Some sewing machines are very clearly designed for beginners. Others sport a complex array of features that mark them as advanced machines. And then there are machines like the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 that bridge the gap. Our Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 review can help you decide if this is the right machine for your sewing needs.
About the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 Sewing Machine
In 1851, American entrepreneur Isaac Merritt Singer received a patent for his sewing machine design. It wasn’t the first sewing machine designed or even the first to receive a patent. However, it was the first to go into mass production.
Singer’s designs drew heavily on those that had come before — sometimes even to the point of copyright infringement. But where Singer excelled was in business and marketing. He modified industrial machines for home use. He also pioneered the idea of paying on installment. This enabled many more people to purchase sewing machines than ever before.
Singer also expanded his operations overseas, making I.M. Singer one of the world’s first multinational corporations. As far as manufacturing went, Singer exploited the new ideas of mass production and interchangeable machine parts to dramatically lower his production costs. He passed the savings on to customers, while simultaneously increasing his profit margins.
As a result, the I.M. Singer Sewing Machine Company quickly became a household name.
Today Singer sewing machines have a reputation for affordability and reliability. They make a range of products from extremely basic mechanical sewing machines to intricate, high-tech craft-specific machines for quilting and embroidery.
- Extra-wide extension table
- On-the-machine stitch editing
- Stitch sequencing and memory
- 600 built-in stitch designs
- 13 one-step buttonholes
- 5 alphabets
- Extensive accessories pack
- Easy to use
- Great value for money
- Black and white display
- Push-button control rather than a touch screen
The Singer Quantum Stylist Line
The Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 is part of the Quantum Stylist line. This line consists of three easy-to-use, feature-rich computerized sewing machines.
This line is aimed at intermediate to advanced sewists. The machines fall at the upper end of the mid-price range, which may scare off some learners. However, serious beginners will be delighted with the way this line can stretch your abilities and grow with you as your skills increase.
The Quantum Stylist 9960 is one of the older machines in the series. This means two things. First, the other Quantum Stylist machines (the 9980 and 9985) have slightly updated features. Also, the 9960 will cost you less.
This isn’t to say that the Quantum Stylist 9960 is in any way “less than.” It has a number of advanced features that you won’t find on simpler machines, including stitch sequence memory and on-the-machine stitch editing. The differences, as you’ll see, are slight, and are more a matter of preference than performance.
How Is the 9960 Different?
All three machines in the series provide a fast, reliable, versatile sewing experience. They all have 13 one-step buttonholes. You can alter stitch parameters in interesting ways, for example shortening or lengthening stitches, or sewing a mirror-image version of them. And they all have a minimum of 5 different alphabets (the 9985 has 6).
All three machines also have available memory so that you can create, save, and reuse your favorite stitch sequences.
How do they differ from one another?
Well, the 9985 has a color touch screen display. The 9960 and 9980 both have a black and white display. The 9980’s is a touch screen, but the 9960’s display operates with push-buttons. If these were embroidery machines, this could make a huge difference, in my opinion. But these aren’t embroidery machines, and you don’t need a color touch screen for everyday sewing.
The other major difference is in the number of pre-programmed stitches. The 9960 has 600, the 9980 has 820, and the 9985 has 960. That may sound like a big difference, but think about it. How many stitch designs do you actually use regularly? I’m guessing it’s not even close to 600.
Quilters may even prefer the Quantum Stylist 9960, as, unlike the others, it comes with a removable extra-wide work table. An extension table supports large projects like quilts, and allows you to see more of your work while you’re sewing.
The Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 accessories pack, as is usual for Singer machines, is extensive and filled with useful extras.
What’s in the box?
Accessories that come with the SINGER 9960, include:
- Wide extension table
- A Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 manual
- General purpose foot
- Zipper foot
- Buttonhole foot
- Satin foot
- Blind hem foot
- Open toe foot
- Cording foot
- Darning/embroidery foot
- Walking foot
- Overcasting foot
- Button sewing foot
- Narrow hem foot
- Quarter inch foot
- Quilting bar
- Packet of Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 needles
- Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 bobbin pack of class 15 bobbins
- Seam ripper with lint brush
- Auxiliary spool pin
- Spool pin felt
- Thread spool caps
- Dust cover
|5||STITCHES PER MINUTE (SPM)||850|
|13||BOBBIN TYPE||Top Drop-In|
|16||DIMENSIONS||17.2 x 8.2 x 12 inches|
|18||WARRANTY||Limited 25 / 5 / 1|
So You’re Looking for an Upgrade
If you’re considering the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960, you’re very likely an intermediate or experienced sewist. Possibly you’re looking to upgrade from a simpler machine to something with more features and options.
