test drive: singer heavy duty sewing machine


I learned how to sew on a Singer when I was seven or eight. Not just any Singer though — a before there was electricity Singer treadle machine — that my mother wisely purchased, thinking that I was too impatient for her Bernina. (She was right, of course, but that’s a whole other post.) When I finally graduated to sewing on her Bernina, I was forever spoiled. So spoiled, that until last month, I never purchased my own sewing machine, fearing that a cheap machine would just be more trouble than it was worth. With Halloween looming and my grandmother’s old machine (not that old, this one is electric) wheezing and snapping threads every couple of inches or so, I decided to look for an interim machine. (I still have my grandmother’s but repair will be slow and costly). Enter the Singer 4423 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine. Listed for $132 on Amazon, it boasted a speed of 1,100 stitches a minute. Perfect for the impatient sewer. After sewing two vampire dresses out of slippery, shiny material and making various minor repairs on pillows, curtains and such, I’m sold. The stitch range is basic. No fancy embroidery package. And it’s not the sexiest thing ever but oh is it fast. The one annoyance? The release lever for the foot that I kept knocking into the first day, causing the foot to fall off. But for the intermittent or beginner sewer, it’ll do everything you ask of it and will handle glittery polyesters and satins with the greatest of ease. Although with any luck, I won’t have to deal with any of those until this time next year. — Sarah L.

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Can it handle light upholstery material?

Sarah L.

Hi Mod. I’ve done two layers of denim on it without a problem. Also four layers of light upholstery on a pillow with cording. The machine didn’t even make a whimper. I’m beyond happy with it, especially for the price.


Thank you!

I’ve been toying with the notion of learning to sew, but the price of most machines gave me great pause.

The cheaper ones I’ve found have had bad reviews, so this is quite encouraging.

Do you think this would work well for a novice? I haven’t sewed a stitch since high school home ec, but like DJ, have been really wanting to give it a try. Is this one pretty idiot-proof? I have visions of sewing my finger to a pair of jeans!


Thanks for publishing this. I’ve been trying to find good reviews of inexpensive ‘heavy duty’ machines.


This is great, I just told my husband I’d like a sewing machine for Xmas, although I had no idea what one to get, other than I wanted something sturdy without a lot of bells and whistles. I also learned as a kid, but I had little patience and didn’t do it very well or very long.


I have a question for Sarah L.–does this machine do a good loose basting stitch? My mom has had a problem in the past with machines that do a too-tight basting stitch, and then you end up having to rip it out like it was a seam, so she ended up hand-basting everything, which defeats the purpose of having a machine.


Thanks!! for the review. Like other readers I want a sewing machine but just couldnt find one for the right price. And then of course I kept getting lured in by dreams of doing fancy embroidery on my daughter’s clothes. Thankfully never made the leap. Will check this one out!