Singer sewing machine
Last updated: September 25, 2020

Sewing is a creative activity that is not confined to the sphere of grandmothers and upholsterers. Previously, sewing was thought of as a feminine pursuit, but these days this activity is done by both genders and anyone interested in fashion or home decor. The manufacturers of the most prestigious machines in this area is very well known. Singer produced one of the first sewing machines in the history of the craft.

Singer sewing machines have been synonymous with quality and prestige since 1851, when Isaac Merrit Singer founded I.M. Singer & Company together with Edward C. Clark. Without going into their various ups and downs of the business, it is universally agreed that Singer sewing machines gained international fame for high quality which has never let their customers down.

Key Facts

  • Mass production of clothing became possible thanks to the Industrial Revolution. This had a pivotal role in the life of Isaac Merrit Singer, the founder of the company that made the hugely popular Singer sewing machine, known worldwide today as a universal symbol of quality, ease of use and prestige when it comes to sewing.
  • There are two main types of Singer sewing machines, mechanical and electronic, the latter being digital and each having a large number of functions. If you have an antique Singer sewing machine, at the end of this guide you will learn how to determine the year of manufacture of your machine and its current market value.
  • When purchasing a Singer sewing machine, you should consider certain key features, such as the types and number of different stitches it can sew, and what you want to use the machine to sew, both now and into the future as your needs change or your creativity evolves. If you plan to enter the fashion industry, you are better off going with a sewing machine that has plenty of features rather than a basic model. If you know you will just be using the machine to hem pants and skirts, you can get by with a less complex model, since all Singer machines can be relied upon for quality.

The Best Singer Sewing Machines on the U.S. Market

Tradition and reliability are two sentiments which sum up the “soul” of a Singer sewing machine, an indispensable tool that has been loved and handed down through many families for generations. With this in mind, we present to you a selection of the brand’s best models currently available, including machines suitable for everyone from amateurs to professionals. Why not start a new family tradition by purchasing your next heirloom machine? Have a look at the following choices!

Heavy Duty 4423 Sewing Machine with 23 Built-In Stitches

A True Workhorse with a Heavy Duty Metal Frame and Powerful MotorThe Heavy Duty 4423 sewing machine is designed for heavy-duty projects, from denim to canvas, with its powerful motor, you have extra high sewing speed to save you time. Create original costumes, sew personalized fashions or transform your home with new decorator pillows and curtains. Thanks to the SINGER Sewing Assistant App, help is available anytime to help you learn how to set it up for various fabrics and techniques.

At only $135, this is an amazing value for those who have a large amount of sewing to do and need a machine that can stand up to such use. The Singer 4423 Sewing Machine has a maximum sewing speed of 1, 100 stitches-per-minute, so projects can be sewn quickly. The 60% Stronger Motor provides greater piercing power for thick seams. The 23 built-in stitches including basic, stretch, decorative, and buttonhole stitches allow you to sew a variety of projects, such as fashions, home décor, quilts, crafts, and more.

Quantum Stylist 9960 Computerized Portable Sewing Machine

If it is high-tech and options you are looking for, look no further. At $699, the Quantum Stylist 9960 sewing machine has a heftier price tag than our first machine in the group, but it has loads of ease-of-use features to allow you to fulfill your creative dreams. Its 600 Built-In Stitches include 5 Alphanumeric Fonts and 13 Fully Automatic 1-Step Buttonholes with Exclusive Buttonhole Underplate, Mirror Imaging, and Stitch Elongation options provide even more creative possibilities.  Packed with features, this machine truly has it all.  The computerized sewing machine with large LCD screen, provides clear and easy viewing of stitch functions including stitch length, stitch width, tension settings, recommended presser foot, needle up/down position and more!

The Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 sewing machine includes an extension table providing a larger working area, essential for quilting or when working with larger projects.  It has 2 StayBright LED lights which illuminate the sewing surface for optimal viewing.  This sewing machine has a ton of other features like electronic twin needle settings, 7-segment feeding system, automatic locking stitch function, built-in reverse, horizontal threading, automatic presser foot pressure control and optimum power control.

Simple 3232 Portable Sewing Machine

This little “beginner” sewing machine may be only $99, but it’s not your grandmother’s sewing machine.  With so many features you wouldnot expect in a starter model or at this price, this  sewing machine with an automatic needle threader, quick-and-easy threading, and adjustable stitch length and width, set-up is simple and frustration-free. Features including 32 built-in stitches, an automatic 1-step buttonhole, and a heavy duty metal frame make fashion sewing and other creative projects fun and easy.

