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John Lewis Mini Sewing Machine

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8 Reviews

For such a miniature sewing machine, it certainly gets the job done. Perfect for beginners, the John Lewis sewing machine is great for completing smaller jobs with minimum effort. Not suitable for thicker materials.

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    8 Reviews
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      23.02.2014 17:19

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      Great product, attractive and durable, very good value

      I had never done any sewing and was looking for a machine that was reliable, easy to use and wouldn't confuse the hell out of me with too many options. After a bit of research I settled on this one. John Lewis have a great reputation for producing reliable products and are also very helpful if any problems crop up.

      The machine is really pretty. That's important if it's sitting on your table for a long time! It comes in a choice of bright colours and feels nice and sturdy. It has all the usual bits - spare feet, basic maintenance tools and a foot pedal to operate.

      Function wise, it's perfect as a starter machine or if, like me, you just want to make basic clothes. It has a variety of stitch types and lengths, suitable for most patterns. The button-holing option is great. The instructions are clear and easy to follow and I had no problems making my first few dresses and skirts. It can cope with fairly heavy fabric, I've used it on leatherette and denim with no problems, and it managed to stitch through 6 layers.

      I've had the machine for about six months now and have never had any problems with it.

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      10.12.2013 19:12

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      Excellent. Im a complete beginner and i am fully satisfied. A little hard to understand how to thread it at first but once you understand its easy. I am thinking about doing a youtube video on how to thread it because it will be very frustrating if you dont know how and then end up giving up and using it as a ornament! As it is so much fun to use once you know how. I have made my daughter a dress today (first tine use) and everybody is shocked at how professional it looks. :). If anybody is interested in a youtube video of how to thread, please dont hesitate to email me at fmgrouo12@hotmail.co.uk i would be happy to help

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      18.05.2013 09:27
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      A brilliant machine for a novice

      I am a total novice when it comes to sewing and must admit that other than a few dreadful memories of sewing lessons at school have never touched a sewing machine in my life before. I always thought it would be beyond me but at the same time kept having occasions when it would have been really useful to be able to use one, especially when needing to shorten hems. Therefore when I saw a post about this sewing machine being on offer for £35 from John Lewis (it is normally £50) I decided to give it a go, as it was so cheap that even if I was useless I would not have wasted too much money!

      The first thing I loved about this sewing machine is that it comes in a range of funky colours. I chose the red and pink one. When it arrived (I collected it for free from a Waitrose store - very handy!) and I took it out of the box I thought it looked great even if it was never going to be used and it was really light and easy to move around

      I must admit I waited a few days until I was brave enough to try the machine and had time to really concentrate on it. I started by reading the instructions, which are quite concise and have handy illustrations. The first task was to try and thread the machine. I did not have a clue what I was doing and did not even understand what the bobbin was or that the thread came from two different places. However by following the instructions I managed to thread the machine quite easily right up to the point where I had to thread the needle (which was a bit fiddly) and then catch the thread from the bobbin. This took a couple of attempts (and watching a few videos on YouTube to clarify what I was meant to be doing) but I got there in the end. Now I have done it once I am sure it will be fine the next time.

      The machine has a foot peddle to turn it on and off (it does not vary the speed) and has to be plugged into a mains socket. I set it up on my table and then started to try out the different stitches on a piece of rag. There are 10 stitch options, 2 needle positions, and push lever reverse for when you want to reinforce a stitch. It was fun to try out all of the stitches, which are easily chosen from the dial on the machine.

      Now for the scary bit. I have had a skirt for a few years that I have only ever worn once, as it was way too big for me. It was a maxi skirt and both the length and the waist were too big. I had previously tried to adjust the length just using hand stitching, which had not worked that well, and had not managed to adjust the waist at all.

      Firstly I used the machine to hem the bottom of the skirt (going over my wonky hand stiches!) It was a very full chiffon skirt so there was a lot of material but by going slowly I managed to machine all around the hem without any mishaps. This was a complete miracle for me, and the hem actually looked like it had been professionally altered. I then tried to adjust the waist (using a very simple method I found on YouTube) This was slightly trickier as I was folding a part of the waistband which made it quite bulky and the machine can only really cope with quite light and thin fabrics. However I just managed to get the material in the correct position, and again managed to do a fairly good job at the adjustment. I could not believe that finally I had a skirt that fitted me and it was all my own handiwork.

      I am sure that this is really quite a basic machine and more expensive machines have many more features. However I really would recommend it to a complete beginner who just wants a machine to do occasional alterations and simple tasks. If I can do it then anyone can!

      This review might also be posted on Ciao under my username Star20000

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        23.07.2012 17:08
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        Disappointing.

        I asked for this sewing machine for Christmas, as I was interested in taking up some small craft activities.

