SINGER 5532 Heavy Duty Extra-High Sewing Speed Portable Sewing Machine with Metal Frame and Stainless Steel Bedplate
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- Extra-high sewing speed of 1,100 stitches per minute gives you professional speed for faster results
- Heavy duty metal frame ensures that the sewing machine remains still for skip-free sewing
- Stainless steel bedplate provides smooth fabric feed for even sewing
- 32 built-in stitches - essential, stretch, decorative, 1 fully automatic 1-step buttonhole
- Automatic needle threader is the biggest timesaver. 110 volt sewing machine designed for United States and Canadian use only
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The SINGER 5532 Heavy Duty Extra-High Sewing Speed Portable Sewing Machine with Metal Frame and Stainless Steel Bedplate ,5532.CL Features: -32 Built-in stitches. -Automatic needle threader. -Sews faster than standard sewing machine. -60% Stronger motor. -Stainless steel bed plate. -Top drop-in bobbin with clear view cover. Number of Items Included: -16. Commercial Use: -Yes. Product Type: -Mechanical sewing machine. Light Included: -Yes. Free Arm: -Yes. Needle Threading System: -Automatic. Reverse Stitching: -Yes. Case/Cover Included: -Yes. Case/Cover Type: -Dust cover. Thread Tension Adjustment: -Yes. Thread Tension Adjustment Type: -Manual. Dimensions: Overall Height - Top to Bottom: -12". Overall Width - Side to Side: -15.5". Overall Depth - Front to Back: -6.5".
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After doing hours research I ended up buying a $300 Janome HD first. It looked solid with nice basic features but I never managed to make the thread tension right with it. Even on the highest upper thread tension there were upper thread loops showing on the bottom side of fabric. That machine was made of metal mostly and has a decent motor too. However, not happy with the tension I sent it back and continued with the search.
The Singer 5532 Heavy Duty model was on my mind before but after reading some negative reviews about the reliability I opted out for Jenome. However, I noticed that most of the negative reviews were left for a different Model of the same kind - 4411 or 4423, not 5532 or 4432. I cannot say anything about those 2 cheaper models, but 5532 and 4432 are the same machines, only 5532 is made for US/Canada 110V electric outlets only. With more stitch options and price twice more than 4411, 5532 in my mind is a better and more reliable machine too. It works pretty well and leaves nice and even stitches every time. I would definitely recommend a Singer walking foot for heavy multi-layer fabric, leather, etc. There is one on Ebay that I picked up for 18 bucks and it makes a world of difference. The machine handles denim and medium leather just fine too with the right thread (T90, my favorite) and Shmetz Size 110/18 needles. I took the covers off and was pleasantly surprised to see the heavy solid aluminum frame inside and 95% of metal parts, including the shafts, all gear assemblies, arms, etc. The stitch wheel cams are made of plastic or nylon, they are made of metal on Janome though. I could not detect any visible flaws with the mechanics at first glance, all the nuts and bolts are tight, the joints and washers are well lubricated with grease and oil, I put a little extra oil and grease on the stitch cams and sliding parts just in case. Overall, it really looks nice and solid, I think the machine should last many many years with moderately reasonable use (knock on wood). Sewing leather occasionally should be ok, but definitely not recommended on a daily basis with this model though, there are special industrial models for that task. There is no computerized circuitry inside 5532 that can fry and turn the sewing machine into a brick or a door stop. Threading is super easy and well outlined on the body of the machine. I had a minor issue with the automatic threader but it uses a little screw to adjust horizontal position of the hook to fit the needle ear that worked like a charm. I know that only time will prove how reliable 5532 is and hopefully I will not need to return to this review to edit it. But so far life is great and I would be happy to recommend 5532 to everyone!
Here is a picture of one of the bar stools that I recently re-upholstered with genuine 1.5mm leather and sewed with 5532 (T90 nylon thread and 110/18 leather needle with walking foot):
A lot of people want a sewing machine to hem jeans and denims. They aren't quilting, they aren't making fine tailored blouses, they are just doing home alterations because pants are very long these days. So, does this machine live up to it's billing as heavy-duty? Let's see!
Note: If this review gets a bit long for you, skip to the bottom: I usually put a quick summary at the end.
What You Get
This machine is made of plastic housing with metal here and there (like the metal bed plate under the throat) and it's an interesting shade of Army Khaki to indicate strength, I suppose. It's blocky-looking and the control knobs are large and easy to use. Even the bobbin cover is thicker gauge plastic. So is the spool cap--it's denser and has a metal disk inside rather than being a light plastic disk to sit on top of the thread spool. The threader is also metal (mostly, these are plastic on sewing machines.) I have to confess, it's a cute machine, in the same way a boxer dog is cute. The color and the blocky design and the metal are kind of Steampunk Goes Army.
There is an accessory box (the pull-down drawer kind) with accessory feet inside. Remove this and you have a free arm.
It has a two-step presser foot (lift up past the detent to allow for thicker fabric. But it won't take six layers of denim--and it won't sew that many either. More on that later.) To adjust the pressure of the foot, there is a screw adjustment on the top that can be turned with a coin to add or release pressure.
There are 32 stitches, accessed by turning the knob to various settings. Width of the stitch is set on a dial on top.
There are some accessory feet--a one step buttonhole foot, a zipper foot, button sewing foot, seam guide, regular zigzag foot. A seam ripper is also included that has a brush on one end, to remove lint from the bobbin case and feed dogs.
The feed dogs drop down with a button on the back of the free arm.
The machine is easy enough to set up and use; plug in the power and foot pedal cable and thread the machine. Wind the bobbin on the top. The bobbin doesn't wind very evenly (but none of them really do...this one gathered at the bottom of the bobbin. I just regulate the feed with my finger to make sure it winds evenly. This seems to be common among bobbin winders on machines.)
The machine is NOISY. Clump clump clump. If that is annoying to you, you can sew on a rubber bath mat to dampen the sound.
The speed is very good; it is 30% faster than my Janome. The straight stitch is about as even as they are these days.
The decorative stitches are so-so; the triple stitch (good for jeans and top stitching) is excellent, the pin stitch (for applique) and the feather stitch are ok, too. The satin style stitches (rick-rack stitch, scallop) and smocking stitches are not very dense, even on the most close-packed stitch setting, and there is no satin stitch foot (with a space underneath to pass over thicker stitching.
My tension was spot-on, right out of the box. I didn't have to adjust it at all.
I sewed on a button; this is probably best for shirt buttons.
The buttonhole foot is a standard one-step with a space for the button and a pull-down lever to interlock with the foot to regulate the length and direction. In order to make this work, you have to remember to push back the pull-down lever's tab before starting, and grab the upper thread as you start stitching. Out of the gate, my right side stitches were spaced too widely; there is a screw on the side of the machine that you can adjust with a coin or the screwdriver.
The buttonhole was a bit wonky and stubborn with closely spaced stitches (Tight satin stitch.) I was testing this on the same washed jeans denim, considering that is the fabric many people will want to be sewing on. The feed dogs dont' work well in tight satin stitch in the buttonhole. The buttonhole was easier when I chose more widely spaced stitches.
The machine can handle four layers of men's Levi's denim (I cut an old pair of men's jeans to try this out.) It squealed a bit, hummed at me and complained a bit, but it sewed it. Six layers were right out. It stopped in its tracks.
The manual is English on one page, French and Spanish on the opposite page. It's very basic. But acceptable.
This machine really is not a quilters' machine. I tried some free motion and it wasn't so easy.
The thread cutter is absolutely, positively oriented in the wrong way. The blade is at the top, so you swing the threads up and over and then down to cut. The blade SHOULD be oriented horizontally and back; you bring the threads back and then towards you and cut. This cutter always take several tries to get the thread up and then down onto the blade. Bad design. This was annoying! All they had to do was rotate it 90 degrees. This sounds trivial, but it's annoying on a task you do very frequently.
The bobbin wanted to grab threads. When I stopped sewing a seam and raised the needle, then pulled out the thread, a second thread kept getting in a loop from the bobbin. It didn't jam, but it wasn't quite right. This seems to be a problem with loose winding of the bobbin by the winder. I rewound and solved this issue.
The machine struggles with any decorative stitch or buttonhole in tightly spaced stitches (ie, satin stitch). Either it isn't as tight as you'd want to see, or it doesn't feed well past the feed dogs. I will try a specific satin stitch foot to see if this improves it, but as the machine is set up, it is only middlin' with this application.
The presser foot ankle was not square or doesn't look square on the presser bar and I tried remounting it with the screw but it was just crooked. A bit unnerving. Didn't affect the sewing, apparently.
I've heard less than favorable remarks about dealing with customer service on the phone. People report long waits and unsatisfactory conversations about the warranty--essentially, if it's under warranty, you ship it back at your expense, and if it's out of warranty, you are out of luck. It's viewed as a "low end" machine but it's priced twice what you could pay for a machine and still get no better quality. You could pay a 20 pct more and get a better machine from some other makers who are reported to have better quality reputations and customer service. Singer recently was taken over by SVP (which stands for Singer-Viking-Pfaff) and is manufactured in Shanghai.
This machine is heavy duty within reason and does many useful tasks and would work for someone who wants to alter their jeans, do basic sewing, applique on clothing, some decorative stitching and some mending. It's mechanical, so there is less to go wrong. Much of the machine is metal construction and it stitches very fast (1,100 stitches per minute, compared to the Janome Decor for example, at 860 stitches per minute.) It isn't as good on tight satin stitches and tight buttonholes. The thread cutter is not designed well. The needle threader IS designed well and is one of the best and simplest I've seen.
Who Would Like This Machine?
Young sewists would like it. It's easy to use. The knobs are large and easy to turn.
Men would like it (it looks very masculine in color and shape and sound. Whirr Whirr Clump Clump! Zippy-fast.)
People who mend jeans or alter their jeans--does a good job and you can do funky applique, patches and decorative stitches with the 32 stitches available. The triple stitch works for top stitching on jeans.
Someone who wants a back-up, utility machine for heavier tasks or to take around when traveling; it's not light as some machines but it has a good sturdy carry handle on top.
Who Wouldn't Like This Machine?
Quilters (not smooth enough for free motion, in my opinion.)
Decorative and "hand-sewing" crafter, who do smocking and use a lot of the decorative stitches on their machine.
Someone who would prefer the features of an electronic (computerized) sewing machine.
End Remarks: This machine functions well but it's not as smooth as the Janome Magnolia, which would compete with it. It's fast and it looks nice and I was able to get it to do all of the promised functions except tight satin stitches. I do not know how durable it is, and it's a budget machine, which these days means in the two-hundred range. I'm going to recommend it with reservations noted.