The Singer Simple 3232 portable sewing machine is the perfect sewing machine for beginner sewers. With adjustable stitch length and width, getting set up to sew is fast and easy.  Basic features including 32 built-in stitches, a built-in 1-step buttonhole, and a variety of included accessories provide you with just enough to make sewing creative projects fun and easy.  If you need a little assistance, there is an Online Owner’s Class video available anytime you are and Singer Sewing Company offers a variety of helpful other video tutorials including the following topics: Threading, Installing a Bobbin and Presser Foot Training.

Singer 7258 100-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine

If it’s technology you are looking for but you want a great value, the SINGER Stylist 7258 sewing machine allows you to select the desired stitch with just a simple push of a button. Optimum settings for length, width and tension are set automatically and are customizable with adjustable stitch length and stitch width. Volts : 120V. Amps : 0.62. Watts-74. The SINGER Stylist 7258 100-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine offers great value because it comes with loads of free accessories.

The sewing machine is just $167 and is programmed 100 built-in stitches making fashion sewing, home and decorative sewing, quilting, crafting and heirloom sewing easier. Thanks to its heavy duty metal frame, it has long-lasting durability. The Computerized Sewing machine with large LCD screen provides clear and easy viewing of your selected stitches including stitch length and stitch width. Stitch length and width can be adjusted to customize as desired for your projects.

SINGER Brilliance 6180 Portable Sewing Machine

The singer 6180 brilliance computerized portable sewing machine boasts features to make sewing a breeze, at an affordable price. An automatic needle threader makes threading the eye of the needle a snap. The 80 built-in stitches are set at the optimum setting every time but are fully adjustable for your specific sewing needs. With essential, decorative and stretch stitches included, the singer brilliance portable sewing machine has the right stitch for every sewing project.

With a price tag of just $109, The Singer 6180 brilliance computerized portable sewing machine boasts features to make sewing a breeze at an affordable price. An automatic needle threader makes threading the eye of the needle a snap. Easily convert the sewing machine from a traditional flatbed to a free arm for sewing sleeves, cuffs, and other hard-to-reach areas. Easily secure your stitches with the conveniently located one-touch automatic reverse button.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Singer Sewing Machines

Whether you are a professional dressmaker or tailor or a novice sewer you are already aware that Singer sewing machines stand out for their durability and quality, but did you know that there are different types of Singer sewing machines for different types of sewers? There are mechanical and electronic machines, for example. You may not be aware that the mechanical Singer machines as well as the electronic machines both run on electricity. We will cover how these two types of machines differ as well as plenty of other information in this section, dedicated to the most frequent questions asked by users.

A Singer sewing machine guarantees high-quality sewing.
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What exactly is a Singer Sewing Machine?

A sewing machine, whether from Singer or another brand, is a small electrical appliance, mechanical or electro-mechanical, which facilitates joining together sections of fabric and notions with thread. The early versions of this machine were responsible for the mass production of clothing, which coincided with the Industrial Revolution. The first ever sewing machine has been attributed to Englishman Thomas Saint, which he made in 1790.

Although they were already present in the market, the first sewing machines used only the chain stitch. The evolution of these amazing machines would not have been possible without the intervention of the American, Isaac Merrit Singer (1811-1875), who greatly improved the first sewing machines thanks to a device that could sew 900 stitches per minute.

Why is the Singer Sewing Machine so Prestigious?

Until 1856, sewing machines were utilized only in an industrial setting, but Singer turned this around, commercializing smaller machines for home use. At first, not many were sold due to their high price ($100, then!), but soon the manufacturer managed to cut this price in half and set up a system where people could buy the machines in installments.  Because purchasers could immediately use the machines to earn income, they were able to make the payments on the machines and many Singer sewing machines ended up in many households this way.

Thanks to the “rent to own” concept, Singer enables thousands of home dressmakers to improve their productivity, and thereby their income and standard of living. With his marketing techniques, which are still used today, the inventor proclaimed himself the leader of the textile sector, creating sewing machines for both industrial and domestic use. Today, Singer remains a symbol of quality and efficiency.

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Did you know that during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), Singer sewing machines disappeared from the market in Spain? It was only possible to buy them in Spain again after 1960.

What classes of Singer Sewing Machines are available on the market these days?

Whether looking to buy a Singer machine or another brand, before anything else, you should understand how sewing machines are generally classified. First, just like the machines our grandmothers used, all sewing machines have a control system which uses a pedal. Upon pressing the pedal, the machine begins to run. These days, all machines are electrically-powered and have a variety of names and characteristics, as you’ll see in this table:

Types of sewing machines Which is right for me?
Straight edged Also called “stitching,” sew with one, two or three needles. In the case of the last two, it is also called “flat.”

