project Runway, 165 Built-in...

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Fancy yourself as a seamstress or tailor? Want to make repairs to the garms you love and live a little bit more sustainably? Maybe you’re simply looking to start a new hobby?

Whatever the reason, buying the best sewing machine for making clothes can be a bit of a minefield, but our reviews are here to help!

Why buy a sewing machine for making clothes?

A question that seemingly answers itself, no?

Well, kind of.

Obviously, buying the best sewing machine for making clothes points towards the creation of new outfits and such, but it could also be used for repairing favorite items of clothing or soft furnishings around the home. 

Sewing machines can be fairly versatile pieces of equipment…providing you get yourself a good one, of course.

The key reason, however, applies to both creating and repairing: saving money. Yep, that’s right, despite some of these machines costing anywhere up to four figure sums, if you have one in your life for long enough, you’ll save cash.

Oh, and you’ll get a kick out of it, too, which brings me nicely to…

Benefits of owning a sewing machine for tailoring and dressmaking

tailor making clothes on a sewing machine

Naturally, you’ll have the ability to create custom clothing at your fingertips if you purchase the best sewing machine for making clothes, but there are plenty of other reasons for taking the plunge as well. 

One of my favorite points when trying to persuade friends on the merits of owning a sewing machine is improved mental health…bet you didn’t expect that! Having a hobby, pretty much any hobby, can help relieve stress, improve confidence, induce flow states, and even bolster your social life (hello sewing circles and classes!) [1, 2, 3]

For those with a more altruistic bent, owning a sewing machine for making and repairing clothes can be incorporated into a sustainable lifestyle that helps reduce waste. You can also take on the challenge of repurposing items as well, which will not only have the potential to save something from landfill, it’ll also give you a great deal of satisfaction too. [4, 5]

Oh, and if you get (or already are) good enough, you could even use your machine to make cash as well as save it. Thanks to the rise of sites that support independent creators, like Etsy for example, turning your hobby into a side hustle has never been easier. [6]

You never know, one day you might even be able to quit your day job!

Buying the best dressmaking sewing machine for your ability

clothes making sewing machine student

Another thing to keep in mind when you’re on the lookout for the best sewing machine for clothes is your own ability. 

Have you been sewing forever? Are you completely new to the craft? Maybe you’re returning to the fray after a considerable layoff and feel a little rusty? 

Whatever level you’re at, buying a device that fits your needs and ability level is vital if you’re going to get the most out of it and not leave it to gather dust in the corner of the spare room. 

One piece of advice here, though: buy up, not down. 

What do I mean by that? Well, especially if you’re a complete novice (in which case, I suggest you also take a look at the sewing machine for beginners post as well), you should buy an appliance that will allow your skills to progress.

Buying a sewing machine for making clothes is going to set you back a pretty penny, so the last thing you want to do is find yourself being held back by the same appliance in six months time once you’ve gotten comfortable with the craft. 

Wherever possible, buy a device that offers more than you think you’ll need, as this will give you an element of future-proofing and avoid another costly outlay before it’s really necessary to do so. [7]

What should I expect to pay for my new sewing machine?

dressmaker pondering next design

On the subject of cost, what does the best sewing machine for making clothes cost? 

Unfortunately, that’s a bit like the proverbial “how long is a piece of string?” question, and a lot will depend on your ability level, circumstances, and personal budget. 

As with most things these days, you can pay an awful lot of money for a tailoring tool, but that doesn’t automatically make it the best. What does classify it as such is one that suits your needs and requirements perfectly.

That’s where you get the best value for money.

That being said, I know you want ballpark figures at least, so here goes:

  • Beginners: If you’re just starting out, you’ll probably be looking at anything up to around $300, but there are a couple of great apparel sewing machines on the market for under $200.
  • Intermediate: Moving up a notch, intermediate tailors and dressmakers will likely be upgrading their old machine rather than buying their first. Some will be happy with the same machines that a newcomer would be interested in if their old device was seriously archaic, whereas others will want something a little snazzier. Anywhere up to around $500 will work.
  • Advanced: Highly skilled seamstresses and tailors can expect to pay up to $1,500 if they want all the bells and whistles, but many will not deem that necessary. Most will still opt for a machine under the $1,000 mark.
  • Commercial: Of course, there’s also the commercial aspect of dressmaking to consider, and the sky’s the limit where these workhorses are concerned. We’re not really going to look at those here, but if you’re interested in truly professional pieces of kit, take a look at my best industrial sewing machines post for more information.

Best sewing machine for making clothes: A buyer’s guide

seamstress measuring woman

Whether you’re in the market looking for your first ever appliance or are upgrading to the best sewing machine for making clothes that your budget will allow, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind.

To help you make an informed decision and give you an idea of what I looked at when compiling these reviews for you, here are the main features every good dressmaker or tailor should consider before buying:

Sewing Machine type: computerized or Mechanical

First things first, machine type. 

The type of sewing machine for making clothes you choose will largely depend upon personal preference more than anything. Most modern devices are computerized in one way or another, and they offer a broader range of functionality as a result.

However, some sewists out there will prefer simplicity to dozens of additional features. Mention anything with the word computer in it and they’ll run for the hills, so a mechanical model may suit them better.

Thankfully, you can get great sewing machines in both categories, so the decision will really be entirely based on whether or not you want to go high tech or uncomplicated. For more info on both types, be sure to check out these posts as well: best computerized sewing machines and best mechanical sewing machines.

Stitch library

Almost all domestic sewing machines come with a variety of built-in stitches these days, with the exception being those manufactured to complete one task to an exceptional standard (like the Juki TL-2010Q, for example).

Much will depend upon your requirements and the tasks you’ll be handling here. If you intend to do a lot of elaborate decorative work, then a sewing machine with a broad stitch library will be preferable. 

For anyone who’s bread and butter is straight stitching, on the other hand, a wide choice of different stitches may prove to be unnecessary, so a more basic selection (or none at all!) will be better suited. 

As one might expect, computerized models generally hold the largest amount of built-in stitches, as the internal microchips allow you to effortlessly skip from one to the other by way of an LCD display.

Mechanical devices can still be bought with a range of stitch variations, but they tend to be a lot more limited and are selected by turning a dial. For anyone under the age of 30, this may prove to be a bridge too far…just kidding! 😉

Speed 

Speed, usually measured in Stitches Per Minute or SPM, is something that can be argued for and against when it comes to buying a sewing machine for making clothes.

Sure, if you’re looking for a workhorse to churn out shirts for sale 24/7, it’s going to be a vital factor in your decision, but for the hobbyist…not so much.

Precision, control, and accuracy are far more important, in my opinion, and most home users will get along just great with a machine capable of knocking out 850 stitches per minute. If you don’t sew regularly, going too far beyond this point will likely cause issues anyway, as speedy machines can be tricky to handle. 

So, stick to something around the 850 SPM mark and you’ll be fine.

Control

This feature will appeal more to newcomers than intermediates or pros, but even those who sew for a living can fall in love with it. I’m talking about speed control.

