The Best Sewing Machine in 2019 for Fashion Designer Student

My first experience with a sewing machine was very special. My neighbor Don Eduardo, an elderly man who moved next to us in 1999. We were living in the same building, so we shared one wall. This is important, because in the afternoon he started sewing garments for his grandchildren and the sound of the Singer La Vencedora 28 was hypnotic. He made some alterations to the machine so he could use a pedal.

Don Eduardo was a tailor, and retired after working more than 50 years in the industry. He was originally from Barahona, Dominican Republic and his wife, Doña Mirella made the most wonderful arepitas ( Croquetas) de Yucas; She was also from Barahona. Both had a very unique accent and were funny people. We also played dominoes every afternoon.

The inspiration for this post and video came from a subscriber of my Spanish YouTube channel, and she basically asked me to talk about my industrial sewing machines, and referenced that she may start studying fashion design, and wants to buy her own sewing machine to learn about sewing in general. The reason behind this video and post is to help you guys choose the best sewing machine possible within your budget, possibilities, and needs. The four amazing machines that I will be talking about were purchased with my own money, and I still have the machines. I do use those machine frequently based on my needs and projects:

Brother XR3240 Computerized Sewing

This machine was purchased at Costco and I made a few videos about it. In general this sewing machine in my opinion is a great start point for anybody who wants to experiment and try different things. I used this for general sewing, buttons, and decor stitches. The machine has the capacity of quilting which I am not good at, (and don't like it as much) but the ability and capacity is present in this machine. Something else about this machine is the impressive number of functions at this price tag. I've seen this machine around $130.00 to $150.00 which is ideal for a machine that can do all this.

The Brother XR3240 is extremely light weight, so you wont have to lift a heavy machine if you have to travel with it. I traveled to Wisconsin and Florida with it, and was super nice to have a machine that is small, compact, and powerful enough to make a simple garment. Now, this machine can not be used with medium or heavy fabrics. So, if you like to do leather work or canvas work, this machine is not for you. I would still consider it an excellent machine for any person who is new to sewing, or someone who needs a reliable sewing machine for garment construction.

Main Features

  • 140 built-in stitches, including 8 one-step auto-size buttonhole styles

  • Wide table for larger projects

  • Extra-large, high-contrast white on black LCD display for easy viewing in low light

  • Brightly Lit LED Work Area

  • Advanced easy needle threading system

  • Variable speed control and start/stop button

  • Smooth fabric feeding utilizing 7-point feed dogs

  • Jam resistant Quick-Set drop-in top bobbin

  • Includes 9 quick-change presser feet, including spring action quilting foot and ¼" piecing foot

Here is a list of Similar Sewing machine that you can look at; I put here different price ranges for different budgets:

Janome HD1000

This is my first Janome, and I am seriously impressed by it. First, the machine feels strong and sometimes scares me because I tried many weird tests on it, and the machine looks like it doesn't care and passed the tests flawlessly.

The machine has a steady design; it is really strong. The machine can sew over layers of denim like nothing. I have seen people sewing over wood rulers, heavy leather, and other strong plastic material that I won't feel safe doing.

The machine in general is super simple to use; the stitch length is super visible, the different stitches and button settings are on top of the machine. The reverse is nice to use. The machine can do some quilting, like making a jacket, which I did. The walking foot is around $50.00 dollars extra which i think is a a good price for the quality of the walking foot. I would recommended this machine to someone who need a strong machine for buttons, like for jacket and coats, or sewing medium to heavy material like leather or plastic.

The Janome HD1000 can do simple sewing, but I think it is more for heavy users and someone who enjoys sewing curtains. My biggest complaint is that the machine shakes a lot, I did get the mat, which reduced the shaking but based on the nature of the machine, which is strong, I would not consider this a reason to not buy it. This machine has been super helpful to me when I need to make button holes for a jacket or coat also sewing heavy canvas.