They are the simplest and most common sewing machines found in homes.

Overlocker They are used for overstitching and are great for stretch fabrics. Used to join two pieces of textile, or to finish edges. There are several types, suitable for different fabric thicknesses, and are also for use in the home.
Sergers For knits. Sew with one, two or three needles and allow you to make elastic hems in knits, decorative stitches, and other effects. The machine sews, overlocks and cuts all at the same time.
Eyelet Specific for making eyelets and is usually industrial. Used to create professional finishes which cannot be achieved with hand sewing.
Collar Perfect for making sportswear. Sews with up to two or three needles with three or four threads. Produces a discreet stitch which is often used for professional finishing.
Blind hem Used to make invisible seams, such as hems on dresses and formal wear.
Button maker As the name suggests, designed for sewing button holes and specific for industrial settings.
Bearer Not commonly used, but is designed to seal pocket openings, among other uses.

Like most others cited in this table, for industrial use.

Closer Closes sleeves, shirts and pants, among other garments, with up to three needles.
Elastic Not generally found outside a factory setting and used to sew lingerie, for example.
Cutting Used to cut patterns, and as you can imagine, these are usually used in factories.

What Budget Do I Need to Plan if I Want to Putchase a Singer Sewing Machine?

If you are a beginner, you do not need more than a basic Singer sewing machine; which costs around $200 or even less. If you have more experience, you will be delighted with one of the top-of-the-line Singer sewing machines. For professional use, these devices start from prices starting at $800. They are bulkier and can easily reach $2000 or more.

What Types of Singer Sewing Machines are available on the market?

There is a wide variety of Singer sewing machines on the market, all backed by its more than 160 years of history and its unparalleled quality. Depending on your knowledge and your experience in the world of sewing, there is a Singer sewing machine for every person. The following list outlines the various types:

  • Electronic: Electronic machines can sew up to 1,300 stitches per minute and are very popular today. They are digitally controlled and you can select the stitch on an LCD screen if the sewing machine is from the high end of the spectrum. Singer’s catalog includes models such as “Confidence” or “Starlet.” Many experienced sewers make the investment in one of these machines to make their sewing faster and more interesting.
  • Mechanical: Mechanical Singer sewing machines are electric, contrary to what you might think, and they are what we usually have at home. The “Simple” and “Tradition” models stand out, among others, although there are a large number of models in the Singer catalog, with varying features. Fo everyday sewing or for a beginner, these are very easy to use due to their simplicity and reliability.
  • Embroidery Machines: These are sewing machines that can sew, but can also be used for machine embroidery. They are domestic devices and have become extremely popular in recent years. At present, they are much more affordable than the past and in Singer’s catalog, models like “Legacy” or “Futura” stand out.  These machines do not just sew, but they can help you really expand your creative talents in embroidery and other stitching crafts.
  • Overlockers. As we’ve already mentioned, these are perfect for overstitching stretch fabrics, above all. They sew and cut the excess fabric at the same time, allowing speed and a professional finish. In Singer’s catalog, you’ll find the 14T970 model, among others.  These machines tend to be priced at the high end and are usually only used by professionals.

What is the Difference between a Mechanical and Electronic Singer Sewing Machine?

Decades ago, sewing machines came in an immovable furniture-like form, but nowadays they are portable and the pedal is connected to an electrical power socket. For mechanical sewing machines you must select the stitch type, then the length and width thereof manually. They can be selectd by levers or dials, depending on how old they are.

Electronic machines, on the other hand, select the stitch, as well as its length and width, with electronicbuttons. These are digital machines, with a variety of programs, and which usually include an LCD screen so you can see your selection. They are more precise and generally include Overlock or even Festoon stitches. They are more efficient but also more expensive.

There is a Singer sewing machine for every need.
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How can I find out the age of my Singer Sewing Machine?

Before answering this question, let us tell you that if your Singer sewing machine from before 1900, it is considered an antique, while if it is newer, but still not the latest version, it could still be considered a valuable “vintage” item. The age as well as the condition of an older machine will determine its market value. To determine its age, just look for the sewing machine’s reference number, which can be found in differentlocations on the machine, depending on the model.

Let’s see below exactly where the reference numbers are found on different Singer models, according to the brand’s own guidelines:

  • Manufactured since 1990. Look for the reference number near the on/off switch.
  • Manufactured between 1970 and 1980. You will find the reference number on the front panel of machines manufactured in the ’70s and ’80s.
  • Manufactured in the 1960s. Sewing machines manufactured in the 1960s generally show the reference number on the front panel of the machine, above or below the stitch length controller.
  • Manufactured before 1960. The reference number is on a small plate on the front of the machine. Some older machines from before 1960 do not have the model number shown on them.

