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Last updated: February 26, 2021
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Won’t just any sewing machine work for creating custom cosplay outfits? Contrary to popular belief, not every sewing machine works well for designing your own costumes. But thankfully, you can get a high-quality sewing machine without breaking the bank. We set out to find the best sewing machine for cosplay, and in this guide, we’ll show you what we’ve learned.
In our search, we considered whether each sewing machine was mechanical or electrical, which affects everything from price to ease of use for advanced stitches. We also considered maximum sewing speed and the number of stitches – you’ll need at least a couple all the time, but having more stitches is important for taking your sewing to the next level. We also checked if a sewing machine has user-friendly features, such as an automatic threader, which makes your task much easier.
With that, let’s dive into the five best sewing machines for cosplay.
If we had to pick the single best Brother sewing machine for cosplay costumes, the XM2701 would be it. This mechanical sewing machine comes with a number of features that make it easy for beginners to use yet versatile enough for advanced sewing projects.
To start, the machine includes a top drop-in bobbin that makes it a snap to replace your thread spool. Even better, the bobbin comes with an automatic needle threader so you can get to work right away. The whole thing is jam-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about snags once you start working on a new project.
The sewing machine comes with 27 built-in stitches, including around 20 decorative stitches and an auto-size buttonhole stitch. A set of simple dials let you select what stitch you want and adjust the length and width.
Users also love that Brother put thought into the stitching area underneath the free arm. There’s a built-in LED light so you can clearly see what you’re working on, and this sewing machine comes with six accessory feet included. The only issue users reported is that reaching the take-up lever can be somewhat awkward because it’s recessed into the machine cover.
Brother provides a 25-year warranty to guarantee the quality of this sewing machine. What’s more, the sewing machine comes with a lifetime of free support from Brother in case you ever need help with troubleshooting the sewing machine.
This burly sewing machine from SINGER features an all-metal internal frame that makes it one of the most durable beginner options on the market. The sewing machine is ideal for sewing heavier fabrics, and the presser foot pressure can even be adjusted to help you stay in control of thicker materials as you sew.
The downside to this sewing machine is that the diversity of stitches is relatively limited. The machine includes a total of 11 stitch types, of which four are decorative and one is a buttonhole stitch. You can easily switch between the types and control the length and width using adjustable knobs. But, since it’s a mechanical sewing machine, you won’t be able to add more decorative stitches in the future.
One thing users loved about this sewing machine, particularly for cosplay costumes, is that the needle can be adjusted between three positions. That makes it easy to add decorative topstitching or cording, as well as to sew on zippers.
The sewing machine has a maximum stitching speed of 1,150 stitches per minute, which makes it one of the speediest models we’ve seen. In addition, it is built with a jam-resistant top drop-in bobbin and an automatic needle threader that work together to speed up your projects.
Some users reported that they received defective models of this sewing machine. However, SINGER protects your purchase with a 25-year limited warranty.
If you’re looking to make the jump to a computerized sewing machine, this electric model from SINGER is one of the best upgrades around.
The sewing machine can’t download new stitches from the Internet like some electric models can, but it comes with 600 stitches built in – so there’s very little need for more options. On top of that, it includes 13 one-step buttonhole styles that are perfect for costume making. Selecting the stitch you want is relatively easy thanks to the LCD screen and a handful of simple touch buttons.
The sewing machine also includes some essential ease of use features like a drop-in bobbin and an automatic needle threader. Users also appreciated the included extension table, which leaves you with plenty of space for working on larger projects. The free arm is outfitted with two LED lights as well, making it easy to clearly see the stitches you’re working on.
This machine also stands out for its stitching speed and versatility. The machine is capable of making 850 stitches per minute. On top of that, it comes with 13 different presser feet attachments so that you can easily adjust to working with any type of fabric. The machine also has electronic twin needle settings that allow it to clear the presser foot when working with a twin needle.
SINGER includes a 25-year warranty on this sewing machine.
