Best Sewing Machines for Intermediate Sewers

For those who like creating homemade gifts, nothing quite beats the joy of having a good embroidery machine. Whether you’re doing simple monograms or detailed quilting patterns, you’ll want the best embroidery machine for your individual needs.

We’ve reviewed some of the top machines available to buy, and these are the 4 best-rated embroidery machines on the market.

4 Sewing Machines Reviews for Intermediate Sewers


1. Brother LB6800PRW Project Runway Computerized  Sewing Machine

Brother LB6800PRW Project Runway Computerized Embroidery and Sewing Machine with Included Rolling Carrying Case

If you are after an absolute beginner machine that can handle embroidery and sewing with ease, the Brother LB6800PRW comes with an endorsement from Project Runway. machine that can handle embroidery and sewing with ease, the Brother LB6800PRW comes with an endorsement from Project Runway.

Of course, an endorsement isn’t exactly the same as a recommendation, but fans of the show will love the carrying bag that comes with this machine, apart from its other great features.

Certainly, this machine (like any other piece of technology) will require a bit of learning, but thankfully it is aimed at beginners and the learning process is relatively simple. process is relatively simple.

There are a few complaints with the machine – for example, the default stitch will have the needle at the left side of the foot, as opposed to the center. However, it shouldn’t take long to adjust to switching the machine before you start your stitches.

All in all, this machine came most recommended among all sewing-embroidering combos out there, and it comes with all the quality that the Brother name implies.

Plus, it’s got a cute storage bag that can be used to hold your machine or your other supplies. If you won’t be using the bag, it would be cheaper to buy the PE540D, as it tends to be lower-priced and has the exact same specifications, aside from the bag. We liked the bag, though, so it was well worth the extra cost for us.

Please check the video below for an in-depth review of the Brother LB6800 in specific as well as using guide for embroidery machine in general.


2. Brother PE540D 4×4 Embroidery Machine with 70 Built-in Decorative Designs, 35 Disney Designs, 5 Fonts

Brother PE540D 4x4 Embroidery Machine with 70 Built-in Decorative Designs, 35 Disney Designs, 5 Fonts

Yep, it’s another Brother machine – this time, the Brother PE540D. This machine has a 4×4 grid and current users compare its simplicity to “using a printer”. Sure, printers can be difficult in their own right, but remember when I said all technology implies a learning curve? This is no different.

Unpacking and setting up this machine is a snap, even for beginners.

There are a number of nice little bonuses included, which won’t win any awards, but definitely offer enough to get you started. Once you’ve learned a little bit about your machine (and the secrets of mastering impressive embroidery projects), you can easily upgrade to better equipment.

This particular machine will stop if a thread is snapped (which is common when using cheaper threads, such as the white one that comes with the machine). This is great because it allows you to just back up a few steps once you’ve re-threaded, and continue as if nothing ever happened.

Our only real complaint with this machine was that the storage capacity for downloaded designs is not very big – but considering there are some machines that don’t let you add your own designs, we can live with only having a smaller sample.

Besides, if the machine had more storage, we’d undoubtedly spend all our money on buying new designs – and not have enough left to buy fabric and better thread! (Plus, there are Disney-licensed designs included – great for kids’ stuff and the 20-somethings who aren’t ready to let go of their childhood yet.)


3. Brother PE770 5X7 inch Embroidery Only Machine with Built-In Memory, USB Port, 6 Lettering Fonts & 136 Built-In Designs

Brother Embroidery Machine, PE770, 5” x 7” Embroidery Machine with Built-in Memory, USB Port, 6 Lettering Fonts, 136 Built-in Designs

For those who want to play around with larger designs, the Brother PE770 is a great embroidery machine that offers a 5″x 7″ hoop area – significantly larger than the PE540D, above.

Of course, with the larger size, there will be some sacrifices, but we found that these sacrifices were minor, and hardly impacted our use of the machine. (Although we were a bit sad that this didn’t come with the Mickey Mouse designs like the PE540D did.)

Most of the preloaded designs with this machine are a bit “cutesy”, so for the most part, we used it for doing lettering. And, let me tell you – this thing does a wonderful job with lettering.

