Marilyn knows how to present the dullest topic in an interesting and easy-to-read way. When she’s not teaching English Literature at a local school or writing for our site, Marylin loves to knit and bake for her two grandchildren.
Julie owns a shop specializing in sewing equipment and accessories. No wonder she knows everything when it comes to technical specifications of practically anything we review. In her free time, Julie loves quilting and scrapbooking.
Last updated: April 14, 2022
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The best way of becoming proficient at anything is by mastering a skill and taking up the next level challenge until you turn out a guru. In this case, you are challenging yourself to become the best intermediate sewist and that means you are looking for more features from a sewing machine. The best intermediate sewing machine will help you transition easily from a beginner as well as create magnificent designs as you build your skills to become a pro.
Finding the best intermediate machine can be one of the most daunting tasks of your life especially with the hundreds of options out there. We rounded up this guide with the top 10 best rated intermediate sewing machines to help you make the right choice easily. Some of the features we considered in our review include; automatic needle threader, number of stitches and buttonholes, type, and maximum sewing speed among others. These features determine the efficiency and convenience of the machine. A machine with a high sewing speed and automatic needle threader will make you finish your projects faster and one with a high number of stitches and buttonholes is highly versatile thus giving you creative freedom.
"An advanced computerized sewing machine with a great range of features and a solid build.600 built-in stitches.exclusive buttonhole underplate.13 presser feet."
Other features: 5 alphanumeric fonts, exclusive buttonhole underplate, 13 presser feet, top drop-in bobbin system
There’s a lot of buzz going on about the Quantum Stylist 9960. Besides being an advanced computerized machine from SINGER, it packs a punch with a range of features and a solid build.
The machine comes in a simple but sleek design and a perfectly sturdy body built to last. It features a black and white backlit LCD screen that displays all the information about your ongoing project and with it, you can work round the clock if you have to as it sufficiently illuminates your workspace.
You will love the start/stop and speed control buttons on this machine as they will make your sewing life a tad easier. Other features that will make sewing easier and enjoyable for you include an automatic thread cutter and the top-loading drop-in bobbin system. They will save your time and give you professional results with minimum efforts.
What sets this machine apart from the competition is its 13 presser feet. It even comes with a walking foot which is rare in other conventional machines. These multiple feet will keep you busy as they give you creative freedom.
Additionally, the machine offers 600 stitches and 5 alphanumeric fonts. You mightn’t get to use all of them but there’s so much fun in being able to access all these stitches to make adorable creative pieces.
Another praiseworthy feature is the reverse image which allows you to adjust the stitches vertically and horizontally. There’s also a stitch elongation feature that lets you elongate the stitches up to even 5 times giving you a load more versatility.
In sum, this machine tops the list for all the right reasons. Its wide range of features makes it one of the best options for a beginner sewist looking to upskill. Plus, it comes with a 25-year warranty.
What are its best features?
Easy to use
13 presser feet
Multiple stitch options (600)
Offers excellent value for money
What could be improved?
Complaints- Some units have a few flimsy components
Other features: 4 fonts, straight and zigzag stitch, manual presser foot lift
This is the ultimate choice for anyone looking to upskill with a premium high-tech sewing machine that is super loaded with features. It is perfect for both sewing and quilting and can handle large projects pretty well.
The Juki HZL-F600 is a heavy-duty computerized machine and is built sturdily to last as well as cater to all professional sewists’ needs. However, it is not the best portable machine because of its size and weight.
On the flip side, its design is very intuitive, thus pretty easy to learn and use. Even a beginner can get started with this machine. Though intermediate sewers would make the most out of it.
Like other computerized machines, the HZL-F600 has an LCD screen that displays the information about the project you are working on. Only, its LCD is much bigger than that of most machines, so, you won’t strain reading the information.
Additionally, this machine has got more than just a large work table. It has a snap-on work surface that is highly convenient for large projects.
What makes it even more interesting is its customization options including the adjustable presser foot, adjustable buttonhole cutting width, a knee lifting lever, and a foot pedal. They allow you to work on any type and size of the fabric.
When it comes to versatility, the Juki HZL-F600 comes second to none. It offers 225 stitches and 16 buttonholes. It sews at an incredibly fast speed with high precision. Quilters or any sewers who work with large and thick materials will love it the most, especially because of the random stitch option which elevates the creative ability when sewing.
