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Tips and Techniques for Sewing Leather

Sewing Leather

Leather is a type of fabric that is always in style to some degree but it has been showing up in more fashions than ever before. The material that is most often seen to make outerwear is being combined with other types of fabric to make tops, bottoms, and dresses for all types of unique looks. Granted, sewing leather can be challenging but it is manageable if you know what to expect and how you can prevent making mistakes. When working with leather, you don’t get a second chance to get it right. Once the needle has gone through the fabric, the hole is there and there is no making it go away. Follow these tips and techniques for sewing leather -  real and faux -  to get the desired results the first time!

· Fit Before You Start – Do your measuring and fitting before you sew the leather fabric together and find out you need to let it out. If you have any doubt about the fit, err on the side of making it a little too big so any stitches will be on the inside of the garment once you take it up.

· Think Clips, Not Pins – Just as sewing machine needles leave holes in the leather, so will pins. Instead of pins, use paper clips or quilting clips that will hold the layers together without doing any damage. Don’t use tape, either, as it may stick to the surface and damage the fabric.

· Use a Leather Sewing Machine Needle- A specialty needle that is made for sewing leather is made with a wedge point so that it makes a smaller perforation in the material. Use one of these needles whether sewing real or faux leather.

· Reverse Pattern Pieces – Normal fabrics are folded when cutting out so that double pieces that go on each side are cut in the right direction. With leather, the thickness and the irregularity of the shape of real leather work better if you cut out in a single layer. If you do, make sure you reverse the pattern for the second piece. Otherwise, you will be left short!

· Limit Markings to the Wrong Side – If you need to transfer markings to the fabric, do it on the back side. Use chalk or a soft market and avoid transfer wheel that could leave holes.

· Be Cautious with Glue – Leather seams and hems are often glued down to prevent bulk. No finishing is required so getting these areas to lay flat is your primary goal. Use fabric or leather glue made for this purpose and be careful not to spill or smear on the surface of the leather. Other types of glue can expand and harden, making an irregular finish to the seam. Press down firmly to ensure a flat finish after gluing.

What is the best sewing machine for leather

· Use the Right Foot – If your machine includes a Teflon foot, this is the best choice for sewing leather. A roller foot is also a good option and can be identified by the small cylinder in the foot that rolls around as it goes across the fabric. If neither option is available, place a piece of clear tape securely on the bottom of your regular foot to prevent it from sticking to the fabric.

· Choose the Right Fabric – Whether sewing with real or faux leather, opt for those that are of the lightest weight. This is especially important when combining with other lightweight fabrics or sewing full garments like gathered skirts that you don’t want to be too heavy. It will also prevent you from having any problems sewing that you might have with thicker fabric.

If you don’t have a fabric shop near you that carries real leather fabric, there are options for leather in a wide range of colors online. Keep in mind that minor flaws in the material are natural and part of the beauty of the fabric but there should not be any damage that creates weak spots in the material. Purchase from a reputable dealer with a positive track record to ensure you get the quality that they guarantee. As an alternative, you may want to try your hand at sewing less expensive faux leather before you give the real thing a try!

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.

     

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!

What Is the Best Sewing Machine Brand?

The sewing machine is easily the most important piece of equipment in the home sewer’s toolbox and it’s understandable that many people are eager to find out what the best sewing machine brands are. In fact, the answer depends a great deal on the individual user. This article highlights some of the brands that stand out from the crowd in different categories.

Importance of Sewing Machine Brand Reviews

The sewing machine landscape is constantly changing. Well-loved brands like Kenmore have disappeared recently, while lesser-known names like Toyota are coming out of obscurity. And while nothing can compare to actually try out a machine, taking time to find and study sewing machine brand reviews can help you hone in on which ones are likely to be a good fit. The best sewing machine brand reviews will recognize that, although good machines are available from almost every manufacturer, each brand brings unique strengths and weaknesses to the table.

Best Sewing Machine Brands

Best Brand of Sewing Machine for Beginners

janome for beginners

While those new to sewing should probably wait to buy an expensive high-end machine until they’ve developed their craft enough to justify the investment, they should also avoid the discount models available at box stores. These bare-bone machines will unnecessarily frustrate the novice, potentially derailing a satisfying hobby.