The question then, of course, is, which features do you need? Because there are a lot of sewing machines on the market with a lot of interesting-sounding options, from on-board tutorials to design transfer technology to a WiFi-enabled sew-cam. A lot of those features, though, are gimmicks meant to catch the eye and justify a higher price tag.
So the first order of business is knowing which capabilities you’ll actually use.
The Useful, The Nice-to-Have, and the Just Plain Silly
There’s a reason people seek to upgrade, and that reason is usually increased functionality. You may have outgrown your simpler sewing machine. Or you may want something that can take you further with a specific craft.
If quilting is your craft, then look for quilting features and accessories.
The Quantum Stylist isn’t a dedicated quilting machine. At the same time, it has some lovely quilting-specific accessories that quilters will absolutely use. These include the extra-wide extension table, the quilting bar, and a decent selection of presser feet that make quilting easier.
Professional and semi-pro quilters may still want to opt for a purpose-built quilting machine with a knee lifter and extended throat space. But for a lot of hobbyists, the Quantum Stylist 9960, with its programmable needle, heavy-duty metal frame, and extra-high presser foot lifter will fit the bill just fine.
The price makes the 9960 attractive for hobbyists as well.
As I said, few people are going to make regular use of the full complement of 600 stitch designs. Most of us probably won’t work our way through them all ever. But if you want to have fun with decorative sewing — think housewares or crazy quilting — then it’s nice to have a large assortment to choose from.
Furthermore, if you find you really enjoy working with decorative stitches, then you’ll no doubt have a few favorites. The ability to customize your favorites, combine them into sequences and save those sequences to use in the future will come in very handy as well.
Even if you’re not looking for craft-specific features, the Quantum Stylist 9960 provides an upgrade from the everyday budget or mid-priced sewing machine.
When you upgrade, there are subtle improvements that can make a surprising difference. The Quantum Stylist 9960’s automatic thread tie-off function is one example. Another is the push-button thread cutter. And the 25 variable needle positions provide a greater versatility in sewing functions. The twin needle also adds versatility.
In short, the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 has a decent balance of useful features without a lot of bloat. You probably won’t use all the stitch designs, but then again, maybe you will. And even if you don’t, it can be a lot of fun just to explore and imagine how you might use some of them.
How to Choose Your Next Upgrade
Sewist, know thyself. Know your needs, your goals, and your deal breakers. Before you press “buy” on the next sewing machine that catches your eye, ask yourself a few questions.
Do You Want to Try Something New?
If you’re a dab hand at sewing, and, perhaps want to try a new craft like quilting or embroidery, there’s a machine for that. You might not want to lay down a month’s pay for a professional crafting machine. But a regular sewing machine with craft-specific features and accessories could take you pretty far.
And if you decide your new hobby isn’t really for you, then at the end of the day you’ll still have a high-quality full featured sewing machine.
Or Take Your Skills to the Next Level?
A basic sewing machine is just the beginning. If you sew long enough, you might well outgrow it. If this is where you’re at, then look for more advanced features such as stitch sequencing and editing, stitch memory, and so forth.
Perhaps You Just Want A Better Machine
Maybe you bought the fabric store sale special on a whim. But you’ve mastered all of its features and used it until it started to fall apart. You want something sturdier, higher quality, and with added functionality.
In this case, look for performance features like a heavy-duty metal frame. Subtle capabilities such as a push-button thread cutter and automatic thread tie-off can also make a huge difference to your enjoyment.
But What About Beginners?
This is not to say that learners can’t benefit from a high-quality multi-function sewing machine like the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960. Far from it. The price might be a little high for an experiment, but if you’re pretty certain you’ll continue with sewing, then a more advanced sewing machine can stretch your abilities and give you plenty of room to grow.
Features and Benefits of the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960
The Quantum Stylist 9960 sewing machine has a lot of unique features that make it stand out from the pack. Like what? We’re glad you asked.
Exhaustive Stitch Library
Most general purpose sewing machines come with an assortment of functional stitches, decorative stitches, and buttonholes. For many of us, that’s enough. But if you really enjoy decorative stitching, then you’ll love the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960’s enormous 600-stitch library.
The library has all of the functional stitches that sewists use most: zigzag, straight stitch, blind hem stitch, and so on. It also has 13 one-step buttonhole designs. And decorative stitches abound. There are even a few cute embroidery images, including a dog, a car, a train, a star, and different flowers.
As a bonus, your Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 will even tell you, on the data screen, which of the included presser feet is best for sewing your particular stitch or design.
Monogram fonts are rare in lower-end machines. However, upgrading to the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 will give you five, including English, European, and Cyrillic characters.
For me, a one-step automatic buttonhole is a deal breaker. One can get used to a four-step buttonhole, but the truth is, they’re fiddly and a pain in the neck. You have to make each side of the buttonhole separately and put a bar tack at each end, changing your stitch design, length, and width at each end.
And if you’re making more than one? It can be very difficult to make them consistent.
A one-step buttonhole is just what it sounds like. You choose your buttonhole, press a button, and done. And a one-step automatic buttonhole uses a special foot to customize the size of the hole to the button you’re using.
Almost every sewing machine will allow you to adjust the stitch length and width. But the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 allows you to manipulate your stitches in other ways. For example, you can use the mirror image function to flip symmetrical stitch designs along a vertical axis.
And non-symmetrical designs like the little dog we mentioned above? They can flip both vertically and horizontally. Some of them can even rotate 360 degrees. Check it out.
After you’ve explored decorative stitching for a bit, you may come to the point where you want to combine stitches into sequences. After that, you may create a few favorite sequences and want to save them for reuse.
If you’re doing a lot of labels and monogramming, you’ll want to save your favorite words and names. You can absolutely do that with the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960. This video shows you how.
Have you ever seen those neat, identical parallel rows of stitching on garments? I’m talking about the detailing on jeans pockets, or those double t-shirt hems. That’s the work of a double, or twin needle.
The twin needle is very handy for certain kinds of sewing, including making pintucks, cover stitching, and heirloom stitching. It can also double your fun with decorative stitching.
The Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 comes with both a double needle and an extra spool pin for holding a second spool of thread. You can see how it works in this video.
The Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 comes with a removable 21-inch extension table. The table slides on and off, just like the free arm.
The extra work area is great for quilts and free-motion embroidery. It provides not only extra working space, but also allows you to see more of your work while you sew. Finally, it supports the work, so that the weight from your project doesn’t pull or stretch the fabric that you’re stitching.
Automatic Thread Tie-Off
Most of us are used to backstitching to finish off a row of stitches. However, the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 also offers the option of having the machine tie off your stitches. It’s not a deal breaker, but it is pretty neat.
Automatic Thread Cutter
The automatic thread cutter is a nice touch that you’ll find on higher-end machines. The automatic thread cutter not only conveniently cuts the thread when you’ve finished stitching. It completes the stitch first, then moves the needle to the “up” position to prepare your machine for the next task.
Alternatives to the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960
No machine is perfect for every user. And although you’d be hard pressed to find this particular combination of features at this price point, there are other sewing machines that may fit your needs better. Here are a few of them.
Janome Horizon Memory Craft 9850
The Horizon Memory Craft line from Janome is similar to Singer’s Quantum Stylist line. Both lines are higher-priced intermediate-to-advanced sewing machines with a tilt toward a specific craft. The Horizon Memory Craft 9850 is angled toward embroidery, but it’s an excellent general-purpose sewing machine in its own right.
Like all Janome machines, it’s a bit on the pricey side. On the other hand, the extra money will get you:
- A very large color touch screen
- 175 built-in embroidery designs
- USB connectivity so that you can transfer your own designs to the machine
- More advanced stitch and design capabilities
If you’re ready to move on from embroidery stitches to full-on designs, or even if you’re just thinking about dipping your toe into machine embroidery, this could be one to check out.
On the other side of the price spectrum, you’ll find the Brother XR3774. Like the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960, the Brother XR3774 is an all-purpose sewing machine with some extras for quilters. It has the extension table. There’s also a nice (though not nearly as extensive) library of decorative and functional stitches.
This is a mechanical sewing machine. It’s also a budget machine. Why is it on our list? Well, Brother excels at making budget-friendly sewing machines with features you won’t often find at lower price points. In this case, that means a monogram font and a removable wide work table.
And with a huge number of positive customer reviews, if you’re looking for a budget machine that has a bit more, we can happily recommend this one.
Bernette is a child-brand of the Bernina Textile Company. The Bernette 38 is a highly rated, no-nonsense combination quilting and sewing machine. Again, this machine will cost you more. On the other hand, for the right customer, it might be completely worth the price.
Its features include:
- 394 built-in stitch designs
- Eight one-step buttonholes
- Three alphabets
- Twin needle
- Automatic thread tie-off
- Automatic thread cutting
- Stitch memory
The Bernette 38 is an easy-to-use, solidly built combination sewing and quilting machine with sleek Swiss design. If you’re looking for quality stitching and build above all, this one might be well worth your while.
Are You Ready for an Upgrade?
The Singer Quantum Stylist line offers excellent features for sewists and crafters looking to upgrade to a more advanced sewing machine. The Quantum Stylist 9960 is particularly good value for money, and offers numerous features one doesn’t often find at this price point.
Some users might prefer the updated designs and functionalities of the 9985. However, for our money, the Quantum Stylist 9960 offers the best combination of features for the price.