By Joanna D.
on 2010-10-25 A talented "singer" sews up a storm
I've been sewing since middle school, and in fact, I used to make all my clothes in high school, being long on height and at the time, short on wardrobe funds. Even now, I like to sew my summer clothes, as it's easy to whip up a skirt in a pretty floral pattern that may take me 20 minutes to sew and cost me next to nothing. I also enjoy making home decor items and accessories such as bags.
I own several sewing machines, from a very old mechanical machine as old as I am, to a modern electronic machine that embroiders and practically sews by itself. I was interested to see what this basic machine can do, and here's what I found
Type of Sewing Machine
The "Talent" is a starter machine or a basic machine, meaning, it does most sewing tasks, and is suitable for a beginning sewist or for someone who wants to do most sewing tasks and perhaps does not have the budget for a more advanced machine. This is a mechanical machine, meaning you change stitches (say, from straight to zigzag or stretch stitch) via a mechanical knob, not electronically. There is no LCD screen, no touch pad, and no ability to do embroidery. The good news is that this kind of machine tends to be very rugged; no chips to burn out or LCD to go blank. This machine, given good care, should last for years and deliver a lot of sewing power.
The machine is definitely most suited to garment and home decor sewing. It produces a beautifully straight stitch, and has enough fancy stitches to do most home sewing designs.
The "Talent" has a lot of good features
1. One-Step Buttonhole. This is unusual on a mechanical machine. Most mechanical sewing machines rely on a four-step buttonhole, where you stitch down one side, do a bar tack, stitch in reverse back down the other side of the buttonhole, then bar tack the end (hopefully, you were able to end up at your starting place, and that you marked your buttonholes all the same length and the CORRECT length.) A one-step buttonhole uses a foot with a place to insert a button. This tells the machine where to start and stop the bar tacks, making for uniform buttonholes that are the right length for your chosen button.
There is only one style of buttonhole (plain tight satin stitch, straight bar tacks) but the fact this can do a one-step is reason enough to strongly consider the "Talent" as a do-all machine or a great machine to start a youngster on.
There is also an included button sewing foot; this is an open-ended foot that grips a button in place and allows you to sew it on using the machine; handy if making shirts with lots of buttons.
2. There are many accessory feet included. This is generous; my more expensive machine only came with a few feet and these items can add quite a bit onto the base machine price. The Talent includes a gathering foot (great for ruffles on pillows and girl's dresses), a buttonhole and button sewing foot, a zigzag foot (standard) a zipper foot, a quilting guide, a walking foot and an edge cutter, for overcasting and trimming seams. These could easily add up to an extra hundred or so over the purchase price. The feet fit into a nicely design extension piece; remove it to sew narrow hems around sleeves and trouser legs. It is the pull-off kind, not a drawer, and the accessories fit inside, nicely held in place by a lid. Most of these extension piece/storage boxes are simple tubes and the items inside fly out when you pull it off the machine. Very good design.
3. The stitches include basic ones, but sufficient for most tasks: zigzag, rick-rack, feather stitch, stretch stitch, and twenty or so more including blind hem, smocking and edge overcasting stitch. You choose your stitch on the knob selector; one stitch will be adjustable in width, the other paired stitch is selected by the "S" setting on the stitch length knob and is automatically sewn by the machine (for example, the feather stitch.) There are 23 stitches in all. The stitches are even; in fact, the straight stitch is MORE even than my electronic machine costing 3x as much. Partly, this would be due to the fact that this is a mechanical machine, but even so, I found the machine produces excellent stitches with hardly any coaxing.
There is the ability to free-sew by covering the feed dogs (the toothed gears that move fabric beneath the presser foot.) The feed dogs do NOT drop down as in some machines. A plastic plate is included to allow you to either sew on a button or to use the darning/embroidery foot for free sewing. This is something quilters do use frequently.
The machine includes a needle threader. It's made of metal and is very sturdy. It has a side thread cutter which I found a tad dull (could have been a bit sharper) and a clear bobbin window and a drop in bobbin. Easy to see if your thread is running low. Of course, there is a bobbin winder on top.