Also featured are LED lights that light up your workspace so you don’t have to squint so hard to see your dark-colored projects.
Overall, this is one of the best sewing machines for intermediate sewers as it can work on multiple types of fabrics and packs a load of features that give you more creative freedom.
Other features: 9 included sewing feet, drop-in top bobbin, free arm and extension table included
Brother doesn’t ever disappoint with their beastly sewing machine models. The CS6000i doesn’t fall short. It is a true workhorse with multiple features that can get you through all sorts of fancy projects.
The machine’s build is unbeatable and can last you a lifetime if well maintained. Its design is intuitive and it is super easy to set up thanks to the advanced technology used in its build.
Some features like an automatic needle threader and a top drop-in bobbin system make the machine easier to use. They save time as well as give you accurate professional results with minimum efforts.
If you are into quilting, this should be your go-to machine. It comes with a quilting table. Plus, you will love the top sewing speed (850SPM) that you can control using a foot pedal. With the 60 stitch options, you can create just about anything in the realms of beauty with your projects.
To start or stop the machine or choose the stitch length and width, you only need to push a button. And, when you are dealing with complicated patterns, you can engage the automatic sewing function to easily guide your fabric to your chosen pattern specifications.
You can trust Brother when it comes to accessories. Some of the accessories offered include a hardcover to protect the machine, an oversized table, needle set, spool caps and pins, 9 different presser feet, and bobbins among others.
With a 25-year warranty, this Brother sewing machine is worth the buy. It is highly versatile and value-packed with a plethora of features that can help you grow into a professional sewist.
Other features: quilting function, drop-in top bobbin, drop feed, 8 sewing feet, free arm and extension table, foot pedal, reverse function
This is the kind of machine you get if you don’t want to pay for extras you will never use. You will spend a small fortune on this machine and still get to work on your basic projects as you build your skills to become a pro. It offers excellent value for money.
The XR3774 comes in a simple but sleek design. It has a large working space and features an additional quilting table suitable for quilters. It also features bright LED lights that light up your workspace sufficiently.
Moreover, the machine has 37 built-in stitches which you can select with a simple push of a button. It also features a number of basic presser feet including quilting foot, narrow hemmer, buttonhole, zipper, and button sewer. They make the machine a load more versatile.
The sewing speed is not so high but enough for a non-professional or a transitioning beginner sewist. What makes it a great choice though, is its reverse function that reinforces your stitches and it comes in handy especially when you’re working on projects that are likely to wear and tear quickly. The machine’s convenience doesn’t stop here. It has a free arm that allows you to maneuver your fabrics and easily sew all the hard-to-reach parts.
By now you know Brother doesn’t play when it comes to accessories. The multiple ones this one comes with make it such a huge steal.
All considered, this machine doesn’t have all the bells and whistles like other high-end sewing machines but it will serve you right with its basic features. Plus, you can buy it twice (you can afford it).
Other features: drop-in hook system, an automatic tie-off function, extension table, memory function, LED light
Meet Bernette 38, a state of the art sewing machine that offers a wide range of functions at an irresistible price tag. It is part of the Bernette 30 series and, being a computerized sewing machine, it is one of the top models in the entire range.
The machine has a robust build with an appearance that screams functionality. Setting it up is a breeze as it has an intuitive design. It features bright LED lights that illuminate your workspace pretty well so you don’t have to squint to see your projects.
The machine comes with an extension table so you can enjoy a large working space ideal for large projects.
Other than an easy user interface, this machine has a few functions aimed at making your sewing life easy. They include: an automatic thread cutter, an automatic threader, a drop-in hook system, and an automatic tie-off function.
With 69 decorative stitches and a total of 394 stitches, there isn’t anything you can’t create. There’s even a stretch stitch that allows you to work on different types of elastic fabric. What’s more, you get 3 alphabets and 8 one-step buttonholes which make it ultra-versatile.
With this machine, you can work with any type of fabric, light or thick, thanks to the adjustable presser foot its features. The 8 different presser feet also allow you to easily sew using various stitching styles.
Your productivity will also be on the higher side thanks to the incredibly fast sewing speed of the machine (820SPM). You will also love how less noisy it is compared to many other machines. It produces a very low sound pressure similar to that of a dishwasher.
All in all, this is one of the best intermediate sewing machines for creatives. It is feature-packed with a considerable price tag.
