Singer M3500 Review
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|Pros||Great light, easy to thread the top thread||Easy to use, notably good zigzag stitching, free-foot sewing option||Good sewing performance, easy to use, high value||Excellent lighting, clear and easy stitch selection, very easy buttonhole set-up||Excellent straight stitching on cotton jersey, very easy to get stitches set up|
|Cons||Secondary stitches are hidden in selection wheel housing, buttonhole process isn't great, front load bobbin is trickier to use||Buttonholes on light to medium fabrics aren't ideal, subpar bobbin winding||A bit harder to set up||Trouble with the bottom of zippers, basic side-mounted manual thread cutter||Lacks a needle up/down button, no presser foot lock, trouble with bottom strap of average zipper|
|Bottom Line||This average machine has a good light and nice price point, but is very inconsistent with sewing its buttonholes||A great machine that leaves something to be desired in creating buttonholes on lighter fabrics but overall provides excellent features for the price||A great machine for the price and a good bet for both beginning and seasoned users||Good for those starting out, but advanced users will get better performance out of other machines||Great machine for a beginning sewer, but lacking a few helpful computerized features|
|Rating Categories||Singer M3500||Brother XR9550||Singer 7258 Stylist||Brother CS6000i||Brother CS5055|
|Ease of use (35%)|
|Specs||Singer M3500||Brother XR9550||Singer 7258 Stylist||Brother CS6000i||Brother CS5055|
|# of Built-in Stitches||32||165||100||60||60|
|# of Buttonhole Styles||1||8||6||7||7|
|Measured Weight||12. 1 Ibs||12. 1 Ibs||14.6 lbs||9.4 lbs||10.8 lbs|
|Maximum Sewing Speed (stitches per minute)||750||850||750||850||750|
|Buttonhole Sewing (number of steps)||1-Step||1-Step||1-Step||1-Step||1-Step|
|Maximum Stitch Width||5mm||7mm||6mm||7mm||7mm|
|Maximum Stitch Length||4mm||5mm||4.8mm||5mm||5mm|
|Automatic Bobbin Winder?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Singer sewing machines have been the go-to machine for generations of sewers. A household name since the early 1900s, their sewing machines were the ones to buy as they were innovative and consistently produced good products. Unfortunately, that precedent wasn't upheld for us with the Singer M3500. Though it has 32 stitches, a soft carrying case, and a free arm, there are some negatives with this machine. Overall, it's merely an average machine.
The Singer M3500 is on the budget end of the Singer line of sewing machines, and despite its not-so-positive points, it does pretty well for a bargain machine. We count sewing as 45% of the total score towards the ranking of the sewing machines, so you know that we're very picky about our testing and results. Our testers went through six different stitches on various fabric types and then looked closely — very closely — at the results. The M3500 scored rather well in the zig-zag stitch, basting, and straight stitches, and — believe it or not — in our 8-layer denim test.
Another area where the M3500 did well was with the quilting swatch. Each machine had to sew through two layers of batting with two layers of muslin in our quilting test, and the M3500 scored well above average.
Sadly, the M3500 did not do so well with the blind hem, the diamond stitch, and the scallop stitch. We suggest you look at a different machine if you are going to do a lot of decorative stitching, as this one may be too frustrating.
Ease of Use
If your sewing machine is not straightforward, you run the risk of having sepnt good money on something you are disinclined to use. For this metric, we rate each machine on how straightforward it is to thread, load the bobbin, and choose the size and type of stitch for your project. The M3500 scored averagely overall for these tests, excelling in regards to its excellent light.
Regrettably, the setup for the Singer M3500 was more difficult than for others. The directions for threading are both printed and molded onto the machine, which can be hard to see. The three wheels on top of the machine have pictures on them of what each one does, but if you are a novice, that may not be very clear. Stitch selection is accomplished with one of the wheels that rotates and clicks into place, and more directions are in the manual. The third big wheel on the front selects the stitch, and again the directions in the manual will be helpful as you learn the ropes.
Next, we have the bobbin to set up, and since this is a front-loading bobbin, you'll have to bend down to table level in order to see what you are doing. But as with everything, you'll get used to doing it as you practice, and this shouldn't be a dealbreaker.
Many people are afraid of tackling buttonholes, and the M3500 reminded us why. Despite having a 1-step buttonholing process, our test team found the process quite frustrating. The machine started out sewing just fine, with several flawless test runs, but its performance deteriorated from there. From mysteriously stopping mid-process (even after multiple reset attempts) to coming out overly tight, this isn't a machine we recommend if you plan to do a lot of buttonholes. We could not discern what caused these malfunctions, and it may have been isolated to the particular machine we tested, but it definitley concerned us and tanked the M3500's score in this metric.
Should You Buy the Singer M3500?
Well… The setup and stitching are decent, so this would be a decent sewing machine for projects that don't involve buttonholes. That said, we would not recommend it for beginners. Sadly, the negatives outweighed the positives for us.
What Other Sewing Machines Should You Consider?
Quite frankly, almost any other sewing machine would be better and far less frustrating than this Singer. If you really like the Singer brand, consider the Singer 7258 Stylist, a truly excellent sewing machine at a reasonable price. If you need to keep the price point down, have a look at the Brother CS5055, a very consistent machine at a steal of a price.
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