Main Features

  • 14 stitches

  • 1 four-step buttonhole

  • Lay-in, manual thread tension control

  • Built-in needle threader

  • Snap-on presser feet

  • 3-piece feed dog

  • Free arm

  • Drop feed

  • Reverse stitch lever

  • Push-pull bobbin winding

  • Extra-high presser foot lift

  • Stitch selection dial

  • Front Loading Vertical Oscillating Hook Bobbin

  • 5mm maximum stitch width

  • 4mm maximum stitch length

  • Dust cover included

Here is a list of similar sewing machines that you can look at; I put here different price ranges for different budgets:

  • Janome Arctic Crystal

  • Janome 2212

  • Janome MOD-50 Computerized Sewing

Juki TL-2010Q

This beautiful machine is my favorite, this machine is in my small sewing room and does wonders for me. The first time that I saw this machine was in a boat. I was watching a documentary about Mediterranean's Yate and one guy in the boat was fixing the sail, which was ripped and he was sewing it together. They pulled out the previous version of this machine (the Juki TL-2000Qi )which is a great machine, but I got a better deal with this machine. The machine cost me $999.00 and came with multiple items, including the walking foot for quilting jackets/coats, quilting motion foot, which I had not tried yet, a basic foot, and others.

This machine works like any industrial machine. The way you thread the machine is similar, the bobbins are the same, the feet from the Juki DDL-8700 will work on it and in many way is almost the same but is PORTABLE which I love!!.

The fact that I can have the machine with me everywhere is priceless. The Juki TL-2010Q is easy to use, clean, and provides me with industrial quality stitches that other machines won't be able to provide me. Also, because you can put it on any table you can be closer to the machine and control the stitches and fabrics better.

The machine has a couple awesome features: 1- The up and down needle position which help you to decide how you want the needle to end. 2- the cut thread, the machine has the option to cut the thread for you when you press the cut thread button (the scissor symbol) or press the pedal back and will cut the thread for you. 3- the dogfoot up or down is super helpful for free motion quilting. and 4- The speed control, this by far is my favorite because you can control how fast you can go and better control the sewing experience.

The machine also has an automatic threader which to be honest I don't care as much, I am old fashioned. The machine also has easy access to the bobbins, and have the lift food pedal in front so you can lift the foot without using the lever.

In general it is a great machine and easier to use if you have experience with industrial machines. The TL-2010Q will be super easy to you. Also if you learn to use this machine, you can use the experience when you are in front of an industrial sewing machine like the Juki DDL-8700. Something else that is really good is that you can use all the feet from the Juki DDL-8700 on the TL-2010q and vice-versa. Both machines have the same system of screw the foot, which is super helpful. The only attachment that you cannot use on the Juki DDL-8700 is the walking foot that came from the Juki TL-2010q which I already tried to install and did not work. One thing that need to be careful is the lubrication. The machine uses a lot of oil. You need to lube up the machine, but keep in mind this machine doesn't have the pool, like the Juki DDL-8700.

Main Features

  • Automatic Thread Trimmer: The machine is equipped with an automatic thread button that simultaneously trims the needle and bobbin threads at the sewing end by lightly pressing the push-button. Both the trim button and the foot controller engage the advanced Juki industrial style thread trimming mechanism.

  • Thread Tension Scale: The machine also has the thread tension scale, which allows you to adjust the tension according to the thread and material to be used.

  • Maximum Speed Control: The new speed control lever gives you complete control over sewing speed. Set the speed from 200 to 1500 stitches per minute, or any speed in between for free motion, and precision sewing.

  • Materials are sewn with Ease: The microcomputer controlled, speed control mechanism, allows the machine to sew materials at low speeds. This provides for accurate feed and perfect stitching when sewing heavy weight fabric, quilting and multiple layers of materials.

  • Presser Foot Pressure Adjustment: Presser foot pressure can be adjusted according to the fabric being sewn by turning a regulator located on the top of the machine.

