Has long been a teacher of English Literature, after the retirement focused on freelance copywriting. She’s now our full-time writer since our website allows her to know more about the hobby of her lifetime – sewing.
A professional fashion designer and seamstress. Isabel has her own video blog where she shares her experience about all the aspects of sewing – from choosing suitable materials to step-by-step instructions on how to sew a summer skirt.
Last updated: May 31, 2021
An intermediate sewing machine can be necessary for people who do a lot of sewing, whether for personal reasons or because of a small business. If you’re in the market for the best sewing machine for intermediate users, then one on this list may be the best choice, especially if you’re looking to improve your sewing skills and want more durability and multiple functions.
We examined 32 different models available on the market and picked the eight best intermediate sewing machines for this article. Our Editor’s Choice is the SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 model. This computerized unit offers up to 600 stitch patterns, greatly more than any other machine, and it sews at a respectable 850 stitches per minute, providing excellent quality. If you want to see something else, we have included seven other models for you here.
We’ve spend 60 hours studying these sewing machines and found features that are important. Type will tell you if it’s a manual or computerized machine, stitch pattern shows how many different stitches it can tackle, speed means how fast the machine will stitch, buttonholes denote the number of different options it can sew, and dimensions and weight tell how easily it will fit in your space or storage and whether or not it will be stable and easier to move when needed. We broke down our findings in a table with quick-to-find information as well as detailed reviews for those who are looking for the particulars. After that, we have our comprehensive buying guide for anyone ready to purchase their own best intermediate sewing machine.
Top 8 Intermediate Sewing Machines Review 2021
SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 – Editor's Choice
Stitch patterns: 600
Max. speed: 850 stitches per minute
Buttonholes: 13 (1-step)
Dimensions: 17.2 x 8.25 x 12 in.
Weight: 18.2 lbs.
Warranty: 1/5/25-year limited
More features: LCD screen, built-in needle threader and thread cutter, stitch sequencing with memory, top drop-in bobbin, LED light
The SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 is our Editor’s Choice for a variety of reasons. The Singer brand is a well-known and respected name for sewing machines, and this model is no different.
This portable sewing machine comes with a variety of stitching capabilities, from simple sewing projects up to quilts. There’s also a font setting for personal sewing projects as well. The automatic needle threader is an excellent addition to this machine, taking out the frustration and eye strain of threading the needle on your own. It even comes with a buttonhole underplate to make sewing buttonholes easier. This model has a sewing speed of 850 stitches per minute, making it on the high end of stitching capabilities. It comes with a wide collection of presser feet, everything from blind hem foot to even feed/walking foot, making it a machine that can handle almost any sewing project you want to tackle, and the extension table means you don’t have to struggle with larger projects such as quilts.
The LED light will help you with your projects in darker craft rooms, and the LCD screen makes it easier to see your selections. However, some users stated they had issues with the plastic bobbins causing problems. Still, if you do everything right and carefully, you should not experience this problem. But for those who are looking for a robust machine, many owners stated this model is user-friendly and capable of handling heavy fabrics.
What makes it special?
High sewing speed
Wide variety of stitches and presser feet
Can deal with heavy fabrics
What cons did we find?
Some users experienced issues with plastic bobbins and jamming
The Brother XR3774 is our pick for Best Value. Brother is another well-known and well-respected brand in sewing circles, and this model is especially great for those searching for a quilting machine.
It comes with 37 built-in stitches, which is great for the sewer who’s looking to expand their projects from the beginner level but not yet ready for a machine that offers hundreds of stitches. This model also comes with a one-step auto-size buttonholer for those users who need a machine that makes perfect buttonholes every time. It ships with 8 different sewing feet, from a blind stitch to walking and quilting, and it can sew up to 800 stitches per minute, which is fast but not so fast that more beginner users have to worry about the machine and fabric getting away from them.