The side cutter is optional to use, but is included; you can mount it on the side and choose to overcast and trim your seams. It can only be used with overlock or regular zigzag stitch. This replicates part of what a serger does,that is, it overcasts and trims extra seam allowance for a finished effect. A serger sews a seam AND finishes and overcasts all at the same time and sews a lot faster than a sewing machine. This machine is fast but not the fastest on the block. If you need a serger, you need a serger, and at this price, you could add a Brother Serger
and between the two machines, you'd be well equipped to sew clothing. I like to use a serger on straight seams and any seams that need finishing; the side cutter is nice to have, but a serger is a lot more useful and faster, too.
There is an auxiliary spool pin, to insert in the top, for using a double needle for top stitching along with a second spool of thread.
The manual is EXCEPTIONALLY WELL WRITTEN, WELL-ORGANIZED and THOROUGH. I highlight this as many machines have sketchy manuals and they are not written well at all. This manual is a short, thick, pamphlet, with lots of illustrations and is written in English, French and Spanish. The Singer Company should be proud of the job they've done on this manual; most of the manuals are not very good and this one is excellent.
What's Not Included
1. This machine does not have a foot-less start-stop. This is a handy feature if you quilt. Nor is there a way to adjust speed except using the foot pedal. Since coordinating free motion when quilting is easier if you don't have to coordinate your foot and your hands, this is not an ideal machine for quilters, although it certainly can be used for quilting. More advanced quilting machines will have the start-stop without the pedal and a speed adjustment bar, plus drop-down feed dogs. If quilting is your passion, you may want to consider a different machine.
2. There is no automatic needle up, needle down feature or needle memory. This is a feature where the needle stays down or up when you stop sewing, and really adds to sewing efficiency. Nor is there an automatic thread cutter.
I did not see a presser foot pressure adjustment, handy for light and heavy fabrics. However, the presser foot has an extra-high lift, which is good for thick fabrics.
Who Should Buy This Machine?
If you intend to sew children's clothing, your own clothes, mend garments, sew home items, and if you don't want to spend a fortune on a machine or if you are a beginner, this is an EXCELLENT choice of machine. If you have a budding sewist, this machine is rugged but full of features that do the job. I found the straight stitch to be extremely regular and even, a failing of many more expensive machines. The light is bright and the controls well marked and easy to use. There are sufficient feet included to make this a great choice on a budget; you don't have to supplement this machine with many, if any, accessories.
Who Might Want to Pass on This Machine?
If you are a very experienced sewist, this could be your battleship machine, something to do rugged tasks. I would not suggest it as a traveling-light machine; it weighs about 12 lbs and is not as light as some of the little 3/4 machines that people use to take to sewing meets.
However, if you are a quilter and sew a lot, the lack of some of the modern features like needle-up-down memory and footless control are a drawback. If you want embroidery, fonts, a lot of decorative stitches, or more buttonhole styles such as keyhole, hand stitched style, stretch, then this is not the machine.
This is a rugged, feature-rich, and pretty machine with all the right notes for basic sewing. The features have been chosen with care to suit most sewing needs, and this is a great machine for sewing clothing and doing home decor. For the price, I'd say this would qualify as a great value and unless you need an advanced electronic machine, this would be a great choice for most people's basic sewing needs.
5 Stars By sparkle7 on 2011-02-09
SINGER CO. have really stepped up!!
This is my first ever review on amazon. I was really compelled to write this time.
I am impressed with this product. I am a beginner in this sewing business and have never touched sewing machines more than 2- 3 times or so in my life and this is my first ever sewing machine! YAY!
I noticed that generally, Singer sewing machines consistently were getting average to sour reviews and so you could imagine how much doubt I had before buying the Singer Talent sewing machine, which is one of the company's new products. I didn't want my first sewing machine to be complicated, hence my settling for a mechanical one, besides i don't need too many fancy stitches as i don't really plan to do a lot of sewing for now.
The Singer co. really stepped up in the market competition with this one!!
I read and re-read reviews, asked other experienced reviewers and sewers here on amazon (thanks to you all who replied by the way!!),and DID notice that all over the internet, (on 2DayDeliver first, Singer website, HSN channel, youtube, Joanns fabric website, etc) it was only POSITIVE reviews for this sewing machine, few as they were.