Many modern sewing machines for making clothes have a sliding speed control setting that allows the user to limit the speed at which the machine will run. This can be beneficial for a number of reasons.

Anyone new to making their own clothes will appreciate the opportunity to slow things right down when they are learning how to sew. It’ll also allow them to buy a more powerful machine that can be controlled at first and then unleashed once their confidence and skills grow. 

For those who have been sewing for a while, speed control settings can still come in handy, especially when dealing with intricate work. While it would be great to whizz through everything at top speed, for most home sewists this simply isn’t feasible when working on items that need a little bit of extra care.

There are other benefits to buying a sewing machine with adjustable speed control that go beyond the speed itself. Many users find operating the foot pedal difficult, especially those who don’t drive a car. Yep, not getting behind the wheel can affect your sewing skills!

This is pretty obvious when you think about it. Regularly taking the old jalopy out for a spin enhances your motor skills (pun intended), so controlling anything with your foot becomes a whole lot easier. 

Then there’s the fact that some pedals are simply more responsive than others. I’ve sat behind a few appliances where pressing down on the pedal seems to do absolutely nothing…and then the machine rockets off at 100 miles per hour. Not good! 

Pedals should be smooth and sensitive throughout the pressure range, not jumpy or sticky. If you find yourself having trouble controlling the machine by foot, you’ll often have another method at your disposal when you’ve got variable speed control: the stop / start button.

If your chosen sewing machine for making clothes has one of these bad boys you can do away with the foot pedal altogether. Set your speed, hit start, and your machine will happily chug along at that setting until you hit stop.

Very handy…literally!

Timesavers

These probably fall in the “nice-to-have” category rather than essential, but they’re worth looking out for, nonetheless.

Things such as automatic needle threading, bobbin winders, auto thread cutting (or trimming, as it’ll be called by some manufacturers), automatic tension settings, needle positioning, drop in bobbins, and more will all save you time and, in some instances, make your sewing experience much more enjoyable.

Versatility 

While this article is concentrating primarily on the best sewing machine for making clothes, many of you out there will want more than a one-trick pony…especially if you’re investing several hundred dollars and upwards.

With this in mind, it’s worth checking out what else your new appliance can handle. Can you make and repair soft furnishings? What about upholstery? Will it be powerful enough for those heavier fabrics? Or does it have features that allow for more decorative work, such as embroidery?

There are lots of other uses that can make your machine more of a viable proposition if you’re struggling to justify buying it just for garment making.

Then there’s the versatility within the manufacturing of clothes themselves. Will your new machine be able to handle very delicate materials such as silk? What about heavier materials like denim? Can you adjust the stitch length to accommodate the type of sewing you wish to do? What about stitch width?

Ask yourself as many questions as you can think of before you dive in and buy your next (or first) sewing machine for making clothes.

Tailoring essentials

tailoring equipment

Obviously, as you’ll be making clothes, the sewing machine needs to be able to handle certain tasks that are not just desirable, but essential.

We’ve already touched upon speed control, adjustable stitch width and length, and other features that will be handy for any dressmaker or tailor, but there’s more to look out for.

One thing anyone who is new to sewing, or even an intermediate, will find hard to do without is a buttonhole feature. Automatic buttonholing, and the accompanying presser feet, will help you make short work of what can be a very tiresome task…especially if the appliance has a one-step buttonhole feature.

suit jacket with prominent orange buttonhole on a hanger with matching tie

Other tailoring essentials, in my opinion, include certain stitches, such as stretch, blind hem, and a decent overcast (unless you have a serger machine for overlocking in your sewing room) to tidy up those seams, and automatic and multiple needle positioning, which will help with adding zips, top stitching, curved stitches, and cornering.

Finally, there are certain accessories that will help immensely when making clothes with a sewing machine. We’ll discuss accessories again below, but for this section, presser feet are probably the most important.

All decent sewing machines will come with at least a few different presser feet in their accessory pack, but some are more useful than others when it comes to dressmaking and tailoring.

Here are a few to look out for:

Important presser feet for dressmaking & tailoring

Buttonhole feet 

Buttons need a hole to go through, and that hole needs a reinforcing stitch to hold the button in place and stop the inevitable ripping occurring if the stitch wasn’t there. A buttonhole foot makes this difficult stitching job easy. 

Some will come with a slide that’ll ensure the length of the button hole is accurate and repeatable, keeping the same size time after time until the setting is changed. 

This is especially handy when making garments such as shirts and jackets.

Button sew-on foot

Can you guess what this one does? Yep, the button sew-on foot sews on buttons. Top marks!

What you might not have guessed is that they can also sew on other fasteners such as snap studs and eyelets.

This foot is a real timesaver and well worth having in your clothes making arsenal.

Zipper feet

Zippers take a lot of wear and will often be the first point of failure in an item of clothing. For this reason, a strong and precise stitch is essential, and a good zipper foot can make short work of just that. It’ll also make your work look neat and tidy, too!

There are a few different types of zipper foot, and much will depend upon the make and model of garment sewing machine your opt for. Some feet are very basic and straightforward, while others will come guides and bars to help insert a zipper into any item of clothing.

A few machines will come with an invisible zipper foot, although not many. These feet are often used for soft furnishings, such as cushions, and bag making, but they can also be used to great effect in clothing too.

Blindstitch foot

If you want an invisible hem, the blindstitch foot is your best friend. 

A really good blindstitch foot paired with a decent clothes making sewing machine will result in an almost unnoticeable seam. Blindstitching takes a bit of practice to get used to, but the results are stunning and well worth the perseverance required to get it right time after time.

Make sure you have a blindstitch foot and get practicing!

Overlock foot (AKA overcast foot or overedge foot)

Can be used for overcast hems and seams, creating tidy edges and a neater finish.

Basically, having an overlock foot in your arsenal allows you to do away with having a serger in your sewing room if you only intend to overlock infrequently. 

While it won’t perform anywhere near as well as the specialized machine would, for those who are only hemming and seaming occasionally it can prove to be a vital accessory to have.

Walking foot (AKA even feed foot)

This is more of a specialty foot than the others listed here, and many of you won’t have much use for it. That said, if you do intend to frequently work with layered fabric, a walking foot is an absolutely essential accessory to have at your disposal.

Walking feet allow layers to pass under the needle evenly and without movement thanks to the “walking” action they impart on the top side of the material being sewn. 

While the feed dogs do their thing on the underside, the walking foot walks on the top in sync with them, which means that all layers are fed through at the same speed. Clever stuff!

Quilters swear by walking feet, for obvious reasons, and many of the best sewing machines for leather actually have walking feet built in to avoid slippage and sticking when working with certain grades and thicknesses.

For garments, their usage may not be as popular, but if you do intend to work with awkward materials or multiple layers, you should definitely look into having a walking foot attachment as well.

Portability and size

Portability and size will be important to some and completely irrelevant to others, but it’s something worth mentioning anyway.

women in a sewing class

If you intend to attend sewing classes or are already a member of a local sewing circle, then portability and size will obviously be a prime factor in your decision over which will be the best sewing machine for making clothes. Equally, those with limited space at home or anyone who likes to put their sewing machine away after use will also want to bear the size and weight in mind before purchasing.

Again, it all comes down to knowing what you want from your new device and then purchasing accordingly. Don’t buy something that isn’t going to fit in with every aspect of your dressmaking journey.

If you really want to find out whether or not your new machine will be easy to move around, check out my post on the portable sewing machines as well for a bit of cross-referencing. 

Free arm

While not completely necessary, many home sewers like their machines to have a free arm feature to make their lives easier…and I can appreciate that.

Put simply, a free arm is a domestic sewing machine’s way of turning itself into something like a cylinder bed machine. This commonly involves the removal of one or two pieces of the appliance’s flatbed in order to convert the machine into one with a much smaller workspace.

This is the free arm.

Free arms are not only smaller in width, they are also raised above the work surface you’ve placed your device on. This elevation, coupled with the smaller working area above, means that awkward, tube-like items such as cuffs, sleeves, or pant legs can be easily slid over the arm for simple sewing.

So, if you’re going to be sewing a lot of items that would benefit from a free arm, be sure to check out whether or not your new appliance has one.

Build quality

This one is a bit of a no-brainer, granted, but you’d be surprised by how many people have fallen foul of a bit of marketing spiel and wound up with a lump of plasticky rubbish delivered to their door.

Unfortunately, even the biggest manufacturers are guilty of this from time to time. They all have certain models that are best avoided, and yet they’re still gushed about by their copywriters.

Beware.

All of the clothing sewing machines reviewed below have passed the build quality test, but if you decide to opt for a different make and model be sure to bear this simple factor in mind before you part with your hard earned cash.

Noise

How much noise your new machine makes is another factor that will concern some and be ignored by others. Personally, I always say that quieter is better, but then I’m a little touchy around the subject of unnecessary noise. Others, I’m sure, will be less so.

One thing to consider here, though, is that noise doesn’t just affect you. You may be blissfully unaware of the racket made by your appliance, but it could impact on those you live with.

If you’ve got young children and intend to sew of an evening when they’re tucked up in bed, you’re going to want to go for the quietest machine you can find. None are silent, but some are better than others.

It’s not just the kids you have to worry about. Spouses, too, should be considered before you make your purchase. While you’re busy concentrating on your latest fashion project, the noise may seem negligible, but for the other half who’s trying to read or catch up on their current favorite TV show…you get the picture.

Even neighbors should be thought of if you live in an apartment. Sewing machines can be noisy beasts, and not everyone will be as enthusiastic about their din as you are about your new dress or suit!

Accessories

Depending on whether you are completely new to sewing or not, the accessory pack you receive with your machine can either be a welcome addition or just additional clutter you don’t really need. 

As with the appliances themselves, the accessory packs you’ll find in the box can vary greatly, with some adding value and others, well…not so much. A lot will, again, depend on what you’re going to be sewing, so personal preferences will play a part here.

The usual suspects you’ll find accompanying most domestic sewing machines for making clothes include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Presser feet
  • Bobbins
  • Needle packs
  • Spool pins, caps, and felt
  • Lint brush
  • Seam ripper
  • Tools (usually a screwdriver, but some will have a hex key as well)
  • User manual
  • Dust cover

One thing to bear in mind when it comes to accessories is this: don’t buy a sewing machine for making clothes solely on the fact that you get a lot of extras. This may sound obvious, but one can be easily swayed by an array of goodies…I’ve been there!

You’ll always be much better off buying the best machine you can afford and adding all the other bits and bobs as you go. Sure, it’s an extra expense, but it’s nowhere near as expensive as buying an appliance you’ll never use because it doesn’t do what you want it to. 

Warranty

The final point in this buyer’s guide is always check the warranty…fully.

Every sewing machine will be backed by a warranty of sorts, but some are far better than others. It’s also worth noting that you shouldn’t take them at face value, as they can often be misleading.

An appliance may have a huge promo label stating “25 Year Guarantee” or something similar, but don’t be fooled into thinking you’re fully covered for the duration of that timeframe.

The chances are good that you’re probably not.

What most manufacturers do is offer an extremely long and attractive warranty on parts of the machine that simply do not break, and advertise that as the draw. When you dig deeper, however, you’ll find that bits of the machine that do frequently cause issues are covered for much shorter lengths of time.

A typical example would look something like this:

  • An attention grabbing 25 year warranty that covers the machine’s frame or chassis
  • Motor, wiring, switches, and other electrical components covered for 5 years
  • Belts, bulbs, adjustments, and attachments covered for just 1 year

As you can see, most of the machine is NOT covered for 25 years on anything even close to that length of time.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that even if you’re machine goes wrong within the warranty duration, almost all will fall under the “Limited Warranty” term, which can mean very different things depending on the manufacturer in question.

Always, always, always check the small print before you buy.

Best sewing machine for making clothes: Reviews 

dressmaker reviewing sewing machine

So, which sewing machine is best for making clothes? It’s time to find out! Here are my top picks:

Janome 2212

Janome 2212

First up on our list of the best sewing machines for making clothes is the Janome 2212.

This model from the Japanese behemoth is one of only a few mechanical machines to make the shortlist, and it’s a great place to start. This is a very capable device, and one that is particularly well suited to making clothing and costumes.

As one would expect from a mechanical machine, this model is fairly basic. It does, however, do what it does very well. Stitches come out balanced and even, and the inclusion of a free arm will appeal to many.

Speed is good, too, at 860 stitches per minute, but the stitch library is somewhat limited. Again, you can’t expect too much from a mechanical machine, but a mere 12 built-in stitches may well prove to be insufficient for the seamstress or tailor who wishes to get a bit more creative on occasion.

The accessory pack isn’t exactly overflowing either. You only get three extra presser feet with the Janome 2212 – zig-zag, sliding buttonhole, and a blind hem – and the omission of a zipper foot is unfortunate. Other bits and bobs and fairly standard, with needles, bobbins, and…not much else!

The Janome 2212 can handle the odd piece of heavy fabric should it be required, but I wouldn’t put too much trust in it if you intend to frequently work with denim or leather. There are a few plastic parts that could give up the ghost if you push things too far. 

That being said, for light to medium work, the 2212 is a decent choice, although it does have stiff competition in its price range. Is it the best sewing machine for making clothes in this bracket? Probably not. But for those set on not going down the computerized route it could be the top pick. 

Another thing to bear in mind with this model is its billing as a machine ideal for someone starting their dressmaking journey. It’s not, in my opinion, as there are a few things that could cause frustration for someone who has never sat in front of a sewing machine before – lack of auto threading being one of them. Plus, there are better devices for newbies out there that cost slightly less. You get my point.

If, however, you are relatively experienced, know your way around a sewing machine, and are looking to upgrade an older appliance for a new mechanical machine without wanting to break the bank, the Janome 2212 might be the perfect fit.

LIKES
  • Superb feed system
  • Really well built
  • Ideal speed for home use (860 SPM)
  • Stitches are balanced and even
DISLIKES
  • Should have more features, given the price tag
  • Manual is horrible to work through
  • Not the best for newbies

Juki HZL-LB5100

JUKI HZL-LB5100

To the first of our computerized devices then, the Juki HZL-LB5100.