Other features: quilting function, 8 sewing feet, LCD display, top drop-in bobbin
Here is another gem of a product from Brother. It is a combined sewing and quilting unit best suited for beginner or intermediate quilters. Quite simply, it is a prime pick for anyone looking to become an expert with extra features and specifications.
The computerized sewing machine has a solid build that will give long-lasting performance. Setting it up is pretty straightforward as it comes with an instructions DVD and its design is also intuitive.
As common with a computerized machine, it has a backlit LCD screen that displays information about your running project and bright LED lights that illuminate your workspace.
The machine’s bobbin set up is also super-duper easy thanks to the top drop-in bobbin system and the automatic needle threading system.
You will be on top of your deadlines as the remarkable sewing speed (850 SPM) will allow you to finish your projects earlier. What’s more, you can control the speed until you get comfortable sewing at full-speed using the speed control slider.
If you are a quilter, you needn’t look elsewhere as this was built with you in mind. It allows the free-motion quilting, has a wide detachable quilting table, and out of the 185 built-in stitches, 14 are quilting stitches.
Like many other Brother machines, flexibility and adjustment are a breeze. The length and width of the stitches are adjustable, the same as the speed and thread tension. It also offers a lot of accessories that increase its versatility.
Overall, this is one of the best-combined sewing machines out there. It is a worthy consideration, especially for intermediate quilters.
Other features: five-piece feed dog system, removable free arm, quilting accessory kit, reverse lever, 9 accessory feet
Janome is also a renowned brand and it has always been a great buy for heavy-duty sewing machines. The HD3000BE packs a punch with a lot of interesting features which is uncommon with heavy-duty sewing machines.
The machine boasts of a solid aluminum build that will undoubtedly be with you many years to come. Its robust metal frame not only adds to its durability but also makes it ultra-sturdy. Even when the motor is moving too fast when you are sewing it will stay put. Plus, it is pretty heavy and it comes with a hardcover to protect it from dust or scratches.
Since it is an old-fashioned machine, using it is such a breeze. It features several big control buttons for selecting stitches and many other things that will make your sewing life a tad easier. Other features that will also make sewing easier and enjoyable include: a built-in needle threader, and an easy bobbin winding system and a thread cutter.
Another interesting thing is that it has a transparent bobbin so you can monitor the thread supply.
With 21 built-in stitches, you can improve your beginner creative skills to become an intermediate pro. You will also make the most of the 1 buttonhole style offered.
Making sleeves and cuffs shall no longer be hell on earth for you, thanks to the free-arm featured. Additionally, you get plenty of space to store your micro accessories like needles and extra feet.
Essentially, the machine has a powerful motor that is up to all the heavy-duty tasks you can throw at it. It can handle several layers of fabric and different types of a thick material like canvas and denim.
In a nutshell, this is one of the best heavy-duty non-computerized sewing machines you can get out there. On top of all its interesting and useful features, it has a few more accessories including a quilting kit that make it a worthy buy.
Other features: top drop-in bobbin, drop feed, adjustable stitch length, reverse lever, free arm
If your projects involve thicker materials like denim, canvas, leather, and upholstery fabrics, this should be your prime pick. It has an ultra-powerful motor and fast stitch speed that can handle all your heavy-duty tasks pretty well. In fact, if you’re more of a dressmaker or into embroider then you best look elsewhere.
The machine comes in a blocky grey design that screams professionalism. It is sturdily built to provide exceptionally long-lasting performance.
With a 105w motor, you will be able to sew multiple layers of thick materials without a hassle and it is less likely to overheat when you sew for too long. However, it still isn’t a match for an industrial machine.
The machine sets itself apart even more with its superb stitching speed. It can do up to 1100 stitches per minute. You can control the speed using the foot pedal until you get used to it and even at top speed, the machine maintains a very good stitch quality.
Getting the machine ready to go is a breeze. It has a top drop-in bobbin system that is transparent so you can monitor the thread supply. It also has the snap-on presser feet that can be switched easily as well as a needle plate that can help you measure out your seam allowance for accuracy.
Also featured is LED lighting to illuminate your workspace though you will need more lighting if you don’t get adequate natural light as they are a bit small.
All considered this is a solid and well-designed machine ideal for anyone looking for a bit of power to handle the toughest sewing jobs. It’s the all-rounder for people with small pockets.
