singer 2277 tradition review: essential starter sewing machine?

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At first glance, the Singer Tradition 2277 looks like another entry-level mechanical sewing machine. It has manual controls, a limited stitch selection, and a design that makes it easy to start sewing right out of the box. Singer produces a lot of similar machines, though. You might be wondering how the Singer 2277 stands out. Our Singer Tradition 2277 review will tell you.

The Singer Tradition and the Singer Tradition 2277 Sewing Machine

singer 2277 front on

Isaac Merritt Singer didn’t invent the sewing machine. But he and his company arguably did more to develop the market for domestic sewing machines than anyone else before or since.

In 1851, Singer received his first sewing machine patent. The design wasn’t particularly original. It built on the successful aspects of other sewing machine designs dating back nearly a century before. In fact, Elias Howe successfully sued Singer, and others, for patent infringement of his own sewing machine design.

But Singer’s genius wasn’t so much in design as it was in marketing and market development.

Revolutionary Strategies

Singer’s competitors focussed largely on the industrial market. Singer distinguished himself by turning his attention to the market for home sewing machines.

The main problem with selling sewing machines for household use was cost. To address this problem, the Singer Corporation took advantage of two new factory trends: mass production and the use of interchangeable machine parts.

Those two economizations significantly lowered the cost of production. The company then passed the savings on to consumers and offered the lowest prices available on home sewing machines.

If that wasn’t enough, the I.M. Singer Corporation pioneered the idea of payment by installment. This meant that more households could afford to buy their own sewing machine than ever before.

Singer also positioned itself as one of the first multinational manufacturing corporations, with facilities in Brazil and Scotland as well as the USA.

And when Britain’s 1944 Education Act mandated sewing and dressmaking in schools, Singer was in a position to supply those schools with sewing machines. [1]

About the Singer Tradition 2277

singer 2277 in use

My first sewing machine was a Singer, and it was very similar to the Singer 2277 Tradition. That is, it was a straightforward, no-frills mechanical sewing machine. Singer makes a lot of these types of machines.

There are four machines in the Tradition line: the Singer 2277 sewing machine, the 2250, the 2259, and the 2282. You’ll find them all at roughly the same price point. Depending on your retailer, that price point may strike you as unnecessarily high. We agree.

The main difference between the two earlier models (the 2250 and the 2259) and the later ones is the replacement of a four-step buttonhole with a one-step buttonhole. This is an important difference, and, in our opinion, one that would make us choose one of the later models, especially as the price is about the same. The later models also have a few more stitch designs.

SINGER 227 Tradition Review: Pros & Cons

  • Easy to use
  • Light and portable
  • Twin needle capability
  • Handy stitch applications guide
  • Large number of highly positive customer reviews
  • Miserly accessories pack
  • A lesser warranty
  • No information about stitching speed
  • Questionable performance for heavy work
  • No cover or case

Stitch Applications vs. Stitch Designs

Speaking of stitch designs, if you’ve been reading different Singer Tradition 2277 reviews, you might have noticed something that Singer calls “stitch applications.” According to Singer, the 2277 has 23 stitch designs and 97 stitch applications. What does that mean?

Stitch applications (Brother calls them “stitch functions”) are different from stitch designs. Basically, stitch applications are different ways you can adjust the length and width of a stitch design to create a different one. One common “application” is sewing a zigzag stitch with a zero width to approximate a satin stitch. Watch how this is done below:

On one hand, saying a sewing machine has 97 stitch applications instead of 23 stitch designs is a bit of a cheat. A customer will, of course, be more impressed by the number 97 than by the number 23. On the other hand, knowing how to make these stitch adjustments is a useful skill. And Singer has thoughtfully created a detailed guide on how to do this. [2]

The Tradition Line vs. Singer’s Other Mechanical Lines

Singer’s mechanical home sewing machines fall into three categories: the Tradition line, the HD line (HD stands for heavy duty, and we’ll discuss this more in a minute), and an assortment of portables. The differences between most of them are negligible: a top drop-in bobbin vs. a front-loading bobbin, free arm vs. no free arm, one-step vs. four-step buttonholes, and so on.

The HD line is different. It’s a specialized line of mechanical sewing machines designed for heavy duty work (think multiple layers and thick fabrics). HD machines come with a heavy metal frame and a stitching speed that’s nearly twice the average for a domestic sewing machine. They’re a bit more expensive, but, objectively speaking, they’re better machines.

As for the Singer Tradition 2277, it, too, advertises a metal frame. However, customer reviews suggest that this particular model might not be up to repeated heavy work. 

Also, I was unable to find the 2277’s stitching speed on Singer’s website or even in the manual. It was a red flag for me, as they proudly list the stitching speed of their more expensive machines. However, outside of the high-speed HD line, Singer doesn’t appear to provide this information for its mechanicals. [3]

Stitching speed may or may not be a dealbreaker for a learner or occasional user. But for more advanced sewists, it might very well may be.

Who is the Singer Tradition 2277 For?

A simple mechanical sewing machine is an excellent choice for two types of buyer: the learner and the occasional home sewist.

