Singer EM200 Superb Embroidery Machine Review

Singer EM200 Superb Embroidery Machine

The Singer EM200 Superb is a dedicated embroidery machine that features a sleek new design inspired by iconic machines from the Singer brand. The embroidery machine includes a lot of features that make it easier to maneuver the hoops and the fabric while also providing exceptional visibility. The versatility of this machine and the user-friendly functions make it ideal for personal use or for home-based embroidery businesses.

Pros

Users like the extra-large embroidery area that gives them the room they need to create larger designs. Many of the automated features, like the thread sensor, thread cutter, and automatic thread tension make it easier to focus on the project at hand without worrying about the small details.

Cons

We found that the machine takes some trial-and-error to get the right combination of fabrics, needles, etc to get the best quality stitching. Although the numerous features and options can make it difficult for beginners, they make it the ideal choice for more advanced sewers who want to get professional quality results. We found that if followed the instructions in the guide found that it was fairly easy to resolve most of our issues.

Customer Reviews

Many customers who bought the EM200 Superb feel that the large embroidery area makes this machine a great value in comparison to more expensive machines with the same feature. Most agree that there is a learning curve for the machine but that it can be used efficiently when buyers take the time to learn about the operation in the manual. The touchscreen display, snap-on embroidery hoops, and easy design transfer using the provided USB stick are just some of the features that get this machine high ratings.

Even those users who give the EM200 the best reviews agree that the machine was not designed with the beginner in mind. Many suggest that the company make more video tutorials to make the machine easier to use. Buyers can find an assortment of YouTube tutorials here.

The EM200 comes with two embroidery hoops including the large 10-1/4” x 6” and the small 4” x 4” hoops for more versatility in embroidery options. The machine includes 200 built-in embroidery designs and six alphabet options and complimentary software can be downloaded to enhance creativity by providing even more embroidery options and ideas. The software is also updateable so that sewers can enhance the machine’s capabilities as technology continues to grow.

Price

The list price for the Singer embroidery machine is $1,400 but buyers can find the best prices at Amazon.

Singer EM200 Superb Features

Endless Design Options

The 200 built-in designs and 6 alphabet options make the EM200 an endless resource for embroidery and monogram designs.

LCD Touch Screen

The generous LCD touch screen makes it easy to select embroidery settings.

USB Stick Embroidery Design Transfer

Use the included memory stick to store and transfer designs from your computer to your machine.

Speedy Stitching

The Singer EM200 Superb features a 700 stitch-per-minute speed that means projects get finished faster.

Automatic Needle Threader

You never have to waste time trying to thread the needle again.

Automatic Thread Tension

Automatically balances stitches for more even sewing.

Thread Cutter

Just touch a button to cut the top and bottom thread.

Bobbin Winding During Embroidery

You don’t have to stop your project and then start over when the bobbin runs out. The machine winds the bobbin at the same time it embroiders.

Start/Stop Button

Lets you operate the machine without using the foot pedal.

Upper Thread Sensor

Signals you before the thread runs out.

Accessories

Other accessories include an embroidery foot, spool pin felt, needle plate screwdriver, thread spool net, screwdriver, seam ripper, thread spool caps, lint brush, auxiliary spool pin, USB embroidery stick, bobbins, and needles.

The 5 Best Books for Learning Embroidery

Embroiderers have the same goal at every level; to learn more about creating the perfect stitch and broaden their capabilities for making more designs. Even the most talented stitcher needs a reference to come up with new ideas and understand the combination of stitches, colors, needles, thread, and fabric that will produce the best results. Learning embroidery is an ongoing journey. Following is a list of five embroidery books that will help inspire both hand and machine embroiderers in every situation and at every level.

1. Embroidery by DK

The one-word title sums up what this book is all about. It includes 160 pages of instruction on techniques for sewing clothes, doing needlepoint, and making embroidery stitches. There are 200 stitches featured along with step-by-step instructions for users at all levels of difficulty and ideas for their use. The book includes lots of illustrations that make it easy for even beginners to follow and make the right choice in stitches for every project.

2. The Sewing Machine Embroiderer’s Bible by Liz Keegan

There are hundreds of embroidery designs available online in a variety of types and formats. The Sewing Machine Embroiderer’s Bible explains the differences between them and what you need to do to transfer them to your machine. It also contains tips on stabilizing material, selecting needles and threads, and making the most of each embroidery project. Owners of any type of embroidery sewing machine will benefit from this 128-page guide and help you use the features that would otherwise go unused. There is even an extensive section on editing and organizing designs so you can save them in your machine and have them ready to go the next time you want to use them.

3. The Embroidery Stitch Bible by Betty Barnden

This embroidery book is 256 pages of full-sized samples and fully described and illustrated stitches along with a list of uses for each stitch. This book really takes the confusion out of embroidery by giving alternative names and providing notes on the working method. There is a chapter on choosing appropriate materials and equipment for different techniques in addition to basic tips that apply to all styles and types of embroidery to achieve the specific effects that you want.

4. Colour Confidence in Embroidery (Milner Craft Series) by Trish Burr

This 256-page embroidery book focuses on the impact of color on embroidery. Color can be used to make embroidery designs pop, create a sense of softness, or to add dimension. The book acts as a guide to help crafters bring life to their designs through the best choice in colors to create contrast and shading needed to give definition that makes the details stand out. It includes over 200 stitched examples along with a number of color schemes and projects for crafters to try their skills on.

5. Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches by Mary Thomas

This 298-page book of embroidery has been around since its original publication date in 1934 and continues to provide valuable information to embroiderers of all levels. The version available today has been updated by Jan Eaton to include more than 400 embroidery stitches with pictures and includes their usage. The broad range of stitches, from basic outline and border stitches to those that are more complex, make it the ideal companion for any embroiderer looking to master their craft or expand their skills.

Making the best choice in an embroidery book will depend on the type of embroidery you do and your goals for expanding your capabilities. Any book that is designed for use by crafters at all levels is more likely to be easier to comprehend through the illustrations and instructions provided. Whether you are just getting started at hand embroidery or you are attempting to get the most from an embroidery sewing machine, the right embroidery companion will help you make the best choices in color selection, materials, and techniques to achieve the final project that you have in mind.

How to Set Up an Embroidery Machine and Use it Properly

Getting a new embroidery machine can be an exciting time for a crafter who is looking for ways to expand their sewing skills. What you may find once it is time to take the machine out of the box is that learning how to set up an embroidery machine  is a lot more intimidating than you expected. This is the point where you have to start making decisions about embroidery designs, which thread to use, and what material is best. The process of embroidery is automated, but the choices you make prior to the actual embroidery process will determine how successful you are at your new craft.

Step #1: Get to Know Your Embroidery Machine

How to Set Up an Embroidery Machine

There are many brands and models of embroidery machines and each differs to some degree. If your machine is brand new and comes with a guide, this is a good place to start with setting it up. It will let you know which foot to use for the embroidery and how to go about loading designs to the machine. Not all designs are compatible with all machines and some won’t fit the embroidery hoops that are compatible with your machine.

There are many YouTube videos demonstrating the setup and use of a number of the most popular embroidery machines sold and used today. For many, seeing a visual demonstration makes it much easier to understand the different parts of the machine and how to use them. It’s also a good way to learn how to thread the machine; often one of the most complicated feats when using a new sewing machine of any kind!

Step #2: Select the Right Needle and Thread

Embroidery needles range in size from 60/8 to 120/19 with the numbers on the lower end being the finer, more flexible ones and those on the upper end of the range being heavy-duty. The higher number refers to the diameter of the shaft in millimeters and the lower number represents the number assignment according to the U.S. system.

The right needle for the job depends on the type of fabric and thread being used. The size and sharpness of the needle determine how the point goes through the fabric and how big the hole is that it makes. The idea is to choose a needle that will penetrate the fabric easily without doing any damage to the fabric or putting too much stress on the needle. The basic types of needles are:

· Universal – These needles usually work well with most fabrics including both wovens and knits. They have a ballpoint tip that is tapered so that it goes through the fabric easily. While these needles might be considered “standard”, there are some projects that require a different type of needle.

· Sharp – Sharp needles have a sharper point that makes them ideal for penetrating heavier knit and woven fabrics as well as embroidery for lace or cardstock. Some sewers prefer sharp needles for a broad spectrum of projects because it makes a smaller hole in the fabric and results in well-defined embroidery patterns.

· Ball Point – This type of needle has a rounded point like that of a ball point ink pen. The idea behind these needles is to slip between the weave of the fabric instead of penetrating it. Many embroiderers recommend using these needles for knits to prevent damaging the fabric with holes or runs.

The needle and thread work together to create embroidery and they should be compatible for each type of project. Embroidery threads come in different weights and are made of a variety of materials including rayon, cotton, polyester, silk, and metallics. One common misconception about thread is that the higher the weight, the heavier the thread. In fact, a higher weight means that the thread is finer than one of a lower weight. Rayon thread that is 40-weight is considered the standard for embroidery.

When using a heavier weight thread, you will want to use a thick thread needle that has a larger eye to accommodate the thickness of the thread. There is also a special embroidery needle for leather and suede that is designed with a wedge point that makes a smaller perforation. Other types of specialty embroidery needles include those for use with metallic threads, for quilting, and for topstitching.

Of course, the thread color is also important to the outcome of the design. Embroidery threads are numbered according to color and these numbers will be included in the designs. You can purchase thread individually or purchase sets that include a comprehensive color palette. Collections are usually more cost-effective but you should make sure that they are high quality threads. During the embroidery process, the machine will prompt you when it is ready to go to a new color and will provide you with a digital display of the number for the color of thread to put into the machine next.

Step #3: Use Stabilizer

Stabilizer is a thin sheet of material that goes underneath the embroidery fabric to help keep it in place during the embroidery movements and it prevents puckering or pulling of delicate or sheer fabrics. It also provides a surface for embroidering open-weave fabrics such as lace. There are four types of stabilizers for different uses including:

· Cutaway – Used as a permanent stabilizer

· Tearaway – Less permanent

· Water Soluble – Temporary, dissolves when placed in water

· Tacky – Allows you to move the stabilizer and reposition

Step #4: Start Small

Taking on too large of a project before you have mastered the machine can end with disappointment when things don’t turn out the way you expected. Start with a small, beginner-level project to practice on so you won’t be discouraged if it doesn’t turn out perfect. Think of your first project as a learning experience and an opportunity to troubleshoot problem areas.

Even if you have been doing hand embroidery for years, machine embroidery is different. Something as simple as failing to use the embroidery foot instead of the standard one could result in a poor quality piece of embroidery.

Step #5: Master the Software

Most of the embroidery machines on the market today come with a specified number of designs loaded into the machine. There are also thousands of designs you can access online. If you plan to use these designs, you will need a software program to get them to your machine. Embroidery software reads designs that are digitized for this purpose.