Instead, opt for a brand like Janome which has a reputation for producing quality machines at still-reasonable price points. Janomes are known for their easy-to-use features, beautiful stitching, and excellent reliability. 

Click here for our article on choosing the best sewing machine for beginners...

Best Brand of Sewing Machine for Value

Hoping to find the biggest bang for your buck? With a wide range of machines available on the lower end of the price spectrum, Singer is an excellent choice for crafters on a budget. The Singer brand has been a household name for over a century and, although the quality isn’t necessarily as high as comparable Janome machines, Singer machines tend to be easy to use and include lots of features for the price.

Best Brand of Sewing Machine for Features

Brother Sewing Machine

If you’re looking for models loaded with extras, the best brand of sewing machine for you may very well be a Brother. The Brother line extends from very basic machines all the way up to elaborate embroidery-sewing combination machines with digital interfaces. Their models tend to be feature-rich and include increasingly high-tech capabilities.

Best Brand of Sewing Machine for High-End Users

Once you’ve decided to purchase a high-end machine, it’s hard to go wrong with any of the big brand names. The “BMWs” of the sewing machine world, brands like Viking-Husqvarna, Bernina, Pfaff, and Elna are generally only available through authorized dealers and their machines cost more than counterparts from other manufacturers. In return, however, you can expect solid construction, impressive stitch quality, and features that deliver.

All originally European brands, Bernina and Elna are based in Switzerland while Viking-Husqvarna and Pfaff fall under the same parent company, VSM, which has its head office in Sweden. And although some of the manufacturing for these brands now takes place in Asia, they continue to produce impressive machines that remain the choice of serious sewers.

With so many great sewing machines on the market, choosing the right one can be an intimidating process. To make the process easier, use sewing machine brand reviews to start honing in on which companies best match your needs and skills.

Check out our reviews of the best handheld sewing machines.

1

What is the Best Heavy Duty Sewing Machine?

A commercial sewing machine is one that is built to handle heavier, thicker materials like leather and is more durable to handle more intense use. Jobs that cannot be performed on a regular sewing machine due to jamming or failure to pierce through fabrics can be handled with ease on the best heavy duty sewing machine. It is important to note that while a machine may be considered “commercial grade” it doesn’t mean it is designed for use in factories or other industrial settings.

Quick Recommendation

Janome is the big winner here. The robust Janome HD3000 model is our top pick for a heavy duty sewing machine and the Janome MB-4S is so well-liked that it's our one and only pick for a commercial embroidery machine.

Many home-based sewing businesses and sewers with special interests purchase the best industrial strength sewing machine they can find for home use. For this review, I chose the Singer CG590 and Janome HD3000 heavy duty sewing machines and the Janome MB-4S industry embroidery machine as the best machines of their kind in the industrial standard and embroidery categories.

Best Heavy Duty Sewing Machines

Singer CG590

The Singer CG590 Commercial Grade Sewing Machine is a surprisingly affordable sewing machine that is packed with convenient features.

  • It sews 1,100 stitches per minute so you can get professional results quickly without sacrificing quality.
  • A stainless steel bed plate will stand up to the punishment professional use demands.
  • It has 18 stitches built-in with four-step buttonhole, free arm capability and drop feed capability.

Singer has been a leading name in sewing machine manufacturers since 1851, a brand known for producing high quality machines that perform and last. Like standard sewing machines with the Singer name, this heavy duty sewing machine is certain to produce the professional quality projects that you want to undertake. The machine is 60% stronger than a standard machine and it easily sews through multiple layers or thick materials.

Janome is another leading name in sewing machine manufacturers including a number of models of standard, commercial and specialty area machines for use in a wide range of settings. Some of the features of this machine include:

  • 18 built-in stitches including a 1-step buttonhole.
  • Its metal interior parts make it one of the best heavy duty sewing machines.
  • Built-in one-hand needle threader
  • Selection dials for stitch type and stitch length
  • Reverse stitch lever
  • Snap-on presser feet with foot pressure adjustment

One of the most important features to look for in a heavy duty sewing machine is its weight. The purpose of the machine is not portability but sturdiness that will keep it secure while tackling large-scale projects. Machines should weigh a minimum of 10 pounds with heavier ones being the best choice.