If you’re looking for an entry-level electric sewing machine, this model from Brother won’t break the bank. The sewing machine includes a number of high-end features, including a vertical thread spool that allows for more consistent thread feeding. It also comes with a drop-in top bobbin and automatic needle threading.
Unfortunately, this machine doesn’t have the same range of stitch types that you’ll find in more advanced electric sewing machines. It comes with only 50 stitches and five auto-size buttonhole stitches, and you can’t add more by connecting the sewing machine to a computer. Switching between stitch types can be a bit cumbersome as well, since you need to press the up or down buttons until you reach the number for the stitch you want.
That said, this sewing machine does gain versatility thanks to the inclusion of seven different sewing feet. You also get a three-piece needle set and a twin needle, along with a foot control pedal for easier sewing.
One thing users noted about this machine is that it is programmed so that the needle ends in the down position, which makes it difficult to remove fabrics. It can be reprogrammed to end in the up position, but navigating this process can be a bit confusing.
Brother offers a 25-year warranty and unlimited technical support for this sewing machine.
This basic mechanical sewing machine from SINGER is a budget-friendly option for anyone just starting out with making their own cosplay costumes. The machine includes just six basic stitch types, so beware that you won’t be able to add any decorative stitches to your costume with this machine. In addition, while it includes a buttonhole stitch, it’s a four-step stitch rather than a one-step buttonhole style.
Users found that threading this machine isn’t overly difficult, although it lacks a drop-in bobbin or automatic needle threader. The bobbins can be wound automatically, which makes the process of adding new thread significantly faster. Users also appreciated that there’s a simple reverse lever that you can activate to reinforce any stitches.
The sewing machine does come with three feet, although they’re more general-purpose than what you get with pricier models. One is a general use presser foot, one is for zippers, and one is for buttonholes. The feet, along with extra needles and a fabric cutter, are stored inside the free arm for easy access. SINGER includes a cover with this sewing machine for safe storage as well.
Despite its simplicity, this sewing machine is built to last. It is made with an all-metal internal frame that provides stability while you’re sewing. Plus, SINGER backs it up with the same 25-year warranty you’d get for one of the company’s high-end models.
What we liked:
Automatic bobbin winding
Simple reverse lever
Includes all basic stitches
What could be better:
No automatic threading
Limited presser foot selection
Slow maximum stitch speed
Things to Consider
Now that you know more about our top picks for the best cosplay sewing machines, how do you choose the one that’s right for you? Getting the right sewing machine has a big impact on the speed and quality of your sewing. So, let’s take a look at some of the factors you should consider.
What sewing machine would be great for cosplay costumes?
The best sewing machine for making cosplay costumes isn’t necessarily the same as the best all-around sewing machine. For cosplay outfits, ease of use can be a major factor in your decision. Cosplay costumes often require a lot of stitching, so you don’t want to be fighting your sewing machine for the length of an entire project. At the same time, maximum sewing speed is important to consider so that you can zip through sewing easier portions of your costume.
On top of that, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of stitch types available. While you only need a few stitches to make a basic cosplay costume, decorative stitches can dramatically increase the quality and appearance of your outfits.
Features to consider when choosing a sewing machine for cosplay
With those general guidelines in mind, let’s take a look at some of the important technical features you should know about when choosing a starter sewing machine for cosplay.
One of the first choices you’ll need to make is whether you want a mechanical or computerized (electric) sewing machine.
Mechanical sewing machines are the tried-and-true standard. They allow you to choose between a preset number of stitches and you can adjust the settings using simple knobs. They also tend to be much cheaper than electric sewing machines, which makes them a good choice if you’re just starting out with making your own cosplay costumes.
Electric sewing machines use a built-in computer to adjust the head to make different types of stitches. Models like the Brother Project Runway come with dozens of stitches preloaded, and you can download more from the Internet. Electric sewing machines are more precise than mechanical machines, but they’re also more expensive and have a steeper learning curve.