When you purchase one of the designs online, it will need to be downloaded into your computer. The embroidery software will let you open the design where you can see it. Once open, you can edit the design to suit your needs. Once the final design is ready, you will use the embroidery software to transfer the design from your computer to your machine. Depending on your machine, this may be done by using a USB memory stick, hooking the computer up directly to the machine, or, in older models especially, by reading a card. Once you have purchased a design, you can store it for later use and for any further editing you may require.

Also, become familiar with the different settings on the machine and learn what the digital displays mean. Otherwise, you may have many more options for manipulating the appearance of your designs than you realize.

Step #6: Learn to Hoop

The embroidery hoop is the part of your embroidery machine that stabilizes the pattern. The hoops come in a variety of sizes and most machines will list the different sizes that are compatible. You should always use the smallest embroidery hoop possible with any design to make it more secure.

The hoops should be placed with the text and markings right side up in the position where you can read them. A quick-release button will be in the corner, along with a screw that will allow you to loosen and tighten the hoops. Raised marks on the sides will mark both the vertical and horizontal center of the embroidery area and not necessarily the center of the hoops themselves. Putting a light finger crease in the fabric will allow you to line up the center of the fabric with the center of the embroidery hoop.

The fabric and stabilizer are placed between the inner and outer rings to create neutral tension. The fabric should not be stretched too tight and it should not be loose. If it is difficult to push the outer ring over the inner ring and the fabric, loosen the hoop. Once loaded, the hoop will go under the foot and snap into the hoop connector on the side of the machine. Make sure it snaps securely into place. Do not use your embroidery fabric the first time you hoop. You don’t want to find out too late that the hoop isn’t set right.

Once you have the hoops in place, turn the machine on. Depending on the machine, it may require calibration before it begins to embroider the pattern. If so, the digital display will guide you through the process.

You will have the option to edit your design at this point, such as making it smaller, larger, or off-center. Again, the options you have for altering your design will depend on your specific brand and model of machine.

Press the start button and the machine will continue with the embroidery design until it is complete or until you are prompted to change the color of thread. If the end result is not what you expected, go back through these steps and try to troubleshoot what might be wrong. A little trial and error with the machine needle and thread and material selection will probably have you embroidering like a professional in no time!

Sew Foolproof Hems with Coverstitching

A coverstitch machine is a specialty sewing machine that is primarily used to create hems. Although coverstitching works well on woven fabrics by keeping them from raveling, they are especially useful for hemming knit fabrics. The stitch it makes maintains the stretch in the fabric and doesn’t pucker as is the case when you sew stretchy fabrics with a traditional sewing machine. To see what a coverstitch looks like, you can look at the hem of almost any t-shirt.

The coverstitch machine uses one, two, or more spools of thread on top and one bobbin on the bottom that is fed through a looper. The latter feature is what causes the thread to form a chain stitch across the raw edge of the fabric. Some sewers like to use different colors of thread on the top spools to add a decorative touch to some of their sewing.

Overlock vs Coverstitch

These two types of machines are very similar in the way they work with one significant difference: The overlock machine has a blade built-in that trims the seams and stitches over them as you sew. This feature makes it easy to sew knit garments without having to go back over them and finish the seams to prevent stretching or raveling.

The coverstitch machine, on the other hand, has no blade and is used primarily for hemming. Many sewers find that the most difficult part of sewing many types of garments is in getting an even, professional quality hem. If you plan on sewing a lot of knits, you may want to invest in both types of specialty machines.

Tips for Creating the Perfect Coverstitch Hem

There are many different strategies for creating the perfect hem with a coverstitch machine but they all focus on getting the hem even all the way around and placing the garment correctly in the machine to ensure the coverstitch goes over the length of the raw edge underneath. Although you will not need to use all of the tips below to use the machine to make a hem, a little extra effort could go a long way in getting the professional-looking results you want from your machine.

  • Use knit interfacing tape under the edge of the hem. This is one point that many pros agree on. The tape will prevent the fabric from stretching while you sew so it doesn’t end up wavy. It will also help the hem maintain its shape in the future.
    • If you have an overlock machine, serge the edge of the hem before coverstitching. You should be able to feel the stitching through the fabric to help you keep the hem straight while you sew.
    • When working with woven fabrics, mark the hem and press upwards before stitching to get an evenly stitched hem.
    • If you are shopping for a new coverstitching machine, make sure it has the free arm feature. This is essential for handling smaller items like pant legs or children’s clothing items.
    • Check out the tutorial for your coverstitch machine on YouTube. Many brands offer demonstrations on threading, stitching, and using various stitching techniques. It’s also a good way to get troubleshooting tips in case you aren’t getting the results that you expected.

    Buying a dedicated coverstitch machine may seem extravagant to some sewers, but those who enjoy working with knits and making athletic apparel will appreciate the ability of the machine to create beautiful hems that perform like they were meant to. The more you sew, the more benefits you will get from your investment.

     

Top 5 Embroidery Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Even a single mistake can cause an embroidery project to go south. Failing to take the appropriate steps to prepare could end up costing you more time and frustration to undo embroidery mistakes than it would to do the job right in the first place. With the versatility of patterns and techniques that sewing machine embroidery has brought to crafters, it can be even easier to take the technology for granted. What many crafters fail to realize is that the only way to get their projects to turn out right is to use the right materials, techniques, and stitches for each project. Five of the most common mistakes are listed below:

1.     Failing to Check Needles Until They Break

There’s a reason that the needles in your sewing machine can be changed. The more you use your machine, the faster they are likely to wear, become dull, and bend until they finally break off. Some types of fabric can also speed up wear. The best approach is to keep extra needles on hand and determine how long you have used them without problem in the past. It is better to change them prematurely than to let the machine pick the time and place to fail.