Is There Another Way to Determine the Value of Singer Sewing Machines?

By entering the serial or reference number on the Singer website, you will be able to determine the model of your machine and the year of manufacture. But you can also investigate the value of your machine on websites such as the International Society of Sewing Machine Collectors (ISMACS). This organization will help you determine the age andmodel number of your sewing machine.

Remember that the value of the model is not only determined by the year of manufacture, but also by its quality and condition. Singer sewing machines that no longer function have a lower value than one that still works, unless they can be repaired with new parts. Also, keep in mind that Singer sewing machines manufactured before 1860 are highly sought after by collectors and extremely rare, so if you have one you should have it appraised and insured.

What Maintenance is Required for Singer Sewing Machines?

First of all, you should always check the manufacturer’s instructions. However, there are some recommended basic guidelines for every user of sewing machines. The following is a list of proper maintenance tips you can follow to help keep your Singer sewing machine in tip-top condition:

  • Unplug the Machine from the Power Source. This is a key piece of advice. Whether you plan to clean the machine or otherwise, it is advisable that the sewing machine is completely unplugged from the electrical current. This is a matter of safety–sharp needles, moving metal parts and electricity are all involved in the functioning of a Singer sewing machine, so the utmost care should always be taken.
  • Surge Protector. If you own an electronic Singer sewing machine, use a surge protector or current regulator so that the appliance will not suffer possible damage from power surges or sudden drops in the power supply.
  • Cleaning. It is important to regularly clean the machine of dust and lint. A slightly damp cloth will be sufficient for the surface. Use a bit of unwaxed dental floss to remove lint from the thread tensioning mechanism. You should have your machine professionally serviced annually to keep it in top working order.
  • Lubrication. On sewing machines, oil can mix with dust particles, which can affect the normal operation of the machine. It is necessary to lubricate the mechanisms regularly and it is best to do so with the Singer multipurpose oil, specifically designed for the lubrication process that is shown in the product’s user manuals.
  • Direct Light. The Singer sewing machine must not be exposed to direct sunlight so as to avoid fading of the outside indicators.
  • Suitable Needle. You must use only needles recommended by the manufacturer for each item you sew. Do not forget to replace the needle immediately if it breaks, so that your machine will be ready to use for your next project.  You should keep several spare needles on hand at all times, so that you do not get stuck having to visit the shops in the middle of a project for an item as small as a needle.
  • Modifications are Forbidden. Do not make any modifications to your Singer sewing machine as this may affect its performance and can void any warranty.
  • Storage. If you need to store your Singer sewing machine for a period of time, do not forget to use a cover to protect it and do not expose it to direct sunlight.  You should cover your machine to protect it from dust whenever it is not in use.

What kind of needles should I use in my Singer sewing machine?

It is clear that sewing a piece of lingerie is not the same as repairing a slipcover for a couch, for example. If you want to get the best results, it is advisable to use the right needle for each job. There are specific needles for different types of fabric and threads, but also for different thicknesses of seams, among other variations. Be sure to use the correct needle for the job at hand.

Shopping Criteria

If you have already decided that you are going to buy a Singer sewing machine, you will agree that before making your purchase, it is important to follow a set of your own suitable criteria so as not to make a mistake in the purchase. For this reason, the following are the most relevant factors to keep in mind. This is about more than just your budget.  Have a look at this advice to help you choose the Singer sewing machine best suited to your needs.

What kind of sewing do you want to do?

Before starting a project, you should already know what type of seam you want to make. This will not be the same if you want to repair some lycra tights as if you want to decorate a denim jacket, for example. Therefore, below we summarize the types of sewing you can do with a Singer sewing machine:

  • Stretch stitching. Used to sew stretch and elastic fabrics, such as lycra or spandex, which are very fashionable these days.
  • Decorative stitching. These are specific stitches used to decorate or embellish pieces of clothing. The most basic Singer sewing machines usually include more than one stitch of this type.
  • Functional stitching. They are useful stitches for any type of work, such as making invisible stitches on the hems or zigzag stitches. Remember that for a beginner, the most used stitches are the straight and zigzag stitches.

The type of sewing you do can also be classified by the specific stitches used. For this, we will follow the industrial standard ASTM D6193-11 for sewing machines, as we see in the following table:

Type of stitch What is it used for?
Stitch 100 or simple chain Does not need a bobbin and is made with one or more needles. An elastic stitch, it is easily unpicked.