Other features: LCD display, drop-in hook system, 163mm free arm, manual thread cutter, electric foot control, twin-needle capability
Here is another feature-rich computerized sewing machine that you can use for projects of all skill levels, beginner, intermediate, and professional. Its multiple accessories will help you transition easily into becoming a skilled sewist.
The machine is a stunner when it comes to looks and it is a bit lighter and compact than most of its peers. This makes it a perfect choice for home use, plus it also comes with a dust cover to keep it safe when you aren’t using it. Getting the machine ready to go is super easy thanks to features like an automatic threader, a drop-in hook system, and drop feed dogs.
Moreover, the machine features the twin-needle capability which is a rarity.
As usual, there is an LCD display that shows all the 197 stitches and together with a few control buttons, allows you to make easy and quick adjustments. This machine is highly preferred for its stitch quality as all its stitches are made tight and professionally.
The machine stitches at an incredible speed of 850SPM. You can control the speed using an electric foot or a slide speed control until you get comfortable working at top speed.
Also, you can set the machine in motion without a pedal thanks to the start/stop button included. If you are quilting or following complex projects you can measure your fabrics with the ruler provided on the front of the machine for accuracy.
Another rare thing features on this machine is a mirror button which allows you to practice stitch mirroring which is a neat way to be creative or have fun with unique stitch patterns in your project.
Overall, this is a feature-packed machine yet not overwhelming. If you want perfect stitches for your projects this is your go-to machine. And it’s also very quiet compared to other models.
Other features: drop feed, reverse lever, 80.00 bonus accessories, 4 presser feet
SINGER is a fantastic sewing machine brand but when it comes to heavy-duty machines, it offers a few great choices like 4423. This is the kind of machine you get if you want something a bit costlier than the normal machine but still not as expensive as hell.
The machine is solidly built with a completely metallic inner body frame and stainless steel body plate which not only adds to its durability but also makes it super-sturdy. It’s all-metal in its build but surprisingly lightweight, in fact, it is one of the best portable heavy-duty machines out there.
There’s always a cost attached to sewing machines with a high stitching speed. Luckily, this is not the case with this machine. It has a top sewing speed of 1100SPM and 23 different stitches with which you can make your projects stand out.
Essentially the machine’s motor is 60% more powerful than that of a standard machine and that means it is up to any task you throw at it.
Moreover, with features like an automatic threader, a 1-step buttonhole system, a free arm, and a reverse lever, using the machine is a walk in the park.
With a 25-year warranty, the SINGER 4423 is a worthy buy. Its design, fast sewing speed, and heavy-duty capabilities make it such a huge steal.
Other features: front-loading bobbin the system, free arm, 4 presser feet, adjustable stitch length and zigzag width
Janome has always worked to produce the most reliable, easy-to-use, and high-quality sewing machines and this particular model is not an exception. It is the ultimate machine for anyone looking to improve their sewing skills from home working on small projects.
The HD1000 comes in a shiny black rectangular shape which is a pretty basic design but very elegant. Both its exterior and interior have been made with solid aluminum for added durability and sturdiness. It is not the best portable machine though as it is a bit on the heavier side.
With 14 built-in stitches, you can do a lot of creative work on your small projects from the comfort of your home. You will find it fun and easy to use the machine thanks to features like a built-in needle threader that saves your time and efforts.
Other features aimed at making your sewing life easier include; a manual thread tension control which maintains the consistency of your top and bottom threads and a drop feed with 3-piece feed dogs which allows free-motion sewing. Free-motion sewing makes quilting easier thus highly sought for by quilters.
You will also get to make secure and strengthened stitches, especially when working on projects that are like to wear and tear easily with the reverse lever function.
Overall, this is one of the best sewing machines you can get for your small home projects as it can work with various kinds of fabrics and it is features-rich. Plus you get a 25-year warranty.
There’s a lot to consider when shopping for an intermediate sewing machine and this section contains all the essential information you need to make the best buy. You’ll get to know what to expect from an intermediate sewing machine and the features to consider when choosing one.
What to expect from an intermediate sewing machine
An intermediate sewing machine has got a lot more to offer in terms of features and performance and here are some of the key things you should expect from one:
Most intermediate sewing machines have more stitch patters to allow the user more creative freedom.
Most machines in this range have an impressive stitching speed of about 800SPM and above.
Easy to use
Majority of the machines have multiple features that make sewing easier and enjoyable like an automatic threader, a thread cutter, a 1-step buttonholer, a reverse lever, and a top drop-in bobbin system.