        It sells for an incredibly reasonable price, and comes with the John Lewis guarantee - always good!

        Its also a really striking, beautiful colour - and its been an ornament in my spare room.

        However - thats where its usefulness ends. I bought the machine as I was a complete beginner - never used a machine before - and I found the instruction manual complicated, the machine had so many settings and it all just seemed really hard work. After a few hours sat down trying to make it work, I gave up.

        Recently, I sold my machine to a friend who had the same intentions as I did (but more experience!). She has found the machine to be lacking in ability for 'serious' craft activities - and in fact, it has broken under the strain of one of her projects. John Lewis have been excellent at getting it replaced for her - but its clear its not a heavy duty machine. Or even a medium duty machine.

        For small jobs, it may be perfectly suitable :)

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        • More +
          11.06.2012 23:06
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          Wonderful little machine that does all the basics

          I wanted to buy a sewing machine to make a gift for my cousins first baby. I used to sew back in school but it's been years so I wanted a machine that was simple to use and covered all the basics. After looking at various brands I decided to go for the John Lewis mini sewing machine which has recently come down in price from £59 down to £49 (I felt it was a great price)

          The machine comes in an array of gorgeous colours, I fell in love with the coral colour which is just adorable! For those wanting just a basic white/grey machine will be not find it here, only bright sorbet colours available. The machine is small and lightweight so is absolutely wonderful for storing although with the bright colours available you might want to leave it on dispay!

          The machine comes with 10 basic stitches, which was more than enough for what I wanted. As it is a basic machine it can only handle light/medium fabrics which is perfect really for such a small machine. The instructions to set up the machine and thread it were lovely and simple, really easy to follow and the clear images made it even better. Instructions also help with tension etc too which is great for beginners who are unsure with what to do.

          When using the machine, it has a lovely feel to it and feels sturdy considering its small size. Only thing I wish it has would be a light which would help with threading but a lamp sorts that right out. For the price I really cannot complain about the lack of light, the rest of it makes up for it totally.

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          24.05.2012 15:02
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          best compact sewing machine out there - and cute too!

          I'd been on the look out for a cheapish sewing machine for months before I finally found this once and decided to buy it. I didnt want to spend a lot of money but I also didnt want some flimsy machine that wouldnt do much and would probably break on me after a few months. I have to say, this one caught my eye due to its colour rather than its specifications - but a year on, I have no complaints and I love my new sewing machine.

          It is a simple compact sewing machine, exclusive to John Lewis and retails for £49. It comes in an array of bright colours; pink, red, yellow, blue, purple and orange and is incredibly cute!

          It is perfect for beginners (such as me!) and I found it incredibly easy to set up and use, it took me no more than half an hour to get it set up, get it threaded and get sewing.

          Its features include 10 different stitch options, 2 needle positions, drop in bobbin and free arm. It also had a double lever foot and push lever reverse. It also has a handy little tray in the bottom to keep your bobbins and other bits and bobs in. I have made an array of items using many different fabrics over the past year and I have yet to come accross something I would like to do that this machine cannot. The foot pedal only has once speed but I have not found this to be a problem as it goes at just the right speed for me.

          The machine is lightweight and small but is definitely not flimsy, it doesnt move about when you are sewing and it doesnt take up much space either. It looks perfect sat on my desk and brightens up my craft room!

          The sewing machine also comes with a mains adapter, I noticed whilst looking around for a sewing machine that alot were battery powered - which I definitely didnt want! So I was very pleased to see that I could just plug this in and go.

          So to summarise, this is a perfect little sewing machine and is a bargain at £49. It performs perfectly for me everytime and is very easy to use, even for beginners (the instructions are very straight forward). It comes with a good range of stitch options for such a small and low priced machine, and definitely feels like a quality sewing machine - not flimsy or cheap at all. Plus, with all the bright and appealing colours it comes in, how could you not want to own one?! I recommended this to my friends after I purchased it and not they all have one to.

          John Lewis have also just released a new, more expensive version of this sewing machine which will obviously have more to it...so if your looking for a more comprehensive sewing machine check this one out instead. It retails for £99 and again comes in all the wonderful colours!

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          18.04.2012 10:03
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          Basic macine, ideal for beginners

          This is a review of John Lewis Mini Sewing Machine which I have in the pictured colour, pink. I was a complete novice to start with despite my mum being a competent sewer. I was a bit scared of the larger machines and all their functions so thought I'd start small and get a bigger one later on if I was good enough to justify it.

          First impressions
          The machine is really diddy and simple to use. I asked my mum to give me a crash course to start me off and she was surprised at the quality of it.