2.     Cutting Corners on Thread

That isn’t to say that you should only buy the most expensive brand name thread. There are some good quality brands that cost a lot less that are still compatible with your machine. Look for those that are made of the same content, with the same weight and denier, and which color coordinate with the name brand threads recommended for your machine. Also, read reviews to find out what users have to say and you will be able to get the best embroidery thread at a price that gives you more options for creating a broad range of patterns.

3.     Neglecting the Bobbin

The bobbin thread is essential for securing stitches to the top of the fabric but it relies on having the right amount of tension to do its job flawlessly. Too often, sewers don’t really pay any attention to the bobbin case when they drop a newly loaded bobbin into place. Not only should you make sure the bobbin case is free of dust, lint, and spare pieces of thread, but you should check the tension regularly. If you get into the habit of checking the bobbin tension and cleaning out any extra matter every time you put a new bobbin in, you can prevent the loose or puckered stitches that come from too tight or too loose tension.

4.     Follow Recommendations for Materials

Many embroidery designs come with the recommendations for the type of fabric to use them on and which type and weight of thread to use. Failing to follow these recommendations and trying to put a heavily stitched pattern on a lightweight fabric will result in a failure of the fabric to support the embroidery stitches. If you are set on a certain fabric that is more likely to be prone to puckering or becoming distorted when embroidered, look for a similar design that doesn’t require as much thread.

5.     Failing to Properly Mount the Hoop

Start by reading the instructions for your specific sewing embroidery machine. If the hoop is not in place, the embroidery will be crooked too. Even if the hoop feels firmly in place, it may not be. If there is any “bounce” to the hoop while sewing, it definitely isn’t mounted properly. Most projects are meant to be embroidered with the material “straight and centered.” Those that are not should be left to the most experienced sewers. While sewing, you should also watch the item being embroidered to ensure it doesn’t get hung up on any part of the machine and interfere with hoop movement.

No sewer starts an embroidery project with the hope that it will turn out “okay.” You want to create a masterpiece with every project you put your time and effort into. Prevention can go a long way towards avoiding these top mistakes and others that could undermine your embroidery. Just slow down and take the time to make the right decisions about your materials and techniques, and create habits that will stop mistakes before they ever have a chance to happen.

What Is The Best Embroidery Thread For A Machine

Best Embroidery Thread for Machine

Today’s embroidery machines come with a wide range of capabilities for the home sewer and professional seamstress alike. Although the quality and features of the machine determine in large part the capabilities of the sewer, using the best embroidery thread will have an impact on the final results of every project. Color, weight, denier, and even texture of the thread matter and substituting a poor quality thread will end up producing poor results.

Both sewers who use their embroidering machine for personal use or for a home-based business rely on the quality of the thread and the intensity of color to create results that look professional. The problem for many is that the name brand embroidery thread is too expensive. Instead, they need a high quality thread that is compatible with their machine and doesn’t come with a high price tag.​


How to Choose

The most important features to look for in the embroidery thread you use in your machine are quality and value. The value in getting a larger number of colors depends on the types of projects you normally perform and the volume of embroidery you normally do. The idea of having the 260 colors to choose from in the Mega Kit might seem too exciting to pass up, especially when this is the best value. But left unused, thread can become degraded over time from the exposure to light and heat in your home causing it to break. If you don’t use a lot of thread, a 63-spool set might be the better value for you. You can use this as your base thread supply and then supplement it with individual spools that you use more of. You may also want to experiment with something new like multi-color thread or metallics.

On the other hand, if you are always starting new projects and you are doing more than monogramming the cheerleaders’ uniforms in the school’s famous blue and white emblem, the Mega Kit will be an amazing tool for you.

These thread sets require the user to either place the number sticker on the machine during use or to write the number inside the spool for identification. It is also necessary to use tape or another method to secure the tag end after being used. None of the thread sets come with a rack for storage but they can easily be organized in plastic containers. These are minor inconveniences that may not be necessary with the name brand threads but that most users feel are well worth the effort for the savings and the excellent results they get when using these embroidery threads.

Embroidery Machine Thread Comparison Chart

Simthread 63 Brother Colors Embroidery Machine Thread

Embroidex 63 Brother Thread

Embroidex Polyester Mega Kit 260 Spools Embroidery Thread

Thread Weight

40 Weight

40 Weight

40 Weight

Colors Included

63

63

260

Thread Material

Polyester

Polyester

Polyester

Length

550 yds.

550 yds.

550 yds.

Machine Thread Reviews


Simthread 63 Brother Colors Embroidery Machine Thread

The Simthread collection comes in 63 colors of polyester thread with a 120 denier, 2-ply and 40 weight that is made for use in Brother embroidery machines. These specifications are considered the standard for machine embroidery thread. The Simthread Company has been a dedicated Brother embroidery thread supplier for more than 35 years and they have a reputation for producing a superior quality product. The tri-lobal construction has a high luster and vivid color that closely matches those produced by Brother. Each spool contains 550 yards of thread.

The Simthread 63 embroidery thread collection is compatible with a variety of home computerized embroidery machines including those by top brands like Babylock, Bernina, Singer, and Janome. The collection includes a wide variety of colors and works in nearly any home computerized machine without breaking, shedding, or creating lint. The combination of popular colors and great value make this collection of embroidery thread a great value.

