Riccar sewing machines have a long and storied history as one of the top brands for home sewing and quilting. With innovative features, excellent build quality, and a focus on ease of use, Riccar machines consistently rank among the best. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore Riccar’s sewing machine models, company history, machine values, and customer reviews to help you determine if a Riccar is right for your sewing needs.
An Overview of Riccar Sewing Machines
Riccar sewing machines target both beginner and experienced sewers with features tailored to ease of use and versatility. Their line includes:
- Computerized sewing machines – Feature an LCD screen, built-in stitches and stitch settings, automatic thread cutting, and more. Ideal for sewers who want technology to simplify sewing.
- Mechanical sewing machines – Offer excellent stitch quality without computerization. A great choice for sewers comfortable using dials and settings.
- Heavy duty sewing machines – Built with metal internal components and powerful motors for sewing thick fabrics like denim. Perfect for frequent sewers and quilters.
- Sergers – Trim and encase edges for professional-looking seams and hems. Useful for sewing knits and creating a polished finish.
- Embroidery machines – Allow you to embroider designs and monograms using downloaded or built-in patterns. Fun for crafters and DIY’ers.
Common features across many Riccar models include:
- Stainless steel bedplate – Provides an ultra smooth surface for fabric to glide across. Prevents flagging, puckering, and snags.
- Automatic thread cutter – Cuts top and bottom threads with the touch of a button for fast and easy trimming.
- LCD screen – Makes selecting stitches, adjusting settings, and programming designs simple on computerized models.
- Push button features – Allow easy control of common functions like needle up/down, speed control, and reverse sewing.
- Free arm – Provides easy access to cuffs, sleeves, and other hard to reach areas. Helpful for sewing closed items like pants legs.
- Drop feed – Makes free motion quilting and darning simple by disengaging the feed dogs.
The History Behind the Riccar Brand
Riccar was founded in Japan in the early 1960s by Taizo Nishimura. The brand’s early success was built on engineering high quality, full-sized machines designed for ease of use and reliability.
In the 1980s, Riccar expanded to the United States through a partnership with Riccar America and Walmart. The aim was bringing feature-rich sewing machines to American consumers at reasonable prices.
Riccar continues operations today as part of Tacony Corporation, a family-owned manufacturing company producing sewing, embroidery, and janitorial equipment. They remain committed to innovation, performance, and approachable pricing on Riccar sewing machines.
Some notable events in Riccar’s history include:
- 1967 – Riccar produced its first home zig zag sewing machine, the Zig-Zag 400. This introduced affordable zig zag stitching to home sewers.
- 1970 – The Riccar 8000 model unveiled options like a free arm and snap-on presser feet. It highlighted Riccar’s focus on convenience.
- 1986 – Riccar opened its American headquarters in St. Louis, MO to provide sales, service, and support in the US.
- 1995 – The aptly named Super Stretch Stitch was introduced to make sewing knits and stretchy fabrics frustration-free.
- 2005 – Riccar launched their Quilter’s Dream line of heavy duty sewing machines purpose-built for quilters.
- 2015 – Riccar partnered with Disney to release the Disney Sewing Machine line with exclusive Disney designs.
Through the decades, Riccar has kept innovation and reliability at the core of their machines. This focus has maintained their reputation for excellence through changing technologies and consumer needs.
Riccar Sewing Machine Model Comparison
Riccar produces a wide selection of sewing machine models to suit all skill levels and sewing needs. Below we compare some of their most popular models:
|Riccar SERGER||Serger||Versatile 3 or 4 thread serger perfect for knits and finishing seams||– 2 needles and 2-3 loopers- Built-in rolled hem- Up to 1300 SPM||$349|
|Riccar Supernova||Mechanical||User-friendly mechanical machine for new sewers||– 12 stitches- Heavy duty metal interior- Free arm||$249|
|Riccar Quilter’s Dream||Mechanical||Heavy duty quilting and sewing machine||– 18 stitches- M-class bobbin- Knee lift and precise foot pressure||$399|
|Riccar Prima||Computerized||Feature-packed computerized sewing and quilting machine||– 250 stitches- Large 5″ LCD touchscreen- Automatic thread cutter||$599|
|Riccar Embellisher||Embroidery||Combo embroidery and sewing machine||– 138 embroidery designs- 400 stitches- 5″ LCD touchscreen||$699|
These represent just a sample of Riccar’s many innovative machines. From budget mechanical models to advanced embroidery machines, Riccar aims to provide quality crafting tools for sewists at all levels.