At more than 24 pounds, the Janome HD3000 is easily the best heavy duty sewing machine based on weight alone! Combined with the Janome quality and the versatile features it offers, it is easily one of the best choices you could make for a heavy duty sewing machine.

Best Industrial Embroidery Machines

Janome MB-4S Commercial 4-Needle

It should come as no surprise that the best industrial embroidery machine comes from Janome. This machine is the ideal equipment for anyone who is looking to add quality to their creations or to start an embroidery business. It has many desirable features starting with the Remote Computer Screen. The RCS makes it easy to set-up your embroidery designs and make any changes you need without the need for additional controllers.

You never have to worry about inadequate lighting with this embroidery machine. The LED light provides precise lighting where you need it all the time. You have better control over your projects and always know exactly what your machine is doing.

The Janome MB-4S is also considered the best commercial embroidery machine for sewers who focus primarily on monogramming. The automatic thread cutter automatically cuts jump threads between letters so you have a clean, finished project as soon as the embroidery is complete.

One feature found on the Janome MB-4S that isn’t found on professional machines is the dedicated bobbin winding motor. This allows you to wind a new bobbin while you are stitching a design.

The machine has 10 fonts for monogramming and a choice of 2 or 3 letter monogramming. While those with minimal home projects in mind may not want to pay commercial monogram machine prices, the capabilities of this machine far exceed those you will get on any standard home embroidery machine.

Embroidery area tracing, USB memory key compatibility, and multi-language selection are just a few of the features that set this machine apart. It also offers 50 built-in designs, horizontal and vertical flip, and rotates in 1 and 90 degree increments.

The Janome MB-4S truly sets the standard for industrial embroidery machines by combining commercial grade construction and design with the computerized features that make it so easy to use. An embroidery speed of up to 800 spm 3MB of storage allows you to do up to 1,500,000 stitches or 100 designs all in record time! It is also compatible with Janome software for an even broader range of potential designs.

How to Choose the Best Heavy Duty Sewing Machine for Your Needs

Performance, value, and features are often taken into consideration when determining the best heavy duty sewing machine overall. The ways that the machine will be used will also need to be considered before you can really determine which is the best commercial embroidery machine, heavy duty sewing machine, or monogramming machine for the individual.

Purchasing a good quality heavy duty sewing machine for regular sewing on a heavier scale is simple and affordable. The two machines listed here are the perfect example of why you don’t always have to pay more to get the best industrial strength sewing machine to use at home.

Your options are much broader when looking at commercial embroidery machines. There are a number of good quality home machines that include embroidery functions and the high-end industrial embroidery machines like the Janome MB-4S that has many more capabilities and power.

There is a large gap between the functionalities of these two types of machines and a big difference in the commercial monogram machine prices. The choice you make should be determined by a combination of personal preference and professional need.

What’s the Best Child’s Sewing Machine?

How to Choose a Child’s Sewing Machine

Once a child shows an interest in sewing, parents want to find a child’s sewing machine that will introduce them to the craft without investing a lot of money just in case their interest doesn’t blossom. There is no set age that kids typically start to look at sewing seriously and children of the same age differ greatly in their ability to follow directions as well as in dexterity.

Quick Recommendation

Safety first! With its finger guard to prevent stitching little fingers, the Fast Lane is our top pick for children's sewing machines. (It comes in colors other than Fuchsia, too.)

Choosing the best kid's sewing machine will depend on the child as well as the sewing machine’s features. For this review, I chose the line of Janome Hello Kitty machines including the models 15822 and 11706 and the LCD Screen Saving model as well as the Fast Lane which is also from Janome. Janome is considered by many sewers to make the best quality sewing machines for home use and they have the best variety of sewing machines targeted at children.

