In this post I will take a detailed look at the Singer Sewing Machine Company, and the different sewing machines they have to offer for different levels of experience. First though, a quick summary of my favourite Singer machines!
|Best Mechanical Machine|
|Best Computerised Machine|
|Best Intermediate Machine|
|Sewing Machine|| |
Quantum Stylist 9960
|Review||Read my detailed review||Read my detailed review||Read my detailed review|
A Brief History of the Singer Sewing Machine Company
Singer was a key player in the early development of the sewing machine. In fact the precursor to the modern sewing machine was patented by Isaac Singer, the founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, in New York in 1851. You can actually read the patent online! From then onwards, the company grew from strength to strength, until the 1970s and 1980s when it was hit by financial difficulties.
Much has changed since the early days of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. Since 2004 Singer has been a part of SVP Worldwide, a company which also owns the Husqvarna Viking and Pfaff sewing machine brands (SVP stands for Singer-Viking-Pfaff). The sewing machine world is smaller than you might have thought, and seemingly competing brands are in fact owned by the same conglomerates!
Although vintage Singer machines are still rated very highly these days, you will find many people ready to tell you that there has been a noticeable decline in the quality of the company's modern machines. And I think there is definitely some truth to this. Part of this may be attributed to an industry wide reduction in quality, as sturdy metal parts have gradually been replaced by cheaper plastic components, but that doesn't account for the fact that Singer has been singled out. The company's earlier financial difficulties might have something to do with it.
Although these stories of the declining quality of Singer machines may have some truth to them, it is definitely not true of all Singer sewing machines (I am a big fan of the Singer Heavy Duty range, for example). For more discussion about Singer machines, have a read of this thread on Pattern Review. In any case my advice is to assess each sewing machine on its own merits, and to read reviews to figure out if a sewing machine is worth the investment!
Singer Sewing Machine Ranges
The Singer UK website separates its machines into the following categories:
- Compact - these are entry-level mechanical machines like the Singer 1507.
- Standard mechanical - these are mid-range mechanical machines which generally have more stitches and features than the compact machines. This category also includes the Heavy Duty machines.
- Simple computer - these are entry level computerised machines like the Singer Confidence 7495.
- Advanced computer - these are more advanced computerised sewing machines which have a larger number of stitches and features than the machines in simple computer category, like the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960.
- Sewing and embroidery - these machines all have embroidery functionality (this category is mainly made up of the Futura models).
The Best Singer Sewing Machines for Beginners
Beginners and hobbyists will want to shop for a machine in the "compact" and "standard mechanical" categories if they are interested in getting a mechanical machine, and in the "simple computer" category if they prefer a computerised machine. If you're not sure which is best for you, have a read of my guide to sewing machines for beginners.
The Singer 8280, Singer 1507 and Singer Promise 1409 are all good very basic machines which are extremely easy to use. The Singer Promise 1409 is nice, light and small. This makes it a great choice if you are taking classes, need to move the machine around a lot, or just don't have much storage space! It has 9 stitches in total, a 4-step buttonhole, and it comes with 4 presser feet.
The Singer Simple 3223 is also a good choice for beginners who need a larger selection of stitches. It has a total of 23 stitches, including 9 decorative stitches and a four-step buttonhole. It comes in a nice range of different colours, too! And it is also very easy to use - so easy in fact that I included it on my list of the best sewing machines for kids.
If it's a heavy duty machine you're after, for upholstery, working with leather, or other projects which require a bit more power, then the Singer Heavy Duty 4411 is an excellent option.
When it comes to computerised machines, there are also quite a few options which are suitable for beginners, such as the Singer Confidence 7463, Singer Confidence 7465, Singer Starlet 6660 and Singer Starlet 6699 machines.
My recommendation goes to the Singer Confidence 7465. It is a very simple computerised machine, so it doesn't have any of the complexity and steep learning curves that most more advanced machines have.
It offers a total of 50 stitches, including a nice range of decorative stitches, loads of satin stitches and two buttonholes. And it even has a needle threader.
The Best Intermediate/Advanced Singer Sewing Machines
If you are an intermediate or advanced sewist who needs more stitches and features, then you will want to be looking in the "advanced computer" category.
In my opinion the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 comes out on top in this category. It is an excellent machine, which packs in so many great features. And it is reasonably priced too, making it good value for money.
Here are just a few of the features - 600 stitches, 5 alphabets, 13 buttonholes, drop-in bobbin, start/stop button, speed slider, auto thread cutter and LCD screen. It includes an extension table as well. And it even comes with 13 different presser feet, so you will have all the kit you need out of the box (even a walking foot is included as standard!).
The Quantum Stylist is also a good option when it comes to quilting. The extension table will give you plenty of working room, and it comes with a patch quilt foot and a walking foot. Freemotion quilting is also possible with this machine, as you can lower the feed dogs, and both an embroidery foot and an open toe foot are included. For other quilting machine options, have a look at my guide to the best sewing machines for quilting!
Singer doesn't have as many very high end machines on the market as other brands. So if you are looking for the very best that money can buy, I would suggest looking into Bernina, Janome or Brother machines instead.
The Best Singer Embroidery Machines
For freehand embroidery the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 is a good option - as I mentioned earlier, you can drop the feed dogs, and it comes with the presser feet you need to get started.
In terms of embroidery machines, Singer have a few different options, including the Futura range with the 400, 420, 550, and 580 models. But to be perfectly honest, I wouldn't recommend a Singer sewing machine for embroidery. I have found that Brother machines are far superior, and are normally better value for money too.