“ Brand: Tesco „
This is a basic sewing machine offered from Tesco. It probably isn't suitable for a professional dressmaker but for the student, odd buttonhole or zip etc. its perfect.
This sewing machine is certainly not a looker in white plastic but at less than £50 it certainly is a bargain and one of the cheapest machines on the market..
The sewing machine comes well packaged and the instructions are easy to follow. Set up is easy using the instruction manual and takes no longer than 10 minutes. This machine is reasonably small and portable. It also isn't too heavy to lift from table to cupboard.
As for features, this sewing machine isn't particularly overrun with them but it does have a few...
+ It will stitch forwards and backwards in a number of different stitch types i.e. zigzag.
+ It will make a buttonhole.
+ It will sew on buttons with the extra foot provided.
Sewing is relatively easy as long as the sewing machine is set up properly. The needles the machine come with are pretty strong but can be replaced as needed with any sewing machine needle. There is plently of room to move the garment you're sewing around and the foot lifts a good height to fit different fabrics underneath.
Overall this is a great 1st machine and worth puchasing if you have the odd sock to fix or top to take in. For more complex job buy something better or see a professional. Great product though.
In January I conceived the idea of improving my sewing skills, which were very basic and limited to sewing name labels into clothes. Having read a few craft blogs and looked at machines online I became convinced that this was the hobby for me, so it seemed fortuitous that this machine was on sale at our local Tesco for just £49.99, reduced from £89.99. Half an hour later and it was out of the box on our dining table and ready to go.
***So what do you get for your money?***
Not to be too flippant, but a sewing machine. Its white, weighs about 6kg, has a fold down handle at the top, two places to put thread and a little shiny piece of metal which goes through fabric to make stitches. This model can produce 19 different types of stitches of varying lengths, including zigzag stitches and also can put buttonholes in garments. It comes with a power cord and treadle which you press to commence stitching. Part of the sewing machine slides off (the bit under the needle) to create a free arm to enable you to sew sleeves etc more easily; the bit that slides off doubles as a little storage box.
The bobbin loads from the bottom and the other thread sits horizontally on top of the machine, held in place by a supplied holder. There are two wheels on the side, one to raise/lower the needle and the other turns a dial to select a stitch type. A small lever on the front allows you to backstitch when necessary. Very simple, basic and certainly not as whizzy or streamlined as a more expensive model.
In addition to the main machine you get other essential bits for sewing machine maintenance (brush, screwdrivers, oil), several bobbins and other bits and pieces such as a zipper foot and buttonhole foot. For those who absolutely must know exactly what else is included in exact detail, the list copied from the Tesco website is:
'zipper foot, buttonhole foot, button sewing foot, L screw driver, seam ripper/ brush, oil bottom, pack of 3 needles, 3 bobbins, draning plate, seam guide, spool holder, second spool pin, spool pin felt'
It also comes with a very cheap plastic cover, which is good at keeping the dust off the machine. Its not a nice cover, its not a pretty cover and its really quite flimsy but it does do what it is supposed to do.
As a novice sewer I found this machine incredibly easy to set up and get going. I was expecting at least an hour of screeching before I was able to actually sew anything, but actually it took less than ten. The instruction leaflet that came with the machine was simple but very easy to follow and I had the machine threaded and running with very little stress. After a couple of trial runs on some scrap fabric I made a simple toy for my baby son and was addicted! 9 months on I can thread the machine and fill the bobbin without even looking at it and any problems have been sorted out pretty quickly upon reading the problem list in the manual. The instructions also explain each type of stitch, its uses and also how to use the more complicated functions of the machine, the zipper and buttonhole foot.
I only generally use two of the 19 stitches for my sewing (the 'normal stitch' and the zigzag), the rest are a bit unnecessary for the sort of sewing that I do. The machine consistently and reliably produces these stitches, as well as the other types when I feel the need; I sew at least twice a week and don't have any complaints to make about performance or reliability in this area. It is very simple to change between stitch types and lengths by turning the dial and although the dial itself can be a bit stiff and clunky, the movement as it shifts between options makes it easy to tell when you have moved onto another selection. So far I have made pyjamas, dresses, trousers, curtains, toys, fitted sheets, blankets and assorted small items such as pegbags and I have been very happy with the finish I have got from this machine. It can handle four layers of cotton material easily, although any more than that and the whole machine goes a bit juddery and it all gets very noisy. Certainly I wouldn't attempt anything thicker than a light denim and definitely not heavy upholstery material.
