Saturday, 10 August 2013

Hi guys!

Am currently working on little bits of drafting and fitting (and trying to wrangle the stash after the London Meetup), so haven't finished anything in the past couple weeks. That might also be to do with the fact that I can't seem to remember to pre-wash the lining I bought. Dope.

One of the things I do want to ask you guys about is your sewing machines. 

I currently sew on my boyfriends mum's old sewing machine, which is a beginners Janome 2032

Although I also have my Vintage Singer (though I haven't sewn properly with it yet... shhhhh)

I don't know why I have a fear of it. Although I do need to get a set of bobbin cases for it. 
Must get on that.

But I digress...

The title of the post refers to the fact that I have been considering upgrading my sewing machine to a more intermediate level. The Janome does fine, but sometimes it gets a bit clunky, and eats thread and wraps it round the bobbin case and rotary hook. Now it's could be my fault when it happens; you know, maybe the needle hit on a pin, or maybe I didn't hold the thread ends out of the way when I was starting off. Those kinds of things.

But even so, you still dream.

So I dream and peruse the machines in a sort of £250-£500 price area.
Although clearly I would like not to pay more than I have to!

When I was thinking about what I really wanted from a sewing machine, I came up with a few ideals:

Reliability/Reputable Brand
Pretty obvious really

Smooth stitching

Speed limiter 
If possible, as I find it hard to regulate my speed sometimes and I would like to go slower

One-Step Buttonhole
Just for ease :)

7-Piece Feed dog
I just looked, thought I had 5. Looks like there's only 3!

Needle Up/Down control
would be great when turning corners

I'm not too fussed about a low or high shank machine (top/bottom loading bobbin). I guess that top loading would be easier to see how much is left on the bobbin, and I guess they are easier to drop in, and are jam-proof. But I do have feet for low shank ones.

I know that there is a big debate over manual or computerised machines, and I haven't been exposed to any computerised machines, so I can't really comment on what I prefer at this point in time. That being said, computerised ones are looking pretty tempting. Not a super fancy super computerised, but maybe one that selected the appropriate settings for stitches (and all that jazz) would be pretty cool.

What do you guys think??

I had a little scour around the interwebs today and I came up with a couple that demonstrate the type of machine that I am after. I'm ashamed to say that I have a specific 'look' in my head too, which is hard to shake. I want them to be sturdy and roomy, but look like they are worth their money. 
I don't know why but I kind of want it to be big. Important looking. 
Is that odd?

Janome DXL603 £399 (QXL605 £449) both look the same with minor feature add-ons

Brother Innov-is NV350SE £549

Husqvarna Viking Opal 650 £599

I do like them both, but I like the Brother and Husqvarna because they are a bit bigger (or so it appears in pictures). And they both have a few extra features that excite me. I also prefer that they show the stitches in the lid, and not drawn on the sides. 
I know they are both slightly beyond my price range but.....
I don't think I'm gonna be giving this sewing malarky up

Ok, so please tell me what sewing machine you have, how you feel about it, what you would look for in a new machine....
Give me guidance people please!


  1. i cannae help you with this, but will surely be lurking in the comments to see what people say. like you, i dream of a fonsay new machine. (unlike you, i've no chance of getting one in the next few years. but i shall live vicariously through you.)

  2. I have the Janome 525S (which might just be the next one up from yours, I'm not sure, but they look similar, mine has a few more functions tho). It has most of the stuff you specified but not 7 piece feet dog (I don't think anyway!) and it's not computerised but I love it! Not sure if it might still be too basic for you if you are looking for a computerised one...

    Btw, you must have a play on the old Singer - I have an even older model than you which I learnt to sew on and they are bloody marvellous!!

  3. I have an Elna 520 Experience. I got it a year and a half ago and I love it. I had been using my Granny's old Elna from the 70s, but a feature on it broke. Anyway, the 520 has all the features you've listed including a top loading bobbin with a clear window so you can see when the thread is running out (although I usually manage to not notice!). It's a computerised machine, and automatically selects the stitch settings for different stitches, which is really great. When I was looking, I found most machines in this price range aee computerised. I paid either £250 or £300 for it, I can't remember exactly off the top of my head, but that was with an offer of £50 off. I looked at lots of machines on the internet, and bought an Elna because I liked my Granny's Elna, and thought it was a sturdy machine; and also because I could buy an Elna locally. I live in Belfast, where sewing shops of any kind are thin on the ground! I wanted to support a local shop, but also to have somewhere were I could get it serviced. I hope that helps, I'll look forward to seeing what you get. Happy shopping! :)

  4. I have an old Bernette 330, which my parents bought me in 1989. It's made by Bernina, a kind of "beginner's Bernina". It has a metal casing and is sturdy but without any fancy-dan stitches or features. It has served me very well and continues to do so, but I, too, hanker for something newer and bigger! But I am dazzled by the range of features and variations on offer in modern machines. Having asked around the sewing tutors at my local textile workshop, most of them swear by Bernina as a make, for reliability and quality. They also warn off modern Singers (as a glance at online reviews/forums will confirm).
    Other than that load of useless twaddle, I can only add that what Lynn says about having somewhere local that will service your machine is good advice. Nothing worse than finding something goes wrong and you have nowhere to turn to put it right. Doesn't have to be the shop that sold it to you, but I'd say that whatever you choose, it's worth asking around and making sure that what you want to buy can be serviced and repaired easily in your locality before you part with your cash.

  5. If you haven't read my post about when I needed to buy a new machine, here's the link.

    I say know what you want (looks like you do) and go try some out. Don't let the sales people talk you into more machine than you need! I almost always prefer one or two steps up from the bottom machine and they always want to sell the model one level higher.

    But before you go machine shopping, do at least one full project on your vintage Singer. Don't be afraid of breaking it or anything - the old metal machines are much harder to damage than the brand new plastic ones. You might be surprised at how wonderful the manual simplicity of that machine is. If I could only have one machine, I'd have a vintage one.

    Hope you find the machine of your dreams! =)

  6. i like the look of the janome 525 - pretty sure this is the one that the thrifty stitcher got for the sewing bee. seems to have a great reviews. here's her post about it:


    brooke's post is fab too! i'd love a top loading bobbin with a clear window - i hate that bit where you get to the end of a huge long seam and realise the bobbin thread ran out ages ago! i think i would put together a list of the features you want and find a local sewing machine shop - ours is great and found me a great machine on a shoestring budget of £100 with a free box of threads.

  7. Hiya... as a beginner I love my Singer. I've heard great things about Janome and of course the Berina's which would be good for an upgrade.

    Let us know how you get on x

  8. I've got a secondhand Bernina 1008, which I really love and would recommend - secondhand you could pick one up in the price range you are looking at. THey are famous as reliable workhorses with a beautiful stitch - mine is certainly living up to that reputation.


I really adore reading your comments :)

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