Embroidex 63 Brother Colors Embroidery Machine Thread

This collection of thread also comes in colors to match those of the Brother embroidery machine thread and it is 40-weight polyester with 550 yards on each spool. Users find the thread to be of high quality, performing thousands of stitches without breaking. The colors are vivid and can be marked with the stickers that identify them as the same color as those in the Brother collection.

The Embroidex 63 Brother Colors Embroidery machine thread makes it more affordable for those with a home embroidery machine to get the same colorful results you would with the brand name thread at a cost that is more affordable.

Embroidex Polyester Mega Kit 260 Spools Embroidery Machine Thread

The Mega Kit is the ultimate collection of embroidery thread for those who use their machine regularly and use a diversity of colors in their designs. The thread in this collection is the same 120 denier and 2-ply thread in the 63 collection and it produces the same high quality results. The large selection of colors gives sewers a greater outlet for their creativity by creating custom color combinations. Of the three collections, the Mega Kit 260 is the best value of all.

This review compares three sets of machine embroidery thread including the Simthread 63, Embroidex 63, and Embroidex Polyester Mega Kit 260 thread sets based on variety, quality, and value.

3

Hand Held Sewing Machines: Which one is for you?

Hand held sewing machines are convenient, versatile, and a good solution in a pinch for a lot of sewing situations. Home isn’t the only place where you might have the need for a sewing machine fast. Depending on the hand held sewing machine you choose, you can get an easy to operate alternate to a regular machine that is portable and strong enough for some repairs of all types of materials. For this review, I am comparing the Singer Stitch Sew Quick, Singer Mini, Lycheers Mini 2-in-1, and the Sunbeam hand held sewing machines.

Quick Recommendation

If you don't need the desktop features, then buy the Singer. However, the Lycheers 2-in-1 gives you more for about the same money, making it our top pick.

Pros:

  • Small
  • Inexpensive
  • Portable
  • Repair clothes without taking them off

Portability is probably one of the best qualities of these machines and in this way they are very convenient to use. They have made sewing somewhat more convenient, and they definitely make more accurate stitches than what most folks can do by hand.

One thing to keep in mind is that hand held sewing machines are not meant to replace traditional sewing machines for regular use. Even the best handheld sewing machine will not have the capacity to perform the same quality of stitching or have the versatility that your regular sewing machine has. What it can do is provide you with a portable machine that makes mending items easier. For example, you can’t hem a pair of drapes on your regular sewing machine without taking them down but you can with a hand held machine.

Some sewers also use hand held sewing machines to learn how to sew. They are a great way to make crafts without the need to invest in a more expensive machine. Even the best hand held sewing machines are affordable and they provide the basic straight stitch that beginners must master before they begin to expand their capabilities.

Cons:

  • Most people find them difficult to use
  • Cheaply made and not very durable
  • Can't stitch heavier materials well (denim, leather, etc.)
  • Stitches don't hold as well as those made with a proper sewing machine

There are many cheap hand held sewing machines on the market. Being inexpensive is also one of their defining features. I've listed the pros and cons below in a very frank manner. If you buy one of these I want you to go in with eyes wide open about it and be at least semi-pleased with your purchase. 

One of the greatest difficulties sewers have with all types of these machines is in understanding the instructions on how to use them. Some learn how to use them through perseverance while others turn to YouTube videos for visual demonstrations that make it easier. In many cases, a demonstration makes all the difference in how well they are able to enjoy their new machine. I think it's actually better to buy an easy to use sewing machine to get started because it better prepares you for serious use.

 Singer Stitch Sew QuickSinger MiniLycheers Mini 2-in-1Sunbeam
Fabric CapabilitiesSilks, Wool, Leather, Denim, Craft MaterialsSilks, Wool, Leather, Denim, Craft MaterialsSilks, Wool, Leather, Denim, Craft MaterialsLightweight Materials Only
Size9" x 7.5" x 2"9" x 8" x 2"10" x 8" x 4"11" x 9" x 4"
Power4 AA Batteries, Adapter4 AA Batteries or AC/DC Adapter4 AA Batteries or AC Adapter4 AA Batteries or Adapter
Adapter Included?NoNoYesYes
Price$$$$
Included in BoxSewing Machine, Bobbins, Needles, Needle Threader, Thread Spindle, InstructionsMachine, 3 Threaded Bobbins, 1 Needle Threader, 3 Machine Needles, 1 Thread SpindleSewing Machine, AC Adapter, User ManualSewing Machine, Adapter, User Manual
Special FeaturesNoneNoneDesktop or Handheld Operation2 Stitching Speeds

How to Choose a Hand Held Sewing Machine

Nowadays, there are sewing machines that are available on the market for every budget, and not only that but also for every type of a project you might have. If you purchase the right sewing machine for your needs then your job will be way easier.

Take into consideration the following things when looking for a hand held sewing machine:

  • Think of your current skills and whether you want to advance those skills or not. Pros are certain to be disappointed with these machines.
  • Determine the type of sewing project you might have. Hand held sewing machines are ok for some lightweight fabrics and not for heavier fabrics.

Singer Stitch Quick 2

Singer has been a leading name in sewing machines for more than a century. The small size of the Singer Mini makes it easy to stick in your purse to take along for all types of events. When someone has to make presentations or performances in front of crowds, having a good hand held sewing machine available for clothing or costume repairs is a must. You can also keep it in your glove compartment so it is always close by when needed.