  • Needle Up/Down Control: When you stop sewing, the machine will stop with the needle in the down position to allow for pivoting or more accurate free motion work. To move the needle up or down as desired, simply press the needle up/down button.

  • Truly Illuminating: The bright-white LED lighting, provides an illuminated view of the sewing area and allows for more precise sewing.

  • Automatic Needle Threader: The push lever automatic needle threader easily threads the needle without eyestrain and allows you to start sewing quickly.

  • Easy Bobbin Replacement: The bobbin case latch and an enlarged bobbin case area make it easier to remove and replace the bobbin.

  • Nothing Free Motion Quilts Better Than a Juki: Juki's rich tradition in quilting continues with the TL-2010Q. The feed dog can be raised and lowered simply by depressing a switch. When quilting, the drop feed allows you to sew curved stitches with precision and ease.

  • Juki 1/4 Inch and 1/5 Inch Quilting Feet: The quilting feet are designed for free motion quilting and free-hand embroidery. Just lower the feed dogs and stitch away.

  • Juki Even Feed Foot: With its reliable feed, the even feed foot ensures the machine's ability to produce beautiful seams when sewing difficult-to-feed fabrics such as georgette and velvets, as well as heavy weight materials such as leather.

  • Knee Lifter Lever: The knee lifter level allows you to lift/lower the presser foot without using your hands. The presser foot can be raised as high as 12mm.

Here is a list of similar sewing machines that you can look at; I put here different price ranges for different budgets:

Juki DDL-8700

The Queen of the garment sewing! The fabulous Juki DDL-8700 is the main sewing machine used in factories around the world. Many tried to compete against this machine and still cannot reach the capacity, reliability, and quality.

The Juki DDL 8700 was designed by the company called Juki, which is a Japanese company. The iconic machine can do 5,500sti/min, this is a workhorse! The machine can do anything from light-weight to Medium-weight without any effort or problems.

The machine normally comes with the table, lamp, thread stand and side draw. In some places you do have the option to get the machine with the servo motor or clutch motor. If you are going to use the machine for garment construction only purchase the servo motor, DO NOT BUY THE CLUTCH MOTOR. The clutch motor is more for the highly skilled sewing people, very loud, sewing in high volume and not so much details. The Clutch motor is recommended for factories that work with heavy material and repetitive motion.

The servo motor is more detail-oriented, sewing small batch of garment, more control of the speed, less noise, and higher quality of the stitches in general. Besides the differences I still believe both motors are good; just for average sewing, I would recommend you to get the servo motor. The threading area is similar as the TL-2010q, the only different is the DDL-8700 doesn't have the Automatic Needle Threader, which to be honest is okay with me.

The keys for this machine is quality of the stitches, the amount of work that you can do with it, the versatility of the machine itself when we are talking about sewing different thickness of fabrics, the stitches length which you can do different material with it, and the power of the machine. This is one of the most powerful machines that a person can purchase. In general, it is a best option in my opinion for any fashion designer student.

Also if you do take care the Juki DDL-8700 can last you up to 25 years easily. The machine has a pool where you need to fill it up and keep it running fast a couple times in order to lube it up.

Main Features

  • A single-needle, lockstitch sewing equipment with auto-lubrication system

  • Has 110-volt servo motor that makes for a quiet operation of the sewing machine

  • Has adjustable RPMs for wide ranging option for stitch speed

  • Provides a maximum stitch length of 5 millimeters, providing a minimum of 6 stitches per inch

  • Capable of generating maximum stitch speed of 5,500 stitches a minute

  • Uses Organ DBx1 needles (same as 16×231) or around sizes 9 to 18

  • Has dimensions of 20 by 48 by 48 inches

  • Has 11-inch arm space from neck to needle

  • Has maximum of 1/4-inch presser foot lift by hand leverHas up to 1/2-inch presser foot lift by knee lever

Here is a list of similar sewing machine that you can look at it; I put here different price ranges for different budgets: