Friday, November 1, 2013

My Sewing Machine Review

I follow a sewing and crafting blog, Sew Mama Sew, and liked the idea of grouping our sewing machine review in one spot! Of course, I remembered after that Pattern Reviews does the same, so I posted my sewing machine review on PR too... Without further delay, here is my review of my beloved sewing machine: 

Singer Quantum Stylist 9960

Clara - my Singer 9960


What brand and model do you have?
Singer Quantum Stylist 9960.

How long have you had it?
I bought it in November 2012, one year ago.

How much does that machine cost (approximately)?
I bought it on sale at 530$CAD.

What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)?
I have sewn many of home decor projects before starting to sew clothing for myself in the last 3 years... Since I had this machine (1 year), I have done one twin size quilt, a couple of simple gifts and maybe a dozen of pieces of clothing for me and my family. See my sewing projects page.

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?
I've sewn at least 15 projects in the last year (without counting jeans hems and various alterations), exclusively at night or in burst during the weekend.  So maybe about 100 hours per year spent on sewing projects...

I went for the 1 hour lesson on my machine about a week after purchasing it. But since after just reading the manual and experimenting a little I was pretty confident, I had more time to get some demonstration of techniques I was not familiar with, on my machine, by the teacher. (like blind hem, the numerous foot and free hand embroidery, etc.)

Making a stitch bible (stitch samples) would be useful too because the numerous decorative stitches can be made in various width and length and even mirrored, so there is a myriad of options!

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?
I love my machine! I did a few projects (car upholstery) on my MIL and uncle industrial machine at their places. Also, I had hand-me-down machines since I graduated University (2000) that had trouble with tension or other stitches than straight. So my new machine is a dream come true! I sew way more since then. I even started sewing knits fabrics. Her name is Clara because when I sew I always think of one of my grandmother who was quite religious and I looked up on the internet for the saint patron of seamstress or embroidery (which source I can't find anymore)...

What features does your machine have that work well for you?

  • I love the stitches selection : I love my overcast stitch stitch for finishing and the stem stitch (lightning bolt) for stretch fabric look so much better than a regular zigzag to me! My kids love to write their name with the alphanumeric stitches and choosing decorative stitches for me to personalized their things. 
  • The interface is really easy to use. 
  • It is easy to clean.
  • I love the clear window to see how much thread is left in the bobbin.
  • Great control over the stitches length, width and tension...
  • The free arm is a must for sleeves and I love using the quilting extension for heavier or bigger projects, like quilt or things that needs to be supported.
  • I love the beautiful stitches.
  • I can sew a seams on top of about 4 layers of jeans while hemming. :D
  • It is quiet ; my husband says he only hear the interface "Bip", not the sewing.
Singer 9960 - stitches

Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?

  • I do not like the cover that came with it because it is somewhat hard to put on and do not allows the machine to stay plugged in (so my cable sometimes fall being my desk).
  • I am not a fan of the auto-threader (easier for me to do it by hand). 
  • Annoyance : I would like to have a needle to the right option, for the straight stitch. I need to review my instruction manual as maybe I can mirror the needle to the left straight stitch to achieve that!??
  • Not sure : Feed dogs are either on or off ; but I am not sure how useful it would be to gain control over the amount of grip they provide?

Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?
Yes! I love it and it is easy to operate. It also came with the quilter extension table and lots of feet.

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?
Everybody has different needs, I think a test drive is a must! Also I researched the manufacturers before going in every single sewing machine store I could find in Montréal... is very useful for that!

Do you have a dream machine?
I would love to try just for fun one of those crazy expensive machines (Bernina and cie)... But I could probably never justify this amount of money for my hobby!  I changed my hand-me-down machine just because the electronic started to go and it needed servicing more than once a year, which started to be more expensive in the long run... Maybe a Serger could be in my future one day...


  1. "Maybe a Serger could be in my future one day..." Sometimes dreams DO come true, Caroline :D

  2. You are indeed really good at reading the future Rhonda my friend! :D

  3. You can move your needle in increments to the right. Check out page 46 of the manual. The first four stitches which are straight stitches, the stitch width button moves the needle to the right.

    1. Thank you Sonia! It is never too late to learn more :D

    2. You can use 25 needle positions. Watch Roxanne on you tube. Great videos on this machine.

  4. Hey Caroline,

    Nice post and your guide to Montreal was very helpful.
    I moved to Montreal a few monts ago and was wondering where you bought your Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 ?

    1. Thanks! I hope you like living here! :D I bought my machine at a singer store in a small mall on Jean-Talon East, near Pie-Ix :

  5. You´re welcome. . .
    I do ;o) Thanks for answering, nice to know. I will go there tomorrow and have a look.