I had put off writing a review of the Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist sewing machine only because it had so many stitches and features that I thought it might intimidate beginners. Then I noticed the price.
There are many sewing machines with fewer options than this one that cost the same (or more!). This presents a great opportunity for even the most novice sewer to invest in a machine that will truly serve them for years.
Table of Contents
MODEL: Singer 9960 Sewing Machine
REVIEWED BY: Erin
LAST UPDATED: April 8, 2015
We all start out in the same place, looking to sew basic, straight lines – tackling our square pillows and rectangular place mats.
After that, it’s on to some minor alterations and maybe quilting. Once you become more comfortable, you may want to try other craft sewing or make clothes for you or your family. (Baby clothes are a very popular project!)
However, if your sewing machine is only capable of doing a few basic stitches and doesn’t come with a lot of accessories, it may not be capable of making the next level of sewing any easier. In fact, it may not be able to perform that next level of sewing at all.
That is never going to be the problem with the Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist sewing machine. I paid about the same price for a machine that has only 30 stitches, no font and only 4 presser feet.
The Quantum Stylist makes sewing as easy as possible with automated controls, speed control, and push button operations for everything including thread cutting. It’s got an incredibly sleek style, reminiscent of the Futura series where the majority of the controls are placed low on a panel that sort of curves out to meet you. This makes them very easy to reach during sewing. It also boasts one of the largest (maybe THE largest) LCD screens in this price range.
Some sewing machines have lots of features but not a lot of work space. Not this one. It’s a serious sized machine with tons of extras and great potential.
Mind Boggling Set of Stitches on the Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist
The Singer 9960 first catches your eye because of the large number of sewing stitches – a total of 600 built-in patterns. Let’s break them down so you know what you’re getting.
The stitch count looks like this:
- 103 built-in utility sewing stitches (straight, stretch, hemming, piecing, cross stitches, scrolls, vines, etc.)
- 13 styles of buttonholes
- 34 decorative sewing stitches (tulip, car, satin, flower, bird, plane, etc.)
- 90 upper case, lower case, numbers, and characters in 5 different fonts (450 stitches in total) including Gothic, Script, Italic, Outline, and Russian
There’s a reference chart listed on the flip-up top so you won’t have to dig out your manual any time you need to choose a new stitch.
The maximum stitch width on the Singer Quantum Stylist sewing machine is 7mm.
There’s an automatic locking stitch for the decorative stitches and a Tack button so you can tie off your utility stitches.
In some cases, you might need to use stabilizer material to get the full detail of the decorative stitches to show – especially on thinner material – a small step that is not uncommon to most machines.
This stitch collection can handle everything from basting to quilting to professional clothes-making but there are so many decorative sewing stitches that I had to ask myself what on God’s green earth someone would do with all of them?! Is it too many? (Of course, after working with my limited set of 30 for over a year now, I’ve decided it’s not possible to have TOO many stitches but very easy to end up with too few.)
But, practically speaking, what does one do with these extra stitches – that’s the real question. If you’re never going to do anything decorative and just need to attach two pieces of fabric together so that it stays in place, then this might be too much machine for you. If, however, you’re ever going to customize dinner napkins or towels, if you ever want to run combinations of pretty stitches on the hem of a little girl’s dress, if you ever want to edge your plain pillow cases with a row of stitched hearts and your monogram in the middle of the row, this machine is for you.
Have you seen those hand-made cards that look like they’re embroidered? How about taking some plain, white note cards and running a line of red hearts across the edges for Valentine’s Day and then personalizing them with other paper cut outs? (Once you see the machine in action, the possibilities will flood you like a tidal wave!)
The buttonholes made by the Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist are auto-sized which means that you put the button itself in the buttonhole presser foot and the machine gauges the proper length and width to fit your button. Although extra large buttons won’t fit in the presser foot, there are instructions for auto-sizing even those unique widths.
My own sewing machine has this feature and it was one of the first things I tested out. I am absolutely a novice sewer – the kind of person who dreaded Home Ec in Junior High. I knew that if I could sew a buttonhole with my machine, there was hope for me yet. And it worked! I can do buttonholes all day long.
The sides of the buttonholes are also sewn in the same direction, providing the most professional appearance. Fabric gets pulled in the same direction so there’s no puckering.
Just to make the whole buttonhole process that much easier, the Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist comes with an exclusive buttonhole underplate which acts like a frame to hold multiple layers of material in place when sewing buttonholes in thick fabrics or through several layers of material. So, when you go to make that wool coat or have to put buttonholes in the thick seams of a jersey button-up sweater, you won’t run into any issues.
