Thursday, 22 March 2012

John Lewis Mini Machine Review

I was chatting with Leanne at the other day about sewing machines for the Fat Quarterly retreat.

One of the things I've been thinking about buying was the little mini machine that John Lewis is selling as a back up and for taking places like the retreat. For those that are coming to the retreat from out of town, they have a big store in Oxford Street.

Off I went to Bluewater this morning; I was going to go for the yellow but ended up with the red as the yellow wasn't nice. They didn't have all the colours in stock but a good selection. It is a proper red, I just couldn't get the photo to show it.

Just to show how mini it is this is my hand in the pic.

It's funny when you start using a machine like this you realise all the little things you take for granted.

Firstly, when threading it there isn't a needle threader. Well, sorry, I tell a lie it does come with one of the little hand held things you use for hand sewing. But I managed. There also isn't a light, so that makes a big difference, especially when trying to thread the needle.

I've had a little fiddle with the foot and it doesn't seem like it comes off. I was going to try and see if any of my other feet fit it but that clearly didn't work.

It has a teeny tiny pedal. It basically starts and stops it. You press to go at one speed only and release to stop. It doesn't go at a mega speed (you won't win the jelly roll quilt race with it) but it isn't painfully slow. I noticed it most when winding the bobbin how long it took to finish.

It does come with 5 straight stitch lengths and 5 other stitches. I must admit I only tried the straight stitch. I started with the smallest and this was teeny.

Then the next size up and still tiny.

The size C worked a treat for what I wanted and that is where I stopped playing.

Without a quarter inch foot I'm rubbish, so I just used the edge of the foot as my guide. This was a bit over 1/4 inch so if you really needed accuracy you would have to put a bit more effort in to get it right.

I just used some old ugly charm squares to give it a run. It doesn't have a needle up/down but I used the manual turning to get my needle down at first. I think it was a fluke that when I stopped sewing it was still down (I don't think it is clever enough to remember how I start).

It did have a bit of a tendancy to want to skew the fabric sideways a bit so I had to hold properly all the way through. Apart from that though, it ran fine. No niggles or hiccups at all. It didn't once knot up orchew at the start of the fabric. I chained pieced all the way but there is always that starting point that can go funny.

This is what I achieved without any bother at all.

The last point I should make is that there isn't a very long power cable with it which is why in the photos above it is perched on the corner of the table. It was the only way I could get it to reach.

It is only when doing this post I've also realised I forgot to try reverse!


Anne-Lise at Rag, Tag, Bobtail said...

I thought it was cute in pink :-)
I didn't have 1/4" foot on my old machine, so I marked the foot with permanent marker ..... that worked ok.
Nice to have a small machine for travelling.

trash said...

Hmmmm ... no light might be an issue for me but then they have it green. Oh! I can't decide.

Leanne said...

Oh you got one already, good for you! I will send you an idea for keeping at 1/4 in without a foot. Red is excellent by the way and it looks like it would be just fine for the sewing at the retreat.

Shay said...

Under 100 bucks for a little machine is pretty good value. Great to just pick up and take and I love the idea of all the colours !

Not sure about the no light thing though, although I suppose you could take your own OTT...