The price of the SINGER Starlet 6699 might make you do a double take. The few SINGER sewing machines in this price range are mechanical and pretty bare bones. The Starlet 6699 is a computerized sewing machine with a pleasing range of features. Does it live up to the SINGER name? Our SINGER Starlet 6699 review will give you the lowdown.
SINGER Starlet 6699: Review and Analysis
American entrepreneur Isaac Merrit Singer received his first sewing machine patent in 1851. He formed I.M. SINGER & Co. that same year. His design was revolutionary in that it combined the best aspects of several sewing machine designs that had come before.
What really set Singer’s company apart was not a novel sewing machine design, but rather Singer’s entrepreneurial strategies. He used the new techniques of mass production and interchangeable parts to produce lots of sewing machines cheaply. He opened facilities around the world, becoming one of the first international companies.
Most importantly, Singer turned the company’s focus to home sewing. And then he pioneered the pay-by-installment model of purchase, which made sewing machines affordable for more people than ever before.
Nearly two hundred years later, the SINGER Corporation is still a household name in sewing machines. They produce a wide range of domestic machines, from simple, heavy-duty mechanical workhorses to sophisticated computerized quilting and embroidery machines.
SINGER sewing machines are well known for being reliable, easy-to-use, and affordable.
About the SINGER Starlet 6699 Sewing Machine
The SINGER Starlet 6699 is an entry-level computerized sewing machine. This means that it has a wider range of features than simpler mechanical machines. At the same time, it still has a user-friendly interface and design that makes it easy for sewists at all levels to start sewing right out of the box.
Its simplicity of use makes the Starlet 6699 an excellent machine for beginners and intermediate sewists alike. There’s an intuitive interface that makes stitch selection as easy as pressing a button. Adjusting stitch length and width is simple as well.
The SINGER Starlet 6699 has many of the features you’d expect when upgrading from a mechanical to a computerized sewing machine, including:
- A larger selection of stitch designs (the Starlet has 100)
- A generous selection of one-step automatic buttonholes (there are seven)
- Automatic thread tension adjustment
At the same time, it disappointingly lacks a few of the extras that many other entry-level computerized sewing machines have, such as:
- Programmable needle position
- Start/stop button
- A speed control slider
Given the price, you might forgive these omissions, especially if they’re not deal breakers for you. However, we find it a bit of a letdown. We’re also concerned by customer complaints regarding durability. But then again, if you’re looking at machines at this price point, you’re probably not shopping for something to pass on to your grandchildren.
On the other hand, the SINGER Starlet 6699 has two features that one doesn’t often find standard on an entry-level computerized sewing machine: an extended work table and a heavy-duty metal frame.
A lot of less expensive machines feature plastic construction. This makes them lightweight and portable. At the same time, plastic construction means that a sewing machine is less able to handle heavy work such as quilts or multiple layers of thick fabric. One can, and often does, pay extra for a heavy-duty metal frame, so finding one at this price point is a bonus.
The extended work table is a present for quilters and embroiderers. Although you won’t be doing machine embroidery with the Starlet, you could easily use it for quilting. The extended work table supports larger projects, such as quilts, and allows you to see more of your work while you sew.
The accessories pack comes with some useful presser feet and other bits and bobs. It’s not a huge assortment of fluff meant to drive up the price, but it’s nothing to write home about, either.
We’d recommend the SINGER Starlet 6699 for beginners, as well as for sewists moving up from a mechanical sewing machine. Semi-professional sewists will probably want something with more features, but for general home sewing, this could be a good solution.
What’s in the box?