The controls built into your sewing machine make a big difference in how adjustable it is and how easy it will be to use. Mechanical machines like the Brother XM2701 and SINGER 4411 have simple knobs that allow you to change the stitch type and length. Computerized models have a small screen, although the number of buttons varies widely.
Most beginner sewing machines for cosplay are operated by hand, although you can find some foot-operated models as well. Generally, hand operation makes it easier when you’re just starting out with sewing since you don’t need to coordinate your hands and feet.
Max. sewing speed
The maximum sewing speed is important to consider, especially if you tend to sew large costumes with simple stitches. Having a faster machine can help you move through the project much more quickly.
Maximum speeds can vary widely between sewing machines. For example, the SINGER 4411 can move at up to 1,150 stitches per minute, while the SINGER Start 1304 is capable of just 400 stitches per minute.
Number and type of stitches
The number of stitches your sewing machine is capable of is extremely important for cosplay. When you’re making cosplay costumes, you’ll generally just need a few basic stitches that almost every sewing machine includes.
But if you want to upgrade your projects or make them more professional-looking, you’ll want to take advantage of decorative stitches. Some sewing machines come with only a few decorative stitches, while others come with hundreds. Keep in mind that with an electric machine like the SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960, you can download more stitches from the Internet.
Don’t forget about buttonhole stitches, either. Having both simple and decorative buttonholes can make a huge difference in cosplay costumes that require a lot of buttons or other add-ons.
Ease of use
Many modern sewing machines include features to make them easier to use. For example, the Brother Project Runway and the Brother XM2701 come with top drop-in bobbins, which allow you to easily replace your thread spool when it runs out. You may also want to look for features like automatic threaders, which can make it much easier to get a project started.
The number and type of needles a sewing machine comes with are also important to consider. Most machines come with several needles that are ideal for general sewing. However, if you need more needles or needles for a special type of fabric, like leather or synthetics, then you will likely have to buy these separately.
A presser foot plays an important role on a sewing machine – it’s there to hold your fabric flat as your stitch. Most sewing machines come with one or more presser feet to help you get started sewing right away. But, you may need to purchase additional or larger presser feet as you get into making more complex cosplay costumes.
Size and weight
The size and weight of your sewing machine isn’t a huge deal unless you’re planning to travel with it. However, it should be small enough and lightweight enough that you don’t mind putting it away between uses. This can help protect your sewing machine from damage.
Sewing machines are designed to last a lifetime, and the warranty generally reflects that. All of the beginner sewing machines for cosplay that we reviewed, except for the Brother Project Runway, come with 25-year warranties.
Sewing machines require quite a bit of care to keep them in good shape. You should expect to change needles every eight hours or after every project to keep your stitches in perfect shape. In addition, use compressed air to clean lint out of the machine’s insides and lubricate your machine regularly with sewing machine oil. It’s also a good idea to take your sewing machine in for servicing at least once per year to have a professional look over it.
The most important thing you can do when storing your sewing machine is to put a dust cover over it. Otherwise, dust can get into the inside of your machine and cause significant problems during your next project. Your machine should be also be kept at moderate temperatures so none of the internal metal parts can expand or contract.
If you’re looking for the best sewing machine for cosplay, we recommend the Brother XM2701, the SINGER Heavy Duty 4411, and the SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960. The Quantum Stylist is an excellent choice for more advanced costume makers. It’s an electric model with 600 built-in stitch types, an extension table, and tons of features for ease of use. The SINGER Heavy Duty model is best for working with heavy fabrics like denim and leather, although it’s also ideal for anyone who wants a speedy and versatile sewing machine. Our overall favorite sewing machine for making cosplay costumes is the Brother XM2701. For a very reasonable price, you get more than 60 stitches and ease of use features like drop-in bobbins and automatic threading. Even better, this machine comes with unlimited technical support from Brother, which can come in handy as you start exploring more stitches and styles with your sewing machine.