The Singer Stitch Quick is white and operates on 4AA batteries or with an AC/DC adapter, sold separately. For best results when keeping stored in your car or other place for extended periods, purchase an adapter so you know your machine will always be ready to go. It comes with 3 threaded bobbins, 1 needle threader, 3 machine needles and 1 thread spindle.

Singer Stitch Sew Quick

This Singer comes with everything you need to make a repair immediately and it claims to be durable enough to stitch heavier materials like denim and leather, although the experience of actual users tells me that doesn't work for everyone. The instructions are better than the Sunbeam and people seem to generally have a better experience with this machine. The company's support is top-notch as well. Singer is a very reputable company that specializes in sewing machines and if a hand held model is right for your circumstances and you don't need the desktop functions, this is the one to get. I recommend both the Singer models as they are extremely similar. 

Lycheers Mini 2-in-1

This machine differs from other hand held sewing machines my offering you the choice in handheld or desktop operation. It has the portability and ease of use that you will find with other machines and some additional features that could make it even more versatile for you. It has two stitching speeds and uses either 4 AA batteries or the AC adapter which is included. For crafts and repairs, use it on a desk for two-hand operation. For repairs on the fly, use as a traditional handheld machine.

Sunbeam Hand Held Sewing Machine

The short answer here is that I don't recommend this machine. Though it's made by a reputable brand, virtually no one who buys it actually likes it. After scouring the internet for someone with something nice to say, the only positive reviews were on Amazon and from people who had received a free machine in exchange for the review. A common complaint is that the instructions are so poor that users have a hard time even figuring out what to do with it. The Sunbeam is usually a few cents cheaper than the Singer, but not worth it at all. 

Summary

If you have a good quality hand held sewing machine you can make quick repairs around your house in no time. You can make clothing out of scratch and repair the ones that are already damaged. There are a wide assortment of handheld sewing machines available so you can find a machine that meets your specifications.

All of these machines are relatively inexpensive and all of them have a narrow use case versus a full-size sewing machine. If you understand their limitations though, you can get a very affordable machine that is useful for small jobs, travel purposes and other sewing situations where you're in a pinch or need a small machine to do jobs in place. 

I recommend the Lycheers Mini 2-in-1, unless you don't care about the desktop features, in which case the Singer will do.

What is the Best Intermediate Sewing Machine?

Quick Recommendation

While you pay more, the Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist is packed with features and delivers a lot of bang for the buck. It's our pick for those with intermediate skills.

Sewing machines can be broken down into three basic groups: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced or heavy duty. For the large majority of sewers, an intermediate sewing machine is usually the best choice. These machines offer more features than an introductory level machine and are usually more durable.

Within the category of intermediate sewing machines, there are many styles, brands, number of features and prices to choose from. The best intermediate sewing machine for someone that uses their sewing machine to do occasional alterations probably won’t be the same machine that is best for someone who sews a variety of crafts. For this review, I chose the Brother XR3774, Janome Jem Gold 660, and the Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist to make it easier for all types of sewers to select the best intermediate sewing machine for their particular needs and budget.

Brother XR3774

This is a full-featured sewing and quilting machine that is a great value. Here are its features:

  • It has 37 stitches, 8 sewing feet and comes with an instructional DVD that makes it even easier to use.
  • It is very affordable at less than $125 and it is versatile enough to use for all types of sewing projects.
  • Simple enough for a beginner to use. Makes it a good choice for anyone who has not put their sewing skills to use for an extended period of time or who finds other models too intimidating.
  • Has a 1-step auto-size buttonhole and 74 stitch functions for a wide range of creativity options.
  • Brightly lit LED work area lets you see sewing projects clearly.
  • Free arm to sew cuffs and sleeves or for easy access to small crafts.
  • Comes with a variety of accessories including a blind stitch foot, button sewing foot, walking foot, quilting guide and much more.
  • Quilting component of the machine includes a free motion quilting foot and built-in quilting stitches.

Janome Jem Gold 660

The Janome Jem Gold is a compact, lightweight sewing and quilting machine with just the right number of features for many intermediate sewers. Its light weight makes it easy to take along to sewing or quilting classes without the burden of a traditional machine.

  • Has 8 stitches that include 2 stretch stitches and a built-in buttonhole.
  • Standard accessories include a zig-zag foot, sliding buttonhole foot, overedge foot and specialized bobbin.
  • Jam-proof drop-in bobbin, built-in needle threader, quick foot conversion, horizontal full rotary hook, and one-hand thread cutter.
  • It offers the best of sewing convenience and Janome quality in a compact size that costs about $200.

The Janome Jem Gold 660 is the best intermediate sewing machine for sewers who want more than the basic straight and zig-zag stich but not the numerous features of a professional-level machine. It also makes a great companion for the classroom, especially for sewers who are unable to carry a heavier machine. Users give this model high ratings as the best intermediate sewing machine for reliability and ease-of-use.

Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist

As the number of stitches grows, so does the versatility.

  • With 650 preset built-in stitches.
  • Computerized model is a more expensive option at just over $350.
  • Select a stitch at the push of a button and the start/stop operation takes away the need for a foot pedal.
  • Offers tips on the LCD screen for which presser foot to use for the stitch that you choose.
  • It has the capacity to sew straight, simple lines that beginners use to learn as well as the decorative stitches that more advanced sewers rely on for creativity.
  • With 13 styles of buttonholes.

The Quantum stylist has a lot of convenient features that make it easy to use including an automatic needle threader, drop-in bobbin system, automatic tension, extra-high presser foot, and a free arm. More than anything else, the fact that makes this the best intermediate sewing machine for the money is that even if you will never use half of the stitches, you will get the features you do need at the same price or less than machines that have a lot less to offer.