The PRICE also got me wondering-- Why pay so much for a mechanical sewing machine?-- when i got it, I realized why it cost more compared to the cheaper, bestselling popular mechanical sewing machines, which I'd almost settled for.
This sewing machine feels quite sturdy, is quiet, has good speed control with the foot pedal (you can go as slow or as fast as you like, unlike the popular ones where owners have complained runs like crazy, from 0 mph to 60-100 mph, with the slightest depression of the foot pedal), it comes with various presser feet, so I'm not thinking of adding extra accessories for now.
Also, it might not even need presser foot pressure control because the presser foot can be raised up pretty far as you will need and stay there (favorable for thick fabrics), or as low, lying flat on the needle plate (for light, thinner fabrics).
I've already begun projects on it and so far so good!! something tells me my singer talent machine will last.
The only PROBLEMS I can say I have are one, the MANUAL which doesn't say anything on the machine's maintenance and care. I have to use other singer sewing machine manuals to be getting information on anything that isn't clear. Funny, huh?
Two, putting in the bobbin was easy to figure out, but while playing with the buttonhole foot, i see one side stitches closer than the other. Can anyone please explain what I'm doing wrong?
Anyway, I am truly impressed.
UPDATE: May 1st--- I've had it for over 3 months and I've been using this almost everyday and just sewed denim bags had to go over layers of denim and backing, and this machine did it!!!!!! I used the walking foot and one of the singer size 14 needles the machine originally came with and it worked!I was even a little worried I was pushing my luck, especially as I had no size 16 needles but I was more than surprised!This one's a keeper!!! If I'm buying another sewing machines, it'll just be for fancier stitches.
5 Stars By Bruce R. on 2016-03-01
Excellent sewing machine
Excellent sewing machine. Singer's customer support is also excellent. I called them when I could not find an item; they answered the phone call quickly and led me step by step where to find the item which was in a storage compartment located on the machine. The machine is easy to use and has some nice extras such as the automatic needle threader.
4 Stars By batyah on 1969-12-31
Has the sewing "sleeve" base.
I have had my old Singer since the early 70s and I am so used to it as well as where everything is located that it will take me a little to get used to this machine. I have only done light sewing on it and quickly realized that I needed to read the manual more thoroughly to fully understand how this one works vs. my old one. Thus far it is a nice machine, only time will tell if it will be as good as my original machine and all of the sewing I had done with it through out the years and for my family. The one thing that I do not like the LED light; can not change a bulb and it is not as bright nor does it light as much area as on my old machine. I am thankful that I chose this machine over the more "approved" one because this has a sewing "arm" for hems, tight circumferences like sleeves, arm holes etc. which I use very much.
5 Stars By Anonomous on 2013-06-17
Impressed the Sewing Teacher!
I (Mom) gifted this to my daughter recently for her 18th birthday. As part of the gift, I signed her up for a 1-hour, introductory, one on one sewing class/learn to use your own new machine, with the Owner of a Sewing Teaching Company- The Owner / Instructor is very well known & reputed in our community- Is a current sewing teacher at both a public school district, and a Vocational School (in addition to her own private business). She has been sewing for 40+ years, with early experience in NYC's garment district. She knows her business like nobody's business!
Well, we brought this machine, new, unopened, with my daughter to meet for the 1st time w/ this highly experienced Instructor- She (Teacher) was *very* impressed at the quality and ease of use of this machine. It is metal construction (inside), so it sits rock solid (vs. wobbling / shimmy-ing aroung the table when pedal to the metal). It has ALL the "basics" covered, plus many, many extra accessories included for advancing sewers. The Instructor was mesmerized. They spent nearly 2 hours together (teacher & my daughter) learning / loving this machine! (My payment was for a 1-hour private session). By the end of this initial lesson, my daughter is now an entry level sewer!
I'm so sorry, I am not sewing-knowledgeable. Several things the instructor was impressed with, were that the machine has a built in fabric cutter of some sort, an advanced auto-bobbin winder, and in-machine storage for accessories.
Of course, I must mention that the main feature(s) of this machine are that it is MANUAL (vs. computerized/electronic stitch selection)- the Instructor said that a quality manual machine can out-perform and out-last even much costlier computerized machines... No computerized components to malfunction. (This is the primary reason I chose this machine to begin with)- And, also, the Instructor commented that while she owns multiple machines, costing upwards of thousands of $$ / each, none sewed a steadier, straighter line than this rock-solid machine! The instructor also marvelled at the speed, and ability to control the speed, of the ultra-responsive foot pedal. She said my daughter was a very fast learner, and also commented how refreshing it was to work with such a high-quality, entry level machine! (Apparently the bane of her existance is teaching students on poor quality, all plastic, brand new, junk machines). Two more things- This machine automatically threads needles, & also sews through very thick layers, which many other machines can't perform- And, the pressure foot (feet?) raise up high enough to allow insertion (& removal when done sewing) of thicker layers of fabrics. And... The entire lower front portion removes, so that the machine transforms into a "free arm" (I think that's what it's called?) open machine, that can handle (tubular) shirt sleeves & pant legs.
Thank you for reading- My daughter is working full time this Summer, & headed away to College in 2 months, but will take additional / advanced sewing classes (with this machine) as her schedule permits. Meanwhile, she's sewing at home, loving it!
This is a no-brainer- BUY! (Unless you prefer computerized digital display selection of stitch style- Some ppl do)- On this manual model, you turn the dial to the clearly-indicated combination of stitch that you want, using the large & small dials. Everything is very clearly marked, the machine is compact and solid, it comes with both a printed manual, and a DVD to learn how to use it. For under $150, (when reviews generally state that we must spend ~ $500 for a decent entry level machine!), we could not be happier. Nothing (yet!) is frustrating my daughter, she is learning the basics, and beginning to explore the more advanced stitches/techniques.
OK- Last comments (I promise!)- This machine DOES accept a double needle (to sew a double-stitch (for finished edges, stronger seams, etc.)- And, it DOES have a bright light built in, right above the needle area. Also it DOES perform auto-back-stitching (to lock in start / stop seam locations). RE: Portability- Very compact, a bit heavy (due to all-metal interior construction), comes with only a thin plastic-ey cover, so if you intend for it to be a portable machine, you'll want to purchase a case for it (we just used the box it came in so far).
5 Stars By KT on 2013-02-27
I have had this machine for about 6 months. I mostly used it to sew halloween costumes and make baby blankets. It works nicely. My previous machine was over double the price of this one. I had it for 15 years, it was also a singer. I was looking for similar quality without the big price tag and have been very satisified. It is sturdy but lightweight. It has many nice features including a good stitch quality. I have not had any problems with it and would definately buy it again.
4 Stars By Kristin Henry on 2016-10-07
This has been a great sewing machine for me
This has been a great sewing machine for me, a complete novice. It is easy to thread, and it does very high quality stitches. I look forward to using it more as I continue learning about sewing.
5 Stars By 2DayDeliver Customer on 2017-08-20
Very happy with purchase.
I am 77 years old and have been using Singer all my life except for my machine I had before which was a Brother. I did some research and reviews as to on what model I should purchase and decided to purchase the 3323S Talent machine which I am very happy with. Love the drop in loaded bobbin also the automatic needle threaded (main reason for my Purchase) as my eyes are not like what they use to be.
I am sewing pillow cases dresses to be donated so I really do not need to use the other features. Very happy with my purchase and recommend it very highly.
5 Stars By Barryn Stroh on 2018-01-20
I like this machine so far
I like this machine so far... reading other reviews solidified my choice. It’s very basic and all manual (Not digital)... hopefully nothing can go wrong... go wrong... go wro...
4 Stars By mghinny on 2012-11-03
Perfect for me!
After recently retiring and rediscovering my passion for sewing, I decided that my several-decades-old Singer was no longer meeting my needs. I do alot of home dec proects, clothing alterations and repair, and some clothing and fabric gift items...pretty basic stuff. I looked extensively for a good non-computerized model that could handle heavy-duty sewing and make buttonholes. I was very pleased to find the Singer Talent, which fits the bill nicely, and is also well-priced. I was worried about the "bobbin issue", which had been mentioned in reviews, but carefully followed the set-up directions and have no problems. I just altered the length on a new pair of jeans and it handled the super-thick seams easily. It is lightweight, which is a bonus, as I often cart my machine to work on projects for my daughters. Very happy so far!