Sewing is a skill often learned by hand before machine. It helps to understand how the pieces of fabric are brought together with thread before using a machine that does this automatically.
For those who have already begun their sewing journey and feel comfortable working by hand and on a machine, it makes sense to want to purchase your own. Sewing can be a lot of fun for those who know how it works.
If you’ve started to investigate purchasing your own machine, however, you’ve probably noticed the vast number of options on the market. The volume can be overwhelming, and it can be difficult to try and pick the “right one.”
So, what is the best intermediate sewing machine? The best intermediate sewing machine has a variety of programmed stitches and buttonholes, comes with extra accessories, and is made by a reputable brand. A few convenience features you may also want to consider are an automatic threader, automatic bobbin winder, and high sewing speed.
Before you invest in a brand-new sewing machine, read our buyer’s guide and review our top picks for intermediate sewing machines. We’ll help you get the best return on your investment with a machine that’s just right for you.
When it comes to finding a great intermediate sewing machine, there are a few things to consider. While some may not apply to you, they’re a great starting point to decide which features are important to you and why.
The best way to start your search for a sewing machine is to think about how you plan to use it. Do you plan to make quilts? Sew simple projects, like pillowcases? Create clothes from scratch, or simply hem pants and repair small holes?
Now that you have your sewing goal in mind, let’s review the top features of a sewing machine so you can determine which are most important to you.
Programmed Stitches & Buttonholes
Sewing machines of old only did one stitch to bring two fabrics together. It was a simple, straight running stitch that performed great for centuries. With modern sewing machines, the stitch variety is nearly endless.
The top intermediate sewing machines come with a large variety of programmed stitches. Depending on the machine you choose, you can get anywhere from 25-600 pre-programmed stitches and buttonholes.
It’s important to consider the buttonholes when evaluating sewing machines; closures are just as important as the fabric itself. It’s a good idea to consider the types of buttonholes you may need for the projects you have in mind, then make sure your chosen machine can perform them.
Some sewing machines may only offer one or two buttonhole settings, and some may have up to ten. The importance of variety is up to you.
The same rule applies to the stitches. If your goal is simple projects, you may not need 600 different programmed stitches. For someone planning to use this sewing machine for a high variety of projects, though, the large number of stitch options may be necessary.
Nearly all sewing machines come with extra accessories. It’s standard for them to come with extra needles, bobbins, a needle screwdriver to change out the needle, and some other handy tools.
The best machines, however, don’t just skimp and give you the bare minimum.
Keep an eye out for machines that offer several extra sewing feet for different projects. This could include a zipper foot, buttonhole foot, blind hem foot, straight stitch/quilting foot, and more.
As we said before, this may not be important to you. If your sewing goals are simple, you may not even know what a blind hem foot is – and you probably won’t need it!
But the great thing about any new skill is the opportunity to learn. Finding a sewing machine that has more feet than you think you’ll ever use can still be incredibly useful just in case you learn more and decide you actually do need that quilting foot.
For some products, the brand is unimportant. There’s a difference in quality, sure, but at the end of the day that product will still do its job.
With sewing machines, we recommend sticking to reputable brands only. This is a complex mechanical, electrical, or computerized machine – and a pricey one at that. You wouldn’t want to throw away hundreds of dollars on some off-brand sewing machine that breaks the first time you use it.
Singer and Brother are the top two reputable brands when it comes to sewing machines. Janome is another acceptable brand, but you’ll notice the top 9 machines we recommend below are all either Singer or Brother.
This is one factor that will apply to anyone purchasing a sewing machine regardless of intended use. When it comes to an investment of this amount, choosing a reputable manufacturer is a must.
While this is a convenience feature and not necessary, it’s more common to find sewing machines with an automatic threader than without these days.
Anyone who’s ever attempted to sew – whether by machine or by hand – knows how difficult it can be to thread the needle. It takes a lot of patience, and sometimes a little bit of spit.
The best sewing machines these days take that headache out of the equation with an automatic threader. The machine will thread the needle for you, making sure it goes through perfectly every time.
Automatic Bobbin Winder
If you’ve ever tried to wind a bobbin without this feature, you know why this convenience feature is worth the money.
Some of the best intermediate sewing machines come with this ability. All you have to do is slip the spool of thread onto its rod, wrap it around the tension holder, and pull it through the top of the bobbin. Set the bobbin on the winder and switch to winding mode.
The automatic bobbin winder can save you a lot of time and headache. When you need to get started on a project quickly, there’s no better help than a bobbin winder.
High Sewing Speed
Another convenience feature is a high sewing speed. While it can be advantageous to sew and a slower speed to ensure straight stitch lines, experienced sewing enthusiasts can work at a much higher speed.
This is ideal for those looking to work on large scale projects, like quilts. When sewing large squares repeatedly to form a large blanket, it can be helpful to have a sewing machine that has the ability to run more quickly than others.
Best Intermediate Sewing Machines
|1.||Singer Quantum Stylist 9960||600 stitches, auto threader, 850 spm|
|2.||Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine XR3774||Auto threader 37 stitches, 8 presser feet|
|3.||Brother GX37 Sewing Machine||37 stitches, 6 sewing feet, drop-in bobbin|
|4.||Singer Heavy Duty 4423 Sewing Machine||23 stitches, 100 spm, heavy weight fabrics|
|5.||Brother CS7000X Computerized Sewing Machine||70 stitches, hard case, quilt guide|
|6.||Brother CS6000i Sewing and Quilting Machine||60 stitches, 10 sewing feet, extra wide table|
|7.||Singer Fashion Mate 5560 Sewing Machine||100 stitches, 3 presser feet, protective case|
|8.||Brother HC1850 Sewing and Quilting Machine||185 stitches, auto threader, 8 feet|
|9.||Brother ST150HDH Sewing Machine||50 stitches, 9 presser feet, LCD display|
1. Singer Quantum Stylist 9960
Although this is the most expensive machine on our list, it’s certainly our top recommendation for those willing to spend the extra money.
This machine can truly do it all. With 600 built-in stitches and 13 buttonholes, you’ll have every possible stitch you could need.
It comes with 13 different presser feet, too, so you’re prepared for any project your mind can imagine.
This Singer model also comes with our two convenience features: an automatic threader and a high maximum sewing speed – 850 stitches per minute to be exact.
It also comes with an extension table to lay larger pieces out for sewing and boasts a top-load bobbin system to help prevent needle jams.
2. Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine XR3774
Ideal for quilting, this Brother machine comes with an extra-wide table to provide you with a larger surface for your projects.
Just as with the Singer machine above, this Brother machine comes with an automatic needle threader and a convenient top-load bobbin system.
Although this machine only comes with 37 built-in stitches and 1 buttonhole, this is plenty for any intermediate sewer who only plans to use their machine for simple projects.
It also comes with 8 different presser feet, the extension table, a machine cover, and an instructional DVD to help you get started.
3. Brother GX37 Sewing Machine
The Brother GX37 is another simple, affordable sewing machine for the laidback seamstress.
Like the model above, the GX37 has only 37 programmable stitches and 1 buttonhole setting. The buttonhole does have an auto-size feature, so you’ll be able to use it regardless of the buttons you choose.
This model has a sleeker look than the XR3774 above and may be more aesthetically pleasing to some people.
It does not have an extension table, but it does come with 6 sewing feet and the instructional DVD, as well as extra needles and bobbins.
Speaking of needles and bobbins – like the machines before, this model comes with an automatic threader and top drop-in bobbin system.
This is a great choice for any intermediate sewer just getting started in the world of machine sewing.
4. Singer Heavy Duty 4423 Sewing Machine
Compared to the machines listed so far, this Singer Heavy Duty model may seem a little “bare bones.” However, sometimes less is more.
This machine comes with 23 built-in stitches and 1 buttonhole, which is still plenty for any simple project. It has an automatic threader and an automatic bobbin winder and the capability to sew 100 stitches-per-minute.
The real great thing about this machine is its heavy-duty design. It’s created to work on heavy weight fabrics such as denim and canvas.
If you’re looking for a machine that’s versatile in the fabrics it can work with more than the number of stitches, this Singer 4423 model is the right one for you.
5. Brother CS7000X Computerized Sewing Machine
This Brother model has a lot of the same features we’ve listed with other machines. It comes with an automatic threader, an automatic bobbin winder, top-load bobbin system, and 10 sewing feet.
What makes this model great is its 70 built-in stitches including 7 different 1-step buttonholes.
This is the prefect variety for any routine sewing project. The needle has a fixed bar that keeps in place while you sew, helping you to achieve cleaner lines.
This machine also comes with a wide table, a quilt guide, and a protective hard case. It’s the perfect intermediate machine for any project you want to take on.
6. Brother CS6000i Sewing and Quilting Machine
An older version of the Brother CS7000X listed above, this CS6000i model is still a favorite among the sewing community for good reason.
Packed with similar features, this machine has 60 programmed stitches including 7 styles of auto-size buttonholes. It has an automatic threader and an automatic bobbin winder to save you time and energy getting started.
It also comes with an extra-wide table for large projects, 10 sewing feet, extra bobbins and needles, and a hard protective case. Plus, it has an added free arm to help when sewing pant legs and sleeves.
A little cheaper than its newer CS7000X, this Brother CS6000i is the perfect option for anyone looking to get a good sewing machine for an affordable price tag.
7. Singer Fashion Mate 5560 Sewing Machine
While this Singer Fashion Mate model is a little older compared to some of the machines on this list, we love it for its ease of use.
Although there isn’t an automatic threader, it does have an automatic bobbin winder and easy-to-follow steps to thread the needle.
With 100 different programmed stitches including 6 buttonholes, you’re ready to sew any kind of seam imaginable. It also provides the option to adjust the stitch width and length with the touch of a button.
This machine comes with a protective case, extra bobbins and needles, and 3 extra presser feet.
8. Brother HC1850 Sewing and Quilting Machine
If you’re looking for a large variety of stitches for a cheaper price tag than the first Singer Quantum model we recommended, this is the machine for you.
The Brother HC1850 model boasts a total of 185 unique stitches including 55 alphanumeric stitches and 8 buttonholes. Not only will you be able to sew unique seams, you’ll be able to do it with ease.
This machine also comes with an automatic threader and bobbin winder, a drop-in top bobbin system, 8 different sewing and quilting feet, a wide table, and an instructional DVD.
For a fair price, this machine has it all.
9. Brother ST150HDH Sewing Machine
Our final machine is a solid option for those looking at the Singer Heavy Duty model but wishing it had more features.
This Brother Strong & Tough machine can sew through multiple layers of denim using any of its 50 programmed stitches.
It comes with heavyweight needles, 9 presser feet, and longer feed dogs to aid you in whatever heavy-duty project your heart desires.
Like so many of the other models, this machine has an automatic threader, and automatic bobbin winder, and a top-load bobbin system to aid in preventing unwanted needle jams.
Unlike the other models, this Brother machine is equipped to handle all of your heavyweight fabrics. Its metal frame and stronger construction make it ideal to take on any thick fabric you need. From fleece to denim, you’re all set.
You can also view all of your stitch selections and recommended sewing feet in its easy-to-read LCD display. If you’re looking for a real work horse of a sewing machine, this is the pick for you.