Choosing the Best Intermediate Sewing Machine for Your Needs

The specific features of a machine are what will determine if it is the best intermediate sewing machine for you. A sewing machine can inspire your creativity or limit you from ever expanding your horizons. Think about the types of sewing that you want to do and the features that will make it easy for you to accomplish those projects.

Looking for the best sewing machine for your budget? Click here.

Another consideration in choosing the best intermediate sewing machine is the brand name. Brother, Janome and Singer are some of the leading brands in sewing machines of all types. They also offer a variety of models that make it easy to find good quality at a price that is right for you. The models reviewed here are perfect examples of why you don’t have to sacrifice quality or performance to get a good value. Sewers repeatedly name these brands as their picks for the best intermediate sewing machines hands-down!

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The Best Sewing Machine for Your Budget

With hundreds of brands and models of sewing machines on the market, there are a number of factors that you can base your choice on.

You may want a machine that is lightweight enough to take to sewing class or sturdy enough to stand up to the demands of professional use.

If you like to sew crafts, you will want a sewing machine that has a lot of stitches, a free arm, and is easy-to-use. In addition to finding a machine that fits your functional needs, you probably have a specific budget in mind.

To help you make the choice of sewing machines that is right for you on every level, I have chosen to compare the best sewing machine under $1000, $500, $200, and $100. These are the Singer S18 Studio, the Pfaff Smarter C-1100 Pro, the Brother HC-1850, and the Brother XL2600I sewing machines.

The Best Sewing Machine Under $1,000

The Singer S18 Studio sewing machine is a high performance machine for both quilting and sewing that is dealer grade. The machine from a leader in sewing machine brands is comparable to a professional model but at a much lower cost.

With 400 built-in stitches which includes 7 styles of button holes, you have unlimited for creating all types of professional-quality projects. It also allows you to store up to 50 stitch combinations. When you are ready to use them again, simply pull them up with the touch of a button.

Quilters will appreciate the Singer S18’s ability to use block and script letters and numbers in 5mm or 7mm sizes to create custom quilt labels. Programmable needle up and down also enhance quilting and applique projects.

Additional features include pattern elongation, automatic thread cutting, 80 quilting stitches, and an extra-large sewing space for more versatility in taking on a wide range of sewing projects. This is the best sewing machine under $1,000 for sewers and quilters alike.

The Best Sewing Machine Under $500

The Janome Computerized DC2013 is a home sewing machine with the features and performance you would expect from a high-end sewing machine. With 50 stitches, including 3 buttonholes, it is a versatile machine that is as good for crafts and scrapbooking as it is for garment sewing and home decorating projects. Features include an auto-lock button, speed control slider, and easy reverse. The features that make this machine a real standout are its stability and reliability.

The DC2013 also features Janome’s exclusive Superior Feed System to deliver consistent, even stitch quality. Computerized direct stitch selection buttons and a memorized up and down needle stop position make it easy to continue sewing without interruption. The built-in needle threader also simplifies sewing preparation for those of us that have a little trouble seeing the target!

The bright LED screen and easy navigation keys let you choose the stitch you want to return to an existing project or to go back and forth between multiple jobs. This machine ranks high as the best sewing machine under $500 for its versatility and reliable performance for all types of projects.

The Best Sewing Machine Under $200

The Brother HC1850 is a feature-packed, versatile and reliable sewing machine that you can use for sewing, quilting, decorative stitching and basic monogramming.

In addition to 130 stitches, it also has a sewing font for monogramming and 8 different styles of 1-step auto-size buttonholes. The Brother HC1850 is the best sewing machine under $200 for decorative sewing, heirloom sewing and quilting.

Brother HC1850

The sewing machine has a number of special quilting features such as a spring action quilting foot, the ability for free-motion quilting, detachable wide table, and 14 quilting stitch functions. It comes with an attached stitch flip-chart, 8 specialty presser feet, a detachable foot controller and an instructional DVD and user’s manual. The Brother brand and versatile features make this the best sewing machine under $200 for quality and versatility.

The Best Sewing Machine Under $100

The Brother XL26001 has overwhelmingly been voted as the best sewing machine under $100 by the many customers who have tried it firsthand. It exceeds a basic sewing machine with 25 built-in stitches and Brother brand quality. A free-arm feature lets you work on hems, sleeves and other small items. An accessory storage place is built into the free arm where you can keep accessories close but out of the way.

Additional features of the XL26001 include a needle threader, drop-in bobbin loading, thread cutter, and 1-step auto-size buttonholer. It is simple enough for beginner use and has features that meet the basic needs of a home sewer.

It works great for sewing clothing and crafts and it is backed by a 25-year limited warranty that reflects the quality of the brand. A jam-resistant drop-in bobbin and easy stitch selector let you go fluidly from project to project. The Brother XL26001 has all the features needed to make it the best sewing machine under $100.

Sometimes those new to sewing will try to find the cheapest possible machine, perhaps even a hand held sewing machine, as their first model. I strongly advise against this. Those machines can have their place for certain use cases, but they will be frustrating to a novice. Stick to the Brother model above for an affordable entry point to sewing.​

The Best Sewing Machine For Your Budget

It is important to note that price does not always directly reflect the quality of a sewing machine. The price frame used in this review is not according to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Instead, they are based on the discount that you get when you shop online.