          Projects
          My first project was taking up a pair of jeans and the second one was a pair of curtains for the bedroom. The machine coped well with the jeans but struggled a little with the upholstery material plus header tape and I broke a couple of needles so perhaps this was a little too ambitious. Next up I made a taggie comfort blanket for my daughter using ribbons and material from her outgrown baby clothes so we could enjoy and remember them.

          Getting started
          This is such a simple machine, it was perfect to start on. To begin, you need to prepare the bobbin for underneath the needle (to lock stitches together) and the empty plastic bobbins were provided. I picked up the method of filling the bobbin straight away. You have to fill it from a large cotton reel in the colour you want.

          Threading
          Threading the machine takes a little more practice. You follow the booklet diagrams that come with the machine and the thread has tension being threaded around the machine (sorry I don't know the technical terms). The most difficult part is pushing the thread through the eye of the needle which is tricky and it foxed my mum the first time as you pass it through towards the back of the machine, then dip the needle to catch up the bobbin. A little flimsy needle threader tool is provided that may help some people but I found it more difficult to use. Around 10 cm needs to be left spare before you begin to give you enough slack to turn the needle up and down.

          Features
          The machine has an A-J reel of different stitches and you turn the knob to choose the style of stitch. You can alter the sizes of the stitches too. A lever on the machine enables reverse stitching which is handy for securing the ends of pieces. There is a little drawer at the base to keep spare needles and bobbins in.

          Power
          An AC mains adaptor cable is provided so you can plug in and go and another foot pedal with a cable at the same end so you can control your stitching with your foot.

          Lifting the needle
          You just turn the reel at the end so you lift the needle and a complete rotation will send the needle downwards. When you start sewing you lower the needle into the material.

          My thoughts
          I love this little machine and I think we are well matched. I still have minimal ability to machine sew but can do basic jobs on this machine and have made peg baskets, bunting, spare cushion covers (around a baby moon shaped awkward sized pillow!) and other bits and bobs. For the money paid I think I have had good value out of this machine and it is easy to stash away when not in use. It is quite noisy though when in play so I try not to use it at night time as it can be a bit disturbing for others in the house. There is no light on the machine and this doesn't bother me as I just use an overhead light. I do wish there was a "cotton snapper" on it to cut the threads as it is annoying to have to keep using the scissors to do this.
          If the machine is incorrectly threaded, it will let you know, namely by jamming or snapping the thread and making you rethread. I had a few hours of hair pulling before realising that I had incorrectly threaded the machine.

          Price and packaging
          The sewing machine comes in a great little box that is so compact and you can't believe it is all in there. It is not heavy to carry and was priced at £50 at the time I purchased my machine. I looked at them every time I was in John Lewis and finally thought just go for it! I have had it over a year now and do not regret my purchase.

          Final thoughts
          I have since acquired a full sized machine but have not dared use it yet as I have found the JL one to meet all my needs so far. It looks lovely and performs well enough for me. An established sewer would probably find this machine far too basic but a beginner could learn the basics on a machine like this. There are cheaper mini models on the market but I like my hot pink model!

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            27.06.2011 20:42
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            A solid, well priced machine which is perfect for my light crafty jobs.

            I have recently been re-bitten by the craft bug and have begun to make soft toys for young children to give me a bit of income whilst on maternity leave. I have been tempted to buy a sewing machine for a while but don't have the houseroom for a full size one so I went on the Google hunt for a compact one, checking out any reviews on Dooyoo along the way of course! I found lots of cheap and cheerful machines which didn't seem to have many features and then I stumbled across this machine from John Lewis. I bit the bullet, bought it and after having used it for a good while, here is my review!

            The machine is a compact one which means it is smaller than a full size and has fewer features. The size is fantastic for my needs. It isn't so small that it moves around when you use it and it's not too big that it takes up a great deal of space. It is lightweight but not flimsy and it certainly does all I need it to. More on that in a bit. As you can see from the picture, it is a lovely fuschia pink colour and is made from glossy plastic so it does look rather funky. It is available too in a pastel blue colour but I do feel the pink is the better choice!

            On opening the box, the machine was well protected within a polystyrene casing and the footpedal and AC adaptor were safely tucked in a hole especially made for them. I have kept the polystyrene as it's very useful to keep the machine stored in the box and protected by the polystyrene. There are full instructions included also which explain how to thread the machine, how and why you might want to change the tension of the stitches and each part of the instructions has clear diagrams so even a novice can get started no problem.

            Features:

            *Mains adaptor - I was really pleased to see that the machine came with an AC adaptor. Some of the other compact sewing machines I'd seen whilst googling were battery operated or had the capability of using a mains adaptor but didn't come with one. This John Lewis machine does come with an adaptor and doesn't take batteries. The adaptor cable isn't particularly long, perhaps just over a metre, which for me is fine, but depending on your needs may not be long enough. (I've given 5 stars for battery life to show that it always runs fine and never runs out of power because it's got to be plugged in!)

