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This Christmas I had decided to make gifts for certain people rather than buying them. For my childrens teachers, office ladies, lollipop ladies and friends of my two girls, where they would all get a lovely personalised, extra special gift just from my girls. For those of you that doesn't know what a sock money is, it is what it says a pair of cut up socks that is sewn back together and turned into a monkey after it has been stuffed with stuffing. I have never been one for using a sewing machine, even in technonlgy when I was at school, in textiles I would try my hardest to avoid using one. However having trying to sew the first sock monkey by hand which took me 5 hours, I decided that it was perhaps time to invest in a sewing machine.
I dont know much about sewing machines, they all look so confusing with far too many buttons, it is all rather complicated for me. I knew that I didn't want to spend an awful lot of money and I was looking for one that was perhaps small enough that wouldn't take up much room and would also be easy to transport. I went to my local shopping center and wondered round trying to find the best suitable sewing machine for me. I ended up finding this mini sewing machine that was not only perfect size wise but also the price was a fantatsic deal as it was in the sale. It was meant to be £19.99 but as it had money off it was now down to £14.99, as many of you know, I like a bargain, I mean who doesn't?
When I got home I opened the box to have a little look inside.The sewing machine comes complete with a needle threader, a needle a foot pedal and four metal bobbins. There is a detailed instruction manual which is very easy to read and follow. The sewing machine uses 4 x AA batteries or mains power. The mains adaptor is included in the box, the batteries however are not included, so if you want a portable sewing machine you will have to purchase these separately. I personally do not see the point in spending a fortune on batteries as they can be rather expensive, so I recommend getting your batteries from either the pound shop or B&M who also sell them for a pound.
The sewing machine is ivory in colour with pink fixtures such as knobs, buttons and bobbin holders. I liked the fact that this little machine doesn't have an awful lot of different buttons to confuse me. The sewing machine is very basic and as a result only has one main stitch, the running stitch. many sewing machines out there offer zig zag, button hole etc. The sewing machine is approximately 23cm long, 21cm tall and 13cm wide the sewing machine fits perfectly on a desk, table, or work top which is where i use mines. The size of the sewing machine and ability to run off batteries makes it perfect for carrying about and is rather light at about 1.5kg in weight.
As the sewing machine is quite basic the set up is quick, easy and simple. Firstly you need to thread the needle which is very simple and no fuss. I was very glad to see that after looping the thread through the numbered loops it was ready to thread with no trouble. The foot pedal is very easy to connect, just insert the adapter into the space that is labelled AC on it, then plug it into the nearest socket available. The wire is long enough to reach from a high work surface on to the ground with extra cable left over. The machine can be used with or without the foot pedal, although I think it is much faster to use the foot pedal. When I first used the machine to have a practise before starting on my sock monkeys, I got quite a fright when using it as not only was it rather loud but also the went really fast. I recommend pressing your foot gently on the pedal rather that putting your foot right down on it. Adjusting tension is quite important after all tight, bunching stitches could result in frilly effects on any item that you maybe trying to sew and loose stitches could result in more embarrassing seam splits. The circular button on the front of the sewing machine, which is situated below the thread holder will help adjust tension. Adding the thread to the bobbin from a cotton reel has always been a scary moment for me but with this simple sewing machine it is easy to do and it is now safe to say that I am no longer scared of a sewing machine. When it comes time to replacing the bobbing I cant help but get wound up so much so that that I have at one stage been ready to through it in the bin but in all fairness I have always been like this when it comes to replacing the bobbin. At school it was easy as the teacher would do it for me but now being a big girl with two children this is still something that I cannot do myself. It should be as easy as turning the wheel anti-clockwise to pick up the thread then bringing the thread round to the front pulling it gently but I just cant seem to get the hang of it, especially with my unsteady hands it doesn't help.
After cutting up my brand new socks and start to sew them back together to make my monkeys I notice that it is easy to stitch together. However, when it get to the part elasticated part of the sock I notice that the sewing machine is starting to struggle. The thickness of the material isn't that thick at all so it would suggest to me that not all materials would be able to be used with this mini sewing machine such as denim. As I am only using this for sewing socks together it is perfect for me but if you are wanting to sew maybe material that is thicker that cotton, I would recommend that you invest in a better more expensive sewing machine. I would rate this little compact sewing machine a four out of five. For me it was just what I was looking for but for those that may want to use it for something else, could end up disappointed. Thank you for taking the time to read my review, I hope that it is of some use to you.