Accessories that come with the SINGER Starlet 6699, include:
- SINGER Starlet 6699 manual
- Extended work table
- General Purpose Foot
- Button Sewing Foot
- Roller Foot
- Overcasting Foot
- Blind Hem Foot
- Zipper Foot
- Buttonhole Foot
- Invisible Zipper Foot
- Pack of Needles
- Class 15 metal bobbins
- Thread Spool Cap and felt
- Darning Plate
- Needle Plate Screwdriver
- Seam Ripper/Lint Brush
- Hard sewing machine cover
|5||STITCHES PER MINUTE (SPM)||750|
|16||DIMENSIONS||15.5 x 11.5 x 6.5 inches|
|18||WARRANTY||Limited 25 years|
SINGER 6699 Starlet Pros And Cons
- Easy set-up
- Simple, intuitive interface
- Large selection of useful stitch designs
- Heavy-duty metal frame
- Included extension table
- Hard cover
- No speed control
- No programmable needle
- No start/stop button
- Numerous consumer durability complaints
So You’re Considering a Computerized Sewing Machine
If you’re looking for a sewing machine at this price point, your choices will come down to very basic mechanical sewing machines and entry-level computerized machines like the SINGER Starlet 6699. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. So, how do you choose, and where do you go from there?
Mechanical Sewing Machines vs. Computerized Sewing Machines
The main reason most people choose a computerized sewing machine over a mechanical one is features. Mechanical sewing machines have fewer stitch designs — sometimes as few as one or two. You have to make adjustments, such as stitch length and width, by hand. Also, you don’t get automatic features such as speed control or a programmable needle.
Computerized sewing machines, by contrast, can have hundreds of stitch designs. You might also get embroidery stitches and even monogram fonts. Some automatic features you might find include auto tension, speed control, a start/stop button, a programmable needle, stitch sequencing and memory, a touchscreen, and more.
Some people find it easier to work with automatic features. Other people prefer the fine-tuning abilities that only manual controls can provide. In the end, it doesn’t matter if you choose a mechanical or computerized machine. What matters most is that you find your machine comfortable to work with.
If a computerized sewing machine is in your future, though, there are a few things to consider.
First, look for a good selection of stitch designs. Utility stitches such as straight stitch and zigzag will get you through most projects. However, specialty stitches like stretch and decorative designs can give you a lot of creative control.
Automatic controls can also make your job easier.
Speed control is like cruise control for your sewing machine. You can set a maximum speed and not worry about your foot slipping on the pedal.
A start/stop button means you can run your sewing machine without the pedal. It’s an important accessibility feature. It can also save your bacon if you break or misplace your foot pedal.
A programmable needle tells your machine to start and stop with the needle in either the ‘up’ or ‘down’ position. This comes in handy in quilting and applique.
Auto tension customizes the thread tension to work with the kind of sewing you’re doing at any given time.
One-step buttonholes are a deal breaker for us. They’re much less fiddly than four-step buttonholes. And using an automatic buttonhole foot makes producing the perfect buttonhole one after another a one-press-of-the-button affair.
Features of the SINGER Starlet 6699 Sewing Machine
So, what do you get for your money? Quite a bit. Check it out.
100 Stitch Designs
The SINGER Starlet 6699 has 100 pre-programmed stitch designs. These include functional stitches like straight stitch, zig zag stitch, and special stitches for working with stretch fabrics. There are also numerous fun decorative stitches that can add special flair to housewares, or a personal touch to clothing and accessories.
7 Automatic One-Step Buttonholes
Realistically, you’ll probably choose one or two favorite buttonhole designs and use them over and over. However, it’s always nice to have a decent array to choose from. The SINGER Starlet 6699 offers basic square designs, as well as rounded buttonholes and keyhole shapes. Use the automatic buttonhole foot to customize your buttonholes to the buttons you’re using.
See how it works here:
Automatic Needle Threader
If you’ve ever tried to push a fuzzy thread end through the teeny, tiny eye of a sewing machine needle, you’ll understand why an automatic needle threader is such a big deal. You could always purchase one of those hand-held sewing machine needle threaders. But if your machine comes with an automatic threader, like the Starlet 6699, why bother?
When a sewing machine advertises automatic thread tension adjustment, it could mean a few things. First, it could mean that the machine uses sensors to gauge the type and thickness of material and adjust thread tension accordingly. This is generally only on high-end sewing machines, however.
It could also mean that the machine has a “universal” tension setting, which is gauged to work with most kinds of sewing. If your machine has an “A” on the thread tension adjustment wheel, then this is how your machine does it.