The bright LED work surface makes it a great choice for more dimly lit craft rooms, and the built-in needle threader can save you time and effort. The stitch selector is an easy-to-use dial, so there is no need to try and figure out an LCD screen. The quilting table makes it a great choice for larger projects. Finally, the instructional DVD will help you understand how to use your Brother machine best and get the most out of its capabilities. Though it’s important to note that this model does not come with an automatic bobbin winder, which some users complained about, and others complained that it tends to skip stitches. But all users stated that it’s a very quiet machine, making this one the best affordable sewing machine for intermediate sewers.
More features: comes with a hard cover; thread cutter button; many accessories included
For its unbelievable speed of 820 stitches per minute, the Janome 3160QDC deserves all the attention it’s getting. But apart from speed, it’s packed with a myriad of features, with each one intended to aid convenience and make sewing seamless for users. From making simple stitches to quilting to sewing fashionable attires, this unit helps you to speedily complete your projects. There are 60 built-in stitches on this machine, all of which are displayed conveniently on the machine’s front, so you can easily know the corresponding number and choose your favorite stitch.
Apart from the stitches, the machine also has six buttonholes with a brilliant automatic needle threader, in another way to make life less stressful for you. With such a high-end, modern machine, you need some guide, right? That’s why it comes with an LCD panel, which apart from displaying the different options, also guides each of your steps as you sew. Among the host of features is the lock stitch, which ensures that each stitch is perfectly finished. The user doesn’t even need to use their foot to either needle up or needle down as there’s a button that does just that.
That said, probably the most exhilarating thing about this unit is how it comes with a bunch of accessories, which include a zig-zag foot, a satin stitch foot, zipper foot, blind hem foot, an extension table, a hardcover, an open-toe darning foot, and many more. While the thread hole on the bobbin looks to be very small, the machine makes up in many other ways, putting it firmly on the third spot on our list.
More features: built-in needle threader, top drop-in bobbin, perfect for thick fabric, accessories included
If you’re looking for a heavy-duty sewing machine, then look at the SINGER Heavy Duty 4423. This machine has a motor that’s 60% stronger compared to less reliable models and is perfect for harder projects. This is an excellent option if you need it to use for long hours multiple days a week and a great choice for a professional seamstress.
It comes with 23 built-in stitches, which is much fewer than every other machine on this list, but it can sew at an impressive 1100 stitches per minute, which blows all the other machines out of the water. This would be a great choice for the sewer who doesn’t need a wide variety of stitch options but just needs a machine to do a few things very well and very quickly. And because of the stronger motor, this is a fantastic choice for thick seams. It’s made with a stainless-steel bedframe and heavy-duty metal interior, helping to make this model a workhorse of a machine. It comes with a variety of accessories, from presser feet to a soft cover, which is quite useful when the machine is not in use. It also boasts an impressive 25-year limited warranty making it a great choice for the user who wants a heavy-duty, simple machine that will last for years. However, some users complained that the foot pedal is very sensitive and can take some time getting used to.
More features: LCD display, stretch stitch for elastic fabrics, memory functions, automatic thread cutter, adjustable presser foot
The Bernette 38 is a computerized model that comes with 394 stitch patterns, which is quite impressive. It will also sew at up to 820 stitches a minute, so doing your project shouldn’t take much time. This is generally a good, reliable machine which can make it a great choice for the intermediate sewers.
This Swiss-made model comes with double-needle sewing capabilities and automatic limitation for double needles, too, so you don’t have to worry about one of the needles hitting the presser foot and breaking off. It also has an automatic tie-off function, so when you come to the end of a seam, you don’t have to perform a quick forward and backward stitch sewing to keep the seam from unraveling. You just have to press the tie-off button. Same with the thread cut function, just a press of a button can save you from reaching for the scissors. It also comes with an extension table for larger sewing projects such as quilts.
Users stated that it has great presser feet and feed dogs, which makes it excellent to use with thin and stretchy fabrics. Some users complained, though, that the machine is very loud when in use. Also, the price tag for this model is quite high. But most users agreed that the machine is very sturdy and not wobbly at all and that it feels well-made and solid.
If you’re looking for a nice, mid-capability machine, then the Brother HC1850 could be a fantastic choice for you. It can sew up to 850 stitches per minute, which is a great speed, and it comes with 130 stitch patterns, which isn’t too few, especially for those users who just don’t need as many stitch patterns to complete their projects.
Like all the machines on this list, it comes with an automatic needle threader, and the drop-in bobbin is easy to use. The wide table is detachable to make it easier to work on a variety of different projects, and the light is an LED bulb. There’s an LCD display screen that lets you choose your options with the press of a button, and it has 8 one-step buttonholes. The stitch speed is controlled with an easy-to-use switch, and the machine comes with a handy stitch flip chart on the front side, so you can easily choose the setting you need. It even comes with a built-in monogramming sewing foot to add letters and numbers on the fabric.
However, some users stated they could experience bottom bobbin issues and that the needle threader was awkward to use. But even people who left poor reviews for this machine commented that it’s really lightweight and easy to move.
The JUKI HZL-F300 comes with 106 stitch patterns and can do an impressive 900 stitches per minute, which, while not the fastest, is definitely faster than most other machines. It has memory capabilities for up to 70 patterns, and the automatic threader makes any sewing project easier. Moreover, this machine is incredibly versatile and perfect for both sewing and quilting.
It provides 16 automatic electronic sensor-controlled buttonholes and 3 different fonts for a variety of sewing projects. It comes with a free arm, and though it doesn’t ship with an extension table, it is still optionally available for those users who are looking for one. The light is an LED bulb, and the thread cutting is controlled by the pedal. This model does allow twin needle stitching, but users will need to purchase an auxiliary spool pin.
Some users stated that their machine felt cheaply made. However, they all agreed that it could make beautiful stitches. Others stated that the automatic thread feeder is better than most other machines have, and the drop-in bobbin is really easy to use. Finally, many users stated it’s quiet to use, and it sews very smoothly, though some of them had problems with cotton stuffing and lining.
What are our favorite features?
Very quiet when in use
Sews beautiful stitches
Versatile functions, three different fonts and sensor-controlled buttonholes
More features: LCD display, accessories included, LED light, drop-in hook system, automatic threader, manual thread cutter, knotting function
The Eversewn – Sparrow 25 can sew at 850 stitches per minute and comes with 197 stitch patterns, which makes it an excellent choice for intermediate sewers.
The LCD display makes it easy to see your stitch selection, and the LED light easily illuminates your sewing area. It comes with an automatic threader and a drop-in hook system. This model ships with a pack of ten bobbins that will work with any Eversewn machine and a soft cover for when you’re not using your machine.
Users stated that it has a nice, straight stitches and that it is very easy to thread and use, but that it’s also very loud. Some users had to stop using the machine if they wanted to hear someone speaking to them. Others stated that it feels cheaply made, and at least one user reported the issues with the machine running on its own, even though no one is pressing on the foot pedal. In general, users have stated that it’s an amazing machine for a less experienced sewer and is a wonderful pick for those who would like to sew lighter fabrics. There is a long learning curve, and users should take the time to read the manual to understand how to use this model correctly. But that definitely will make you progress quite fast if you want to become an expert sewer.
Intermediate sewing machines can play an important role in the life of people who spend a lot of time sewing and want to move from beginner projects to something a little more complicated. It’s essential to know the different options and capabilities of the available models, though, to make sure you purchase a machine that works for you and your needs. Not all models come with tables or even LCD screens, so users should familiarize themselves with the different options of the intermediate sewing machines.
How to choose the best sewing machine for intermediate sewers?
Sewing machines can perform a variety of tasks, everything from making different stitches, finishing hems, quilting and even monogramming. Intermediate sewing machines often offer more stitching patterns and higher stitching speeds so that you can try more sewing projects and can complete them faster. Users will need to know what kind of projects they plan to complete and choose a machine that works the best for them. If you don’t need hundreds of stitch patterns, then maybe you can choose a machine that has a faster stitch speed or one that can handle heavier or lighter fabrics.
Type of the sewing machine
Sewing machines basically come in two different types: computerized (electronic) and mechanical. Computerized machines tend to use a display screen, often LCD, and buttons to select stitch type and other settings, whereas mechanical tends to work with dials, switches, and knobs in order to choose your machine’s settings. They each have pros and cons.
Computerized machines often have the capabilities to store hundreds of stitch patterns, and some even offer a memory option to save custom stitches you use. But just like any electronic appliance, they can break down, and it’s not often something the average owner can repair on their own. But no need to worry, the units we reviewed are incredibly reliable and long-lasting as long as you use them properly.
Manual machines are simpler and easier to use: just a flip of a switch or turn of a dial, and you’re ready to go! But manual machines typically offer fewer stitching choices and have limited capabilities.
The number of stitch patterns an intermediate sewing machine has depends greatly on the machine, anywhere from a few dozen to hundreds. In general, a computerized machine will offer more stitch patterns and a manual one fewer.
The level of your sewing skill and the projects you intend to complete will determine how many stitch patterns you’ll need: more isn’t always better.
If you’re looking for a machine, though, that can make a huge amount of stitch patterns, check out our Editor’s Choice, the SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960, which offers an impressive 600 stitch patterns for the user who wants to be able to sew pretty much everything. But if you’re looking for a simpler manual machine with fewer stitch capabilities, look to the 23 stitches of our Best Value pick, the Brother XR3774.
The sewing speed is another function that can vary depending on the machine and can make a difference to your sewing projects. While faster sewing will let you complete your projects quicker, the higher power can be problematic if you’re trying to sew more delicate fabrics. If you need a machine that sews an impressive 1100 stitches per minute, the fastest on our list, look no further than the SINGER Heavy Duty 4423. But if slow and steady wins the race for you, then the manual Brother XR3774 may be the best machine for you as it sews 800 stitches per minute.
If you’re someone who frequently sews clothing, then you’ve probably come across adding buttons to a garment. Sewing buttonholes can be a difficult task for even more experienced sewers, so choosing a machine that offers a variety of buttonhole options can make the task easier for you. All of the machines on this list will allow you to sew buttonholes, and most of them allow you to select the styles, but if you’re looking for the model that has the most impressive options for buttonholes, then check out the JUKI HZL-F300, which can do up to 16 buttonholes.
The placement and the types of controls can make a huge difference in the ease of use of your sewing machine. If you choose a computerized sewing machine, chances are you’ll have an LCD screen and buttons to select your settings. Manual ones typically have dials and switches. Most of the units have these controls on the body of the machine, in quick reach for you to use while you are in the middle of the project.
Manual machines will let you easily turn the dial to change stitch patterns, for example, whereas computerized may require you to stop to find the correct pattern and type it in.
If you’re looking for a computerized machine with easy to access stitch patterns, the Brother HC1850 comes with a handy stitch flip chart on the body of the machine.
Sewing machines run the gamut of size, from smaller to large. The size of the machine can matter if you’re someone who needs or move it from room to room or perhaps from a craft room to storage. For a machine on the smaller side, check out the SINGER Heavy Duty 4423, which is built for heavy-duty projects. Its compact size will also save some working space, so you can keep all the necessary tools at hand. Or if you don’t plan to move your machine all the frequently and want something larger, then look to the Bernette 38, which is incredibly convenient to use.