The design of the Singer Tradition 2277 is about as intuitive as it gets. Knobs control the stitch design selection and length. There are wheels to adjust the stitch width and the thread tension. That’s it. 

This means that someone purchasing their first sewing machine or receiving it as a gift will be able to have it up and running in minutes. And when it comes to mastering — and enjoying — a new technology, this is a blessing.

For people who sew occasionally, the Singer Tradition 2277 is a cost-effective option. Although it’s a shame it doesn’t come with either a dust cover or a hard case to protect it during storage.

Finally, at 13.6 pounds, the 2277 is light and portable, which makes it a good choice for sewing classes and meetups.

Yes, consumer reviews touch on durability issues. The warranty is a bit shorter than the standard limited 25-year you get with most sewing machine purchases (including many Singer machines). However, durability might not be an issue for occasional users, or for serious beginners who will probably move on to a higher quality machine in time.

What’s in the box? 

Accessories that come with the SINGER 2277 Tradition, include:

  • General purpose presser foot
  • Buttonhole foot
  • Quilting guide
  • Screwdriver
  • Seam ripper with lint brush
  • Needle pack
  • Bobbins
  • Thread spool cap
  • Oil bottle
  • Darning plate

Technical Specifications

singer tradition 2277 accessories

Buying an Entry Level Sewing Machine? Read This First

If you’re looking at an entry-level sewing machine, chances are it’s your first. Or perhaps you’re considering a machine as a gift for a beginning sewist. The problem is, of course, that sewing machines run the gamut from hand-held miniatures that can be had for around $20 to professional crafting machines that run into thousands. 

How do you choose?

Specialized Sewing Machines

First, it’s important to know what not to buy. It’s tempting to look at expensive do-it-all machines with hundreds of stitches and dozens of functions. You might dream of doing a particular craft and think about a top-of-the-line model designed just for that craft. 

But any sewing machine is a large purchase. And before making any large purchase, it’s important to have a realistic picture of your needs, abilities, and how you’ll be using your machine.

For your first sewing machine, avoid expensive machines with all the bells and whistles. A lot of times, manufacturers add all sorts of gimmicks to attract buyers, and many of those gimmicks never end up being used. 

Also, the more complicated a sewing machine is to set up and work with, the less likely a learner is to use it regularly. If it intimidates you, it will end up sitting in the closet.

Choose an all-purpose sewing machine over one that’s made only to do a specific craft like quilting, serging, or embroidery. Specialized sewing machines can be very expensive, and many of them do not do regular sewing.

Instead, choose a sewing machine that can serve a variety of purposes, has a limited number of features that you can master, and isn’t outrageously expensive. That way, as you grow in your craft, you can decide which features are useful to you and will be deal breakers for your next sewing machine.

And if you decide sewing isn’t for you after all, you won’t feel a fool for having made a huge initial investment.

Computerized vs. Mechanical

The first division you’ll notice is between mechanical sewing machines like the Singer Tradition 2277 and computerized sewing machines. 

Mechanical sewing machines have manual controls: knobs, dials, and sliders. They have a limited number of stitch designs, and very little in the way of extras. They may have a one-step buttonhole, but many have a four-step buttonhole. Mechanical sewing machines are very, very basic.

For a lot of sewists, that’s a good thing. Most sewists don’t use more than a handful of stitch designs regularly anyway. And about those manual controls? They actually allow you quite a bit more fine control over your stitch length and width, as well as your thread tension, than you would get with the push-button controls of a computerized sewing machine.

On the other hand, if it’s options you’re after, you’ll find more with a computerized sewing machine. While mechanical sewing machines may have as few as one stitch design, a computerized sewing machine may have several hundred. You will often find other features, as well, including:

  • Manual speed control
  • Push-button start/stop
  • Programmable needle position
  • A wider range of decorative stitches
  • Device connectivity
  • Stitch sequencing and memory
  • On-machine stitch editing

And more.

So consider your options. If you want a first machine with a small learning curve, a mechanical sewing machine can take you far. If options are your game, then a computerized machine may be more to your taste.

What to Look For in a Mechanical Sewing Machine

If you think a mechanical sewing machine like the Singer Tradition 2277 might be right for you, here are a few features you don’t want to be without:

  • Automatic needle threader
  • One-step buttonhole
  • Free arm
  • Lightweight and portable

Features and Benefits of the Singer Tradition 2277 Sewing Machine

What are the selling points of the Singer Tradition 2277? Let’s have a look.


I hesitate to call this machine inexpensive. That’s because at the time of this writing, you can find the Singer 2277 at a surprisingly wide range of price points. But if you choose your retailer carefully, you can find it for a very reasonable price, both as far as value for money, and compared to similar sewing machines.

A simple mechanical sewing machine with no special features (such as high sewing speed or heavy duty construction) should find itself on the lower end of the price spectrum. And, if you do your research, you’ll find the 2277 there.

Easy to Use

If you want an intuitive sewing machine, the 2277 is as intuitive as it gets. The manual controls are simple and easy to understand. At the same time, they allow powerful fine control over your stitch parameters and thread tension.