Sewing MachineJanome Hello Kitty 11706Janome Hello Kitty 15822Janome Hello Kitty 18750 LCD ComputerizedJanome Fuchsia Fast Lane
Size3/4FullFull1/2
Number of Stitches11245010
Finger GuardNoNoNoYes
Weight (lbs.)121411.65
Size (Inches)9 x 5 x 10.514.5 x 10.8 x 7.514.8 x 11 x 6.610.5 x 5.8 x 9
Stitch LengthUp to 4mmUp to 4mmUp to 7mm5mm
Easy Reverse Button?NoYesYesNo
Button holes?Yes, One-StepYes, One-StepYes, 3 One-StepYes, Four-Step
Free Arm?YesYesYesYes
Available Color(s)AquaWhite/RedWhiteFuchsia, Lavender, Yellow, Blue, More
Standard AccessoriesZig-Zag Foot, Sliding Buttonhole FootScrewdriver, Darning Plate, Plastic Bobbins, Needle Set, Buttonhole OpenerZig-Zag Foot, Sliding Buttonhole Foot, Specialized Bobbin, Satin Stitch Foot F2 Bobbins, Needle, Threader, Foot Control, Power Supply Cord, Instruction Manual
Price$$$$$$$$$
How to Choose the Best Machine for Your Child

Not surprisingly, many parents’ first concern in choosing a sewing machine is the safety of their child. The addition or absence of a finger guard is a point of controversy among sewers and parents alike. Of this list of the best sewing machines for kids, only the Fast Lane has a finger guard on the sewing foot to ensure little fingers don’t slip under the foot and get stitched! This is why smaller children will fare better with this model or with the Janome Hello Kitty 11706. While the latter does not have a finger guard, it is made so that the up position in the presser foot is not as high as in a normal machine so there simply isn’t enough room to stick fingers underneath.


Fuchsia Fast Lane

It is important to note that there are significant differences between these sewing machines which are made for kids and those that are full-size sewing machines made for adult use. Although adult supervision is always advised, a child’s sewing machine should be easy enough to use on their own from threading it, to selecting stitches, to guiding the fabric through the feeder. Often, people will purchase a full-size standard machine that has only basic stitches as an entry-level machine instead of purchasing one that is made especially for children thinking they will get a better quality machine that will last longer. In reality, the best kids’ sewing machine will often be more durable than a standard machine at a bargain price.


Janome Hello Kitty 11706

In addition, the fact that these are made on a full-scale is likely to mean that the features will be harder for kids to use effectively and safely. Full-size machines also operate with a faster stitch speed that can be difficult for kids to control.

The prices are not included in this review because they vary greatly from one retailer to another. In all instances, you can expect to pay significantly more for the Janome Computerized 18750 because of its sophisticated design. This is probably not going to be an optimal choice as a first-time sewing machine for kids of any age but it is a great choice for teens and older who have had some experience using a mechanical machine and are ready to advance to the next level. Although it includes a much larger range of options to choose from with 50 stitch types, the LCD screen instant selection and other features are geared towards ease-of-use.


Janome Hello Kitty 18750

Parents often find themselves turning to their child’s sewing machine for fast sewing jobs due to the ease and quality of sewing that makes it easier than using their standard sewing machine. Sometimes children’s sewing machines that are smaller and lightweight are also a better choice for taking classes. The Fuchsia Fast Lane is a great classroom tool since its 5-pound weight makes it highly portable. One thing to keep in mind with this model and the Hello Kitty 11706 is that neither model has an easy reverse button for finishing off seams.


Janome Hello Kitty 15822

The Janome Fast Lane is referred to as the “Fuchsia” Fast Lane at many locations but this is not the only color choice available. Kids can also choose from lilac, yellow, blue, teal and more colors to suit their personal taste. The different models of the Hello Kitty sewing machines offer a cute and colorful Hello Kitty print that kids love. The cartoon graphics and fun colors shouldn’t mislead you into thinking any of these children’s sewing machines are toys. All are made with the same quality workmanship and technology that the Janome name is known for.

Summary

Simplicity like that found in the Hello Kitty 11706 and the Fuchsia Fast Lane is what you should look for in a sewing machine for the smallest children who are just starting out. For older kids and those who are more advanced at sewing, the Hello Kitty 15822 and the Hello Kitty Computerized 18750 LCD are great choices that will work for all of their sewing projects as well.

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What Is the Easiest Sewing Machine to Use?

Today’s sewing machines have evolved to include a selection of computerized monogramming, embroidering and quilting machines that allow sewers to expand their creative side. In fact, the market has grown to include all types, shapes and sizes of machines that include a diversity of functions.

Although the capabilities of these machines are impressive to almost any sewer, many people share the goal of finding the easiest sewing machine to use that will accomplish their needs. For this review, I chose the Brother PE770 embroidery machine, the Brother Designio monogramming machine, and the Singer Confidence Quilter as the easiest sewing machine to use for each specific sewing purpose.

Easiest Embroidery Machine to Use

Whether you will be using your machine to create clothing or crafts for you home and family or as an at-home embroidery business, you still want to find an easy to use embroidery machine that saves time. You don’t want to spend all of your time trying to figure out how to get the design you have on paper onto the fabric! The Brother PE770 5 x 7 inch Embroidery-Only machine fits the bill with a number of convenient features including a built-in memory.

PE-770

The PE770 has an expansive 5” x 7” field that makes it easy to work on large designs and lettering with less re-hooping. The fact that this is an easy to use embroidery machine doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a lot of features to offer.

  • It has 136 built-in embroidery designs
  • 6 lettering fonts
  • 10 frame shapes
  • 12 border styles to create

Additionally, you can use a flash drive to import more designs to the machine or insert your memory card into the built-in card slot. When you purchase or designs, just save them to memory until you want to use them again. There are also multiple editing features that allow you to alter designs to fit their destination.

The easiest sewing machine to use is always one that is easy to thread. The PE770 is easy to thread and it features an auto thread cutter that for stitching and trimming precision. Brother sewing machines are known for their quality, ease of use, and versatility.

Easiest Monogramming Machine to Use

Now that so many sewing machines are computerized, the line between embroidery and monogramming is much more blurred. If you want a machine that will primarily monogram, and you want to find the easiest monogramming machine to use, then simplicity is going to be key. One good choice is the Brother Designio Series DZ820E.

Designio Series DZ820E

The Designio is a designated embroidery with the following unique features:

  • Only machine that comes with two extra embroidery hoops
  • Starter kit
  • CD with 200 additional embroidery designs
  • It has 136 built-in embroidery designs
  • 6 lettering fonts
  • 120 frame pattern combinations
  • Built-in tutorials making it the easiest monogramming machine to use
  • Backlit LED touch screen

There are also numerous machines that incorporate embroidery and monogramming into regular sewing. In most cases, the easiest sewing machine to use is a dedicated sewing machine that doesn’t require you to change adjustments, thread, or CDs.

Easiest Quilting Machine to Use

Like embroidery, computerized machines are often used for quilting. Although the Singer 7469Q Confidence Quilter is a combination sewing and quilting machine, it is still the easiest quilting machine to use for sewers at all levels.

The Confidence Quilter

The Confidence Quilter has 98 stitches built in and includes fully automatic one-step buttonholes. A programmable needle makes it simple to switch to quilting mode. The machine comes with four bonus quilting feet in addition to the general purpose pressure foot and an extension table to manage your quilting projects.

A quick set-up makes this the easiest quilting machine to use for a variety of sewing projects. The electronic twin needle control and adjustable stitch width/length give you more option for customizing your sewing and quilting projects.

How Computerized Sewing Machines Work

Many sewers who have never tried them find computerized sewing machines intimidating. When their goal is to find the easiest sewing machine to use, the idea of manipulating a computer doesn’t sound like the easiest option. In reality, the computer moves the various components of the machine to produce more accurate stitches for professional results. Many computerized machines made for home use produce results that are just as professional looking as those made by commercial sewing machines.

Some machines come with built-in designs that are accessed on the LCD screen. You simple select the stitch you want and the machine makes it. Depending on the specific machine, you may also have the option to edit the stitch to create custom designs.

You will also be able to access other stitch or embroidery and decal designs online. These are found on many online sites where they may be obtained for free or sold. Those machines that have a USB port or memory card slot are the easiest sewing machine to use to transfer new designs from the computer to the sewing machine. There are also some computers that can hook up directly to the internet to download the patterns directly into the memory.

These machines come in a wide range of prices and complexity that should also go into your decision about which one is right for your needs. If you want the easiest to use embroidery machine for occasional personal use, you won’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good quality machine. Always consider the brand name in your decision and stick with those that have a good reputation for providing consistent results and being durable.

Ready to step up to the next level? Check out the best intermediate sewing machines here.

Nothing is more enjoyable to a seamstress that having the tools to create unique designs. All of the machines listed in this review are considered the easiest sewing machine to use of their kind and should add to the creativity of your craft!

