Embroidery & Sewing Machine Reviews 2017

Interested in starting a new hobby? Do you want to learn to customise your clothing and other household items?

If the answer to both these questions is yes, maybe sewing or embroidery is something you would be interested in.

About this website & my experience

Introduced to the world of needlecraft by my mother at the age of 13, my enjoyment of the craft has only increased over the intervening 35 years. Even working for many years as a professional seamstress never dulled my joy at creating unique and quality products.

Every evening I can be found creating my own designs or working on a project. Even after a long day at work, I love to relax by crafting personalised gifts for friends and family.

After years of introducing many people to the exciting worlds of sewing and embroidery I decided to gather all the useful information into once place, this website.

I aim to offer an unbiased and comprehensive set of reviews that cover the many different aspects of machine embroidery and sewing. I do this in the hope that I can eliminate the difficulty in choosing which machine to buy for any purpose.

Less time bothering about which machine to buy leaves more time for the enjoyable stuff like designing, crafting and sewing your own products.

I hope you enjoy my site as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

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Sewing & Embroidery machines

The main difference you need to look for is in the functionality of the machine you are choosing. Many companies offer combination machines that will do both embroidery and sewing. There are also machine that will do one or the other.

Embroidery machines are designed for embossing lettering or patterns onto fabric. Modern embroidery machines will feature in-built computers for on the fly editing or the importing of patterns.

A sewing machine is for tailoring fabrics into garments, quilts or other decorative items. Not all sewing machines are digital and due to the nature of the craft they don’t need to be. Unlike embroidery machines a digital aspect is not a requirement.

All machines will state quite clearly if they are a combination machine or specialised. Before purchase make sure the machine you are buying is right for your needs.

The joys of embroidery and sewing

Sewing and embroidery have both been around for thousands of years. The earliest examples of sewing date back to stone-age times. That’s right, even way back then, archaeologists believe early people sewed fur and skin clothing using needles fashioned from the bones of animals.

Embroidery came around a lot later, with the earliest examples, found in China, dating back to the 5th century BC, two and half thousand years ago.

With such a long history behind both disciplines it is hard to pinpoint when exactly they became a hobbyist pastime as well as a commercial enterprise born out of necessity. Certainly during the middle-ages in Europe embroidery was a common past-time of the higher classes.

From a personal perspective, embroidery and sewing is a rewarding pastime. Not only do I find it relaxing and soothing, a great to way to unwind after a long day, I also find it incredibly fun to make and customise clothes for friends, family and myself.

Christmas and Birthdays are a favorite time for me as I can really get my creative juices flowing. Seeing family and friends wearing my own designs really gives me a warm feeling and makes all the hard work worthwhile.

Adding that personal touch to gifts can really make a difference. Embroidering your own design onto a hat or t-shirt creates a gift that can’t be bought in any shop and fabricates an item that is unique in a world where mass produced designs are the norm.

The best brands

In the world of machine sewing and embroidery three manufacturers stand out from the crowd; Singer, Brother and Janome. All three companies make excellent high-quality machines, that are suitable for a wide range of users.

Below I am going to talk a little bit about each of these manufacturers and their history. When spending money on a machine I like to know a little bit about the company that I am buying from, I like to think you will too.

Singer

Probably the most famous sewing machine company in the world. The maker of the first machine intended for general domestic use, Singer has been at the forefront of sewing machine design for close to 150 years.

Not only the leading force behind commercial machining in the tailoring and leather industries, Singer also pioneered mass produced machines intended for home use. It started to sell these machines internationally in 1855.

By 1860 Singer was the largest manufacturer of sewing machines in the world. In 1885 Singer changed the sewing world by demonstrating the first electric sewing machine and went on to mass produce these by 1910.

I could write all day about the history of Singer, over 150 years they have pushed the boundaries in marketing and design, culminating in being one of the most instantly recognisable brands on the high street today.

Brother

Brother Industries, LTD. is a Japanese company specialising in electronics and a wide range of electrical equipment. From its humble beginnings as the Yasui Sewing Machine Co. in 1908 Brother has grown into a multi-billion dollar company known the world over.

After opening offices in the US and Dublin, Yasui become known as Brother Industries, LTD. in 1962. From here the company went from strength to strength, becoming the largest manufacturer of sewing machines in the UK.

In 2012 Brother moved all manufacture of machines to Asia, closing their famous factory in Wrexham, UK. Operating factories in Taiwan and China, Brother also built and operate the world’s largest sewing machine factory in the world, it is situated in Vietnam.

Also known for manufacturing typewriters and printers, Brother is an instantly recognisable brand that is known for building quality products at great prices.

Janome

While not as instantly recognisable to some as the previous two brands, the importance of Janome and its impact on the home sewing and embroidery market can not be understated. Around 1862 two Americans started producing a high quality machine that they called “The Pride of West” For fifty years the company trading under the name The Pine Sewing Machine Factory produced this machine and other products selling to the US market.

In the 1920s the company ran into financial troubles and was taken over by another American company. By the time Janome acquired them, in 1960,  it has already opened its research laboratory in Tokyo and was ready to take the sewing and embroidery machine industry to the next level.

Many Janome machines are aimed at the professional and as such command a very high selling price. Luckily for us, recently they have released several machines with the hobbyist in mind at a price that is no longer prohibitive.

Pioneering computerised and programmable machines as early as 1971 and the first company to offer professional standard embroidery to the home market, nobody can deny that Janome is an innovator without equal.

What I use

Above I spoke about myself, what I love about sewing and embroidery and the best brands of machine available to buy. Now it is time to give a little more detail about the machines that I love to use on a daily basis.