One-Step Buttonhole

singer 2277 buttonholer

You might not think there’s much of a difference between a one-step buttonhole and a four-step buttonhole. What’s three extra steps, after all? In my opinion, those three extra steps can be a game changer.

It’s not so much a matter of the number of steps as it is of duplicability. With a one-step automatic buttonhole, you can make an entire row of identical buttonholes with the push of a single button. Having to stop after each of four steps and readjust your sewing machine makes it difficult to get consistent results.

Don’t believe me? Have a look at a four-step buttonhole in progress.

Now compare with a one-step buttonhole. 

See what I mean?

Free Arm

Sewing machines with a free arm allow you to remove part of the base in order to use a smaller workspace. Why on earth might you want a smaller workspace? Well, if you’re doing small circular work like cuffs or collars, it’s absolutely necessary.

The thing is, a free arm is de rigeur on mid-range and higher-end sewing machines. But a lot of portables and cheaper mechanical sewing machines don’t have them. So if you’re looking for an entry-level sewing machine, look for the free arm. The Tradition 2217 has one, by the way.

Automatic Needle Threader

singer 2277 needle threader

An automatic needle threader isn’t an absolute necessity. But if you’ve ever squinted at a fuzzy fabric end while trying to pop it through the tiny eye of a sewing machine needle, you’ll understand why it’s such a nice feature to have.

It’s not a complicated feature, nor is it expensive or difficult for a manufacturer to include. Still, some manufacturers neglect to add one to their simpler machines. Fortunately, the Singer 2277 has one. You can see how it works here.

Extra-High Presser Foot Lift

Although some users have pointed out that the Singer 2277 might not be the best choice for continuous heavy work, if you do undertake work with thick materials or multiple layers, you’ll be happy to have that extra room under the presser foot. This, along with the enclosed quilt guide, is a feature that quilters will be happy for.

Lightweight and Portable

An entry-level mechanical sewing machine can be a great choice for taking to classes, workshops, meetups, and so forth. The Singer Tradition 2277 weighs just 13.6 pounds. This makes it lightweight and portable enough to carry wherever you might want to go. But before you do, you might want to invest in a carrying case to protect your investment.

Alternatives to the Singer Tradition 2277 Sewing Machine

The field of mechanical sewing machines is a crowded field indeed. The Singer 2277 has a lot of competitors. Here are a few that we consider worthy alternatives.

Singer 4432 Heavy Duty Mechanical Sewing Machine


Earlier, we talked about Singer’s HD line. HD stands for heavy duty. The HD 4432 is one of several machines in this line, and, depending on your retailer, can be found for about the same price as the Tradition 2277. 

Singer’s HD line doesn’t just tolerate heavy work — quilts, denims, leather, stacked fabrics — it’s made for it. A metal frame provides stability and durability. Also you get a more powerful motor under the hood, and a stitching speed of 1,100 stitches per minute. The average speed of a domestic sewing machine is 850 stitches per minute, so this is quite a bit more.

If you want the simplicity of a mechanical sewing machine, but are interested in speed and durability, too, then this could be the model for you.

Brother XR3774

Brother XR3774

One area where Brother excels is low-cost mechanical sewing machines that do a lot more than you might expect them to. The Brother XR3774 is one of them. Depending on your retailer, this model may cost you around the same as the Singer Tradition 2277, and it will probably last you about as long. However, it has a few twists that might excite you.

First, it comes with a snap-on extension table. For quilters and people experimenting with quilting, this can be a big help. That extra work space will allow you to see more of what you’re working on. It will support larger pieces of work-in-progress. It will also help you to see your stitching in the context of the rest of the work.

There are also quite a few more stitch designs, though not an overwhelming number. You get 37, which includes a nice assortment of decorative stitches to play with.

Like the Singer 2277, this model probably won’t be one you’ll be passing on to your grandchildren. But its huge number of overwhelmingly positive customer reviews show that buyers are, by and large pleased with their purchases.

Janome J3-24 (European Alternative)

janome J3-24

Janome’s sewing machines tend to be focussed. That is, they do a few things and they do them well. They also tend to be expensive, which is why the Janome J3-24 will cost you a bit more. 

The J3-24 looks a bit different from our other two alternates. But at its heart, it’s a very similar machine: an easy-to-use mechanical sewing machine with 24 stitch designs and a free arm.

If you’re looking for a mechanical sewing machine, and quality build and durability are more important than getting the absolute lowest price, then this might be the machine for you.

Final Thoughts

singer 2277 front on

The Singer Tradition 2277 is an entry-level mechanical sewing machine suitable for learners and occasional sewists.

Though it’s certainly no worse than most of the machines in its class, in a very crowded field, it doesn’t really stand out. Also, the lesser warranty, combined with Singer’s reluctance to state the stitching speed, gave us pause.

Customer reviews are generally positive. This model would probably serve well as a first sewing machine. Just choose your retailer carefully to make sure you’re getting the best price.

singer 2277 tradition review


  1. Sir Michael Barber | Rab Butler’s 1944 act brings free secondary education for all |
  2. Singer | Stitch Adjustments |
  3. Singer | Singer 2277 Instruction Manual |

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