Weight can also matter if you’re someone who plans to move your sewing machine frequently, whether to and from storage or if you plan to carry it with you to different locations. A lighter weight machine will be easier to carry, but sometimes they can be less sturdy and stable. If you’re looking for an intermediate sewing machine that would be easy to carry with you, then try the Brother HC1850, which weighs under 14 pounds. But if you want something heavier that will be sturdier in your craft space, then the Bernette 38, which weighs almost 22 pounds, may be the best choice for you.
It would be great if your sewing machine would last forever and never break, but the truth is, sooner or later, everything breaks down. This is why a longer warranty can make all the difference when choosing an intermediate sewing machine. Not only that but also it is essential to make sure your money is protected if you have some issues upon arrival.
All the machines on this list come with a least a minimal warranty, but if you’re looking for the model with a warranty that will last as long as possible, then look for a model with a 25-year limited warranty, which is a quite common offer among many popular brand names.
What else should I look at?
Sewing machines come with a variety of other options as well, everything from lights to automatic threaders and cutters. All of the machines on this list come with a light to help illuminate your work surface, but some of them come with LED lights, which are brighter and last longer. It is recommended that you go for a unit with brighter lights so you can see every detail without eye strain even after hours of continuous work. Automatic threaders can help you save your time, and the thread cutters are just convenient to use since you don’t need to think about scissors constantly.
With intermediate sewing machines, the price can vary widely. But like almost every appliance, you get what you pay for. That doesn’t mean that you automatically have to choose the most expensive sewing machine if you want to complete projects. No. It’s more important to choose a model based on your needs and requirements. If you don’t need a machine that has computerized settings or hundreds of stitch patterns, then it’s possible there’s a cheaper option available for you that will still tackle all the capabilities you’re asking of it, and more, while not impacting your wallet.
If you’re looking for an affordable sewing machine, check out our pick for Best Value, the Brother XR3774, which will cost you just a little over $100, and you won’t have to break the bank. But if you want a higher-end model and have the money to spend, then look no further than the Janome 3160QDC, which will cost you about $600.
Not all machines are created equal, though most intermediate sewing machines are better equipped to handle thicker materials than more beginner machines. Some sewing machines are built specifically to handle thicker fabrics like denim or even leather, but others are designed only to tackle lighter fabrics. It’s important to know what kind of fabric you intend to work with regularly and pick a machine that can handle that. Make sure to use proper pressure feet and needles for that purpose. It is recommended to check the product description to find out what this sewing machine is capable of.
They can! If you’re looking to grow in your sewing skills, then take a look at the machines that offer a variety of stitching options. Even the machines with midrange stitch patterns can help you grow in your sewing skills by allowing you to experiment with different switches. You can also watch any included DVD or video tutorials and read the included manuals to help better learn how to use your machine. It is also a great idea to learn something new from sewing books, try more difficult projects and ask experienced sewers to help you.
Like any other appliance, proper maintenance and care can keep your sewing machine working at peak performance for the lifetime of the machine as well as prevent breakdowns or unexpected costs to repair your machine. The more you use your machine, too, the more often it should be serviced. If you’re someone who uses your sewing machine daily, consider having it professionally serviced once a year. And you should clean your sewing machine after every use to keep it in prime working condition. Some of these machines come with hard or soft covers that can help you do save your time!
Intermediate sewing machines are a fantastic way to take your sewing projects to the next level, and if you’re shopping for a new machine, chances are there’s a model that fits your needs.
Our Editor’s Choice is the SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960. It offers 600 incredible stitch patterns, making sure that you never run out of stitching options for any project you’re completing.
If you’re looking for a machine at an affordable price, then the Brother XR3774 may be for you. This is our choice for Best Value, and while it’s a manual machine, it offers a multitude of stitch patterns and options, many intermediate sewers will be happy with.
Finally, if you’re interested in premium models, then the Janome 3160QDC can be just ideal for you. This computerized sewing machine can memorize up to 50 stitch patterns, making your complicated projects easier to complete.
So, now, it’s time to pick the best intermediate sewing machine, so you can try more difficult projects and become an expert sewer!