Maintenance is very simple, the machine only needs an occasional brush out and oil, both of which are supplied with the machine. On a couple of occasions when I used awful thread I had to dismantle the whole bobbin area and the sewing machine plate to get the tangled threads out, but the tools needed also come with the machine. I am not the most mechanical of people but it found it very very easy to take apart and put back together again, the only problem was the teeny tiny screws which are easy to lose. Changing the needle is also extremely easy and it takes standard machine needles that you can buy anywhere, which was a relief to me as a complete novice-I had no idea what I was looking for! There is a small dial on the top to help set the tension of the thread, but I have only had to slightly adjust this once in 9 months; likewise the tension on the bobbin/casing underneath the needle.
I haven't used the buttonhole function properly, just a couple of practices on a scrap piece of fabric and the result was a nice tidy buttonhole...not professional shop quality obviously, but nice and it would certainly do the trick on a future garment. I hand stitch in zips as I find it relaxing (yes yes, I know, weird) so haven't had to use the zipper foot but these feet are pretty standard in their function and use. They are easy to change when you need to, simply flick a lever to remove the foot and flick it again to reattach.
It does have a few negatives. It is very basic, it can't handle thick material and it can be quite noisy, especially if you want to sew more than two layers of fabric. When I was making curtains and used it constantly for over an hour at a time I found the machine got incredibly hot after a while, very hot to the touch around the main mechanism and generally warm on the rest of the machine. This made the machine unpleasant to be around and use and caused concern about it breaking down. Now I sew for an hour and leave it to cool down before coming back to it, slightly inconvenient, especially as it gets hot even when the light is turned on but the machine is not actually being used.
The light in the mechanism above the needle appears to be the cause of this heating and has another drawback. You can only have the light on when the machine is on and ready to use. So if I want to check stitches or a seam in the light without sewing I have to make sure that my foot is well away from the treadle, as an accidental touch could mean unexpectedly setting the machine off. The treadle itself has a cheap feel; it has no grips on the bottom so it slides around quite a bit on our laminate floors, so I have had to invest in a small mat to put it on when I need to use it. It also seems to veer from requiring a tiny amount of pressure or almost a stomp to activate the machine. When you are trying to concentrate on getting everything where you need it to be, holding the fabric in place and keep an eye on an inquisitive one year old this is a major disadvantage. The power cable is quite short and I find I can only sew in certain places and positions around the living room, without having to dig out an extension cable.
It isn't very pretty or as nice to look at as a premium brand machine which tend to be brighter and more aesthetically pleasing. Instead it has a functional clunky shape which some people may object to having on display in their house. I am a function over style kind of girl though, as long as it works I don't really care what it looks like.
This is a very good basic machine if you can get it at the discounted price. If I had paid the full asking price of £89.97 I think I would have been disappointed, as for not much more you can get a basic premium brand machine such as a Janome, Singer or Brother. For the £50 I paid I am very happy and it is the perfect starter machine for a novice sewer or for someone who is thinking of taking up sewing again, but doesn't want to fork out a lot of money. My five year old can work it under supervision , so it would also make a good machine for a child or a teen who is interested in trying sewing out.
It works, it is reliable, very simple and stitches are even and consistent. As I said, I have used it to successfully make lots of things, including a medieval princess dress for my daughter's costume day at school, new curtains for the whole house, fitted bedsheets for my son's cotbed and lots of clothes. If I was going to take up sewing more seriously I would definitely invest in another machine, but until then I am very happy with this one. I give it five stars, but had I bought it full price then it probably would have lost a star for the high (ish) price for such a basic machine.
Tesco have it discounted again at the moment and it is currently retailing at £69.97 (September 2010) and this is probably close to its real value.
*Update - this machine is priced at £49.97 again - Jan 2010 - bargain!
I bought my Tesco sewing machine about six months ago now, for the bargain price of £50. I say bargain price as this is a full-sized sewing machine with 19 stitch options for just a little more than I was quoted for taking up some curtains, a job I am now able to do myself. The machine was, until recently inexplicably not available on the Tesco direct site for a while, but it can now be purchased for £89.97, which is still on the cheaper end of the scale of sewing machines. When I was researching machines online, prior to stumbling across this one in a Tesco store, only "mini-machines" were available for this price, and the reviews of them seemed to be rather negative. This is a proper sewing machine.
This was an impulse buy for me; I hadn't sewn for many years, and am not an expert seamstress by any stretch of the imagination. I have been pleasantly suprised, however, that this sewing machine has provided me with all I need to be able to sew with some degree of success, so if you are starting out sewing or just needing a basic machine, I would say this model is one to investigate.
When you open the plain white cardboard box first impressions of this machine are that you actually get quite a lot for your money. There are full instructions, and all the bits and bobbins you need to use the machine, including a buttonhole foot, one for zippers, needles and thread as well as all the tools you will need to maintain your machine,unpick threads, or thread the needle. All the tools and extras are stowed in a little box under the base plate, this can be removed to make a narrower foot for working on small areas of fabric.
The machine is 33 cm high, 38cm long and 16cm wide and quite heavy at 6kilos - I can lift it fairly easily with the handle at the top which folds down when not in use, but wouldn't want to transport it too far.
As already mentioned I hadn't actually touched a sewing machine for nigh on 25 years, and luckily for me as far as this machine went things hadn't changed too much - I was able to work out what to do fairly easily. If you haven't used a machine before I do think you would be able to follow the step by step instructions that come with the machine, which are 34 pages long and pretty comprehensive. These take you through how to thread the bobbin and how to do the various stitches by turning the three dials, with clear pictures and in simple English. You can do a fair range of stitches from basic through to zig-zag in various sizes, and even some decorative stitches and hemming. You can't really embroider or do the things that more fancy machines will no doubt do, but I find that actually I tend to use the same length stitch for most tasks. I have found it easy enough to adjust the tension and that the machine tackles a good range of different fabrics, again something a mini-machine probably wouldn't do.
When using the machine the dials are a bit hard to turn at times, and the machine is not really very aesthetically pleasing - it is a bit blocky, sort of the Lada of the sewing machine world to look at, next to its more expensive contemporaries on the shelf of my local Tesco Home shop. There is, however, as far as I can tell nothing substandard about the build quality of machine itself if you can ignore the fact that it doesn't look as nice as some of its more pricey contemporaries. The body of it is clearly printed with the different stitches and arrows to show you the direction to thread the thread, and it is a proper machine that can hold its own in many ways, all the basics are there.
The worst thing about this machine is the cover, which is made of that kind of plastic that gives you goosebumps to touch, it is cheap, white, wrinkly and nasty, but it does keep the machine dust free. Likewise the foot pedal, which as in all machines is used to turn the needle operation on and off, is rather basic and I do think a more prolific sewer than me may get annoyed by it. The holder for the thread at the top of the machine is also a bit flimsy to look at, but so far has been fine.
Another negative point is the fact that the only way to turn the light which illuminates the work area on and off is turn the machine off all together (there is a button on the side which you should also turn off for safety when threading the needle). For my needs it is more than adequate, however. This is a basic machine, and quite frankly for the price it is amazing that there are as many features as there are.
The motor is suprisingly quiet, and the machine does sew well, as far as I can tell - interestingly my neighbour who has a whole collection of machines as she does sew quite extensively, pronounced the machine to be "good" when I asked her advice on one of my early sewing projects. I've managed to follow the instructions to make button holes with comparative ease, though I have yet to use the zipper foot, I have found that this machine is straightforward enough to give me the confidence I need to have a go at sewing.
I do struggle to load the bobbin under the needle at times when using this machine, but I think this is down to my own kackhandedness rather than any design fault.
Basically this machine works extremely well, in a basic fashion. There are no bells and whistles, but as I said at the start for an occassional or new sewer this is a great little machine, especially if, like me, you can nab it at a lower price, you will be surprised at how good it actually is and may find you use it more than you thought you would. Highly recommended.
http://direct.tesco.com/q/R.206-0145.aspx for a full list of features and to purchase the machine, which may also be available in larger Tesco stores.
(please ignore the battery life rating which is not applicable, this is a mains operated machine)
Includes cover, zipper foot, buttonhole foot, button sewing foot, pack of 3 needles and 3 bobbins.