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I'd been looking for a sewing machine for a while, and after using one of those 5 stitch cheapy machines for a few years I'd decided to get something more substantial. My choices were out of this machine priced at £79.00 at lidl, or a similar spec Brother machine at Argos for £99. I originally bought the Brother machine but retuned it due to it being faulty and overheating. Lidl quite often run a promotion with this machine which is worth bearing in mind.
What's in the box?
Included in the box is a full size Singer sewing machine (weight is 6.5kg) whilst this is not advertised as being a heavy machine, I find it pretty heavy to carry alongside accessories. A black plastic presser foot , also mine included an accessory pack which included - Soft vinyl cover, Built-in carry handle, zig zag foot, zipper foot, buttonhole foot, button sewing foot, large screwdriver, seam ripper/brush, oil bottle, pack of 5 needles, 3 bobbins, seam guide, darning plate and spool holder and Instruction book.
Well, apart from the normal straight stitch, this machine also offers - Straight, Zig-Zag, Multi Zigzag, Blind Hem, Stretch Blind Hem, Scallop, Sew-On Buttons and also has a 4 step buttonhole feature. Because of its range in features it means you can pretty much sew or make anything you like with the machine.
The test run!
I decided to make (rather than fix) my first ever item since school on my machine, a little corduroy dress for my little girl. After cutting out the pieces of fabric I decided to thread the machine for the first time, it really is foolproof! It's numbered from one to four with direct instructions on the actual machine - the only way you might struggle, would be if you can't see the hole to thread the needle. Literally you just need to wind the bobbin on and you're good to go. (I found the machine to be stiff the first few times I did this, but now I've used it a few times it's perfect) I used an average length straight stitch for most of the dress, with the occasion use of the right hand stitch. I sewed my zip using the normal foot so cannot comment on the use of the zipperfoot. I had great fun using the button hole foot though, there are a few tutorials on YouTube should you get stuck.
In general this is an easy machine to use, and would be perfect for a beginner to sewing, it feels sturdy in your hands, the light on the machine makes it easy to use in dim lighting and apart from the stiffness in the beginning the machine works like a dream. I'd urge anyone to buy one on offer in lidl too - I've seen a very similar machine in John Lewis for almost double the price!
For some time now I have been thinking that a sewing machine would be a good investment. The main reason for this is that I have short legs. They are of course adequate and long enough to reach the ground (Ha! Ha!), but they make the buying of trousers and jeans problematic. Those that are marketed as 'short' are either too short or fit badly elsewhere, those that are 'regular' or 'long' are too long. So for years I have bought regular or long, cut them to the required length and sewn a tidy hem on machines begged or borrowed from others. In my murky past I once worked with teenagers in a textiles class. As a result I have worked with many, many makes and models of sewing machines.
I also have a fish my mum made for me on her sewing machine when I was about 2 and a half. I remember vividly just how exciting this was, and hope to create a similar memory for Baby CrazyEgg.
The purpose of this introduction is to impress upon you that
1. I was searching for a model capable of simply performing basic tasks.
2. My opinion of this machine is grounded in extensive experience of other models...but not so much sewing with them, as sorting out the problems they are causing their operators. Some of these problems were the fault of the users, but others were not.
3. I remain an inexperienced user of the sewing machine.
I chose the Singer 2250 because it was £89.99 in Aldi recently and I thought this was a very good price for a full size Singer machine. Of all the makes I have used, Singer is the one that I have found simplest to operate and most reliable. The newest machines we had when I was doing the textiles job were made by Brother, and they rapidly became the least popular machines due to various parts snapping off.
The 2250 weighs 6kg, which is a substantial weight, but far less than some other models. It is easy to carry since it has a built in handle that folds down over the top of the machine. (The cardboard box it came in also had an integral plastic carry handle which was very helpful in lifting it into the car).
It is a sleek, shiny white machine with the base wider than the rest of the machine. This makes it very stable. It feels sturdy,solid, and well made.
The machine comes ready for use. Apart from threading the machine, all that the user has to do is plug the foot pedal in to the machine and the mains. The manual is very clear on both of these aspects, if perhaps overly cautious: "Attention: Consult a qualified electrician if in doubt of how to connect machine to power source."
Very easy with the instructions, and because the various points the threads have to round or through on the machine are numbered. A feature I have not seen on other makes is that the spool pin, which is horizontal can flip up, rendering it capable of holding small and large reels of thread. To hold the reels in place you are provided with two spool holders, one for large and one for small reels.
If you are familiar with threading a sewing machine, manual or automatic, there are really no surprises when it comes to threading up, and the thread is held securely and neatly.
Winding the Bobbin:
Finally I discovered why plastic bobbins have a small hole in the main round of the plastic: it is for the thread to go through so it can be held out of the way when the bobbin winding begins. Again, this process is well explained in the manual with words and pictures, easy to set up and of course automatic. The bobbin is loaded by pressing the foot pedal and only takes a minute.
The bobbin case has a hinged latch that makes it easy to insert into the machine, and it is loaded at the front of the machine so you can change bobbins from your natural seated sewing position.
Three bobbins are included with the 2250.
The Presser Foot:
The lever for raising and lowering the presser foot is at the back of the machine. I have always found this easier than those located to the right of the presser foot. It also means there is a greater degree of manoeuvrability for your right hand as you are sewing- your hand does not accidentally knock the lever.
The lever is described as a two-step presser foot lifter. It can be raised to a higher rise position sufficient to put several layers of thicker fabric underneath.
I have found this to be a very smooth sewing experience and a quiet one. I have not had the machine long, just a couple of weeks in fact, but I have used it several times. I have not experienced any problems with needles getting stuck or breaking, no thread tangles or jams.
There are ten automatic stitches, as well as the usual facility to lengthen and shorten stitches, and adjust the tension. The manual has some useful diagrams showing the inexperienced sewer what their work will look like if the tension is too tight, or too loose, as well as a list of other problems that commonly happen and an explanation of how to correct this.
The machine has a small compartment in the extension table that houses the included accessories. This is great for keeping everything out of the way, but within reach if you need it. You get: all purpose foot, zipper foot, buttonhole foot button sewing foot, screwdriver, seam ripper/brush, pack of needles, bobbin x 3, quilting guide, darning plate, spool holder.
So this machine caters for my basic sewing needs, but is sufficiently equipped to allow me to broaden my horizons.
There is a light that allows you to see your work clearly. The instructions state that power should be off when changing a needle or the presser foot, but I have ignored this as the light helps me see what I am doing.
You also get a soft cover to keep your machine clean and dust free when not in use. It fits well.
Some of the descriptions on the internet say that this model comes with a bottle of oil, but this must have been changed as mine did not. A shame as all sewing machines need oiling occasionally, but I notice that I paid less than I would have done online, so I am happy to go and buy my own oil.
I am happy to recommend this machine to fellow beginners who hope to progress.
Short name: Singer 2250