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Laundry & Clothing Care

Best Sewing Machine

Every seamstress and tailor knows the importance of having a sewing machine that works with their wants and needs. A lot of this depends on the features the machine offers as well as their construction and the reputation of the manufacturer. Modern sewing machines each have their own unique features and capabilities, so doing a side-by-side comparison between your favorites is advised. Whether you're an expert quilter, embroiderer, or designer of special evening apparel, one of these machines are sure to fit your style and become your next favorite sewing machine. For additional assistance in your search, we’ve also provided a helpful sewing machine buyer’s guide which covers all the basics.

Bernina 880 Sterling Edition

Bernina 880 Sterling Edition

If you want the best embroidery machine which virtually does everything automatically, then you want the Bernina 880 Sterling Edition. It has over 1700 onboard stitches with a touch-screen computer which allows you to design any stitch or any shape you can imagine.

The Bernina 880 has a built-in stitching coach to help you narrow down what stitch to use as well a built-in color wheel which displays the color embroidery stitches before they’re made; this will help you incorporate them more accurately into your newest creation. You can design, shape, correct, command and sew right from the touch-screen and the sewing table itself is illuminated to remove all shadows.

When you get this machine you can also enroll for free into Bernina's creative embroidery school located in Aurora, Illinois for 3 days. There you can learn all about the functions and features this machine has to offer, how to use them correctly, and how to create the most beautiful embroidery stitches imaginable.

On top of all this the 880 does everything automatically, from threading the needle to cutting the thread when the stitching is complete. Once the material is in place on a rack or in a hoop, you simply press a button, sit back, and let the machine do all the work. Although it’s the most expensive selection on our list, it does come with a 25 year warranty.

Pfaff Creative Sensation Pro Sewing Machine

Pfaff Creative Sensation Pro Sewing Machine

For most people who do embroidery stitching, the Pfaff Creative Sensation Pro will be the only machine they’ll ever need. This machine features a shape and stitch creator so you can generate virtually any stitch you can think of along with the actual size and shape of the stitches displayed on the color touch screen. It has the capability to execute almost impossible ribbon stitches and there’s a built-in stitch tutor which offers suggestions for the best stitches to use for any given pattern.

The machines active stitch technology allows you to use virtually any thread out there (including metal threads, you can sew two-color stacking stitches, and it even has increased embroidery speed to get the stitches done right and tight in 30 percent less time. It comes with almost 1000 built-in stitches and designs and there’s also an illuminated table so there are no shadows. Although expensive, this machine is protected by a five year warranty and will do just about anything you need it to.

Brother PE770 5x7 Inch Embroidery-Only Machine

If you are looking for the best bang for the buck embroidery machine, the Brother PE770 5x7 Inch Embroidery-Only Machine is for you. Although fairly basic as embroidery machines go, it’s still packed with features the beginner or seasoned embroidery pro will appreciate. It comes with 136 embroidery designs, 6 lettering fonts, and you can see what the finished stitches will look like on the built-in computer touch screen. There’s also an auto needle threader, easy bobbin threader, as well as a auto thread trimmer.

This machine is capable of reading USB memory sticks so you can import stitches from your computer and it also accepts Brother memory cards to increase the amount of available stitches and patterns. All in all, this machine is relatively easy to use, and the price won't break the bank if you’re serious about doing embroidery sewing. Best of all, it comes covered by a 25 year warranty.

Husqvarna Viking Emerald 122

Husqvarna Viking Emerald 122

For old school embroidery and decorative stitches at their best, the Husqvarna Viking Emerald 122 is the retro solution to modern embroidery stitching. Although it only comes with 70 built-in stitches, there’s no easier to use machine on this list.

The only automatic feature on this machine is the needle threader and after that, it’s all manual. You simply dial in the stitch you want, adjust the width and length, and start sewing. Nothing complicated here and it’s likely perfect for many of the sewing tasks you’ll be doing.

This embroidery machine comes with a reference guide to help you select the right stitch for any project along with a one-step buttonhole maker. It comes with a one year full service warranty with optional warranty plans also available.

SINGER 7258 Stylist Award-Winning 100-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine

If you’ve never used a computerized sewing machine before, the SINGER 7258 Stylist 100-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine is a terrific introduction to these machines. For most people doing embroidery or decorative stitches, this is all they’ll really need. Choose from 100 selectable stitches then adjust the width and length via the machines display screen. It comes with an auto needle threader and the auto pilot feature allows you to sew without using the foot pedal.

This machine also has twin needle capability for extra detailed stitches, there’s an automatic bobbin winding feature, and it comes with an instructional DVD covering all of its functions in detail.The Singer 7528 will help you understand the basics of computerized stitches and can serve as a step-up to a fully computerized embroidery machine. It covered by a 25 year sewing head warranty and a 5 year motor/component warranty.

Husqvarna Platinum 16 Quilting Machine

Husqvarna Platinum 16 Quilting Machine

If price is no object and you want the best quilting machine out there, you won't be disappointed with the Husqvarna Platinum 16 Quilting Machine. This is a dedicated quilting machine with the capability to lay down up to 1500 stitches per minute for fast quilting while one tap of the foot pedal will conveniently raise and lower the needle.

This machine features a huge, 16 inch throat space to give you plenty of room to lay out and adjust your quilt before and during sewing. It will also track your sewing motions while regulating the stitch length as fabric is moved around the table.

The Platinum 16 has large capacity bobbins which hold four different spools of thread for longer sewing time between refills, a computerized touch screen lets you choose stitches before they’re sewed, and multiple LED lights will keep shadows at bay during sewing. It comes with a one year full service warranty, but optional warranty plans are available.

Janome 7700 QCP Sewing and Quilting Machine

The Janome New Home Memory Craft 7700 QCP is a computerized sewing machine which stitches 1000 stitches per minute and comes with 250 pre-programmed stitches to choose from. The free arm table has an 11 inch throat so you’ll have a lot of room to move your quilt around before and during sewing. The computerized touch screen lets you select the stitching you want before the needle hits the quilt while five LED bulbs make for shadow-free sewing.

Although not inexpensive, this sewing machine will do just about anything a quilter requires and then some. The AcuFeed system feeds both the top and bottom layer at the exact same speed for perfect measured stitches every time and there’s even an auto thread cutter too. It comes with a 25 year limited warranty as well as an optional three year full service warranty.

Brother PQ1500S RF High-Speed Straight-Stitch and Quilting Machine

If you just need a quilting machine with no bells or whistles, then check out the Brother PQ1500S High Speed Quilting and Sewing Machine which lays down 1500 stitches per minute. Basic in most functions, it does come with automated, push button thread trimmers, needle positioning, and needle threaders. It also features a knee lever for lifting the presser foot. Although it only has an eight inch throat, it does come with a seven inch extension table to give you over 15 inches of usable bed area.

This sewing machine will move several layers of fabric beneath the needle at the same speed allowing for perfect stitches every time. However, there’s only one lamp to light the entire sewing area, so you may need auxiliary lighting if you don't want shadows. The PQ1500S comes with a 25 year head warranty and a six year component warranty.

Pfaff Powerquilter p3

Pfaff Powerquilter p3

If you want the most extravagant and professional quilting machine of them all, look no further than the Pfaff Powerquilter p3. This sewing machine features a specially made table so you can lay out the entire quilt while sewing without missing a stitch. This computer controlled whiz lays down an astounding 3000 stitches per minute and lets you control all functions directly from the touch screen sitting between the U-shaped control handles. There’s a black light to see glow-in-the-dark specialty thread and the bright LED lights will keep your work space shadow-free. If you’re seriously into quilting and value precision and performance above all else, than the Pfaff is a must have. It also comes with a five year manufacturer’s warranty.

SINGER 4411 Heavy Duty Extra-High Sewing Speed Sewing Machine

Featuring a retro appearance, Singer 4411 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine is suitable for beginners or just basic quilting tasks. Although it has 11 built in stitches, this machines main claim to fame is it easily sews quilting material while laying down 1100 stitches per minute. It has a seven inch throat and the bed converts to a free arm machine by removing the add-on extension.

Granted, there isn't a lot of extra space for quilting, but you'll still be able to get the job done; even though it may take you a bit longer than some of our other picks. The bottom line is this machine is easy to use, yet still has the capability to quilt like a more advanced model. It comes with a 25 year head warranty and a five year component warranty.

Pfaff Creative Sensation Pro Sewing Machine

Pfaff Creative Sensation Pro Sewing Machine

For most people who do embroidery stitching, the Pfaff Creative Sensation Pro will be the only machine they’ll ever need. This machine features a shape and stitch creator so you can generate virtually any stitch you can think of along with the actual size and shape of the stitches displayed on the color touch screen. It has the capability to execute almost impossible ribbon stitches and there’s a built-in stitch tutor which offers suggestions for the best stitches to use for any given pattern.

The machines active stitch technology allows you to use virtually any thread out there (including metal threads, you can sew two-color stacking stitches, and it even has increased embroidery speed to get the stitches done right and tight in 30 percent less time. It comes with almost 1000 built-in stitches and designs and there’s also an illuminated table so there are no shadows. Although expensive, this machine is protected by a five year warranty and will do just about anything you need it to.

Bernina 880 Sewing Machine

Bernina 880 Sewing Machine

If you want a fully automatic sewing machine and price is no object, then the Bernina 880 Quilting and Embroidery Sewing Machine can't be beat. This machine is not for beginners, but once it is set up correctly, all you need to do is push a button and the machine will do the rest.

This sewing machine is completely automatic in all functions and it will automatically make the foot pedal move up and down, just as if you were pushing on it. It will automatically raise and lower the feed dogs for the embroidery stitches, thread needles at the touch of a button, and it will automatically cut the thread when the stitching is complete.

It also features a stitch and shape designer, a color wheel, 30 LED lights for maximum table illumination, a computer screen that maps out stitches, and an internal memory so it never forgets a stitch. Additionally, there’s a computerized creative consultant to help you select the right stitch for the job at hand, and it even comes with an alarm clock.

Except for a very few hardcore sewers, this machine is a serious overkill in spades. But if you can pony up the money, you won't have more fun watching the stitches be created right before your eyes, as you sit back and sip on some chamomile tea. Once properly set up his is the simplest and easiest machine to use, but the price is so exorbitant, that you could nearly buy a new car. However it comes covered by a 25 year warranty and a 5 year warranty on the onboard computer.

Husqvarna Viking Designer Diamond Sewing Machine

For a beginners sewing machine that’s easy to operate yet gives a wealth of stitches to use, nothing beats the Husqvarna Viking Designer Topaz 40 Sewing Machine. This machine has some high-end features including a basic design placement function allowing you to place the material exactly where it needs to go for perfect stitching every time.

This sewing machine comes with a color touch screen allowing you to navigate through the different stitches and provides 200 built in stitches and 100 stitching designs loaded into the computer memory, The best thing about this machine is that a basic stitch - like a straight stitch or a zigzag - is just one button push away. Push the button, hit the foot pedal and this unit sews a perfect stitch. What could be easier than that?

There’s some nice extra features like a top and bottom low thread sensor, a material thickness sensor for precise feeding, and a sewing adviser so you can select the right stitch every time. The array of LED lights fully illuminate the table, and it features a large sewing surface for quilting. If there was a bang for the buck sewing machine on this list, the Viking Topaz would take top honors. It comes protected by a 1 year full service warranty.

Brother XL2600I 25-Stitch Free-Arm Sewing Machine

If you want an everyday machine for regular stitching on garments and other material, the Brother XL2600I Sew Advance Sew Affordable 25-Stitch Free-Arm Sewing Machine is the way to go. With 25 built in stitches you just dial one up, hit the pedal, and sew. Granted, everything about this machine is manual, like the threading, bobbin winding, and actually turning a knob to select the stitch, but it offers simple functionality; at the lowest cost here, the price is right as well.

This is about as close to old style manual sewing that you can get. Once the needle is threaded, just pull the lower thread through the slot in the bobbin case and it will automatically take it up. No computer involved here, just ease and simplicity. This sewing machine even converts from a full table into a freearm table which is perfect for pants legs and sleeves.

There’s nothing fancy or complicated about this machine, and if you mend your clothing a lot, or just want a basic machine for regular sewing chores, you can't do better than this. It comes with an amazing 25 year limited warranty too.

SINGER 4411 Heavy Duty Extra-High Sewing Speed Sewing Machine

Featuring a retro appearance, Singer 4411 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine is suitable for beginners or just basic quilting tasks. Although it has 11 built in stitches, this machines main claim to fame is it easily sews quilting material while laying down 1100 stitches per minute. It has a seven inch throat and the bed converts to a free arm machine by removing the add-on extension.

Granted, there isn't a lot of extra space for quilting, but you'll still be able to get the job done; even though it may take you a bit longer than some of our other picks. The bottom line is this machine is easy to use, yet still has the capability to quilt like a more advanced model. It comes with a 25 year head warranty and a five year component warranty.

Buyer's Guide

Sewing Machine Buyer's Guide

Before sewing machines came into use, every piece of clothing had to be hand stitched and even a simple pair of pants would take up to a day or two to make instead of only a couple of hours on a sewing machine. Early sewing machines were strictly straight-stitch models, which were only capable of very basic seams. Regardless, they offered the convenience of quickly straight stitching the basic article of clothing with decorative stitching added in afterwards by hand. Modern sewing machines can now create almost any stitch you need with some models designed specifically for quilting and embroidery work.

The simplest thing to remember about any sewing machine is the easier they are for you to use, the more you’ll end up using one. You may fawn over the latest and the greatest electronic offering, but if it’s too complex, your new sewing machine will end up sitting in a corner as little more than an expensive piece of furniture.

If you get a sewing machine that’s easy for you to use and does what you need it to do, it will be a joy to use every time you need it for something. Ultimately, that's what having a sewing machine all is about. This buyer’s guide will give you a little insight into the types of sewing machine that will fit your needs, as well as what to expect features and extras to look for.

Sewing Machine Types

Manual
The type of sewing machine familiar to most people are the manual types which involve turning dials or pressing levers to access stitching functions; this type of stitch access has been used on sewing machines for over 100 years.

The main advantage manual models offer are their intuitive controls since virtually anyone with sewing knowledge can use one of these machines. Because of their mechanical simplicity they’re easily repaired at a fraction of the cost versus more advanced machines.

Typically costing less than 500 dollars, a general purpose sewing machine lets you create and mend clothing, take on basic quilting projects, as well as providing dozens of embroidery and decorative stitches to experiment with. They’ll also teach you the basics of needle threading, bobbin winding, tension setting, and other essential skills.

Computerized
Basic computerized machines have a small, built-in monitor which display the stitches available for selection at the press of a button. More complex systems will highlight the correct needle and thread to use for the type of material you’re working with thus eliminating any unnecessary guesswork. You can also program in different stitches and tell your machine the exact point where to begin sewing.

The most advanced models are able to thread the needle before you begin stitching, automatically sew programmed stitching patterns, and cut the thread when the stitch is complete. All these functions and more can be accessed on a large computer screen ready for your commands.

Computerized sewing machines are extremely complex in form and function; for example, finding the right stitch or programming your own patterns/stitches can be daunting especially with the more advanced interfaces. The included instruction manuals are also closer to actual books than a simple how-to guide; a beginner trying to sew on one of these advanced machines would likely be overwhelmed.

In the event of mechanical issues, you'll need to have a computerized sewing machine repaired by a factory trained technician; many times you'll need to travel a substantial distance to find one, or arranging to have your machine shipped to an appropriate repair center. Repairs for these units will not be cheap and it may be less expensive to just replace the defective unit entirely.

Sewing Machines for Quilting
These are special purpose machines made to sew through multiple layers of fabric and filler material inside. As such, sewing machines for quilting are stoutly built, have a higher amperage motor, and in some cases have a free arm extending over a sewing large table; in fact, the larger the table, the easier you can maneuver the quilt while you’re sewing. Some of these models are also programmable, so once the quilt and batting are placed beneath the needle, the sewing machine will feed in the material automatically while stitching it to your
pre-programmed specifications.

Embroidery Machines
These are the most complex, computer-controlled sewing machines available with most offering hundreds of decorative, pre-programmed embroidery stitches. The best of these machines allow you to program and size designer stitching for projects such as logos, symbols, emblems, and other customized designs. Many also offer a monogram feature for stitching letters and words onto items including shirts, hats, jeans, jackets, and more.

Features

Feed Dog Switch
Depending upon the machine, this can be either a manual lever or an electronic switch. When activated, it drops the feed dogs down so you can freehand the material beneath the needle.

Bobbin Winder
This can either be a separate attachment or it can be built-in to the bobbin case. Thread is wound from the spool onto the bobbin, the winder is engaged either manually or electronically, and the sewing machines pedal is depressed to wind the thread onto the bobbin. On higher end machines, you simply insert the bobbing into the case and press a switch which automatically winds the bobbin for you.

Dual Feed Dogs
These grasp the material from above and below, precisely moving it beneath the needle for near perfect stitching. Unlike single feed dogs, dual feed dogs prevent the fabric from stretching, overlapping and loss of alignment between the top and bottom pieces of material.

Selectable Stitches
Most machines will have a knob or a lever to choose a specific type of stitch as well as a length adjustment knob or lever to make the stitch longer or shorter. More advanced features might include the ability to select dozens of advanced stitches which are accessed by turning a dial, pushing a lever, or selecting one from a display screen.

Needle Threaders
This feature is available in two types, either manual or fully automatic. The manual types work by pulling down a spring loaded hook, inserting it into the eye of the needle and then pulling a thread through. Automatic types work on a similar principle except they’re accessed by pushing a button and the machine simply does all of the work.

Automatic Thread Cutter
Usually found on the most advanced sewing machines, an auto thread cutter severs the thread when the stitch is complete.

Pre-Programming
Once you’ve laid out your material underneath the needle, a machine with pre-programming does all of the sewing  with the push of a button without further input from an operator. Simply enter the stitch type on the onboard computer, program where it will go on the material, and activate the sewing cycle. This feature is an especially helpful convenience if you’re sewing long runs of material like quilts, tablecloths and blankets.

Quality
Higher end sewing machines typically feature stronger motors, metal gearing at crucial areas, roller bearings and oil absorbing felt pads will be placed over joints to keep them steadily lubricated. Conversely, the more plastic on the interior of a machine, including the gears and pivot points, the less reliable it will operate in the long run. Always look at the warranty information which will give you a good idea of how reliable a sewing machine will be.

As a general rule of thumb, the more you pay, the better the machine you’ll have. Look to brand names like Bernina, Pfaff, Viking, and Brother who manufacture some of the sturdiest, most reliable machines on the market. Granted, you'll pay for the quality, but if you want your machine to last, stay within the realm of these big brand names and you won't go wrong.

Bestcovery Staff
Our research team searches out the best of everything so that you can confidently pick the perfect products and services for your needs.
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