Singer Heavy Duty 4452 Sewing Machine review
At the beginning of shelter-in-place orders in March, many of the most popular sewing machine models flew off the shelves and went out of stock as people turned to hobbies they could do at home.
Sewing also became an essential skill, since those with sewing machines (and technical know-how) have been able to make face masks for friends, family, front-line workers, and other members of their local and international communities.
In April, we sent one of our favorite sewing machines -- the Singer Heavy Duty 4452 Sewing Machine -- to Caleigh Hernandez, the founder of RoHo, a business that sells goods made by women artisans in Kenya. Hernandez and her team of volunteers have sewn hundreds of masks, putting the machine to the test with an intense workload and thick materials.
The Singer Heavy Duty, one of the most popular sewing machines on the market, is available again after being out of stock for months. If you've been thinking about ordering one, here's everything you need to know about its functionality, durability, and overall performance.
How to use Singer Heavy Duty Sewing Machine
The Singer Heavy Duty Sewing Machine is designed for heavy use with heavier-than-normal materials. The brand claims it can handle all tasks related to garment-making and home textile projects. Many designers, decorators, and high-volume hobbyists have been satisfied with this machine, but we've also found it to be friendly for beginners, casual crafters, and for lightweight, everyday sewing.
Singer Heavy Duty Sewing Machine features
This model offers 32 built-in stitches, including one to create an automatic buttonhole. The sewing speed of 1,100 stitches per minute is efficient, and the machine's drop-in bobbin is convenient. It's also packaged with a wealth of accessories for regular as well as heavy-duty sewing, many of which can be stored in the machine's built-in accessory tray.
How does the Singer Heavy Duty compare to other sewing machines
Standard sewing machines aren't necessarily designed to handle heavy materials or long, drawn-out sewing sessions. In fact, these often result in broken needles, uneven stitches, and incomplete projects. The Singer Heavy Duty Sewing Machine, on the other hand, has a motor that's more powerful than most sewing machines in the same price range. It's designed to sew through heavy fabrics like linen, leather, denim, and thick layers of material.
Setting up the Singer Heavy Duty Sewing Machine
Caleigh and the rest of the team at RoHo were impressed with how easy it was to set up the machine, especially compared to others they've used in the past -- which include a Brother machine from the 80s and a Janome Heavy Duty HD3000. The machine's operation was simple enough that each person in the group, whose skill levels range from beginner to intermediate, was able to use it without assistance. The RoHo team agrees that after hundreds of hours of mask-making, the Singer is their favorite machine for the job.
It took only a couple minutes to set it, thread it, and start sewing. Beginners appreciated the convenient threading diagram printed on the machine. The settings are straightforward, with knobs to select the stitch length and type, plus a tension dial at the top.
Sewing face masks with the Singer Heavy Duty Sewing Machine
To construct face masks, the team at RoHo stuck to a basic design: double-sided surgical masks with pleats and elastic ear loops. They've been using cotton and kitenge cloth, an African waxed cotton. In the past, they said they'd noticed other machines experiencing difficulty sewing through these materials; the Singer Heavy Duty, on the other hand, has performed better with these materials, as they didn't slip, bunch, or jam, even after continuous sewing.
However, the team did note a couple of concerns with the machine as they worked. As it's angular, it has been a bit of a challenge to navigate stitches across perpendicular pins. And since the bobbin cover doesn't have a measuring tool, they've had to manually mark it to help maintain straight lines (but fortunately these have both been easy workarounds).
Review of Singer Heavy Duty Sewing Machine
Sewing machines have a tendency to operate loudly, especially those designed for high-volume use. Caleigh and her team say they've been pleasantly surprised at how relatively quiet (yet efficient) the Singer Heavy Duty Sewing Machine is, despite its industrial design and capabilities. It's also more portable than the other machines they've used, as it's lightweight and has a convenient flip-up handle at the top.
Using a Singer Heavy Duty, Roho has been averaging 80 masks per day. Despite the project volume and prolonged use of the machine within 24-hour windows, there have been no performance issues thus far, which is why the team characterizes this machine as a "workhorse."
Singer Heavy Duty pros
The Singer Heavy Duty Sewing Machine has a simple design that's beginner-friendly with easy-to-understand diagrams and guides. It's ideal for those who eventually plan to ramp up their projects or who are already doing heavy-duty sewing. Even with prolonged use and bulky materials, the machine shouldn't need a break or present any issues.
At just under $300, it's a solid investment, especially considering it's designed to function through years of heavy use even with thick materials and textiles. It's a consistent performer that, if well-maintained, should last for a couple of decades.
Singer Heavy Duty cons
RoHo sewers said that threading and rewinding the bobbin has been challenging and tedious at times, as they couldn't find an explanation of how to secure the bobbin in a way that allowed it to fill without holding the thread. One spool holder means minor inconvenience as well: You need to remove the spool you're currently using in order to switch gears and thread a bobbin.
Though this Singer is equipped with 32 stitches, it's fairly limited to basic garment and home textile stitches. There aren't many decorative stitches in the assortment, which might be desired for fine detail or quilting projects.
The Singer Heavy Duty 4452 Sewing Machine is an industrial workhorse that can be appreciated by individuals of all skill levels. It's withstood the stress test of daily heavy use at RoHo with no hiccups, and it's a solid investment for any high-volume hobbyist who has plans for big projects or who works with heavier textiles.
Founded by Caleigh Hernandez, RoHo is an ethical fashion line dedicated to empowering artisans in Kenya by providing a safe environment and sustainable wages to those who hand-craft goods ranging from leather sandals to jewelry -- and now masks.
Over the past several months, Roho has made over a thousand face masks, hundreds of which have been gifted to first-responders as well as those experiencing housing and food insecurities. Other masks have been sold online to raise funds for those in Kenya affected by coronavirus. The Singer Heavy Duty Sewing Machine was donated directly to RoHo and is still being used by several members of Hernandez's team.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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