For example, the Brother XL26001 is the best sewing machine under $100 at $79.30. However, the actual manufacturer’s recommended retail price is $149.99, meaning that it is a higher quality machine that makes it an even better value.

The same is true when looking for the best sewing machine under $1000 or more. Sewing machines offered at a much higher price for their professional capabilities may actually have less to offer than those priced lower.

This is why you should choose a machine for the quality of the brand, the appropriateness of the features to the price, and the value that fits comfortably into your budget. The machines listed here are the best sewing machines for each price category based on all the important features that you need to get great results every time you sew!

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A Look at the Best in the Hoop Embroidery Machines

Today’s hoop embroidery machines let you take your level of creativity to an entirely new level and Brother is leading the way! One of the leading brands in standard sewing machines, Brother also offers a number of models of hoop embroidery machines with all the latest features.

Quick Recommendation

With robust features and a package on Amazon that includes a laptop computer (!), our choice for the best in the hoop embroidery machine is the Brother PE-770.

The sewing machine maker has combined the most advanced sewing technology with the same reliable construction that sewers have come to expect from the brand. Another great feature of Brother sewing machines is the free customer service online and on the phone for the life of your sewing machine. We will look at the best in the hoop embroidery machine that Brother has to offer. This includes the Brother PE540D, the PE525, and the PE770.

Brother PE540D

This dedicated embroidery machine is made with a 4 x 4 inch embroidery area that gives you room to create designs on an easily visible scale. It is all about the Disney characters featured on the front of the machine and in the 35 built-in Disney embroidery designs. Everyone loves Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and others. Now, you can easily create your own fun designs on all types of clothing and other sewing projects.

The Brother PE540D also has 70 decorating designs for many more options in creating beautiful embroidery. Add to that 5 embroidery lettering fonts and there are 120 frame pattern combinations to choose form. The touch screen LCD display gives you high visibility and easy selection of the embroidery designs you select.

The machine comes with a 4 x 4 inch embroider hoop, bobbins, bobbin thread, embroidery foot, needle set and a USB cable to connect to your computer. Search iBroidery.com and other websites to find more embroidery patterns to add to your collection in the machine’s built-in memory. The internet connection also allows you to update your sewing machine whenever new options are available.

This machine provides high quality results that you can rely on for years to come. If you want the best in the hoop embroidery machines without paying the price for a professional model, this is a good choice.

Brother PE525

This machine from Brother is made to be versatile and easy-to-learn. Like the previous model, this machine features a 4 x 4 inch embroidery area, making a generous embroidery area. Enjoy computer connectivity that allows you to easily access new embroidery designs and to keep your features up-to-date.

The LCD display provides touch screen access to the 70 built-in designs and there are 5 lettering fonts that allow you to embroider monograms or any special decorative messages you want to add to your creations. The low price and 25 year limited warranty are also reasons that this is a best in the hoop embroidery machine category.

Brother PE-770

The Brother PE-770 “I Want It All Package” includes a best in the hoop embroidery machine category along with everything you need to start embroidering on a professional level and more! This package even includes a laptop so you can find new designs online and import them to your machine via the USB port.

The PE-770 has 136 embroidery designs built-in along with 6 embroidery alphanumeric fonts. Adjustable machine speed lets you tackle the job as fast or slow as you are comfortable with working. There are also 10 built-in frame shapes along with 12 border styles to frame your work. To select the pattern you want to use, touch the backlit LCD screen.

The feature that really sets this machine apart from the rest of the hoop embroidery machines is its extra-large embroidery area. The machine has a maximum embroidery field of 5 inches by 7 inches with the option to expand to 12 inches by 5 inches with the use of an optional multi-position frame.

Embroidery Hoops

If you find it difficult to learn how to use an embroidery hoop on your new machine, look to YouTube for demonstration videos that are easy to follow. Even those that focus on a single project can help you understand how to get the most from your embroidery machine. The best in the hoop embroidery machine category is only as good as the accessories and your ability to maneuver them.

In addition to the embroidery hoop that is included with each machine, you also have the option to purchase additional embroidery hoops for more options in embroidery size. Make sure that those you purchase are compatible with your specific sewing machine.

 Brother PE 540DBrother PE525Brother PE770
Embroidery Hoop4" x 4"4" x 4"5" x 7" Expandable to 12" x 5"
Computer ConnectivityUSB CableUSB CableUSB Cable
Special FeaturesDisney Theme, 35 Disney Designs, Backlit LCD Touch Screen, Automatic Needle ThreaderBacklit LCD Touch Screen, Auto Needle Threader, Design EditingMemory Function, I Want It All Kit with Complete Stabilizer Kit, FREE Refurbished Dell Laptop, More!
Price$$$$$$$$$
Built-in Embroidery Designs7070136
Lettering Fonts556
Frame Pattern Combinations120120120
Average Review (out of 5 stars)4.54.55

What You Should Take Away from This Look at the Best in the Hoop Embroidery Machines

Many sewers fail to realize how affordable it is to get a quality embroidery machine that will let them create fun and unique designs on pillow cases, clothing, and more. The versatility of modern embroidery machines gives you so much more to choose from that almost any design is a possibility!

The hoop embroidery machines are among the best in the category, made with the quality construction that sewers have come to expect from the Brother name. They also offer a large variety of additional accessories that you can purchase separately to complement your machine.

Any hoop embroidery machine that includes computer connectivity increases your options to make new designs that are virtually unlimited. The machines listed here are the best in the hoop embroidery machine category of sewing machines for their versatility, durability, and flexibility to do more now and in the future.