Granted, the stitch count on the Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist looks so impressive because it includes all the characters in five font styles. Still, most machines in this price range come with just ONE font and usually a plain, old block font, at that. With this one, you get a lot more variety and some pretty nice looking choices.
When you use a sewing machine for monogramming, you will have a small thread leading from one letter to the next. That’s standard and not a fault of the machine.
Someone did mention that the Quantum Stylist sewing machine uses the same size for both upper and lower case letters so that they looked funny. However, the lower case letters really do look like lower case and you can adjust the size of individual stitches in a combination pattern so you can make the lower case letters even smaller, if you’d like.
Stitch Creativity on the Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist
One of the Singer 9960’s strengths is stitch creativity and customization. You can edit most sewing stitches in a number of ways. You can change the width, the length, and do a mirror image of the stitch. If you’re working on the edge of a quilt and want to do two rows of a pretty stitch with each pattern facing the opposite direction, you can do so with the mirror stitch setting rather than having to flip your fabric around and run it through the other direction. This is helpful if getting to the edge in the other direction would mean trying to wad up a large amount of fabric through the throat of the machine.
An Elongation button lets you increase some stitches up to 5 times their default size.
You can also combine stitches into your own patterns – alternate the decorative bird stitch with a flower or place your monogram in between a pair of heart stitches. However, the machine separates utility stitches and decorative stitches into two separate groups and you cannot combine stitches between the groups.
All of the fonts fall in the decorative category so those can be combined with the prettier patterns.
The Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist will memorize a pattern up to 60 stitches long, allows you to edit each stitch individually, and you can insert any forgotten stitch in the pattern by just moving the cursor to the right spot and inserting the appropriate stitch number.
However, all memory is wiped clean once the machine is turned off. If you have a pattern you want to reuse, you’ll need to enter it all over again – a minor inconvenience but something to keep in mind.
With a few ideas for inspiration, like the ones in the video below, stitches can be combined other than in a straight line in order to mimic the look of machine embroidery. Obviously, you’re not going to be able to create quite the same level of detail, but you could easily mark out lines on your fabric and use a satin crescent stitch in different sizes to create the petals of a flower, put an eyelet stitch in the center in another color to look like the heart of the flower, sew a line for the stem and use other stitches to look like leaves coming off of the stem.
It’s this ability to combine stitches either in a line using the machine’s memory or on your own through manual placement that really lets you put your own, distinct mark on your sewing projects.
Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist Includes Lots of Extra Presser Feet
The Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist uses snap on presser feet which are so embarrassingly easy to attach that when I showed my mother how mine work she made me do it again because she didn’t even see me do anything other than push the presser foot lever down.
That’s really all you have to do for these – place the presser foot underneath the presser foot post, push the lever down and the foot is picked up by the machine. You might have to position it just to make sure the groove is on the foot is in the right place but after you do this a few times, you’ll know exactly where to put it each time and it takes literally a second or two to put on the new foot.
You get so many presser feet with the Quantum Stylist that it’s easy to miss that this is a huge value all by itself. Lots of machines come with a basic set and then require that you purchase specialty feet later for as much as $20-30 a foot. In this case, you’re supplied with 13 of the most popular feet PLUS a bundle package with an additional 5 feet and tools for attaching trim:
- All purpose foot
- Zipper foot
- Button sewing foot
- Satin stitch foot
- Buttonhole foot with underplate
- Open toe foot
- Blind hem foot
- Overcastting foot
- Narrow hem foot
- Cording foot
- ¼ inch foot
- Darning and embroidery foot
- Even feed foot
NOTE: The Singer site lists a set of extra presser feet that come with the Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist which ties in with what one buyer wrote in her review. These include:
- Adjustable bias binder foot
- Single welt cording foot
- Braiding guide
- Braiding foot
- Clear stitch-in-the-ditch foot
- Fancy trim foot
- Clearance plate
These additional feet help you attach an assortment of trims to your projects.
Tons of Automation and Functionality with the Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist
Due to the large number of features that come with the Singer Quantum Stylist, I decided to organize the information in subsections in this category to make it easier to find the topics that might interest you the most. It’s a bit lengthier than most of my other reviews but to give you all the detail, it seemed like the best approach.
