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'Stitched up like a kipper'! :~)
Member Name: deesum
Date: 16/03/13, updated on 24/06/13 (159 review reads)
Advantages: Reasonably priced. Light pressures to operate sensitive foot peddle. A good choice of stitches.
Disadvantages: No cover. Convoluted instruction manual. Small and flimsy foot paddle. Bulky heavy machine. Noisy!
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
Summary: A reasonably priced basic no nonsense sewing machine for beginners or those with elemental needs!