The 101 is for sewing buttons, the 103 for sewing hems among other uses, and the 104 is for embellishments.

Stitch 200 Made with a single thread and a single needle. Includes decorative stitches are included.
Stitch 300 or double stitching Uses two interlaced threads with a needle and bobbin. A sturdy stitch which does not easily break.

The 301 is the most commonly used stitch for double stitching, the 304 is a zigzag stitch used for lingerie, sportswear, buttonholes and belt loops, among others.

Stitch 400 or multiple chain stitch Can use one or more needles with one or more interlaced threads.

Needs a needle and anchor. They are resistant stitches and they look different on the correct and underside. There are the 401, 404 (zigzag), 406 and 407.

Stitch 500 or Overlock Needs a needle with two anchors, and is made of one or several interlaced threads. Ideal for stretch, but breaks easily.

There is stitch 504 (overcast, the most common Overlock stitch), 512, 514, 515 y 516.

Stitch 600 or cover stitch Needs two or more needles and one or several anchors. Made by three interlaced threads and uses a great deal of thread. Stitches are elastic and resistant.

There are stitches 602 (2-needle cover stitch) and the 607 (4-needle cover stitch).

How will you use your machine?

Of course, it will be two very different cases if you are going to hem a simple piece of clothing or if you plan to dedicate yourself professionally to sewing. If you plan to invest in a Singer sewing machine, first consider how often you will use it. If you love the world of fashion and enjoy sewing, it is better to choose a more high-end machine with all its options.

If, on the other hand, you are a person who is beginning to take your first steps in the world of sewing, a simpler Singer sewing machine will suffice. Although if your intention is to continue learning, it is always better to spend a little more and have a quality machine that will last you a lifetime.

If your Singer sewing machine is more than 100 years old it is considered an antique.
(Source: Daniel Nicolae: 69871581/ 123rf.com)

Which sewing machine features should you keep in mind when shopping?

In addition to other factors, when buying a Singer sewing machine it is important that you take into account a series of important technical features, such as what type of stitch you will make and how many, whether it includes a buttonhole or variable stitch width, among other features. Below, we summarise  the most important technical characteristics:

  • Stitch types. The number of different types of stitching is a crucial aspect when buying a Singer sewing machine. There are some which offer eight stitches, and others with 180 stitches, as you can see in our Ranking. Do not leave this aspect aside and look carefully at how many types of stitches you will need, which will depend on your experience and skill level.
  • Variation of length and width of the stitches. It is useful to be able to vary the width and the length of the stitch because it is not the same to sew thick fabric as lighter ones, among other aspects. Look at this detail, although if it is Singer you are unlikely to run into any problems in this regard.
  • Needle positions. The more needle positions your Singer sewing machine offers you, the more creative possibilities you can enjoy. This factor is important, as you already know if you have experience sewing.
  • Buttonhole. The buttonhole, as the name suggests, is used to make eyelets for buttons. If you want to sew them in one step you will need an advanced Singer sewing machine. This is worthwhile if you are pursuing a career in the world of fashion. Most dressier clothes today still have buttons.

Will you buy a mechanical or electronic machine?

This is another crucial aspect when choosing a Singer sewing machine. We have already addressed this issue in a question of the Purchasing Guide, but in this section we will indicate its advantages and disadvantages in a table, so that it is easier for you to make a comparison and choose the one that best suits your needs:

Mechanical machine Electronic machine
Advantages More economical

Relatively easy to use

Perfect for beginners

A wide range of features

Better quality for precision sewing

Screens display the chosen selection

Disadvantages Fewer features

The sewing quality is less precise than that of electronic machines

More expensive

More difficult to use than a mechanical machine

Which accessories do I need?

Generally, Singer sewing machines include a number of accessories. However, it is an important factor to consider because those not included will be costly, but will make sewing easier and of higher quality, especially for beginners. Usually, accessories include different types of pedals, dials, a cleaning kit (oil, brush or screwdriver, among others), needles and threads.

Summary

In the first decade of the twentieth century, Singer sold an amazing three million sewing machines, which gives you an idea of ​​the economic power of the company founded by Isaac Merrit Singer. Apart from the financial tribulations of this company throughout its more than 160 years of existence, Singer sewing machines have maintained a solid reputation of quality and reliability to this day as a symbol of quality and prestige.

Through this guide, you have learned some interesting facts about the history of the Singer sewing machine, but above all, we want to enable you to choose a machine that is best suited for you. If sewing is your passion, consider our criteria and choose the Singer sewing machine which meets your needs most closely, with room to grow. This will ensure you are happy with your decision.

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