First, these features are included and don’t need a great deal of explanation:
- Automatic needle threader
- Top drop-in bobbin system with plastic see-through cover
- Automatic tension that is also manually adjustable and reset to default settings with the push of a button
- Extra-high presser foot lifter
- Free arm
- Drop feed functionality
- Warning animation icons in the LCD display
- Extra long extension table attachment included with ruler markings on the front
- Slow Sewing Speed Option
- Two StayBright LED Lights with long-life (100,000 hours)
- Maximum sewing speed of 850 stitches-per-minute
- Automatic Reverse
- Horizontal Threading
- 25 needle positions
- Optimal stitch settings
- Heavy duty metal frame
- Automatic Bobbin Winding Clutch
- Needle bar automatically disengages when winding the bobbin for safer bobbin winding
- Auxiliary spool holder (an extra spool for twin needle sewing)
- Seam allowance markings on the needle plate and you can also use the seam guide for any irregular widths and tolerances
- Great throat space for large fabric projects
- Built in carry handle
- Never needs oil
Singer 9960 Control Panel
The controls may seem a little intimidating at first as there’s quite a number of buttons surrounding the LCD screen. However, with practice, they’ll become second nature. Just plan on taking some time to learn them properly and refer to the guide provided in the manual as needed.
The good news is that (unlike my Droid phone), the buttons on the Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist sewing machine are large and comfortably spaced so you’re not going to have to concentrate too hard to make sure you only press the button you need. Some of today’s technology forgets our fingers are not really the size of a stylus but this layout must have been tested in the design phase because it’s easy to select the controls you need for any function.
There is a button for everything from starting the machine to snipping your top and bottom threads when you’re done sewing. I’ll cover them all here:
As mentioned, one button activates the thread cutter and cuts both the top and bottom thread when you’re done sewing. There is still a manual cutter on the left hand side of the machine but the automated feature will work on most situations.
There are three ways you can control the speed of the machine. The first is by use of the traditional foot pedal. The second is by sliding the Speed Control Slider to the left or the right to increase or decrease the maximum speed. The third way is to use the Slow Sewing Speed option by pressing the Needle Up/Down button while sewing. This will automatically slow the sewing machine down to a crawl so you can focus on an intricate piece of work.
The Start/Stop button performs just as its name implies. It starts or stops the sewing process and can be used in place of the foot pedal. Just remove the foot pedal entirely and use the Start/Stop button in conjunction with the speed control slider to handle the speed of the needle.
When the foot pedal is attached, you can use the slider to cap the maximum speed but your foot still controls starting and stopping. When the foot pedal is not attached, the Start/Stop button is used to start and stop the sewing process.
The Needle Up/Down button acts like the hand wheel on the side and will raise or lower the needle when pressed. You can also program it to always stop in either the up or down position depending on your needs. When you know you’re going to have to pivot the fabric to sew a corner, you can tell the machine to leave the needle in the down position when you stop sewing, rotate the fabric around the needle and pick up again without skipping a stitch.
Use the Electronic Twin Needle control to let the machine know that you’re switching to twin needle sewing.
An Automatic Locking Stitch Function will tie off your stitches.
A set of direct stitch selection buttons let you choose the most used utility stitches without having to enter any pattern numbers.
Stitch patterns are scrolled through five at a time and then you press a button under the right stitch to make that selection EXCEPT for a set of the most used utility stitches which have their own buttons. This saves you from having to go through the scroll and selection process for things like the straight stitch.
The Tack button lets you tack stitches at the start and finish of a row.
You also use the controls to select between the Utility set of stitches and the Decorative (and Font) set. When combining stitch patterns, you have a button that will clear the settings and screen and let you start over or insert patterns you skipped in your design.
The Reverse button works two ways – when the foot controller is attached, it sews in reverse continuously while the button is pressed and then sews forward when the button is released. When the foot controller is not attached, it will sew in reverse while pressed but will stop sewing when released.
A single beep occurs when pressing buttons during operation. This can be turned off if you find it annoying. Multiple beeps that indicate errors will still sound.
The Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist sewing machine uses horizontal threading for smoother thread flow. This means that your top thread spool lays horizontally when attached to the spool stand. The one issue I have with this is that SOME spools of thread have a little slit in the cap where the manufacturer hooks the starting thread. Sometimes, those little hooks snag horizontal thread during sewing, rip it and you’re left to rethread. I find putting a little piece of tape over those slits helps a great deal.
There is an upper thread sensor that notices when you are out of top thread or if the thread has broken and this will stop the machine automatically so you don’t keep sewing and end up having to backtrack your fabric.
This machine uses Class 15J bobbins. You can easily find these at any sewing store, Walmart, or craft store. It comes with a small supply but if you sew a great deal you’ll want to have some pre-wound bobbins in popular colors so you don’t have to unwind and rewind bobbins in the middle of a task.
You can wind the bobbin thread using the start/stop button if the foot pedal is not attached. This is super easy as you just push a button and let the bobbin do its thing rather than having to hold your foot down the whole time. The bobbin winder stops automatically when the bobbin is full.