What is the Best Sewing Machine for Leather?

Selecting a leather sewing machine presents unique challenges. Most tabletop machines intended for home use lack the power and special features necessary to truly function as leather sewing machines, while industrial machines tend to be expensive and less user-friendly. This article compares three machines poised to bridge the gap, promising heavy duty results from tabletop machines.

Quick Recommendation

Possibly not as durable as the Janome machine, the Singer CG590 packs in so many features that it is our top pick if sewing leather is your prime concern.

Janome HD1000


With a cast aluminum body and simple lines, the Janome HD1000 radiates the sturdiness of sewing machines from an earlier era. Marketed as “Heavy Duty,” the HD1000 costs claims to be an affordable sewing machine for denim and leather.

Singer CG590


In the same price range as the Janome HD1000 is the Singer CG590. With a rigid metal frame, the CG590 promises to bring “Commercial Grade” results, including the ability to tackle difficult materials.


Toyota FSG325


While Toyota has been producing sewing machines since 1946, they’ve only been selling in the United States for the past few years. Like the other machines in this article, the Toyota FSG325 is positioned as a “Heavy Duty” machine intended for everything from crafting fine apparel to working multiple layers of leather and denim.

Sewing MachineJanome HD1000Singer CG590Toyota FSG325
Motor Power1.0 amp1.6 amp0.6 amp
Stitch Length4 mm6 mm5 mm
High Presser Foot?YesYesYes
Stitch Speed (in stitches per minute)8401,100800
Metal internal parts?YesNoNo

Motor Power


Motor strength is a critical consideration when sewing leather. While the Janome HD1000 is powered by a respectable 1.0 amp motor, the Singer CG590 boasts a 1.6 amp motor, one of the strongest available in a home sewing machine. The Toyota FSG325 comes in at the bottom with a 0.6 amp motor.

Stitch Length


Because sewing leaves permanent holes in leather, choosing a longer stitch length ultimately results in stronger seams. All three machines offer stitch lengths well above the standard 2.5 mm, with the Janome HD1000 topping out at 4 mm and the Singer CG590 extending to 6 mm. The Toyota FSG325 is a middle-of-the-road option with a maximum stitch length of 5 mm.

Tackling Thickness


Another important characteristic that helps qualify these models as leather sewing machines is their ability to handle thick material. The Janome HD1000, Singer CG590, and Toyota FSG325 all feature an extra-high presser foot lift that provides an additional ¼-inch of clearance when needed. To further accommodate thick fabrics, the Janome and Toyota machines allow the user to manually adjust the presser foot pressure. The Singer model takes this one step further and offers an automatic pressure system that adjusts to handle fabrics of varying thickness.

Stitch Speed


Like other leather sewing machines for sale, the Janome HD1000, Singer CG590, and Toyota FSG325 feature high stitch speeds, with the HD1000 reaching 840 stitches-per-minute and the Toyota FSG325 close behind at 800 stitches-per-minute. The Singer peaks at an impressive 1100 stitches-per-minute. To help handle these speeds, the Singer CG590 has a regulating dial that can be used to limit the speed when needed and both the Singer and Janome models include a finger guard to keep hands safely away from the needle.

Reliability


Reliability is one area where the Janome HD1000 shines. All three machines have a metal interior frame, but the Janome has also incorporated metal parts throughout. By comparison, the body and many other parts of the Toyota and Singer are plastic. Complaints related to needle alignment, tension issues, bobbin performance, jamming, and broken parts are common with the Singer CG590. Although not as widely maligned as the Singer, there is concern that Toyota’s choice to use plastic for important components such as the drive gear is problematic.

Looking for the best coverstitch sewing machine? Click here.


Recommendation - Singer CG590


The Janome HD1000, Singer CG590, and Toyota FSG325 each position themselves as the best home sewing machine for garment-weight leather in their price range. The Singer CG590 brings better specifications to the table nearly all the way around, although all three machines contain enough features to accomplish most home leather jobs. If you want a machine you can hand down to your grandchildren, Janome’s performance history, solid motor power, and reliability make it the best choice. However, the Singer has the best all-around set of features and it tends to be the cheapest of the three, making it a serious value if long-term reliability isn't your number one concern.