            *The footpedal - the footpedal makes the machine go and stop. That is all it does. There is no variation of speed depending on how far down the pedal is pressed which can be a bit of a pain at times especially when sewing something which a particularly narrow hem or seam allowance and you'd like the machine to go a little slower. If I want to take something slowly, I have to sew manually by turning the wheel on the side of the machine and going stitch by stitch; ends up being a slow process! The speed of the machine isn't too fast anyway so as long as you're vigilant, you shouldn't need to do too much manual sewing. The footpedal is very lightweight and doesn't take much pressure to make the machine go so if, like me, you rest your foot on it whilst your fingers are in the way of the needle, be prepared to have your fingers taken off!!! Due to its light weight, the pedal can move about a bit so I try to wedge it against something to stop it slipping.

            *Types of stitch - there are a surprising number of stitch variations on this machine. On the front of the machine there is a dial with the letters A to J on it and next to it are pictures of the types of stitch and their corresponding letter. There are variations of stitch length with the straight stitch and when the dial is turned, there are incremental lengths to which the stitch can be set between each setting (does that make sense?) so for example, if you're turning the dial from stitch A to B, there are little clicks inbetween A and B to set the stitch length to a more accurate length. There are 3 sizes of zig zag stitch, a scalloped stitch and a running zig zag stitch, all of which produce lovely effects. Again, this is a good number of choices which not many of the other compact machine had.

            *Reverse stitch - Very few of the other compact machines I saw had the ability to sew in reverse. This machine does. There is a lever on the front of the machine which, when depressed and held down, reverses the action of the machine allowing stitches to be secured at the beginning and end of a row of stitches. A must have feature in my eyes otherwise all my handiwork simply unravels!

            *Accessories drawer. At the bottom of the machine on the front there is a small drawer where I keep all the bits and bobs I need to use my machine. Included with the machine are 3 plastic spools ready to be filled with thread, a needle threader and a spare sewing machine needle (haven't needed it so far!). I also keep a stitch unpicker (is there an agent noun for that?) which I've needed to use regularly and I can fit a small bobbin of thread in there too. The drawer can be a bit fiddly to pull out at times but I'd rather that than it flying out each time I tip the machine up when putting it away!

            *Light - there is no light on this machine to help you see what you're doing. However, it doesn't really make a difference; if necessary, a table lamp placed appropriately will do just as good a job.

            *Presser foot lever - The lever to lift up and down the presser foot is made of plastic but does not feel flimsy in any way. It gets used a lot and I haven't noticed it feel the strain.

            *Free arm - the machine has a free arm which means that there's a gap between the bottom of the machine and the surface its stood on so that you can get the ankles of trousers or the sleeves of tops in a suitable position for mending them.

            *Tension dial - there is a tension dial on the front of the machine allowing you to change the tension of the stitches. I haven't quite got my head around changing the tension for different weights of fabrics but it is all explained in the instruction manual. One complaint I do have about the dial is that when I've threaded the machine, after a while the thread seems to get caught up or held tight by the tension dial itself leading to the needle unthreading more frequently than I'd like.

            So, how does it perform? Very well. I have used it on lightweight cotton fabrics and is perfect for the job. I have successfully sewn heavier fabrics like corduroy but have yet to attempt denim. I don't think it'd be suitable for heavyweight fabrics such as thicker denims. With smaller pieces of fabric, there have been times where the fabric has become caught up in the teeth beneath the presser foot but this can be remedied by better initial placement of the fabric before sewing. Threading up the machine is very easy and a step by step guide is in the manual. As I mentioned earlier, the unthreading of the needle when the thread gets stuck is a pain and I don't know if it's down to a design flaw of the machine or if it's just my bad luck. Clear instructions are given as to how to fill a spool with thread using the machine also. To my mind it's the perfect machine for a beginner to use or someone who is doing light crafts or light repairs to clothes, etc.

            Price - I paid £59 for this machine on the John Lewis website which I feel is an absolute bargain considering the number of features this machine has compared to other compact machines on the market which retail at around £20 to £30. It is certainly worth paying slightly more to get the quality machine and the quality results. And it's bright pink! What more could you want!

            So, to summarise, this machine is compact yet sturdy, easily housed, does lighter sewing jobs, has a good range of stitches and stitch tensions, has a reverse gear, is easy to thread although it can unthread itself at times and is great for beginners or those wishing to do light sewing work. I think it's a bargain and hope to get a LOT of use out of it. Well done John Lewis!

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          • Product Details

            Stitch Options: 10