Features to consider when choosing a sewing machine for intermediate sewers
These are the must-have features you should be extra keen on when you go shopping:
There are 2 main types of sewing machines, computerized and manual machines. You should pick one depending on your budget and needs. A computerized machine is much costlier but has extra features while a manual machine is cheaper and easier to use but with limited features.
These make your sewing life easier. The more the controls the better.
Go for a machine that has not only the start/stop control button but also the speed control, and stitch mode control among others like the Eversewn Sparrow 25 reviewed above.
Max. sewing speed
This is measured in SPM (stitches per minute). A machine with a top speed of about 1100 SPM will help you finish your projects on time and are the best for heavy-duty tasks. Be sure to pick a machine with a sewing speed above 800SPM for efficiency and convenience.
Most machines come with needles as part of accessories. Ensure you pick a machine that comes with needles as buying the correct size and type of needle for a good quality stitch is not easy. All SINGER machines come with needles and their needles are also easier to find on the market in case you’ll need replacement pieces.
Number and type of stitches
This determines the machine’s versatility. A machine with multiple stitch patterns like the SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 above allows you to be more creative. You would have more fun using different stitches to create new beautiful pieces every time.
Stitch length and width
Machines with adjustable lengths and width allow you to work on different sizes and types of fabric as well as offer you a lot more creative freedom.
With more buttonholes, you can make different styles of buttonholes on your clothes. This is especially important if you are in to dressmaking and embellishments. The SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 reviewed above has 13 buttonholes and has the 1-step buttonhole system which is the best for quick and easy buttonhole-ing.
A drop feed with 3-piece feed dogs is the best as it allows you to practice free-motion stitching. If you are into quilting, this should be one of your top considerations as free motion stitching is the best for quilting.
The top drop-in load-in bobbin is the simplest bobbin system. Unlike a front-loading bobbin, it is super easy to load that even a child can manage. Nearly all the machines reviewed above have the drop-in bobbin system.
Automatic needle threader
Many advanced machines have an automatic needle threader. It is a lever that guides the thread through the eye of your sewing needle so you don’t have to do it yourself and it saves a lot of time and effort.
This will help hold down your fabric under the needle as you sew. You can work on different sizes and types of fabrics with a machine that has a presser foot. There are various types of presser feet and the more a machine has the better.
Size and weight
If you want a machine that you can easily move around on your own go for a compact and lightweight one like the SINGER Heavy Duty 4423 above. Most heavy-duty machines tend to be heavier and sometimes, the heavier the machine the more durable and sturdy it is because of the materials used in its build.
This is one essential consideration as sewing machines cost a pretty penny. You are bound to encounter 1 or 2 problems with your machine especially if you are a regular sewer thus the essence of a warranty. The longer the warranty the better. A generous warranty would be between 10 and 25yrs.
LED lights will light up your working area and come in handy when you are working on dark-colored projects or you have insufficient natural lighting.
Tension settings vary across different machines and also depend on the type of fabric you are working on. Though it is always safe to have a moderate tension setting that balances the upper and lower tension for a perfect stitch.
Yes. All the machines reviewed above can deal with multiple types of fabrics including thick ones like canvas, denim, and upholstery materials.
With all the points above, picking the best intermediate sewing machine that fulfills all of your sewing needs and goals within your budget should be a walkover. Going with any of the products on our list might be the best decision you’d ever make in a while. The SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 topped the list as the best overall pick. Its exceptional features like 600 built-in stitches set it apart. Plus, it is not the most expensive premium quality machine out there.
The Juki HZL-F600 stood out as the best premium pick because of its versatility. It has a lot of interesting features like 16 buttonholes and multiple stitches that make it a perfect choice for anyone looking to upskill.
The Brother CS6000i emerged third best in our rankings mainly because of its lightweight build and extra accessories. Brother is notorious for multiple accessories which make their machines one of the best versatile on the market.
Mechanisms of sewing machines - ScienceDirect
This chapter describes the evolution of the sewing machine from its basic origins into a hybrid of machine engineering capable of producing high-quality and high-precision clothing.
Whether you’ve got plans to become an expert quilter or just want to work through a few basic sewing patterns, sewing can be a fun and rewarding hobby; however, it can also seem daunting in the beginning. Before you make your first stitch, learn the basics, including how to use a sewing machine and set it up properly.