Like other Brother machines, the PE770 gives you the option of loading designs that you’ve purchased and downloaded, as well, as long as they fit within the 5×7” frame.

Our biggest complaint with this machine was that the display was in black-and-white – not the most convenient when you’re trying to quickly decide on something. There are programs available to let you see the design in color, though, so if you don’t mind a few extra steps, this isn’t much of a problem.


4. Brother Designio Series DZ820E Embroidery Only Machine

Brother Designio Series DZ820E Embroidery Machine with bonus embroidery hoops (4x4 inch and 2.5x1 inch), a starter kit and a CD with 200 bonus embroidery designs - more than a $200 value

You know, I had really hoped that this list wouldn’t be dominated by Brother machines, but… What can I say?

They are one of the first names to come to mind when you’re thinking sewing and embroidery, and for a good reason. The Brother DZ820E is a bit more expensive, but this extra cost translates to a better experience overall, so it’s not so bad.This machine, like the others on our list, comes with everything you need to get started.

Most of these included items are of basic quality, but the needle threader seems to be this machine’s biggest strength. Automatic needle threaders truly are a wonderful innovation, and this particular unit has one that’s better than most.

There are, of course, some drawbacks to this machine as well, mainly that the retail price is so high – thankfully, Amazon generally offers great discounts off the “sticker price”. At the time of this review, Amazon offered around 42% off the list price, although that may have changed since.

Our biggest complaint with the machine as purchased from Amazon was that the needles seem to be hit-and-miss; that is, you should be sure to carry plenty of extra needles on hand, as you’ll probably need to replace them more than you’d expect.

There have been days when I’ve gone through 3 and 4 needles in a single day of heavy use. You can minimize this by ensuring that you’re using the right needle for the fabric you’ll be embroidering on, but you would still be advised to buy your needles in bulk – just in case.


What To Know Before You Buy?

As with any other significant purchase, it’s best to know what to get before you spend any money. Here are the primary things to think about before you start looking at embroidery machines:

How much experience do you have?
Beginners may benefit from a machine that has fewer features since too much to learn at once can make your machine more difficult to use (check here for some cool ways to use an embroidery machine). However, more experienced users might want something that allows them to create custom designs, or to download more designs via a computerized interface.

What is your budget?
Embroiderers on a budget might not need all the features available in a higher-priced. By knowing which features are important to you, you can select one within your price range. This will allow you to get the best value for your money.

What is the brand?
In the world of arts and crafts, certain manufacturers stand out above the rest. When it comes to embroidery machines, the top brands include Singer, Brother, and Janome. Our list currently includes all Brother machines, because they are the top-rated overall at the time of this review.

Do you need a combination machine?
Some embroidery machines are labeled as “sewing combo” machines. This means that they will do regular stitching as well as letters and logos. While it can be tempting to go with a lower-priced single function machine, choosing a combination machine in the first place could be more affordable than buying the two machines separately.

What material(s) will you be working with?
Not all embroidery machines can handle all fabric types, so if you will be working with leather or hats, you might need a stronger machine than someone who will only be working with cotton or polyester clothing.

What types of designs will you be working with?
Many machines for home use are built for either monogramming (such as names and initials) or logos. These machines might be inexpensive, but most embroiderers would like the ability to switch between the different types of embroidery. If possible, look for a machine that lets you select from a large variety of designs.

What types of machine is best for you?

  • There are single needle machines, and there are multi-needle machines.
  • Single machines work best with one point of hoop attachment, and will require you to change your embroidery thread manually – and often.
  • Multi-needle machines, on the other hand are more efficient for those who will be running a home embroidery business, as they allow you to set up your thread all at once. Often, multi-needle machines will have a larger hoop than single needle machines.

Can you add your own fonts and designs?

  • With any home use embroidery machine, you will get the greatest variety if you can import your own third party fonts and designs into your machines.
  • Some can be hooked up to a computer and automatically updated. Others may let you purchase additional fonts and designs, but only from their catalog.
  • Be sure to check the Consumer Reports for your machine to see what it offers.

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