Bobbin winding takes place under the machine top so you lift the top while sewing and then you can close it up to keep dust from those areas for a tidier appearance when not in use
The size of the LCD screen on the Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist has got to be its pride and joy. It’s HUGE. The icons and information displayed are then also larger than on other sewing machines. No craning your neck to read tiny print on this baby.
It’s back lit and there’s a brightness control so you can turn the backlight up or down so the display is easily visible in all lighting situations.
The screen displays stitch information including stitch pattern, length and width settings, available stitch editing functions (for example, whether or not you can apply the mirror function to the selected stitch) and the recommended presser foot.
This is where you’ll see any error warnings if the machine encounters a problem.
The screen even shows you little icons that tell you what it’s doing like a picture of a bobbin when the machine is winding a bobbin or a picture of a foot pedal when the foot pedal is attached.
Fabric Control/Feed Dogs
Feed dogs have a big job to do. They work to pull the fabric through the machine. The Quantum Stylist has a 7 point, box feed system which provides the most control you can get.
A button on the front of the free arm lets you drop the feed dogs for free motion sewing, free motion embroidery and darning by hand. The fact that the button is on the FRONT of the machine and not in the back like so many others is, in itself, a huge point. This is much more convenient and easier to see. I’ve never understood why so many machines have it in the back where you have to feel around for it or get up to find it.
Handling thick fabrics, denim, or leather is often a consideration when making your decision. In this case, the Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist is prepared to handle almost anything you need and includes some extra features to help you out. First, the general presser foot has a hinge you can lock in place so that it won’t ride up and lose touch when sewing through a thick seam like when you’re hemming a pair of jeans.
The other feature that helps deal with thick material is the motor.
Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist Sewing Machine Motor
There are two important features regarding the motor in this machine. First, it uses what’s called Optimum Power Control which lets the sewing machine sense when you’re running into an extra thick piece of work and pulls power in to keep the sewing even and steady. This prevents that jerky motion you can run into on other machines which can cause your stitches to look uneven in those sections.
The second feature is that this machine uses a DC motor so the needle arm has a consistent source of power whether you’re going through thin or thick fabrics.
Another review I read compared this machine to the Brother PC420 PRW however, the Brother machine does not have this level of fabric control nor a DC motor.
Review the Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist Sewing Machine Video Demo
This video gives a great overview of all the features and closeups of the stitches and fonts.
Dimensions: 17.2 x 8.2 x 12 inches
Weight: 25.8 pounds
Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist Included Accessories
- Extension table
- 5 Needles
- 4 Bobbins
- Seam ripper
- Auxiliary spool cap
- Spool pin felt
- 2 Screwdrivers
- 2 Thread spool caps (large and small)
- Seam guide
- Quilting bar
The Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist Has Excellent Ratings from Buyers
The 9960 has been on the market for awhile now and there are quite a number of reviews online. All of those reviews give this sewing machine high marks. The combination of low price, automation, and extra presser feet surely has something to do with this but it has also received many positive comments regarding performance.
Finding a bad review is nearly impossible. Customers love the value this machine provides and Singer fans are very excited to have such a strong performing option. The generous stitches, selection of fonts and customization available at a competitive price are all great reasons to get this sewing machine. It’s just one of the best values you can find in this price range.
Average Rating: 4.8
Pros, Cons & Manual
Pros: Sews through anything. Sews smoothly with nice, straight stitches. Quiet. Thread cutter is very convenient. There are so many stitches that you’ll never run out of options. Strongly lit work area. Extension table is a nice plus. Convenient controls for running the machine like the Start/stop button and Speed control. A money-saving bundle of presser feet included.
Cons: Plastic bobbin cover is a little loose and comes off too easily. There’s no knee lifter which is a handy tool appreciated by lots of heavy quilters. Thread cutter doesn’t always catch both threads the first time but this seems to be tied to when the needle is off-center in one of the other needle positions. Not all of the feet are labeled with a letter so you have to look them up in the manual sometimes to figure out which one you need. There are a few reported issues of thread jamming but nothing too serious. Pressure foot pressure is not adjustable for those who like to fine-tune their pressure on specialty fabrics.
Manual available online here: Get the Manual
Manufacturer’s Warranty: As of this date,the warranty in the US is 25 year limited on the sewing machine head, limited 5 year warranty on motors, light, assembly, wiring, switches, speed control and electronic components, and a limited 1 year warranty on adjustments, belts, rings, bulbs, and attachments. As is standard with most warranties, the warranty may be void if certain requirements are not followed.
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Features Summary Review: