How I Review Sewing, Embroidery And Quilting Machines

My commitment is to provide visitors to this site with the most comprehensive source of sewing machine information possible. I review sewing, quilting and embroidery machines of all types – and all vintages.

The new BERNINA 830

I review new sewing machines like the new BERNINA 830 LE and …

On this site, you will find reviews of brand new sewing machines as well as older machines that have withstood many years of use. I do this because I recognize that many of you have inherited an older sewing machine.

Singer 66 sewing machine

… vintage sewing machines like the Singer 66

I also know that there is a large re-sale sewing machine market, where people buy used sewing and embroidery machines from local dealers as well as garage sales and websites like e-bay and other sites that offer used sewing machines for sale.

How I Identify Sewing Machines to Review

Most of the machines reviewed on this site are found in stores that offer new and/or used sewing machines for sale.

(You’ll find a list of all stores that work with us below on this page.)

I do, however, also review machines in individual personal collections whenever possible. When I work with stores, I adhere to the following procedures:

Schedule an initial meeting with the store’s owner and management to explain who we are and the purpose for the reviews.

During that meeting, I make sure they clearly understand three things:

  • My reviews are unbiased. I will not give a good review to a machine that I do not believe should receive one.
  • I will never accept compensation in any form from any store in exchange for a review.
  • Each store I deal with will receive online credit for allowing me to review the sewing machines in their inventory.

My reviews are consistent. Whether a review is obtained from a store or from an individual, the step by step review process is the same.

In other words, no matter which machine you want to research on sewinginsight.com, all of my reviews are organized in the same format, making the reviews easy to navigate.

Each review will give you:

  • Star rating – 1 to 5 stars for: Overall performance, Stitch quality, Speed, Ease of operation and Ease of maintenance
  • Pros
  • Cons
  • Specifications
  • Best for Sewing – a table that describes the fabric types the machine is best suited for.
  • Maintenance and Care – a table detailing the machine’s maintenance requirements at a glance.
  • Recommended For – a table identifying the skill levels and age groups most appropriate for the machine being reviewed.
  • Introduction – a general overview of the machine, the manufacturer and when appropriate the brand’s history or reputation in the sewing world.
  • At a Glance – my first impressions of the machine; what feelings, memories or thoughts I had about the machine being reviewed before even touching it.
  • Features – a detailed description of the machine’s features
  • Accessories – a listing of all the machine’s standard accessories as well as outstanding optional accessories
  • Working on the …– a step by step description of my experiences with the machine being reviewed, from threading the needle and winding the bobbin through every step you might take at home to create a garment, quilt or embroidery design.During this phase of the review, I typically test a few different stitch options and literally play around with the machine to see what it can do and how easy or difficult it is to switch from one option to another.
  • Tying Off the Loose Ends – the conclusion about this machine and the reasons for reaching these conclusions.

How to Read The Reviews

While reading sewing machine reviews on sewinginsight.com, you may come across some reviews of some machines that get four or five stars, but are followed by not so flattering comments in the final section.

This is often because the machine does exactly what it is supposed to do quite well, but may not be competitively priced or inappropriate for certain skill levels or age groups.

Conclusion

All of the reviews found on sewinginsight.com are my personal opinions and in no way endorse a particular manufacturer or make claims that one brand is better than all the rest or that a certain sewing machine brand or model should be avoided.

The final decision as to which sewing machine you purchase is yours and yours alone.

My aim is simply to share our thoughts and experiences and to give you the opportunity to make an informed decision when you go shopping for a new sewing machine.

Sewing Stores That We Work With (And A Special Thanks To All)

Cynthia’s Fine Fabrics is one of South Florida’s main destinations for anyone who is the least bit interested in Pfaff or Baby Lock sewing machines and sergers. Cynthia is also known for the many ongoing sewing, serging and quilting classes facilitated by some of the nation’s most well-known names in the industry.

Once Upon A Quilt – The entire staff at Once Upon a Quilt is dedicated to serving every quilting and sewing need of everyone who visits. The large display area is welcoming and extremely comfortable. When you walk in the door, you know you are in a sewing machine store, but it feels more like you are visiting someone’s home.