It is important to note that the following reviews are based on my personal preference and is to highlight my two favorite machines. I have made one selection for sewing machine and embroidery machine based on personal experience and use of said machines.

For reviews of other machines you can search through my site, I am sure you will find a section that details the best machine for your needs.

Brother HC1850

When looking for a machine that can tackle any sewing project, the Brother HC1850 is an amazing choice. A machine I use on a daily basis for personal projects and other professional commissions.

If you intend to get as much use as I do out of your machine then you need something that is built to last. As with all Brother products the HC1850 is of the highest build quality and is designed with constant heavy use in mind.

Whether you are sewing delicate garments or stitching denim this machine will not let you down. Its metal frame gives you stability and won’t shift around  even when working with the heaviest of fabrics.

The large backlit LCD display screen allows you to select which stitch you want to use easily and without fuss, it even tells you which of the many included feet you will need to use for each stitch.

Coming packed with 130 unique built-in stitches and an easy quick reference guide to each, finding the right stitch for the job has never been easier. Even stitching buttonholes, an often fiddly process, is hassle free with the 8 different styles of one-step buttonhole available.

For those users that love to create quilts, the HC1850 doesn’t disappoint. Quilting features include a wide throat for larger projects, removable oversize quilting table and specialized spring loaded feet. It even includes a drop feed for smooth free-motion quilting.

You could be forgiven for thinking such a versatile machine might be complicated to operate. The Brother HC1850 comes packed with all the quality of life features you would expect. From automatic bobbin winding to the easy threading system this machine all but eliminates the fiddly and annoying set up of some machines.

Topping off this excellent product is a huge range of included accessories. Eight different feet, many different needles and basic tools for maintenance means you can start on any project straight out of the box without additional purchases.

I truly love this machine and my time spent crafting would not be as enjoyable without it. Give this machine a go and I am sure you will come to the same conclusion as I have. The Brother HC1850 is the best sewing machine available to buy.

What’s Great:

  • Fantastic Brother build quality.
  • Very reasonable pricing.
  • Large backlit LCD screen.
  • Brightly lit work area.
  • 130 built-in stitches.
  • 8 different one-step buttonholes.
  • Easy threading system.
  • Automatic needle threading.
  • Drop-in bobbin placement.
  • Automatic one-button bobbin winding.
  • Oversize throat, excellent for quilting.
  • Removable, large quilting table.
  • Huge range of included accessories.
  • Free phone and online support for the lifetime of the product.
Lowest price for: Brother HC1850 (Free Worldwide Delivery!)

Brother PE770

The choice for my favorite embroidery machine was an easy one to make. Without a doubt the Brother PE770 is the best, non commercial, embroidery machine that you can buy today. If creating professional standard embroidery designs is your goal, the PE770 is, in my opinion, the only machine you will ever need.

Many embroidery machines for the home hobbyist feature a 4×4 embroidery area, The PE770 enjoys a much larger 5×7 working space. This means less rehooping and the capability to embroider larger designs with less hassle.

Setting up and using the PE770 is an easy process with the standard Brother features of an easy threading system, automatic needle threader, quick set bobbin, and the addition of an automatic thread trimmer. All these features combine to give you the easiest setup imaginable and leave you more time for the fun stuff.

One of my favorite features of this excellent machine is the Large backlit LCD control screen. Enjoy a comprehensive range of editing functions including; Rotate, Flip and resize, not commonly found on most home machines.

Editing isn’t the only function of this screen however, easy stitch selection and the ability to see what your finished design will look like before starting out really sets the PE770 apart from the competition.

For those just starting out in the embroidery craft, the PE770 comes pre-programmed with 136 embroidery designs to get you started. For those that want to personalise items there are 6 built-in lettering fonts perfect for beginners to monogramming.

The versatility of this great machines doesn’t end with its pre-programmed functions. The USB compatibility means that you can download any one of the millions of designs available online then easily upload them to your machine ready for placement on whatever article you intend for them.

For the more creative crafters among us, using the appropriate software, you can make your own designs and patterns, and in two easy steps will be able to embroider your own personal creations onto the garment of your choosing.

It is easy to see why I love this machine so much, and just when you thought it couldn’t get any better The Brother PE770 comes with a 25 year limited guarantee and free online and telephone support for the lifetime of the product.

What’s Great:

  • Build quality is of the highest standard.
  • Fantastic price for a home machine.
  • 184 built-in stitches.
  • 136 built-in embroidery designs.
  • 10 professional finish buttonholes.
  • Large 5×7 inch embroidery area.
  • Variable speed control.
  • Large backlit LCD touch-screen display.
  • Extensive, on machine, editing functions.
  • Easy threading system.
  • Automatic needle threader.
  • Quick-set bobbin
  • Automatic thread trimmer.
  • USB compatible for unlimited design choice.
  • Bright LED lit work area.
  • Large range of included accessories.
Lowest price for: Brother PE770 (Free Worldwide Delivery!)

Final thoughts

On this page you have read a little bit about me, the machines I use and my two favorite machines. As you can tell, I am very passionate about my profession and can talk for hours about its many benefits to anybody that will listen.

An important thing to remember is everybody has different needs in the machine they wish to use and choosing the right machine is as important as selecting the right needles or fabric. A good machine will last you many years so you need to choose wisely.

Throughout the rest of my website you will find information for beginners and professionals alike and many different sewing and embroidery machine reviews. I am confident that the perfect machine for you can be found within these pages.

Finally I wish you all the best in choosing the right machine and continuing your journey through the exciting world of needlecraft.