Whenever I needed clothes altering or things mending, I always took them to my Grandmas to sew with giant sewing machine that took two to lift and ages to set up. Seeing her archaic machine really put me off buying one, although I would have loved to be able to sew my own clothes up rather than always bothering her. When I saw this mini sewing machine on eBay, boxed and brand new for £4.99 with only two pounds for delivery I decided I would give it a go as my introduction to the world of sewing machines!
The machine is made and packaged for Superdrug as it stated on the box. The box came an instruction booklet, the machine which I will describe shortly, needle, a foot pedal, AC adapter and four metal bobbins.
The sewing machine is made from beige plastic with bright hot pink knobs and buttons. It is very girly in design and very cute looking. It is still quite heavy for its size which stops it slipping around, but the size of it makes it easy to lug around and easy to store. It is around 24 cm long, 13 cm in width and 20 cm in height. The machine runs off the mains using the AC adapter or batteries (4 x AA batteries) meaning you can set it up wherever you are! The foot pedal comes with an adequate sized lead to connect to the machine. It is really responsive and reacts quickly without much pressure needed at all.
The machine is really easy to set and the instructions for a sewing machine virgin are very easy to follow. It talks you through in step by step how to thread the needle, which is much easier than I thought, and then winding the bobbin and replacing it. This is the process of adding cotton onto the machine and then adjusting the tension that is appropriate for the material you want to sew.
The machine is easy to navigate round and I find the machine exceptionally easy to use. I get quite a lot of use out of the machine for various bits and bats. Nothing too adventurous as you can only use one stitch pattern, the running stitch. This is perfect for repairing garments, or stitching sections of material together such as when I made a cushion cover out of some old material. The quality of the stitching is nothing to shout home about but it looks neat and well presented, if there are any problems with the stitching it is usually down to me who has not kept the material straight! I find the machine works at a decent speed and for such a small machine the amount of time the needle stitches is quite impressive for its size. Overall, the beauty of the machine is that it is so simple and so quick to set up and go.
I have used the machine only once on batteries but they do not last very long so I always use it with the mains supply now. I have had the machine for over two years and it is still working just fine! It is in immaculate condition and really reliable.
If you do not expect miracles from this machine you will not be disappointed. The machine is basic but the quality of the stitching is good. It looks much neater than anything I can achieve by hand and so much quicker, once the foot pedal is down it is off and really quick! This would the perfect machine for a young person who is just getting into sewing as it is light and easy to use; or a late bloomer like me!
I was helping at nursery a few weeks ago with some very small children. I was in the playground and was joining in with the children on the climbing apparatus. A child got stuck, lost confidence and refused to move. I had to climb up and into a tunnel type thing to help them down, I had not been planning on any heroics or Tarzan impressions and soon realised that my clothing was not suitable...whilst at the top I heard a slight 'rrrrrriiiiiiiiip' sound realising my trousers had split...I then felt them split some more, a breeze blew and I realised it had gone beyond 'by hand' repair.
I have never been keen on 'by hand' sewing, in fact I hate it, I always end up with pricked fingers and no Prince Charming in sight to rescue me. I had to face it my trousers would have to remain in that condition until an appropriate time (umm...never!).
I have always dreamt of my own sewing machine so that I can repair clothes and other textiles easily. I was browsing the 3 for 2 gifts in Superdrug when I stumbled on the Mini Sewing Machine (£7.99); surprised at the amazing price I decided to add it to my basket. I could finally fix my trousers and other garments that had unfortunately been destroyed in 'action'.
The sewing machine comes complete with a needle threader, a needle a foot pedal and four metal bobbins. There is a detailed instruction manual which is very easy to read and follow. The sewing machine uses 4 x AA batteries or mains power. The mains adaptor is included in the box, the batteries however are not included, so if you want a portable sewing machine you will have to purchase these separately.
The sewing machine is an ivory colour with pink fixtures such as knobs, buttons and bobbin holders. It does look quite 'retro' and is very small in size. At approximately 23cm long, 21cm tall and 13cm wide the sewing machine fits perfectly on a desk. The size of the sewing machine and ability to run off batteries makes it perfect for carrying around. It is rather light at about 1.5kg in weight.
The sewing machine is very basic and as a result only has one main stitch, the running stitch. many sewing machines out there offer zig zag, button hole etc. I was not looking for posh features so this sewing machine is oerfect for me. Its obviously not a sewing machine for the sewing enthusiast.
SETTING UP AND USE
As a very basic sewing machine the 'set up' is very simple. I did textiles at secondary school for GCSE and made an appliquéd tent. I managed to do this without ever threading a needle or winding a bobbin. I have never been keen on the tricky task and rely heavily on help from a more patient person. This sewing machine however is so easy to use and I do not dread the 'set up'.
Threading the needle
Threading the needle is very simple, none of this left over right, round the back up the top to the left etc. I was very pleased to notice that after looping the thread through the numbered loops it was ready to thread with no trouble.
The foot pedal
The foot pedal is very easy to connect and the wire is long enough to reach from a high work surface. The machine can be used with or without the foot pedal, although I think it is much faster to use the foot pedal. When I first used the foot pedal I felt like I was in a Formula 1 race with full speed ahead I soon realised that I only needed to push the pedal slightly before 'losing control'.
The tension is quite important after all tight, bunching stitches could result in frilly effects on clothes and loose stitches could result in more embarrassing seam splits. The circular button on the front of the sewing machine, below the thread holder will help adjust tension. I find that whilst the tension could be perfect on one type of material another type of material such as silk will produce very different results. It is therefore important to have a useful feature such as this one.
Winding the bobbin
The winding of the bobbin (adding thread to the bobbin from a cotton reel) was always a 'scary' moment for me. I either ended up tied up in knots or created a treasure trail around the house with stray thread. With this basic sewing machine I love winding the bobbin and find myself playing with various spools for fun.
Replacing the bobbin
I doubt I will ever be able to replace a bobbin without temper tantrums. In fact I get so wound up with this stage that the poor sewing machine has nearly been thrown on the floor in a fit of rage. Despite the easy to follow instructions, steady hand and calm approach the bobbin always manages to send me into a fit of rage. It should be as eay as turning the wheel anti-clockwise to pick up the thread then bringing the thread round to the front pulling it gently...sounds easy but it certainly is not.
QUALITY OF SEWING
I am not a sewing specialist and obviously an appliance as simple as this one is not going to create the latest catwalk fashions. I also doubt very much that it will work on materials such as denim, and I am not keen on trying it in case the poor thing packs up. The sewing machine however is very useful for those small repairs or sewing projects. I made a useful drawstring back with appliqué on and this was very easy to do and looked great, its very useful for keeping older makeup in. In fact it looks quite professional so I was rather impressed.
I often get the impression however that little pixies are pedalling fast downstairs (in the machine) to get the needle to move up and down, but I could really expect much more from such a simple piece of equipment.
I did find 'talking up' trouser hems quite tricky as the base is very think making it hard to place the trouser leg over the base. I would say this is the only problem I have come across, whilst I can manage an thinner base would be a lot better.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
This is not a popular brand and is made on behalf of Superdrug by A.S Watson (Health and Beauty UK). I obviously purchased the sewing machine in Superdrug at a bargain price of £7.99. I doubt it is available elsewhere. I did a quick search on the net and could not find the product. There is a 3 for 2 gift sale at Superdrug until Christmas so it works out a much better bargain.
I love this sewing machine...it does what its designed to do and although the sewing is not perfect it is ideal. The sewing machine is very basic and does not do zig zag stitch or hemming stitches but the basic running stitch is of a good quality. I would definitely recommend this product.
Features: Two speed control / Easy replacement of bottom bobbin / Large spool is easily rewound / 4xAA battery powered / Accessories include: 4 bobbins, 4 rolls, 1 footpedal, 1 needle, 1 replacement needle, 1 threader, 1 replacement spool / 3 months warranty