Monday, 16 March 2009

Electric Dream Machine

I've had my current electric sewing machine, a Singer Stylist 367, for well over twenty years and I bought it second hand. The manual is copyrighted 1974, so that gives an indication of its age. I have to say, it has served me well and never let me down. It was serviced for the first time a year or so ago and passed with flying colours.

I have used the machine over the years to make all sorts of items from jackets, trousers and blouses to handbags, soft toys and curtains. Despite only having five stitch options, one straight and four sizes of zigzag, the machine has met my needs. Just lately though, I've had a niggling feeling that I would like a machine that could maybe do a few embroidery stitches as well. The niggle grew the other day and I found myself googling sewing machines.

The range of machines now available is quite overwhelming. The price spread is from £50 to the high hundreds, they are electrical, some are computerised, they do stitches I've never dreamed of, stitch in reverse and do a whole host of buttonholes. With so much choice, it was hard to know where to begin in choosing my perfect machine. The most logical starting point was therefore price.

I set my budget at £100 which was an amount I felt would buy an electric machine with a dozen or so stitch options. I didn't really need anything more than that. The trouble is, once you start looking, it is really easy to get carried away. I never knew stitch options could be quite so exciting! Trust me, they are! The fact that some machines have a monogramming option opened up all sorts of design ideas in my head.

Somehow, I ended up looking at Brother machines. Lured by the stitches on offer, I found a machine that I really liked, it met my needs not to mention a whole load of needs I didn't even know I had! The only problem was that the machine's recommended price was more than three times my budget. Always one with an eye for a bargain, another internet search threw the same machine up at half the recommended price. Finally a quick search on ebay found it bang on budget but in an auction with only a day to go. I put in my top bid and crossed my fingers.

A day later, I was the proud owner of a new Brother, all singing, all dancing and hopefully all sewing computerised sewing machine. Talk about exciting! I got it at 40% over budger but it was worth it. The machine is fantastic. Some of the features include forty stitches, five types of one step buttonhole (who knew there was so many?), forward and reverse stitching, monogramming, a free arm facility (I had to look up what that meant!), seemingly more feet than a centipede and my favourite feature - a picture frame. Yes, you did read that correctly, it has a picture frame on the side of the machine. Now, I have no desire to sound ungrateful, but why on earth would you want a picture frame on your sewing machine??!

Somewhat reassuringly, the machine also comes with an instructional DVD. All I need now is for it to be delivered - can't wait! Watch my website for some hopefully new and exciting products with decorative stitching. With so many new features, including dual needles for some of the embroidery stitching, I hope I can figure out how to thread the machine, let alone sew anything together with it..

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  1. Alison,
    Congratulations on your new machine, how wonderful! We know the feeling, we have had an old Sears brand sewing machine, that finally decided to quit. I was purchase in the late 60's, so we also purchased a new Brother sewing machine that has many many new stitches that we did not know even existed! It is great but it taking some getting used to! We wish you the best of luck with your new machine!
    Ruth and Marilyn
    Two Artisan Sisters

  2. Thanks! Glad to hear you bought a Brother too. Hopefully you have been happy with it. I think I will run the two in tandem for a while so that I can carry on being productive whilst experimenting with the new one.