Eve and Dave’s Sewing Center – A visit to Eve and Dave’s Sewing Center is almost like taking a step back in time. This shop reminds me of the sewing machine repair shops of old, but when you take a second look, you know that the people who run it are definitely up to date on all of the 21st Century sewing technology. Not only does Dave know absolutely everything there is to know about sewing machines, he is an expert when it comes to fixing them. He started out as a youngster working in a sewing machine repair shop in New York when he was a child. He literally grew up in the sewing machine business and became an authorized Brother service and repair dealer after moving to Florida. He repairs just about every sewing machine brand old and new and sells vintage and used sewing machines and sergers.

Pfaff Sewing Center – The Pfaff Sewing Center sells and repairs every brand of domestic and industrial sewing machine and serger. Their inventory includes brand new industrial machines and sergers as well as new, nearly new and vintage sewing machines and sergers for home use. In addition, you will find a broad range of notions, including hard to find belts for older machines and a limited amount of fabric.

Sunshine Sewing and Quilting is the second largest quilting store in the entire state of Florida. They specialize in Janome sales and service and have what is quite possibly the largest selection of quilting fabric, books and supplies within a 300 mile radius. The most unique thing about Sunshine, however, is the fact that Fay Nicholl, the owner, designs her own fabric and quilts. Her specialty fabric and quilt kits are available for purchase in the store or via the internet.

Think Outside The Store – If you are passionate about vintage sewing machines and repurposed clothing and accessories, then you must definitely “Think Outside the Store”. Sarah Gingold, the brains behind this earth friendly enterprise is an inspiration to anyone who is concerned about saving the environment. She teaches classes on vintage non-electric powered sewing machines as well as mechanical machines that are powered by electricity. Her earth friendly products are growing in popularity in the Washington, DC area where Think Outside the Store is located.

Laura’s Sew and Vac is quite possibly the friendliest store I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. Both Florida locations – one in Palm Beach Gardens and one in Port St. Lucie – are gathering places for anyone and everyone who loves to sew. In addition to being the most desirable places for sewing and quilting enthusiasts to come together, Laura’s Sew and Vac is known for its outstanding customer service, which includes lifetime lessons for anyone who purchases a machine from either one of their stores.

Scrap DC – Repurposing is the name of the game at Scrap DC. There you can find everything from jewelry findings, uncut fabric and arts and craft supplies. This unique earth friendly boutique is located in a Washington, DC basement. It’s sole purpose is to give new life to fabric, sewing notions an art supplies that no longer serve a purpose for their original owners. Scrap DC is part of a growing national chain of not-for-profit organizations devoted to educating the public about the value of repurposing items in order to reduce the amount of things that end up in landfills.

Stuart Sew & Vac – If you are looking for quality sewing machines and sergers, Stuart Sewing and Vacuum could very well be your one stop shop. This store has what is possibly the most extensive inventory of Janome and Juki machines for home use in one place. The store is owned and operated by Randy Schleter, his wife Dolly and their two sons… a rare find these days… and from the time you walk in the door, they treat you like family.

Factory Sew-Vac – For 38 years, the Factory Sew-Vac has been serving customers in Lake Worth, Florida, providing them with outstanding customer service, classes, brand new and used sewing machines and sergers for the home as well as industrial sewing machines. The Factory Sew-Vac is so well organized it is possibly the very first place I went where the staff could put their hands on the rarest of sewing machine parts and accessories or sewing notions. Almost anything and everything you could possible search for to complete a sewing, quilting or machine embroidery project is there, and you can get it in your hot little hands without a lot of waiting around.

Gold Coast Sewing and Vacuum Center – In this age of the impersonal big box store and faceless internet sales, it is good to know that you can still get that personal touch when shopping for a sewing machine and sewing machine accessories. Brad Parker, the owner/operator of Gold Coast Sewing and Vacuum Center is a third generation businessman who has spent his entire life in the sewing industry. That’s what makes his store unique. Not only did he learn the business from his grandfather and father, he also learned how important it is to build relationships with his customers. It is what gets them in the door and it’s what keeps them coming back again and again.