The Value of Riccar Sewing Machines
Riccar sewing machines range in price from around $200 for basic mechanical models up to $1,200 or more for heavy duty embroidery machines. Across the line, they offer excellent value by combining:
- Quality construction – Durable metal frames and precise engineering for long-lasting performance.
- Innovative features – Conveniences like automatic thread cutting to simplify projects.
- Intuitive operation – Easy to navigate controls and settings for frustration-free sewing.
- Versatility – Wide range of built-in stitches for sewing, construction, quilting, crafts, and more.
- Brand reputation – Over 50 years perfecting sewing machine manufacturing and design.
- Strong warranties – Like 25-year limited warranties on some models for peace of mind.
Considering these factors, Riccar machines tend to represent a pleasing balance of value compared to pricing. While not the absolute cheapest options, you get robust performance and features for reasonable prices.
For shoppers prioritizing quality and reliability, Riccar remains competitively priced versus other premium brands like Bernina, Janome, and Baby Lock. The excellent warranties provide further value.
Of course, needs vary. Beginners just starting out may find strong value in budget Riccar mechanical models under $300. Avid quilters will appreciate the power and durability of Riccar’s heavy duty Quilter’s Dream lineup in the $400-$600 range. Overall, Riccar caters well to diverse budgets.
Riccar Sewing Machine Reviews and Reputation
Across sewing message boards, reviews, and communities, Riccar earns strong recommendations for performance and ease of use. Satisfied Riccar owners praise attributes like:
- Smooth, quiet, and precise stitching quality even at high speeds
- Helpful features that simplify projects rather than complicate them
- Durable construction that allows the machines to last for many years
- Easy-to-navigate controls and settings
- Quality engineering and components resistant to malfunctions
- Excellent customer service support after purchase
Specific models like the Supernova, Prima, and SERGER tend to come up as favorites thanks to their balance of value, features, and quality at reasonable price points.
Negative critiques typically focus on size and portability. Riccar machines tend to be heavy, with all-metal construction. This makes them stable and durable when sewing, but difficult to transport to classes or quilt groups.
Some reviewers also mention noise levels being higher than very quiet competitors like Janome and Bernina machines. However, many still consider Riccar machines “quiet enough” for home sewing.
Overall, Riccar enjoys a reputation as a brand that consistently meets or exceeds expectations with quality products in the mid-range price tier. Their decades of experience shines through in the precision engineering and reliability of their sewing machines.
How Do Riccar Machines Compare to Singer and Brother Models
As two other popular, affordable brands, how do Riccar machines stack up against offerings from Singer and Brother Here’s an overview:
- Beginner friendliness – Brother takes the edge by offering basic machines with intuitive controls even kids can learn on. Singer and Riccar both cater better to new adult sewers.
- Build quality – Riccar’s metal frames and precise components give it an advantage for durability over the mostly plastic Singer and Brother machines.
- Features – Entry level Brother and Singer models offer more “bells and whistles” than basic Riccars. However, Riccar’s higher end models compete well on features.
- Stitch quality – Riccar’s precise engineering shines here for smooth, consistent stitching, especially at high speeds.
- Ease of use – Riccar and Singer both offer good ease of use for new and experienced sewers. Brother simplifies further with graphical interfaces.
- Price – Brother offers the most budget-friendly options under $150. Singer and Riccar give more value at moderate price points.
The best match comes down to sewing needs and budget. Beginners may favor Brother for simplicity. Singer offers a wider range of prices. Riccar excels at quality and consistency for experienced sewers.
Are Riccar Sewing Machines Good for Quilting
With features tailored specifically for quilters, Riccar sewing machines prove excellent choices for quilting. Advantages include:
- Powerful motors – Can handle thick quilt sandwiches and layers smoothly.
- M-class bobbins – Alternate style bobbin makes free motion work easier.
- Precise feeding – Ensures uniform stitches, even on detailed quilting patterns.
- Knee lift – Raises the presser foot using your knee, keeping hands free.
- Easy bobbin access – Simply slide off the extension table for instant access.
- Large work area – Accommodates bulky projects or large pieces of fabric.
- Variable foot pressure – Lets you adjust pressure to suit different thicknesses.
- Easy free motion – Lower or cover the feed dogs for free quilting.
