In recent years I have really started to get into crafts (being a member of my local WI really helped this) and so I decided it was time to step up my game and buy myself a proper sewing machine as my little portable machine was no longer cutting it (to be fair it never did). I didn't want a complicated machine just one I could sew clothes on and other sewing projects and wanted one that had enough stitches so I wouldn't need to upgrade too soon so after doing some research I decided to go for this Brother sewing machine as it looked like it had everything I need. When I saw it second hand on amazon I knew I had to purchase it and I am glad I did.
First off I must say that my bobbin winder on the machine was broken (although the seller on Amazon was great and gave me a discount which I put towards a sidewinder) so I won't be able to review how that works as I honestly haven't tried it.
The machine itself is a nice size for my needs (it is pretty standard size for a machine) and while it is a little heavy to transport it mainly stays at the side of my desk and I can move it in the house easily.
It comes with 14 separate stitch settings (with a total of 25 stitch functions) including a four step buttonhole maker. Although so far I have only really used the straight and zig zag stitch but they work really well.
According to Brother it also comes with:
* 4-Step automatic buttonholer
* Free arm/flat bed convertible sewing surface
* Twin needle for two-colour stitching (although as mine was second hand it didn't come with this attachment)
* Automatic bobbin winder for fast and easy bobbin winding
* Front loading bobbin
* Traditional metal chasis
* Dust cover
* Accessories for zipper insertion, darning, buttonholes and button sewing included
* Buttonhole fine adjustment
* Thread tension control dial
* Snap-on presser foot
***Threading the machine***
For anyone using a new sewing machine the most daunting part always seems to be threading the machine but in this case I found it really easy. As a disclaimer I have used sewing machines before but this one was simple to thread up with a clear diagram in the instructions to show you how it's done. When it comes to threading the bobbin then that is also simple and self explanatory - you just need to put a bobbin in the case and then use your threaded needle to loop it up onto the plate but the diagrams can describe it better than I can!
***Using the machine***
So far I have found the machine really easy to use. Some machines I have used in the past I can find it quite hard to control the speed of them but that is not a problem with this machine as the pedal controls the speed well. While choosing a stitch is as simple as turning a dial and selecting the stitch you need and you the stitch itself is really accurate and strong. Therefore, this machine is perfect for even a beginner.
Changing the presser foot is also so simple and they are compatitable with other machines like Janome etc while changing the needle does need a screwdriver but is also simple.
Thanks to my lovely new machine I have been able to make a number of items of clothing including skirts and tops and finish projects I never would have been able to do. It's also really simple to use and overall a great machine.
~*~The Product ~ Little 'Sew' & 'Sew'! :~)~*~
This sewing machine is electronic, operated by an electric foot paddle. The appliance weighs in at a hefty 8kgs, which is without the case! No carry or protective case is provided with this apparatus. The machine has a traditionally designed front loading bobbin. This apparatus has a flatbed sewing area of only 22x16cm. The device has twenty-four stitch choices along with four step buttonhole option. Dimensions of the machine are width 39cm x height 32cm. The appliance comes with three presser feet functions consisting of zipper, buttonhole and button hole sewing facility. There are four varied stabilizing feet on the machine. The instrument comes with a DVD on sewing machine ranges available and a manual. The machine also comes with some accessories such as bobbins. Furthermore, the device has a Standard UK 220-240 Volts and a three Years Full Manufacturer's Warranty. Company contact details:
Phone number ~ 08444 999 444
Web address ~ www.brother.co.uk
~*~My Usage Experience ~ 'Sew' Many To Choose From! :~)~*~
My Son purchased this apparatus from Amazon as a gift for me, not sure whether this was from the goodness of his heart or he was wearying of my hints on 'how great would it be to have a sewing machine' since my previous one went to a better place long ago! :~D My Son had told me beforehand on his intensions of buying me a sewing machine, but he wanted me to choose one as he wasn't sure on which one to purchase. I am no seamstress! Therefore, all I need is a basic sewing machine with a few varied stitch choices and functions. This seemed to fit the bill! The machine has been described as both 'lightweight' and 'recommended for beginners as a starting point'. The latter is correct but this is not a lightweight machine, well, not in my opinion! I'm not new to sewing but my capabilities are average as are my needs in this area. I only need a sewing machine for simple sewing requirements such as repairs and making the odd crafty piece of work, such as a fancy cushion cover. Therefore, novice machinist or 'nannies' that want a simple standard machine will not be disappointed with this chunky gem!
