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Recently, Singer announced the arrival of the Singer M1500 sewing machine. It’s their new and improved version of the well-loved Singer Start 1304 sewing machine.
My daughter’s been sewing on the M1500’s predecessor, the Singer 1304, for a while now, and she’s learning to love sewing like me! It’s been a great, basic sewing machine for her to learn on. I like how it has very few features to confuse her and is affordable in case she accidentally breaks it, but it also still produces quality stitches.
With that said, I’ve put together this Singer M1500 review to help you determine if this sewing machine will be a good fit for you. It will showcase the machine’s features, show you how it is set up and used, and finally, end with a discussion of the pros and cons.
Who is the target audience for this sewing machine?
The Singer M1500 sewing machine isn’t for everyone. It’s not a cutting-edge sewing machine packed with features. Instead, it is a lightweight, basic sewing companion perfect for three groups of people:
- Children learning to sew who may be confused by a computerized sewing machine or who only need the basics. I think this is one of the best Singer sewing machines for kids to learn on due to its simplicity. If you have a budding teenage seamstress on your hands, though, consider something with a little more versatility.
- Beginners looking for a simple, affordable starter machine. This machine won’t break the bank, and it will give beginners a taste of what sewing entails. If it turns out you love sewing, you can upgrade later. If it turns out you don’t, then you didn’t invest too much money and you still have a quality machine available for basic tasks.
- Experienced sewists looking for portability or a machine to accomplish just basic tasks. The Singer M1500 travels well as a second sewing machine due to its small size, and it also has everything you need to mend, alter, and create DIY projects for sewists who only need and want the bare essentials.
If you don’t fit into either of these three categories and want something with more room to grow, I recommend the Brother CS7000i computerized sewing machine. I’ve used its predecessor, the Brother CS6000i for years now, and love it!
Quick Singer M1500 Review of Features
|Dimensions||13 x 7 x 11.5 in|
|Bobbin size||Class 15|
Here’s a quick video introducing you to the Singer M1500 sewing machine.
What Comes in the Box With the Singer M1500?
Several Amazon Singer M1500 sewing machine reviews state that certain pieces were missing from their boxes. Make sure to check your box immediately upon opening so you’re still within the window where you can request replacement parts sent to you if needed. Here is what’s included with the M1500:
- Sewing machine with power cord and foot controller
- 3 presser feet
- Needle plate screwdriver and darning plate (what you use to cover the feed dogs if wanting to free-motion quilt, for instance)
- Spool pin felt
- Seam ripper and lint brush combo
- Quick-start guide
And, if you’re a true beginner and own no sewing supplies, I’ve also written a post on basic sewing supplies you need before beginning to sew. You will need to purchase things like thread, sewing scissors, and other accessories before you can truly get started.
Which presser feet are included?
Presser feet hold your fabric down as you sew. The presser feet of the Singer M1500 snap off from the presser foot holder and are easily swapped. There are three presser feet included with the Singer M1500 sewing machine.
- All-purpose, zigzag foot: You will use this for all the stitches except the buttonhole stitch or when attaching a zipper.
- Zipper foot: Use this foot when putting in a zipper.
- Buttonhole foot: Use this when sewing a buttonhole.
There is no button sewing foot, which would help attach the button itself. Also, many sewing machines come with a blind hem foot to assist with sewing a blind hem. It’s not necessary, but it makes the process a bit more streamlined, in my opinion.
How many stitches are there?
While there are 57 “stitch applications,” there are really only 6 different stitch types: straight, zigzag, satin, blind hem, scallop, and buttonhole. The straight stitch has three different lengths. The zigzag has two different lengths, and there’s also one triple zigzag stitch. Taking into account these preset options, there are really 10 stitches you can sew.
My young daughter made a sample of the stitches. Since everything is preset, meaning no way to manually adjust stitch length or width, here are the stitches. She’s a beginner, so don’t pay too much attention to how her stitching isn’t perfect yet!
Stitches 1-3 are straight stitches. The satin stitch is the 4th stitch on the sample above. If you’re wanting to applique, this is the best stitch you’ll find within the ten.
Stitches 5 and 6 are the zigzag stitches, and stitch 7 is the triple zigzag. The triple zigzag stitch works well for stretch fabrics like knits and sewing in elastics.
Stitch 8 is a blind hem stitch, and stitch 9 is a scallop stitch to add decoration to your projects.
The last stitch is the buttonhole, which is produced in 4 steps.
Threading the Singer M1500 and Setting Up To Start
I made a YouTube video for how to thread the Singer 1304, and this is going to be the same way you thread the Singer M1500. I’m a better blogger than video gal, but I thought having a video and post for how to thread a Singer sewing machine were important for beginners to see!
Winding the Bobbin and Threading the Needle
Your sewing machine bobbin is a circular plastic piece that holds the thread needed to form the bottom of your stitches. Winding the bobbin happens on the top of the machine. This is easy to set up thanks to the directions stamped on the top of the machine.
Threading the sewing machine needle itself is also very easy! Follow the directions on the machine, or you can use the included quick-start guide. One thing to note is there is no automatic needle threader with the Singer M1500. As such, you will have to pull the thread through the eye of the needle by hand. If you want an automatic needle threader, the simplest Singer sewing machine that includes this feature is the Singer M3300. Honestly, all my personal machines (I’m down to only 4 now!) have needle threaders, and they’re not as great as they sound. They are difficult to get the hang of at first and can be sensitive. So it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have one.
Installing the Bobbin and Pulling the Thread Up
Bobbin installation on the Singer M1500 is the biggest con of this sewing machine. The Singer M1500 features what is called a front-load bobbin. Here’s the bobbin case, which holds the threaded bobbin.
Removing the case is easy, but installing the bobbin takes some time to learn. You will have to remember which orientation to keep the case relative to the bobbin thread, and you’ll need to know how to get the case back in snugly. There are no imprinted instructions on the machine for this, so you will need to memorize the orientation or keep your instructions nearby.
I’m not a huge fan of having to draw up the bobbin thread before starting to sew, but I’ve been spoiled by my snazzy machines. My daughter doesn’t know any difference, so it doesn’t bother her at all! Drawing up the bobbin thread means doing one stitch (using the handwheel) to get the thread from the bobbin case to come up through the footplate. If you purchase a machine with a “quick-set” bobbin, like many Brother sewing machines, this step is eliminated for you; the machine draws up the thread when starting to sew.
Now, even though I spent time telling you why I’m not a fan of the front-load bobbin, this doesn’t mean this is a dealbreaker for the machine. Because, here’s the thing. Spools of thread and bobbin threads last a darn long time! As such, you won’t have to thread your machine or install a bobbin but every once in a while. At the end of every project, your machine will remain threaded and ready for you to use the next time with NO additional setup needed!
How to Sew With the Singer M1500
To sew with the Singer M1500, you first need to select your stitch using the dial. Put your presser foot down on your project, and then, you’re ready to go!
Because the Singer M1500 is a mechanical sewing machine, you have to use the foot controller to get started sewing. For a beginner or a child, this takes a little bit of time to learn how to use. But it’s no different than learning to drive a new car. Once you figure out the sensitivity of your gas pedal and brake, you can speed along safely. Same with your new sewing machine! (If you find your foot pedal slipping around, consider using a mouse pad to make a non-slip foot pedal mat!)
When you first start to stitch, you will want to use the reverse lever located on the front right of the machine. This does a backstitch to secure the beginning of your project. When you’re done with your line of stitches, use the reverse lever as well.
Making Buttonholes on the Singer M1500
One of the things I also don’t completely love about the Singer M1500 is it features a four-step manual buttonhole. Here’s what this means for creating a buttonhole:
- You have to determine the size of the buttonhole you want as well as the location and then mark it on your fabric.
- You then have to make the buttonhole yourself in four different steps. On the dial above, you’ll see the buttonhole stitches. You have to stitch 1, then turn the dial to 2, then turn it to 3, and then turn it back to 4 (the same as 2.)
Once you get the hang of creating a buttonhole, it’s not that hard. I just don’t think it’s as beginner-friendly as a one-step automatic buttonhole, and I have to help my daughter with it.
In contrast, with a one-step buttonhole, you simply place your button on the back of the included presser foot, press a buttonhole stitch, and voila! The machine sizes the buttonhole and stitches accordingly with no input from you.
Other Features of the Singer M1500
Built-in Free Arm
If you remove the small accessories compartment at the front of the sewing machine, you have what is called a free arm remaining. This essentially makes the workspace a little smaller so you can wrap small, circular items around it. I use the free arms a ton on my sewing machines when I’m hemming jeans or making doll clothes (or toddler clothes, for that matter!)
Twin Needle Sewing
While you may not use a twin needle often, the Singer M1500 does have the capability to sew using two spools of thread. When you use your twin needle, you get two parallel lines of stitches. You’ll often notice parallel, dual lines of stitches on clothing.
The workspace itself is illuminated by a small LED light when the sewing machine is turned on. While it’s not the brightest light, it does provide some help with seeing dark stitches on dark fabric or giving you a little more light to thread the needle. If you need even more light, luckily there are several options for sewing lights to purchase as an accessory.
Sewing Thick Fabrics with the Singer M1500
The Singer M1500 is not a heavy-duty sewing machine, so don’t expect it to go into beast mode when you sew denim or canvas. It does have an extra high presser foot lift to accommodate thicker fabrics, but again, this is not its intended full-time use.
If you want to occasionally mend jeans, go for it. Make sure you’ve chosen the right needle and thread, and use the handwheel over the seams so you don’t break your needle.
If your sole purpose in purchasing this sewing machine is to sew on multiple layers of thick fabric (even bulky quilts), I’d recommend a heavy-duty sewing machine instead. I love my Singer 4423 heavy-duty sewing machine. I always thought my regular sewing machine was pretty good, but I had NO IDEA what a heavy-duty sewing machine could master until I got one!
The Singer Warranty
Nothing in life is guaranteed, and every once in a while you’ll get a dud sewing machine. If this is the case, you can take advantage of the Singer warranty. This is a 25/2/90 warranty. You can read more in the warranty document here. Basically, everything is covered for 90 days with free labor, a lot of stuff is covered for 2 years but with labor paid by you, and only the machine head is covered for 25 years.
Therefore, make sure to take your sewing machine out of the box as soon as you receive it to make sure there are no manufacturing defects!
And, if you aren’t impressed by this warranty, it’s fairly comparable to many other sewing machine manufacturer warranties.
Beginner M1500 Troubleshooting Tips
With any sewing machine, if you’re having issues, it might be beginner user error rather than the machine itself. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done silly things and have ended up cursing my sewing machine but ultimately realized I was at fault. This, if you’re having issues with stitching, the bobbin jamming, and more, here are some steps to take.
- Rethread the machine making sure the presser foot is UP while doing so.
- Rethread the bobbin and verify you have inserted it in the correct direction. If you don’t hear a little snap when you insert the bobbin and it is loose, this will cause your machine to jam.
- Make sure you are sewing with the presser foot down every time!
- Adjust the tension using the dial along the front of the machine above the workspace. (I have a post about how to adjust sewing machine tension for beginners!)
- Check to make sure the needle is not bent and is installed properly. If you’re using an old needle, go ahead and replace it.
- Make sure your needle size and type correspond with your fabric. This means using a ballpoint needle for knits, a heavyweight needle for denim, and a sharp or universal needle for cotton, for instance.
- If your thread is old or poor quality, consider trying a different thread spool.
If you’ve tried all these things and are still having problems, it may be time to take your machine to the shop. Hopefully, it won’t come to that!
And one more note, make sure you are always turning the handwheel towards you! Turning it clockwise, or away from you, may throw your machine out of timing and permanently break it!
Now, for a wrap-up of my Singer M1500 review. Here are some of my top advantages for this machine.
- The simplest full-size sewing machine you can purchase
- Portable, small sewing machine
- Free-arm and twin needle capability nice perks for an entry-level machine
And then the things that aren’t perfect.
- Front-load bobbin and having to draw the thread up yourself before starting to sew
- The 4-step buttonhole is more difficult to learn.
- Preset stitch length and widths make certain projects more difficult.
Singer M1500 vs Singer 1304
If you compare the Singer M1500 vs Singer Start 1304, you’ll notice the M1500 is sleeker. However, it still features the same 10 preset stitches, one automatic buttonhole, and boasts similar operation. Essentially, everything is identical except for the new, updated look. Thus, most things you read about the Start 1304 will translate to the M1500.
Check out my Singer Start 1304 review for a ton of information and pictures of my daughter’s machine.
Singer M1500 vs Singer MX60
Singer M1500 vs Brother XM2701
The Singer M1500 and Brother XM2701 are two comparably priced entry-level sewing machines. When comparing the Singer M1500 vs Brother XM2701, you’ll notice the Brother XM2701 has more for the money. Instead of 6 stitches a 4-step buttonhole, the Brother XM2701 features 27 stitches and an automatic one-step buttonhole. It also features an automatic needle threader and offers the user the ability to change stitch length and width.
However, just because a machine has more features does not mean it is a better machine for you! I decided to purchase the simplest sewing machine I could find for my daughter. Learning to sew can be overwhelming for young children, and the less they have to master, the better, in my opinion!
If you feel the Brother XM2701 may be a better fit, my Brother XM2701 review will teach you more about it!
Singer M1500 Review – Conclusion
The Singer M1500 is great at performing simple tasks and is a nice addition to a beginner’s or child’s sewing room. It’s not much different than its well-loved predecessor, the Singer Start 1304, and as such will wow with its reliability, simplicity, and good stitch quality.