Riccar’s Quilter’s Dream line offers heavy duty choices purpose-built for quilters’ needs. The QD models come highly rated by quilters for durability, easy operation, and beautiful stitch results.
For serious quilters or sewers working with heavy materials, Riccar’s reputation for qualityconstruction and thoughtful engineering makes their machines stand out from other affordable brands.
Top Tips for Shopping for a Riccar Sewing Machine
Ready to choose your Riccar Keep these top tips in mind while shopping:
- Consider your needs – Focus on models with features that suit your sewing style, skill level, and projects. Don’t overbuy or underbuy.
- Compare build construction – Heavier metal frames tend to perform better and last longer. Plastic housing can break more easily.
- Research reliability – Check reviews and warranty terms to gauge real-world durability. Riccar has outstanding warranties.
- Test drive models – Sew a sample at full speed to check for vibration, noise, ease of controls, and stitch quality.
- Compare pricing deals – Look for sales, promotions, or package deals to maximize value. Entry level Riccars often go on sale.
- Factor in support – Riccar has an extensive network of dealers for service, maintenance, and classes after purchase.
- Consider growth – Will features like extra stitches keep your machine relevant as your skills advance Prioritize versatility.
Take your time, test different models, and think about long term use. With proper care and maintenance, a Riccar machine can sew beautifully for decades. Investment in quality up front saves headaches down the road.
Riccar Sewing Machines: Key Takeaways
For over 50 years, Riccar has engineered sewing machines known for precision, reliability, ease of use, and quality construction. Their line offers computerized, mechanical, embroidery, serger, and quilting models catering to all sewing needs.
Common strengths across Riccar machines include excellent stitch quality, intuitive controls, versatile features, and durable metal construction. Brand highlights include innovation in zig zag and stretch stitching capabilities.
Riccar machines earn overwhelmingly positive reviews for performance and longevity. They represent pleasing value for sewers prioritizing quality engineering and construction over rock-bottom pricing. Models like the Supernova, Prima, and SERGER stand out as excellent choices their respective categories.
For beginners, Riccar mechanical models offer approachable operation. Serious quilters will appreciate Riccar’s Quilter’s Dream line built for heavy duty sewing. With the right choice matched to skill and needs, Riccar machines can deliver satisfaction for years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions About Riccar Sewing Machines
Q: Who makes Riccar sewing machines?
Riccar sewing machines are designed and manufactured by Tacony Corporation, a family-owned business producing floor care equipment and sewing machines in St. Louis, Missouri since 1986. Riccar’s engineering and quality control happens in-house at their US headquarters.
Q: Where are Riccar sewing machines made?
While Riccar’s parent company Tacony Corp is American-owned, Riccar’s sewing machines themselves are produced internationally in factories located in Taiwan and China. This allows more affordable construction costs while Tacony oversees engineering and quality control.
Q: What is the warranty on Riccar sewing machines?
Riccar offers impressive 25-year limited warranties on most of their sewing machine models. This covers defects in materials or workmanship. Some exclusions apply, such as wearing parts needing regular replacement. Always confirm exact warranty details with your retailer.
Q: Are Riccar and Janome sewing machines related?
Riccar and Janome are completely separate companies producing their own line of sewing machines. Janome is a prominent Japanese brand, while Riccar sewing machines are engineered by the American company Tacony. Any similarities come from producing quality machines in a competitive market.
Q: Where can I buy Riccar sewing machines?
Riccar sells their sewing machine primarily through independent, specialty sewing retailers. This provides expertise in helping you select the right model. Limited models are available through online retailers like Amazon or Walmart. For the best experience, visit an authorized local Riccar dealer.
With innovative features, intuitive operation, and renowned build quality, it’s easy to see why Riccar sewing machines maintain such popularity among sewing and quilting enthusiasts. Models catering to needs from clothing construction to embroidered home decor ensure beginners and experts alike can find their perfect match.
Despite competitive pricing from brands like Singer and Brother, Riccar differentiates by offering serious sewing capability without intimidating complexity. Clever engineering provides convenience without sacrificing quality construction. With proper care, your Riccar has the pedigree to remain a reliable sewing partner for decades rather than just years.
The next time inspiration strikes for sewing or quilting projects, turn to Riccar’s line of capable machines. With the right model optimized for your skill level and needs, you may just find sewing success beyond your imagination.