While it’s by no means a budget option, the Juki HZL-LB5100 does offer incredible value for money if you have a little bit more to spend. Anyone who has used a Juki machine before will know that build quality is paramount, and the HZL-LB5100 doesn’t disappoint in this regard, despite weighing in at only 12.3lbs.

It’s also frighteningly easy to use. Newbs will not be intimidated by this model, although the price point may make many have second thoughts if purchasing their first machine. For those who do shell out for the Juki HZL-LB5100, they won’t be disappointed.

So, what do you get for your money? Well, quite a bit, actually. As one would expect from a computerized appliance, the stitch library is decent, with 100 built-in stitches to choose from. These are accessed quickly and easily via the LCD screen, which is a good size and easy to read. 

Performance is great as well, although it’s not the fastest machine you’ll come across by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, the relatively low SPM – 700 – is one of the few things that could be improved upon, in my opinion. Stitch quality, however, is excellent, and the sliding speed control function works great. It’s also pretty quiet, too.

Additional bonus points for this model comes from the brilliant automatic needle threader that will prove to be a huge timesaver for many. Equally, the needle stop positioning feature will appeal to those like to control the up / down position of their needle without having to do so manually every time they take their foot off the pedal.

Juki have added other time saving features to the HZL-LB5100 in the form of a 1-step buttonhole, and the option to overcast by simply hitting a button on the presser foot will also prove popular. The precise stop feature, which first slows everything right down before allowing you to stop sewing exactly where you want, is also a boon to dressmakers.

Six extra presser feet ship with this model – applique, zig-zag, buttonhole, zipper, overcasting, and blind hem – along with a pack of needles, bobbins, spool caps, spool pin felt, spool stand, screwdriver, seam ripper, lint brush, and a hard case, so you won’t go short in terms of extras. There’s also a handy instructional DVD, too.

The manufacturer claims that the HZL-LB5100 will handle both denim and leather with no issue, but I’m always dubious about such assertions. For me, these materials are best left to devices made specifically to cope with them, and this model hasn’t changed my opinion in that regard. 

As with many other all-rounders, the Juki HZL-LB5100 will indeed handle the occasional heavyweight job, but asking it to plow through thick fabrics day after day is pushing your luck. The seven piece feed dog system helps keeps awkward materials in line beautifully, but it’s never going to match a true compound feed walking foot machine.

Other than that, the Juki HZL-LB5100 is a great buy for both those new to the world of sewing and intermediates alike.

LIKES
  • Lightweight, yet stable
  • Precise and accurate stitching
  • Quiet
  • Easy to use
  • Suitable for all skill levels
DISLIKES
  • At 700 SPM, it’s not the quickest

Janome Memory Craft 6600P

Janome Memory Craft 6600P

Time for a real step up in class now, it’s time to review the Janome Memory Craft 6600P.

Despite primarily being marketed as a quilter’s machine, the Janome Memory Craft 6600P is perfectly suited to those looking to predominantly sew clothes too. There’s not much this phenomenal appliance can’t do, to be honest, but for the price it demands this should come as no surprise!

A budget sewing machine this is not.

Aimed firmly at the upper end of the market, the Janome Memory Craft 6600P offers the user a mind-blowing array of features and functionality. It’ll also devour most fabrics you feed through it…included the aforementioned denim and leather. It’s a beast of a machine.

In terms of the fabric it can handle, perhaps the most impressive thing about the Janome Memory Craft 6600P is the range. While so many competitors offer one-trick ponies that’ll work well with either light or heavyweight materials, few cope admirably with both. The 6600P is an exception to the rule.

Automatic thread tension control keeps the operators life simple, and the auto declutch bobbin winding is superb. Speed wise, the Janome MC 6600P is in semi-industrial territory – you’ll get a lightning 1,000 stitches per minute from this bad boy. Thankfully, there’s a sliding speed control to rein it in where necessary.

The star of the show, however, is AcuFeed, Janome’s layered fabric feeding system; it’s awesome. Awkward, slippery materials flow through it like there’s a compound feed walking foot attached. It simply does not miss a beat, and its inclusion makes the MC 6600P all the more versatile.

As you’d expect, the MC-6600P has a wealth of stitches at its disposal. There are 163 preprogrammed stitches to choose from, but with features like pattern combination and elongation sewing, the options are endless. Oh, and there’s seven one-step buttonholes, too!

I won’t go on too much about this model, as it’s price does make it prohibitive to most of us. But, when you’re looking for the best sewing machines for making clothes, the Janome Memory Craft 6600P is hard to ignore.

LIKES
  • Very quick (1,000 SPM)
  • Nice range of features
  • Capable of stitching pretty much anything
  • Excellent feed control
  • Auto tension works nicely
DISLIKES
  • Price

Bernette 38 (b38)

Bernette 38

Next up we have a little bit of Swiss design for you in the shape of the much sought-after Bernette 38, otherwise known as simply b38.

I’ve covered a few Bernette sewing machines here at You Sew And Sew, and not one of them has left me feeling disappointed. This particular model is the top dog of the Bernette 30 series range, so I was expecting great things. Thankfully, it didn’t disappoint.

First up, the classic Bernette white/gray/red colorway is in evidence once again. I’m constantly surprised by how little thought sewing machine designers seemingly put into the aesthetic side of their creations as, let’s face it, some are downright ugly beasts. 

Not the Bernette 30 series, though. Every one of them, from the entry level b33, right the way up to this little beauty, ooze class and sophistication, which is important if you haven’t got the room to put your device away after each sewing session. Well, it is in my book, anyway.

To the performance, then. Does the Bernette 38 produce results as beautiful as the machine itself? As you may have already guessed – it does. This is a very likeable machine that, despite its overtly techy looks and top of the bill rating, is wonderfully easy to use and would be suited to all levels of domestic sewers. 

As one would expect from Bernette, the build quality is excellent and the whole unit feels solid and well put together. Top speed sewing results in very little vibration and while there’s still plenty of noise when at full pelt, the b38 isn’t overly offensive to the ears when compared to many other machines out there.

You’ll get a respectable 820 stitches per minute from this model and the speed regulator can tame this should you need to go slow for some precision sewing. A simple sliding lever adjusts the speed at which you sew, which gives the user an even greater sense of control.

Stitch quality is balanced and, with 394 patterns to choose from (including eight one-step buttonholes), it’s unlikely that you’ll be left feeling stuck when creativity washes over you. For those of you who work frequently with stretchy materials, the b38 has your back with its range of stitches pre-programmed specifically for such fabrics. 

In fact, it is with these sort of materials that the Bernette 38 excels, making it a firm favorite with amateur tailors and dressmakers since it hit the market a couple of years back. It works wonderfully with light to medium fabrics, but it’ll also cope fantastically well when confronted with a pair of jeans. The presser foot pressure helps here, with a simple dial on top of the machine allowing you to easily change this vital setting.

Eight presser feet ship with the Bernette 38 – button sew on, buttonhole (with slider), zig-zag, overlock, blindstitch, satin stitch, zipper, and open toe – along with the usual other items such as needles, spools, bobbins, and brushes. The b38 also ships with a hard cover, which is better for transporting the machine than a soft dust cover, and an extension table that’ll enable you to work on big projects that require a little more space.

While the Bernette 38 may not be cheap, it most certainly does offer those who are willing to pay over $500 for their machine value for money. It’s a great bit of kit.

LIKES
  • Beautiful design
  • Dreamy to use
  • Solid and well built
  • A true all-rounder
  • Suitable for everyone
  • Supplied with a hard dust cover & extension table
  • Good value for money
DISLIKES
  • Nothing much!

SINGER 4432 heavy duty sewing machine

SINGER 4432

Time for a model from what is probably the biggest name in sewing, SINGER, namely the 4432 Heavy Duty.

Attractively priced and touted as a heavy duty, the SINGER 4432 will undoubtedly appeal to many wannabe wardrobe wizards out there…especially those who plan to make garments from thick, dense materials. 

The problem is that the terms budget and heavy-duty don’t really go together in the sewing machine world. With that said, if you go into owning the SINGER 4432 with your eyes open you probably won’t be disappointed. Just don’t expect too much, is what I’m saying.

The SINGER 4432 will handle a lot of things, but try and stitch really thick leather, canvas, vinyl, or layered denim and you’ll have issues. Although kitted out in battleship gray, the military connections stop there…this is no tank. If, however, your heavy duty work is more, ahem, lightweight, this model will likely serve you well. 

For the money, you do get an impressively powerful motor that will race up to 1,100 stitches per minute at full pelt. This is a mammoth speed for an appliance in this price range and it’s all down to the new motor that SINGER have added to this particular model. They claim that it’s 60% stronger than that of a standard sewing machine, and you’ll definitely notice the difference if you jump on this straight from a regular domestic device.

Speed, however, isn’t everything, but the SINGER 4432 thankfully performs pretty well in terms of stitch quality too. While it’s certainly not comparable to say the JUKI TL-2010Q (review of which is up next) or any of the Memory Craft models from Janome, it does stack up admirably in the price range it competes in. If used correctly (i.e. you don’t expect too much in the way of real heavy-duty work), the SINGER 4432 is a great little machine.

As it’s a mechanical device, it’s also very straightforward and easy to use. You do get a lot less in terms of features, but if all that newfangled nonsense isn’t for you anyway, the 4432 could end up being your new best friend. A perfectly adequate 32 stitches come built into this model, and all are easily selected by simply turning a dial. Can’t get much easier than that!

Four presser feet in total ship with the SINGER 4432 – zipper, all-purpose, buttonhole, and button sewing – and you’ll also find a seam ripper / lint brush, spare bobbins, needles, quilting guide, spool pin and felt, a screwdriver, and a soft-sided dust cover in the box as well. Fairly decent for a machine that is, more often than not, sold for under $200.

So, if you’re looking for a budget option with a bit of extra oomph, the SINGER 4432 is decent choice. Just remember that you’re not buying a beast here, though, as some parts of frighteningly flimsy. Although it held its own in our heavy-duty sewing machine reviews, it’s not going to eat through the really thick stuff day in, day out.

Despite the fragility, however, I’d still recommend it to anyone who wants a straightforward, basic sewing machine for making clothes.

LIKES
  • Superb motor
  • Lightning quick (1,100 SPM)
  • Fantastic value
DISLIKES
  • A bit plasticky in places

JUKI TL-2010Q

JUKI TL-2010Q

Time for what many consider to be a bridge between an industrial and a domestic device, the JUKI TL-2010Q (also known as the Juki TL-2200QVP Mini in the United Kingdom).

This model from JUKI is extremely popular with serious quilters, but it would be a mistake to overlook it when trying to find the best sewing machine for making clothes. While it may be an extremely straightforward appliance, offering no more than a single needle lockstitch, the JUKI TL-2010Q does that one job to a ridiculously high standard.

Granted, this may also be the thing that puts many buyers off as they search for something a little more versatile, but if you’re in the market for a single stitch machine and don’t fancy a full size commercial contraption in your home, the JUKI TL-2010Q is the way to go. 

That being said, it’s still a bit of a whopper. Weighing in at 25.4lbs, you wouldn’t want to cart this around too often! However, the extra few pounds do help keep the JUKI TL-2010Q nice and stable, which is much needed when you’re rocketing along at 1,500 stitches per minute. This model is no slouch, that’s for sure.

Capable of handling a wide range of fabrics, the JUKI TL-2010Q can be taken all the way down to a positively pedestrian 200 spm should the task demand it. As with the Bernette 38 reviewed above, the JUKI also has a presser foot pressure regulator to give the user even greater control when dealing with different weights of material.

The JUKI TL-2010Q also ships with an even feed foot to help with slippery materials and layers. While this is no substitute for a true compound feed walking foot, it does work surprisingly well at keeping everything together and even materials such as garment leather can be fed through with relative ease.

Accessories are few and far between with the JUKI TL-2010Q, though. Only three additional presser feet – zipper, even feed, and ¼ quilting foot – are shipped with the machine, which is a pity as there are loads that can be bought separately. It would have been nice to see some of these included in the box.

Other bits and bobs that are present include an auxiliary table, cleaning brush, bobbins, needles, screwdrivers, spool cap, oiler, cover, and a knee lift lever. No real surprises there.

While this is definitely a specialist machine rather than an all-rounder, for those who know their craft and are looking for a mid-arm machine that does one thing to an incredibly high standard, the JUKI TL-2010Q is a solid buy. For most home sewers who want to make their own apparel, though, I suspect that this particular JUKI may be a little bit too specialized. 

LIKES
  • Robust and solid
  • Extremely fast (1,500 SPM)
  • Excellent speed control feature
  • Large sewing area
  • Stable and vibration-free
  • Produces absolutely stunning stitches
DISLIKES
  • Expensive
  • Surprisingly simple to use, but probably not for beginners
  • Auto needle threader could be simpler

EverSewn Sparrow 25

EverSewn Sparrow 25

On to a machine a little bird might have already told you about, the EverSewn Sparrow 25.

EverSewn’s products always have a “look” about them, and the Sparrow 25 is no different. Boldly colored and boxy, this model will stand out as you sit behind it; it’s no wallflower. The designers of the Sparrow 25 have also done something rather clever in angling the right-hand control panel ever so slightly, which makes it so much more comfortable to use. Small details matter, and this one is most welcome.

The EverSewn Sparrow 25 is a lot more than looks, however. The low- to mid-range price belies its capabilities…this is a really good machine. It’s hugely versatile and would be absolutely perfect for anyone starting out, providing they had the money to spend, of course, although I would say it’s more of an all-rounder than a straightforward sewing machine for making garments. If you just want to turnout togs, your money might be better spent elsewhere.

An impressive 197 pre-programmed stitches are built into the memory of the EverSewn Sparrow 25, including an alphabet, seven buttonholes, and a single eyelet stitch. You can also use the aforementioned memory to store your own combinations of stitches, which will prove handy if you intend to repeat a certain set time after time.

All the features you’d expect from a computerized sewing machine in this price bracket are present on the Sparrow 25, including a sliding speed control that will slow things down when required. You’ll get 850 stitches per minute at top speed from this model and it runs relatively quietly at all levels.

A fairly decent array of accessories ship with the Sparrow 25. Upon unboxing, you’ll find seven presser feet soles – zigzag foot, zipper foot, buttonhole foot with slide, overlock foot, blindstitch foot, embroidery foot, and button-sew-on foot – along with bobbins, spool holders (large and small), spool pin and felt, L screwdriver, right seam guide, brush and seam ripper, a needle set, a spool net, and a dust cover. Plenty to keep you busy!

If you’re thinking of using your EverSewn Sparrow 25 for quilting as well as making garments, be sure to pick up the excellent quilting foot kit if your machine doesn’t ship with it already included. This six piece add-on will make sewing layered fabrics simple and more enjoyable…don’t do without it!

All in all, the EverSewn Sparrow is a lovely machine that will suit those who want to sew a range of items rather than just clothing.

LIKES
  • Angled control panel is brilliant
  • Good stitch library
  • Neat, hidden stitch card
  • Excellent range of features
  • Nice all-round machine
DISLIKES
  • Takes a while to get used to

Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8200QCP Special Edition

Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8200QCP Special Edition

From basic and budget to valuable and versatile now, with the not-so-snappily named Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8200QCP Special Edition review.

Yep, it’s time for another dream machine, ladies and gents. Prepare to swoon!

The Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8200QCP Special Edition is a 26.5 lb beast of a sewing machine that is capable of stitching almost anything, but at the price Janome are asking for it, I’m sure most of you would like it to make you a dry martini as well! 

This is a dream machine that, unfortunately, isn’t for everyone.

However, for those lucky enough to be able to afford a machine like this, you won’t be disappointed. In fact, it could be argued that some – think professional seamstresses, tailors, fashion designers, and the like – can’t afford not to have an appliance of this ilk in their sewing room, so it makes the list of best sewing machines for making clothes. 

To be honest, the price tag is the only thing wrong with the Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8200QCP Special Edition – everything else is just sublime. Even the cost isn’t over the top when you consider what you get. This really is an investment for anyone who uses their sewing machines a lot, and for those who make money from sewing, the 8200QCP will likely pay dividends.

At a glance, you’ll notice that this particular model looks slightly different to many of the others reviewed here. This is thanks to the extended sewing area, which comes in at 11” (28 cm). This additional room will be welcomed by anyone who works with large garments, padded jackets, or gear made from thicker materials. Naturally, it also lends itself to quilting and upholstering, too, so you’re definitely not restricted with the MCH-8200QCP.

Amongst the 170 built-in stitches, you’ll find 3 different alphabets and 10 one-step buttonholes to choose from. Both stitch width and length can be easily adjusted as well, thanks to the easy to follow control panel and LCD display. The width adjustment is particularly impressive at 9mm max.

The Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8200QCP Special Edition is actually surprisingly easy to operate, despite all those buttons. Sure, you’ll need to read the manual to get your head around what does what, but then you should always read the instructions, regardless of device in question. Failing to do so is simply setting you up for a fall…and that can prove to be both frustrating and expensive.

As with the Memory Craft 6600P, this model from Janome features the excellent AcuFeed system, however, the AcuFeed system included with the 8200QCP is a step up again, Referred to as the AcuFeed Flex™, this feeding system is widely regarded as one of the best ways to guide awkward fabrics that require precise control. Anyone who has tried this system on plaid will tell you just how good it is; it’s a game changer.

Presser foot pressure is easily adjusted by a basic dial that broadens the range of fabrics you can work with considerably. All stitches are wonderfully even and well-balanced, and the 8200QCP will happily jog along at an impressive 1,000 stitches per minute all day. 

Another thing that I really like about the MCH-8200QCP is the lighting; it is superb. Nine times out of ten I’ll sew with a lamp by the side of my machine, but there’s no need for that with this device. The 8200QCP has a dazzling five (yes, 5!) LED lights that truly do work, unlike most other sewing machines where this vital feature always disappoints.

So, to finish up, if you can afford this sewing machine, go out and buy it. You won’t regret spending the money for a second and you’ll wonder how you got on without it. For the rest of us, though, it’s time to start adding more than just pennies to the piggy bank.

LIKES
  • AcuFeed Flex™ is outstanding
  • Stitch quality is very impressive
  • Very easy to use, yet complex enough to keep pros happy
  • Lighting is fantastic
  • Nice size sewing area
DISLIKES
  • Very pricey

SINGER Stylist 7258

SINGER 7258

Time for the second SINGER of these reviews, the 7258 Stylist.

It’s highly likely that you’ve already come across this dinky little machine from SINGER during your search for the best sewing machine for clothing. The 7258 is everywhere…and for good reason. In my opinion, there’s no better appliance in this price range on the market today.

What makes the SINGER Stylist 7258 so good? Well, for a start, it’s proven. This model has been a winner for SINGER for the best part of a decade, and companies of their size don’t stick with lemons for that long. If it’s not selling, production is stopped.

This leads to the obvious question of why the 7258 Stylist has proven to be so popular. The short answer is simple: it’s a great machine! However, there’s a lot more to it than that.

The SINGER Stylist 7258 is perfectly positioned in the market to capture the hearts and minds of those looking to sew as a hobbyist (i.e. the vast majority of us). It has more than enough features to entice buyers, the pricing is superb, it’s ridiculously easy to use (making it great for kids and beginners alike), can be transported fairly easily, and has the benefit of being made by one of the best known names in the industry.

Ultimately, though, the key reason for the SINGER Stylist 7258’s popularity is that it does what it’s supposed to do with the minimum amount of fuss. It really is a very good domestic sewing machine, and if you’re looking to use yours for basic dressmaking it’s hard to beat.

The quality of the stitches produced by the SINGER 7258 Stylist is excellent and you have an impressive amount to choose from, given the price you’ll pay. At 100 pre-programmed patterns, the 7258 has enough to keep even the most adventurous sewer happy. 

While it’s not the fastest machine (at 750 stitches per minute), it is one of the most enjoyable to use. The 7258 runs remarkably quietly for what many would consider to be a cheap device, and the self-adjusting tensioning system works brilliantly. It’s also surprisingly versatile, which adds further to its appeal. 

The SINGER 7258 Stylist ships with a frankly astonishing 10 (yes, TEN) presser feet – general-purpose, buttonhole, narrow rolled hem, quarter inch, zipper, blind hem, darning / freehand embroidery, overcasting, gathering, and a satin stitch foot – and a wealth of accessories. 

While there’s no surprises, things such as needles, bobbins, seam ripper, darning plate, thread spool caps, spool pin, screwdriver, dust cover, etc. will be welcomed by those who are just starting out. There’s a decent enough instructional DVD included, too.

SINGER have also managed to cram a surprising number of features into the Stylist 7258 as well, some of which are usually only found on much more expensive machines. Things such as a programmable needle, bobbin winder with automatic stop, and an auto threader are all handy to have, as is the sliding speed control and start / stop button, which allows for pedal-free sewing.

Simply put, if you’re looking to do the occasional bit of dressmaking or make a few odd tailoring repairs here and there without spending a fortune, the SINGER 7258 Stylist is unbeatable.

LIKES
  • Excellent value for money
  • Feature-rich
  • Ideal for beginners and intermediates
  • Stitch quality is very good
  • Relatively quiet
  • Model has been around for years, so you know it’s a winner!
DISLIKES
  • A little slow (750 SPM)

Brother XR9550PRW

Brother XR9550PRW

Time for a collab now – it’s the Brother XR9550PRW.

I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan of these celebrity / reality show tie-ins, but that could just be because I’m old and grumpy. Those of you who are younger at heart might rejoice at seeing Project Runway Limited Edition emblazoned on your machine, but for me it’s a bit of a turn-off.

With that in mind, you’ll appreciate just what the Brother XR9550PRW was up against in order to win me over. It had better be good.

You know what? It is! For the money, anyway. 

As with the SINGER 4432 above, this is not going to be able to compete with the big boys, but for what you’ll pay, this is a really decent machine. In fact, you get quite a bit for your money here, so maybe there’s something to these tie-ins after all!

The Brother XR9550PRW comes with a very good stitch library that has 110 different patterns pre-programmed, including eight one-step buttonholes, and the LCD screen is clear and easy enough to read…even with my rapidly deteriorating eyesight.

Those who have watched the show and fancied trying their hand at sewing for the first time will benefit most from buying this machine, but it’s not without advantages for the more advanced sewer either. I could easily see someone picking this up as a second machine, especially as it’s so lightweight. 

At just over 10 lb, the Brother XR9550PRW is perfect for anyone who needs to move around with their sewing machine a fair bit, whether that be going to sewing circles or classes, working in different locations, or simply needing to regularly put it away after use. Surprisingly, the device manages to remain relatively stable, despite its lack of heft.

In the box, you’ll find eight extra presser feet to go with the all-purpose foot already attached to the machine. These are zigzag, monogramming, buttonhole, button sewing, zipper, overcasting, quilting, and blind stitch feet and they are accompanied by an accessory pouch with 4 bobbins, a seam ripper, needle set, ball point needle, twin needle, cleaning brush, eyelet punch, spool caps (3), extra spool pin, screwdriver, wide table, and hard dust case.

Whether you’re a beginner or an intermediate working on a budget, the Brother XR9550PRW is a decent enough choice…despite being a reality show collab!

LIKES
  • Simple to operate
  • Decent enough stitch library
  • Very lightweight
  • Good range of accessories
  • Affordable
DISLIKES
  • For basic dressmaking tasks only

Janome Magnolia 7330

Janome 7330 Magnolia

Another Janome for you now, this time it’s the turn of the Magnolia 7330.

The price point of the Janome Magnolia 7330 (at the time of writing) puts it into what I consider to be the mid-range of the mid-range…if that makes any sense! Basically, it’s not cheap, but it’s not expensive, either.

What do you get for your mid-level buckage? Well, at first glance…not much. Despite being a computerized contraption, the Janome Magnolia 7330 only has 30 pre-programmed stitch patterns built into its memory, which is a mile away from some devices I’ve reviewed here that cost half the price!

While accessories aren’t everything (see above for my thoughts on them), they can easily sway a decision if you’re stuck between two models. What you get with the 7330 is a little disappointing. Four extra presser feet – zipper, automatic buttonhole, zig-zag, and satin stitch – ship with the machine, along with some needles, a seam ripper, small spool holder and stand, bobbins, and the ubiquitous screwdriver. Not much to write home about.

So, how can Janome command such a price for what appears to be a relatively basic machine with very little in the way of goodies? In short, quality. This is a very nice machine to use and, because of its lack of bells and whistles, it’s about as easy as a computerized sewing machine can get. If you’re a technophobe who’s secretly hankering after an upgrade, the Janome Magnolia 7330 could make all of your dreams come true.

Stitch adjustment, whether you’re changing the length or width, is stunningly simple and the choice of 30 stitches has been really well thought out. In reality, everything most home sewists will need is here, so don’t be put off by the apparent lack in this regard. You get six buttonhole styles, by the way.

While it’s not exactly hefty, it couldn’t be considered lightweight either, coming in at a chunky 18.2 lbs. This won’t be a concern if you’re looking for a permanent sewing room addition, but for those of you who want an appliance you can move around without too much trouble, the Janome Magnolia 7330 might be a few pounds overweight.

The extra high presser foot lift gives you a lot more room to play with and the machine will handle thick, heavy fabrics pretty well. Don’t get me wrong, it’s no Consew 206RB-5, but then you’re only paying the third of the price…and it doesn’t weigh 200 lbs!

Most of the usual computerized features are here: memorized needle up/down, adjustable speed control, automatic locking stitches, start / stop button, etc. and the LCD display will display a warning sign (and the machine will sound a buzzer) if there are any issues, which helps with troubleshooting problems.

Despite the price, and the initial head-scratching over how Janome arrived at it, this has proved to be a very good appliance. If all you want is a basic machine that gets the job done, the Janome Magnolia 7330 is a stellar choice.

LIKES
  • Ideal for those who are nervous about tech
  • Very simple to use
  • Sturdy construction
  • Clear and easy to read LED display
  • Good range of features
  • Stitch quality is excellent
DISLIKES
  • Stitch library is a bit limited
  • Will be a bit basic for some
  • Accessory pack could be better

SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960

SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960

The third and final machine from the brand name everyone has heard of. This time it’s the SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 that takes center stage.

The SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 is quite a step up from the previously reviewed 7258, but, somewhat surprisingly, you won’t have to pay an extraordinary amount more for it. In fact, at its current price, it’s a bit of a steal.

The 9960 Stylist has a very professional air about it. No garish colors here! It does have the disadvantage of looking more complicated than it is. I promise, it’s pretty easy to get your head around if you take the time to read the manual properly.

The standout feature of the 9960 has to be the stitch library. You get, wait for it, 600 pre-programmed patterns built in…six hundred! There’s also 13 different buttonhole patterns to work with, too.

I’m not if that amount of stitches is necessary for anything, but it makes you sit up and take notice, that’s for sure. You can create your own sequences and even use mirroring and elongation on some of the stitches. The possibilities are endless.

If that wasn’t enough, the accessories you get with this machine are plentiful as well. Presser feet that ship with the Quantum Stylist 9960 include an all-purpose foot, buttonhole foot, satin foot, darning/embroidery foot, even feed/walking foot, overcasting foot, button sewing foot, blind hem foot, open toe foot, cording foot, narrow hem foot, quarter inch foot and a zipper foot. That’ll keep you busy.

There’s also a quilting bar, pack of needles, bobbins (class 15 transparent), auxiliary spool pin, spool pin felt, thread spool caps, seam ripper/lint brush, screwdriver, large extension table and a dust cover in the box as well, making it one of the best accessory packs on the list.

Speed-wise, the SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 operates at a fairly standard 850 stitches per minute. Stitches are neat and balanced, although the machine does have a bit of a shake at top speed, which is surprising given that it weighs over 18lbs. The sliding speed control works well, though, as does the touch button reverse. 

Other features such as the thread cutter and the needle up / down are also great, although the automatic threader may take a bit of getting used to. One thing that really stands out about the Stylist 9960 is the tension adjustments you can make to suit particularly fabric types. You can really fine tune this machine, and with the minimum amount of effort. 

The 9960’s ability to feed various materials evenly is also impressive. Feed dogs can be easily lowered by way of a simple lever, too, which makes free-motioning sewing simple and less of a chore than you may have experienced with other machines. You can also see what you’re doing thanks to the very good twin LED lights.

While it’s not without minor irritations, such as the annoying auto-threader, the SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 is decent value for money if you’re looking for a machine that does a heap of stuff but don’t want to spend four figures for it.

LIKES
  • Feeds fabric beautifully
  • Well lit
  • Incredible stitch library (600 preprogrammed patterns!)
  • Ships with a great range of accessories
  • Clean, minimalistic design
  • Good value
DISLIKES
  • Auto threader is frustrating
  • There’s a bit of wobble at full speed

So, what is the best sewing machine for clothes?

With such a wide variety of really good devices on the market and all of the other variables that have to be taken into consideration, selecting the very best sewing machine for tailors and dressmakers is an unenviable task.

In order to give an opinion that I think will be most useful, I’ve concentrated on just one of those variables – price – and split it into three categories: Budget, Mid-Range, and High End. Hopefully, these will lead you to the right choice for your own personal circumstances.

Let’s take a look!

Budget

SINGER 7258

For me, it’s hard to see past the SINGER 7258 in this category. You get a great deal for your money and you’ll also have the peace of mind associated with knowing it’s been on the market for ages and comes from a really well-known brand.

A close second in this price range would be the Project Runway collab from Brother, the XR9550PRW. This, too, is a great machine, but the 7258 has the edge, in my opinion. 

For those who simply cannot abide anything computerized, the mechanical Janome 2212 is a great buy.

Mid-Range

Janome 7330 Magnolia

The mid-range may not be quite as competitive as the budget section, but there’s still plenty to choose from. 

If you ask me, the best in class here is the Janome Magnolia 7330. This is a very basic machine, but that works to its advantage brilliantly. It simply does what it does to an exceptional standard; it’s a fantastic machine.

For those who want more bells and whistles, and have a few dollars more to spare, the Bernette 38 should be on your shortlist. It’s fab.

High End

Janome Memory Craft 6600P
Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8200QCP Special Edition

To the dream machines now, where the market is a lot less crowded, and it’s a choice between two Janomes: the Memory Craft 6600P and the Memory Craft Horizon 8200QCP.

Both are exceptional.

That’s it…

Hopefully you’ve found this post helpful and informative. Any of the machines mentioned here will prove worthy investments, but the one’s I’ve selected are the pick of the bunch. 

Now it’s down to you to get creative…and have fun while you do! I’d love to see what designs you come up with on your new machine, so feel free to drop me a line once you’ve finished your first project.

BEST BUDGET BUY
SINGER 7258 100-Stitch Computerized 76 Decorative Stitches, Automatic Needle...
OUR MID-RANGE PICK
Janome 30 Stitch Computerized Magnolia 7330 Sewing Machine with Accessories...
HIGH-END CHOICE
Janome Memory Craft 6600P (6600) Sewing Machine w/Built-in AcuFeed Feeding Sytem...
HIGH-END CHOICE
Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8200 QCP Special Edition Computerized Sewing Machine...
Janome 2212 Sewing Machine Includes Exclusive Bonus Bundle
Brother XR9550PRW Sewing and Quilting Machine, Project Runway, 165 Built-in...
SINGER 7258 100-Stitch Computerized 76 Decorative Stitches, Automatic Needle...
Janome 30 Stitch Computerized Magnolia 7330 Sewing Machine with Accessories...
Janome Memory Craft 6600P (6600) Sewing Machine w/Built-in AcuFeed Feeding Sytem...
Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8200 QCP Special Edition Computerized Sewing Machine...
Janome 2212 Sewing Machine Includes Exclusive Bonus Bundle
Brother XR9550PRW Sewing and Quilting Machine, Project Runway, 165 Built-in...
BEST BUDGET BUY
SINGER 7258 100-Stitch Computerized 76 Decorative Stitches, Automatic Needle...
SINGER 7258 100-Stitch Computerized 76 Decorative Stitches, Automatic Needle...
OUR MID-RANGE PICK
Janome 30 Stitch Computerized Magnolia 7330 Sewing Machine with Accessories...
Janome 30 Stitch Computerized Magnolia 7330 Sewing Machine with Accessories...
HIGH-END CHOICE
Janome Memory Craft 6600P (6600) Sewing Machine w/Built-in AcuFeed Feeding Sytem...
Janome Memory Craft 6600P (6600) Sewing Machine w/Built-in AcuFeed Feeding Sytem...
HIGH-END CHOICE
Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8200 QCP Special Edition Computerized Sewing Machine...
Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8200 QCP Special Edition Computerized Sewing Machine...
Janome 2212 Sewing Machine Includes Exclusive Bonus Bundle
Janome 2212 Sewing Machine Includes Exclusive Bonus Bundle
Brother XR9550PRW Sewing and Quilting Machine, Project Runway, 165 Built-in...
Brother XR9550PRW Sewing and Quilting Machine, Project Runway, 165 Built-in...

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REFERENCES:

  1. Matthew J. Zawadzki, Ph.D. & Joshua M. Smyth, Ph.D. & Heather J. Costigan, B.S. | Real-Time Associations Between Engaging in Leisure and Daily Health and Well-Being | https://www.ucmerced.edu/sites/ucmerced.edu/files/documents/zawadzki-paper-2015.pdf
  2. Emily Laurence | I Was Shocked At How Much This One Lifestyle Change Boosted My Confidence | https://www.wellandgood.com/good-advice/how-hobbies-make-you-more-confident/slide/3/
  3. Alayna Kennedy | Flow State: What It Is and How to Achieve It | https://www.huffpost.com/entry/flow-state-what-it-is-and_b_9607084
  4. Sirin Kale | Slow fashion: how to keep your favourite clothes for ever – from laundering to moth-proofing | https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2019/aug/01/slow-fashion-how-to-keep-your-favourite-clothes-for-ever-from-laundering-to-moth-proofing
  5. Shortacts | Home sewing | https://www.reddit.com/r/sewing/comments/6pzguq/tips_home_sewing_an_existential_threat_to_shitty/
  6. Eithne Farry | A stitch in time | https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2008/apr/28/fashion.ethicalliving
  7. Madeleine Somerville | Why shopping for the cheap deal can be more expensive in the long run | https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/nov/17/smart-shoppers-conscious-consumer-guide 

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