There are a few facilities on the sewing machine that I do not actually need or would generally use. But for the review, I have tested most utilities to pass on my findings :~)
The sewing machine came securely packaged with polystyrene purposely designed edging to fit around the machines circumference. There was also a plastic bag that contained the manual, DVD etc. The Box had all the advertising hype typical with such electronic products. I could unpack the machine myself but asked my Son's help due to the delicate fixtures on the machine and its rather heavyset casing.
The dimensions of this sewing machine are fairly standard at width 39cm x height 32cm, which fits fine on my sewing table; leaving plenty of room to manoeuvre should I need to adjust components.
Terrible! That is the only word that came to mind when I first studied the material. Although I have had sewing machines for over thirty-five years, I like to ensure I use my current machines properly. But I ended up getting most of my material on operating this machine via YouTube! There are 58 pages to the Instruction manual but they're far from consumer friendly. I certainly don't mind the manual having other languages but all four shares every page which ends up being difficult to locate instructions and diagrams in English; which I am sure is equally problematic for those trying to find their language text. The very small text, black on bright white background add to the complexity of locating data. The diagrams are perplexing as the haphazard formatting, small text and miniscule numerals which leave me so frustrated.
The instructions are confusing and too complex to keep my attention, I just got so annoyed at trying to follow such convoluted explanations. I gave up after several attempts and turned to YouTube which I found an invaluable help. No offence to the guys, but ironically, it was a young chap on YouTube that explained perfectly how to thread the bobbin through the casing to join up with the needle thread. It had originally taken him two hours, when he found out by trial and error with no help from the instruction manual! There is no assistance in the manual even on material on the most advantageous stitch to neaten seams!
It isn't all bad just not enough redeeming factors to help the consumer stick with it. On pages 31 there is a practical diagram with text on making button holes. Added to this, on page 12 there is a chart of the pattern and stitch names explained along with the relevant page numbers in the manual that will explain how to obtain them, but pages like these are too few and far between. I advise googling forums and mostly searching YouTube as a more beneficial guide on using this machine. Beware, some links are boring and very annoying but there are some really professional videos on YouTube that will fit the request perfectly.
For me personally, I do not find the tiny low wattage light enough to sew comfortably with. I have my lounge directional lights on and sometimes, a lamp close by too. Goodness knows how I would change the light as it is tucked high up underneath the very tight securely fixed plastic casing! Instructions for changing the bulb is given on page 42 of the manual and seems simple enough but I'm not going to attempt this until the task actually needs doing! A tiny black easy to locate switch turns the light on/off.
This machine is no baby, well, my third child was a ten pounder so perhaps I will just say this is a large baby to pick up and move around! :~D I am bemused by the hype that describes this machine as lightweight. I found the 8kgs a bulky and awkward weight to carry, so once I found the most appropriate place for the machine, there it stays!
The food controller plug fits easily and securely into the jack on the sewing machine's right side. I am pretty disappointed at the foot peddle as it is very different from previous older Singer models I've owned. This peddle is small at only just under 14x9cm. Being so lightweight doesn't help either. I find myself regularly re-placing my foot on the device as my foot slips away, even with its grooved slats! I appreciate that it is a cheaper model but really, are the manufacturers being little too stingy furnishing consumers with such a flimsy small operating tool?! Thankfully, I only need to apply light pressure to operate the paddle. The speed of my sewing is increased according to how much pressure I place on the paddle. Beware, it is very sensitive and I often end up going too fast for my needs on many occasions!
it is so easy to use the 'Quick Change Clip on Feet'. But I didn't find this initially when I was learning how to accomplish this task. I actually learned by trial and error, but once I realised how it was done, I felt rather foolish! It really is simple but you may need glasses! :~) I had to actually rest the machine on a 45 degree angle to locate the very tiny metal clip that rest beneath the foot to ensure I slid it carefully underneath the tiny 1cm bar. It only takes a few moments to remove and replace but needs a very steady hand! I had to get familiar and adept at removing the foot for the times I need to alternate with the buttonhole and zipper foot! All I had to do to change feet (sounds weird but you know which feet I'm talking about) :~) is accomplished by raising the needle as high as it will go by manually turning the right side wheel on the machine counter clockwise and raising the pressure foot. Thereafter, simple lifting the lever, releasing the foot and reversing the technique accomplishes this delicate task.