The SINGER Starlet 6699 has thread tension settings built into stitch selection. This means that when you select a stitch design, your machine will adjust the thread tension accordingly. You may still have to make manual adjustments if you’re working with thick or slippery fabric. But it’s a nice feature to have.
Many sewing machines have a free arm. However, a surprising number don’t. Free arm sewing machines allow you to remove part of the base of the machine to reveal a smaller, narrower sewing surface. This is absolutely essential for doing small, circular work, such as collars and cuffs.
Heavy-Duty Metal Frame
As we said before, you won’t find a lot of sewing machines at this price point that have heavy-duty metal construction under the hood. This will make the machine heavier (the SINGER Starlet 6699 weighs 17 pounds) and less portable. At the same time, it will add to durability, especially if you’re planning on working with thick materials and/or multilayered projects.
Extra-High Presser Foot Lift
An extra-high presser foot lift is very handy for accommodating thick work like quilts. If you’re sewing a stack of material, you might need to get that presser foot up extra high.
Sometimes a manufacturer will include craft-specific extras to appeal to certain types of crafters. Quilters, especially free-motion quilters, will appreciate the larger workspace. Combined with the free arm, this creates an extremely versatile work area.
Whether your sewing machine will be on constant display, sitting in your closet, or traveling with you to classes, festivals, and meet-ups, a hard case is a wonderful thing to have. It can protect your sewing machine from dust and dirt, as well as bumps, scratches, and dings. Many sewing machines don’t come with one, and they’re not cheap to buy, so this is a real bonus.
Alternatives to the SINGER Starlet 6699
Not every sewing machine is perfect for every user, and no review would be complete without a look at the competition. Here are a few sewing machines that we consider worthwhile alternatives to the SINGER Starlet 6699.
SINGER Stylist 7258
The SINGER Stylist 7258 is very similar to the SINGER Starlet 6699. It’s an entry-level computerized sewing machine with 100 stitch designs and six one-step buttonholes. It even has an identical user interface, albeit in turquoise instead of pink.
The difference is that the Stylist 7258 has a number of important features that most computerized sewing machines have, but which the Starlet 6699 lacks. These include:
- A speed control slider
- Programmable needle
- Machine start/stop button
It also has a top drop-in bobbin, as opposed to a front-loading bobbin. This choice is a matter of taste, however, not function.
Do these extras justify the price, which is nearly three times what you’d pay for the SINGER Starlet 6699? That’s for you to decide.
Brother HC1850 Quilting and Sewing Machine
If you like the extension table and other quilting features that come with the SINGER Starlet 6699, you might also like the Brother HC1850. This is also an entry-level computerized sewing machine, but it’s packed a lot into its affordable package. Some of this machine’s selling points include:
- 130 stitches (including utility, quilting, and decorative)
- 8 one-step buttonhole designs
- A monogram font (almost unheard of at this price point)
- Programmable needle
- Start/stop button
- Speed control slider
- And of course that all-important extension table
As with the Starlet 6699, there are some durability complaints. At the same time, this machine’s huge number of positive customer reviews make it seriously worth a look.
Janome sewing machines have a reputation for high-quality construction, reliability, and focus. They also tend to be expensive. The Janome JW8100 will cost you a bit more than the SINGER Starlet 6699. But only a bit. All things considered, it’s outstanding value for money.
The Janome JW8100 has the same number of stitches and buttonhole designs as the Starlet 6699. It also comes with an extension table and a heavy-duty metal frame. On top of this, the JW8100 has the automatic features that the 6699 lacks.
If you’re looking to maximize value for money, this could be your new favourite sewing machine.
The SINGER Starlet 6699 isn’t a bad machine, per se. And it’s hard to go wrong with the price. At the same time, it’s missing quite a few of the features that are standard on even the simplest computerized sewing machine.
If price is your defining marker, then you’ll find the SINGER Starlet 6699 excellent value for money. SINGER makes great machines, overall, and you won’t find many quality sewing machines at this price point in general.
On the other hand, if you’re willing to spend a bit more, you can get a bit more, whether in terms of features, quality build, or both.
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