The manufacturers set the tension, number 5 in this case, for the bobbin which is fine. But on first testing the sewing features out, I found the stitching puckered. I realized that I hadn't pulled the thread to the bobbin properly up in the spool. So I took the mechanism out that holds the bobbin, re-wound the thread correctly up to the clip on the spool, and then the stitching worked fine. But I have noticed since that I need to adjust the pattern dial for certain materials; a big difference between silk and denim for instance!
As with winding thread on the plastic bobbins, replacing blunt and/or bent needles is also accomplished using the traditional method. Removing old and inserting new needles is done by turning the grooved screw located at the base of the needle's top which then loosens the grip enabling me to gently pull the needle downwards. I then reverse the procedure to replace with a new needle. The sewing machine comes with three extra needles to the one already in place. The red tipped needles are practically held in a tiny envelope and wrapped in foil for extra protection.
To ensure my machine was steady and level on the surface of the table I could adjust the rubber varied size and shaped pads. Although I didn't need to do this as the surface is even, for investigative purposes I took a look at this capacity. To change the length I would need to rest the machine at a 45 degree angle carefully against a firm surface and making sure my hand was resting against the machine's edge to keep it from slipping. Adjusting the pads from here is quick and easy as the little feet are flexible to turn either way.
~Stitch & Buttonhole Options~
The stitch options on the upper casing are in white numerals and symbols set against a variation of sky and light blue background. I find this really easy on the eye and effective in being simple to locate and choose. The large pattern selection dial moves very easily and has very bold black numerals set against cream white background. This shade co-ordination is really effective and compliments the design also making it clear to choose from which stitch option to line the numerals up too. 1(a-b-c-d) on the dial refers to the 4-step automatic buttonhole feature. I'm embarrassed to say that I have never used this feature with any of my previous sewing machines but because I wanted to write a comprehensive review of the utilities available on this basic apparatus, I summoned up the courage to give it a go; using scrap material in case I botched the job!
I couldn't believe how easy it was to do, wish I hadn't put this off for so long. I would normally use tailor's chalk to mark the position and the length of the buttonhole on my fabric, but as I was only trying this feature out on scrap material I didn't worry about doing this, not to mention I didn't have any at the time :~) I attached the buttonhole foot which slipped simply onto the bar that holds the component and pushed the outside frame back till the sliding insert was on the front. The front bar of stitching is the first that is sewn. I placed my scrap cotton fabric carefully underneath the presser foot. The two red lines on the foot would normally be lined up with the chalk marks. Next I had to set the pattern dial to 'a', lower the foot and sew half a dozen stitches. Once the needle is to the left of the stitches I stopped and raised the needle.
Next I turned the dial to 'b' and sewed the length I wanted the buttonhole to be. Again, when the needle was to the left of the stitches, I stopped sewing. I then turned the dial to 'c' and sewed another half a dozen stitches and ended the same as the previous two steps. Finally, I set the dial to 'd' and sewed until the stitching met up with those I finished in part 'a'. Securing these stitches is as simple as forming the buttonhole as I just needed to turn my material counter clockwise at a 90 degree angle, selecting the dial to the straight stitch, a choice of 6-10 on the dial, I chose 8, and 'sewed to the edge of the front bar tack'. The manufacturers recommend that the consumer place pins across the ends of the buttonhole to ensure these stitches are protected before cutting an opening in the center of the buttonhole with a seam ripper tool. I was thrilled with the result.
The stitches looked so professionally sewn, machine's capabilities not mine! :~D I feel so confident now seeing how simple this little buttonhole tool makes the task that I will be performing the procedure on fabrics I want to use this feature on for real! The button sewing foot that compliments this feature is excellent. I simply attach the foot as with the buttonhole foot and after measuring the distances between the
buttonholes, I set the pattern dial on the Zigzag stitch (a choice of 2-4) I chose 3 as the distance I wanted to try out for the buttonholes was 3.2mm. Each zigzag numeral has to be assigned to the appropriate distance. I had to attach the darning needle for this task, I placed a large holed button on the plate, as this was my first time and I felt anxious not to bust the needle etc.,
But as long as I centered the needle carefully in line with the button holes, I had nothing to be concerned about. The needle mechanism is very accurate and doesn't move within its casing at all. I had to apply minimum pressure on the paddle because only around ten stitches are needed to secure the button to the material. Once I had cut and tied the two threads to the stitching I notice how uniformed and neat the stitches appeared. Both the buttonhole and button stitching looked aesthetically pleasing. I have yet to rustle up the confidence with the zipper feature but will up-date my review accordingly when task complete :~)
To save the sanity of readers I will not go into the ins and outs of the darning, gathering, appliques, and monogramming, embroidering features and suchlike. They work and they work very efficiently. None of these features have disappointed me but I have gone through copious amounts of scrap material and chart paper designing little patterns :~) I will suggest that to get used to using the various components and gaining familiarity in using the machine in this way, first performing these task on scrap material is best. I use old cotton babygros as this material stands up to the job brilliantly.
Stitching choices are given as 2 to 14 on the blue bar code and pattern dial. I have my favourites but all are wonderfully varied and produce excellent results. Again, I will not go into each and every stich facility as, believe me, I will bore you. I tend to stick to number 8 for the straight stitching feature as it gives a lovely uniformed and perfect length that is aesthetically pleasing against material. Number 12 stitching looks like a heart monitor line, really fun to do against a nurse's dressing up uniform for my grand-daughter! Tip: When I use soft fabrics, I need to use stabilizer material on the underside of my fabric.
~Threading, Thread cutter and Bobbin ~
There is no automatic threading facility on this machine as opposed to the automatic bobbin winder. To thread the bobbin is very simple. It uses the traditional technique as with most sewing machines, using the top of the machine's components to wind the thread automatically once all units are in place and will mechanically stop when complete. Beware though; the thread needs to be twisted once from cotton reel to base component when preparing to thread a bobbin.
But when it comes to the threading of the lower bobbin on the front loading utility, I found a real pain! As I mentioned above, the manual is written in such a baffling way that I attempted to accomplish this task by using previous knowledge from my former machines. But this didn't work. My son heard my groans of pure frustration so came in to lend a hand. We then decided on Googling YouTube. Having tried a couple of links, I then came across a brilliant brief two minute 27second tutorial from a young guy}http://youtu.be/JbxAmvyAKuE, which showed me in such a clear and understandable way how to accomplish the task. I had taken the whole mechanism that was holding the bobbin fixture out when I should have just taken the spool holding the bobbin. The rest is only to be removed when cleaning! I know this sounds obvious, but on my previous machines, this hasn't always been the case.
I don't find that I need to apply oil too frequently. But as an expensive lesson from previous neglect of my sewing machines, I have learned to monitor such task regularly! As a rule, I like to oil and dust the inner mechanisms after approximately fifteen hours of sewing. Because I keep to a fairly tight schedule, monitoring this amount of usage time isn't difficult for me. As a tip, I like to keep a stitch cutter, soft wadding, and the small screw driver that comes with the machine, a can of dust remover spray and sewing machine oil to hand for maintenance of my sewing machine. Using the dust removal spray against the bobbin mechanisms is so effective and accomplished within a couple of moments using this and the stitch ripper to tickle dust particles out of such places as the bobbin spool. There are two easily removable screws to the foot plate that I can detach to get at the dust that gathers from material into this component's area.
Niler Tylor has a great YouTube video that takes one through the process if performing this task for the first time} http://youtu.be/4AYV3hbqF4U. Five minutes and 44seconds and again 9 minutes and 10 seconds into the 12 minute 7second video shows where and how to apply the sewing machine oil. Every six months I like to make it a habit to have my sewing machines serviced by a professional as such folk can professionally clean the motor inner mechanisms safely.
There is a DVD that comes with this sewing machine which shows the 'Computer & Embroidery Sewing Machine Range. A little pointless seeing I've already made my choice and purchased the machine! It would be far more beneficial to have had a tutorial DVD. The Forward and reverse sewing is located just off centre on the front of the sewing machine and is an ergonomically designed button the feels easy and fluid to press down and perform. This features works accurately every time I used it. I have to use this feature on every occasion as it secures the initial and end on sewing task. Furthermore, the machine's 'free arm circumference' area only affords 28cm which delivers the minimum size of a circular piece of sewing; example being a curved hem.
As mentioned above, the machine comes with a 'bilingual instruction manual'. There is a '25 year limited warranty, with free phone support for the life of the product, we do not recommend using this machine in countries that do not support 120V AC even if a voltage adapter is in use'. Accessories include:
A four Step Auto Button Hole Foot
Button Sewing on Foot
Feed Cover for Embroidery
Needles x 3
White 4" Screw Driver
Spool Pin for Twin Needle Stitching
Three plastic Bobbins
The accessories are conveniently stored in a sturdy white plastic envelope secured with a popper closure. The bag fits into the extension table with ease and I found very practical to avoid mislaying the attachments.
Reasonably priced. Light pressures to operate sensitive foot peddle. A good choice of stitch features. Practical button and zipper sewing accessories.
No cover. Convoluted instruction manual. Small and flimsy foot paddle. Bulky heavy machine. Noisy! Removing the clip on base to get to the bobbin stiff and tough to remove with ease!
~*~Would I Recommend? ~ 'All sewn up'!~*~
As a basic no nonsense sewing machine for beginners or those, like me, that do not require more elaborate features it is perfect. There are some disadvantages as I mentioned within my review and under the sub heading 'cons', but overall this machine is a delight to work with. I really do wish that the manufacturers had provided a cover to protect the machine from damage but also as a safeguard for little fingers (not mine, I'm like Hobbits!) but my grand-tots. But I have placed my machine out of reach when they visit though if I had a cover I wouldn't need to move the heavy machine so frequently. This apparatus has far more practical and design features than first thought and adds to the appeal and fun. I am very happy with my new sibling! :~)
The Brother Sewing Machine LS-2125 is currently on purchase for £89.00 and is available to be delivered free in the UK with Amazon's Super Saver Delivery.
Thank you for taking the time to read my review :~) xXx
With a household name like Brother, you know you're doing something right when you begin to browse their product range. But with so many competitors in the sewing machine industry, how do you know they'll step up to the mark? Well rest assured, this model is a fantastic machine for the price.
It's not something I'd recommend to the advanced machinist, but for many tasks the machine will fit the bill. Not only suitable for mending and general sewing, I managed to create many beautiful garments for my children with ease. The four step buttonhole was surprisingly easy to master, and I much prefer it to the buttonhole facility on my current machine.
Easy to operate and very simple to get to grips with, the machine provides consistent stitch length without deviation from the settings as the months roll by. This is something I've experienced with machines in the past, but the Brother is very hardy in that sense.
It's a very easy machine to thread and tension is easily adjusted when necessary. It's a very basic model, but great for the novice wanting to improve skills without spending an absolute fortune.
The Bad Parts
The machine is very loud and quite heavy, might be a consideration if you are wanting to travel with it.
I begged my dad for a Sewing machine a few years ago, with dreams of making beautiful ballgowns, pretty day dresses, and unique accessories.
It might not have panned quite out that way, but I still wouldn't be without my Brother LS2125. My lovely dad bought it for me from Argos for around £150, but you can now buy it online from £89 - £99.
The sewing machine itself is fairly basic looking which is best for the amateur sewer I find - if you've learned the basics of sewing at school as I did, I prefer the sewing machine to be easy to set up so you can get going. It is white in colour with a sky blue sticker on the outside with the different settings. The working parts (foot, plate, hook, etc) are in stainless steel. I have had my sewing machine for some years now and this has never rusted, dulled or faded and the white plastic has never yellowed, so I can vouch for it's durability and build quality. The machine has a carry handle for transportation. The machine is quite light to carry and this is a big bonus if you are not the strongest person! It's also quite small to store - it has the footprint space of a tabloid newspaper (I know, I keep it on one so it doesn't get scratched!)
The Brother LS2125 comes with the main unit, the foot pedal / power cable (which attaches to the side of the sewing machine, under the manual turn, with a kettle lead type connection). It also has a thin plastic dust cover with a hole cut in it for the handle, a decent instructional manual, and a warranty card. You get a three year manufacturer warranty with this unit as standard, I never needed to use it. I also got with mine, a few spare bobbins, a packet of pins, a set of needles (one for leather, one for denim, a cotton one and so on), and a small pack of cotton reels in primary colours. I am unsure if the unit still comes with this as it isn't mentioned in the listing on Amazon but it was a good way of testing it out before I stocked up.
So; the sewing machine has a fine array of features which means even the most amateur of sewers won't have any problems getting simple tasks done. I'd always recommend, even if you have had sewing lessons, to practice on some scrap material first but I have to say the machine is responsive on the foot pedal and very easy to get to grips with. It wasn't long before I was running up a pair of curtains.
The main features are it's 23 different stitch functions including button holes, blind hem, zigzag and straight stitch. You can change the stitch by simply turning the wheel on the front of the unit. There is also a smaller wheel above the foot for tension control. It has a bobbin function so you can wind up bobbins on the machine quickly and easily and the front part of the unit under the foot comes away with a click so you can replace them (I also keep my spare needles and bobbins in here as it's quite a big storage space for bits and bobs).
I never did knock up a ballgown, but I have made cushion and pillow covers, curtains, blackout blinds, throws, and peg bags, and I have been able to re-hem trousers and adjust clothing. It's been extremely useful and I find it very easy to use, even if I haven't used it for six months I can take it out of the cupboard and it will be ready to use in moments - I have never had any trouble with it at all.
If I had to make one criticism of the Brother LS2125 it would be that the space under the main 'arm' of the machine has less space than other units, notably my mum's Toyota. This means there is less room for material and manouvering material around and you have to be careful not to get into a muddle when sewing less bendable things (such as the blackout blind I made) or big, fluffy things (like the fluffy cushion covers I battled with!). For the amateur user, it's not really a problem as curtains are probably the biggest thing you'll be sewing. But it is important to note that for the price and for the features you get, that this is not comparable to a high end or industrial sewing machine.
Overall, I'd recommend the Brother LS2125 as if like me you only use a sewing machine occasionally, and are just wanting to have the convenience of making and repairing your clothes and homewares, it is certainly worth the (low) cost. Don't be suckered into buying one of the £30 cheap battery driven mini sewing machines - this unit will last you years for only a few more pounds, and you'll get a lot more done with it. I can certainly see myself using this for years.
After my singer reached its demise a month ago I decided to look for a cheap alternative. My singer was computerised but I was going for value for money over features this time because I found that I never used half of the features available so it was a waste on me really!
I decided on this Brother sewing machine mainly due to its price of 180 euro in Hickeys. It was expensive enough to be of good quality and do what I wanted but not too many features or extra bits that I would never use anyway.
The machine is white in colour and there is a dial to change the various 23 different stiches to your needs. The feet are easy to attach and clip into place with ease. Included with this machine is a zig zag foot, buttonhole foot, zipper insertion foot, button sewing foot aswell as an all purpose foot. I was a bit disappointed that they didnt include a walking foot as I like to quilt so this was an added expense of 8 euro for me.
The manual is very well laid out and gives accurate descriptions to set up the machine and its easy to go through the steps of inserting the bobbin and working on your masterpiece!
Unlike my last Singer machine this did not come with a cover case but I got to make one myself to test the machine and I was happy with my own handmade cover. It is noisey but nothing worse than any other sewing machine I have experienced.
I am very pleased with this sewing machine and I find it great for simple sewing. As a beginner I have made quilts, bags and dolls for my daughter and this machine has never caused any problems throughout its use.
My mum bought this machine for me about 2 years ago, mainly because she was sick of me borrowing hers all the time. It seems that once you become a full time Mum you need other pastimes to make you feel worthwhile, pastimes apart from being a Mother of course! And my 'thing' was sewing, I have made all sorts for my kids over the last few years, and these include comfort blankets, pram blankets, play mats, bed coverlets, pillowcases, clothes, and most recently two patchwork quilts which I am very proud of! I have also made some cushion covers and arm protectors for our settees. All the above items were produced using this machine so I think it has done quite a good job!
Brother LS-2125 is actually quite a basic model (as far as I can tell, I'm not that clued up on sewing machines if I'm perfectly honest and would class myself as a beginner when it comes to sewing). Here is a quote from the Brother website - "The LS2125 is perfect for basic alterations and repairs. With a traditional metal chassis you can put your trust in this easy to use sewing machine that is built around the values that you know and expect from a Brother Sewing machine".
The functions it performs are as follows:
* 14 automatic stitches
* 4 step buttonhole
* Zipper insertion
* Free arm conversion
* Front loading bobbin
* Automatic bobbin winder
* Forward and reverse sewing
* Twin needle sewing
* Clip on presser feet
I found setting up the machine really quite simple, everything is clearly labelled in the instructions (once you find the correct language!), and diagrams are simply laid out so it is very easy to set up for winding your bobbin, and then of course threading the needle. Once you get the hang of it, it's a very quick and easy process. There are also simple diagrams on the top of the machine to remind you should you forget where to put your thread.
**A Stitch In Time**
The 14 different stitches are various zig zag stitches and standard straight ones which are either very small stitches, or larger depending on which option you select , and there are 3 wacky stitches which I think are for when you use 'twin-needle' sewing (not something I have tried) - you select the stitch you want by turning the large circular knob on the front of the machine. You can also adjust the 'closeness' of the stitch by turning a very much smaller dial (more like a screw head) to shorten or lengthen the stitch. For example if you were doing a zig zag stitch but wanted the zig zags really close together you would turn this dial towards the minus sign and you would get a very much bunched up zig zag rather than one that was spread apart.
When I first started using the machine I was quite shocked at how noisy it was, especially with it being a brand new machine. I was used to my Mum's noisy old thing so I thought a new one would be silent and smooth running. A noisy one was not what I expected but never mind, it was performing it's functions quite well so I was prepared to let the noise pass, although I always have to wait until my children are complete asleep before I start using it on a night for fear of keeping them awake! If I push the pedal right down to the floor I sometimes wonder if the machine is going to shake itself off the table.
At first some of the stitches didn't seem to be working quite as well as I'd hoped, it seemed to be dropping a stitch every now and then, but I'm presuming this was just teething problems because I have not had any problems like that since the first couple of uses, so perhaps it was just warming up.
I'll be honest and say I haven't used every function on this machine, I have never replaced a zip or sewn a button hole, but these type of things are beyond me. However, I have extensively used the machine for other reasons and I have found it to be trustworthy and it can also take a lot of hammer! The reason I say this is because I am not one of these people who will half press the pedal down and take it steady with each thing I sew, I tend to shove the material under the foot and press the pedal to the floor (not unlike my driving skills...) and the material will shoot through the machine and come out the other side sewn just as I wanted it. Admittedly, sometimes I am more careful, especially with more intricate items, but when you are sewing together lots of small patchwork pieces, one after the other, speed is the thing you need!
It copes a lot better with material which is 100% cotton, this stuff sews beautifully through the machine, but more lightweight material such as polycotton can sometimes get snagged, and often will bunch up (probably due to my high speed sewing techniques). But I have found that the material that gets bunched up can easily be flattened out again once you have removed it from the machine. The 100% cotton more or less glides under the foot and you hardly need to touch the material as it goes through, whereas lesser material needs directing and a close eye.
The patchwork quilts that I have put together using this machine have been made up of a combination of 100% cotton and other 'lesser' materials and although you are not really meant to use different materials together in a project like this, my machine coped quite well with it, and the quilts ended up not too bad (if I'm honest I think they look awesome, but a professional quilter would not agree).
There were a few occurrences of material being stretched as it went through the machine, but I think that was more my fault, and the material's fault rather than the machine. I also used a wadding in the middle of the quilt, and then 'quilted' the quilts (i.e. I used the machine to sew the layers of the quilt together) so the machine was actually sewing through two layers of material and a layer of wadding, and it coped brilliantly. I was a bit dubious about subjecting my machine to such tough tests so I was pleasantly surprised when it all worked out okay.
So as you can tell, I've put my machine through quite a lot and the fact that it is still working is quite a marvel, my Mum was actually quite horrified by what I was producing using this machine, she would never treat hers the way I have treated mine; but if it copes with it then why not?? She couldn't believe the size of the quilts (a bit larger than a single bed size) I had produced, and they were all done on the machine.
Something I have noticed recently is that sometimes I don't seem to be able to regulate the speed of the sewing machine, it's either at a standstill or it is going at 100mph, and no matter how gently I put my foot on the pedal it only has one speed. This doesn't happen all the time, but it has occurred on a number of occasions during the last few times I have used the machine.
I am actually going to try and get it serviced in the very near future because I have noticed that the tension on the stitches is not quite right anymore, and no matter which way I turn the tension dial (located on the front of the machine) it doesn't alter the state of the stitches. I have never had it serviced before so it's probably due for a clean up anyway.
I wasn't sure where to include this additional information within the main review so I've just decided to add it on at the end.
There is a forward and reverse button located on the front of the machine to the right hand side. This is more like a lever which you press down to get the stitches to go backwards. I usually use this as I finish each section of sewing, just so I don't have to tie it off each time. I'm not sure if this was the intended use of the 'forward/reverse' function but this is what I use it for.
There is a light which shines on the sewing area and you have this on or off. I usually have it on when I am sewing, just to give a clearer view of the area I am working on.
The plug and pedal come on quite a short lead, the pedal only just rests nicely on the floor from the height of my table, and I think my table is quite a standard height, so if you have a high table, then you might want to check this. Also you need to be able to sew near a plug because the lead from the plug is also not that long. I have found it also gets tangled up quite easily, but that's probably my fault for not storing it correctly.
There is a deep recess at the top on the back of the machine which is the carry handle, and this makes it very easy to move the machine about.
Extras included with the machine include a little screw driver, spare bobbins, spare needles, a twin needles, a spare foot and a zipper foot, and a couple of other things which I aren't quite sure about! These all come in a little white pouch which can be stored in a little compartment in front of the bobbin compartment.
I have been really pleased with this machine, and for someone like me who is still learning, and picking up new skills along the way, it's perfect because it's not too expensive if you happen to break it, or decide that you don't need to use it as often as you thought. It's great for practising on because it is so simple to use, but it is also great for simple projects that a more experienced person may undertake. I think since I have had this machine at my finger tips my sewing skills and techniques have definitely improved and I feel more confident about what I am able to produce. But I may have to upgrade if I carry on making patchwork quilts because I'm not quite sure how much more of that it can take.
You can get this from Argos for £79.99 which is the cheapest I can find.
i love being creative and making my own things. It really is something to be proud of when somebodys says to you," ooo i like that top where did you get that from?" and reply "i made it" really does make you feel good. i am forever using my sewing machine for makeing clothes, cushion covers( the easiest thing ever!), skirts and many other things.
It all helps when you have the right equipment to help you along. This machine is so easy to set up and use. The instructions are very straight forward to follow. With all of its different setting you would have thought it would be hard to use. It's not, its a pleasure to use. Sometimes when having hobbies you can't be bothered to get out all of the equipment as it takes to long to put it all away. all you have to do with this is roll up the lead and put it in the bag with the machine. easy! It isn't too heavy either, i'm not exactly strong or anything and its not heavy for me. exact wieght is 6.12kg.
i do recommend not using the basic needle that comes with it for thicker materials though, as i have had a few snapped needles from the pressure. As this machine is a well known name it isn't hard to find replacement needles anyway.
for the price it is well worth having a go at making your own clothes, bags etc. its good to be unique!
The cheapest price i have found for this machine is £79.99 at argos which is consideraly cheaper than alot of other models.
some of the settings include:
14 different automatic stitches,
button hole insertion
automatic bobin winding (this takes ages if you have to do it by hand!)
when buying the machine the following comes with it:
Includes zig zag foot, buttonhole foot, zipper insertion foot, button sewing foot, screwdriver, 3 x bobbins, needle set, twin needle, darning plate (for free motion sewing).
this is all good to know so that you don't go out buying all the extra bits when you already have them with it!
I bought this to see if I could make my own clothes, I didn't want to spend too much money in case I didn't like it so got this for £70. It same in a huge box but once all the packing is out of the way, really is quite light and easy to move around.
Setting it up for the first time took me a while (mainly because I didn't read the instructions properly) but once you've waded through the rather long manual and found the right section (each page has lots of different languages on it so looks very busy and confusing) the instructions are easy to follow and have very clear pictures. Once I had it threaded up properly I put the book down, got out some material and had made my first top 10 minutes later!
This had loads of different stitches that are easily selected for by the big dial, the foot pedal isn't too hard to push and slowly increases the speed giving you lots of control, all the cords are long (from plug to sewing machine and from foot pedal to sewing machine), all the little bits that come with it (bobbins; screw driver etc) can be stored away in t compartment at the front so they don't get lost. Its not very loud, has a very smooth action and it easy to control the movement of the fabric. Looks like a very robust item but I'm not sure the needles would cope with sewing curtains etc.
Since I'm still not sure how much sewing I'll be doing and patterns can be quite expensive (£5-£20) so a tip I picked up from my mum was to get some of your clothes turn them inside out and draw around them-making your own patterns! Next I'm making a cloud bag with a silver lining :)
Stuff you'll want to know...
-14 automatic stitches.
-4 step automatic buttonhole.
-Twin needle sewing.
-Clip on presser feet.
-Auto bobbin winding.
-Manual tension setting.
-Zig zag foot.
-zipper insertion foot.
-button sewing foot.
-Size (H)29, (W)39, (D)17cm.
14 automatic stitches / 4 step automatic buttonhole / Zipper insertion / Twin needle sewing / Clip on presser feet / Auto bobbin winding / Manual tension setting / Includes zig zag foot, buttonhole foot, zipper insertion foot, button sewing foot, screwdriver, 3 x bobbins, needle set, twin needle and adapter and darning plate (for free motion sewing) / 2 year guarantee