Initially, the search was tedious, the machines varied and the information confusing. I spent four days researching online; watching YouTube reviews, reading reviews from various sewing bloggers, visiting brand websites and reading the machine descriptions. In the end, I was so confused and almost at the point of discontinuing the search when I remembered this simple fact: if you don’t know…ask! By ‘ask,’ I mean ask a person. Over the last four days since I had attended my first sewing class, I had met some very knowledgeable people who would have given me a wealth of information regarding choosing a machine. For what I imagine was a combination of convenience’s sake and the natural response of our generation to immediately Google/YouTube information, I had overlooked people with years of industry experience in favour of the internet. Don’t get me wrong, the internet has its place when it comes to researching and I did find out lots of information, but I was suffering from information overload. I needed to find out the relevant information that applied to my specific sewing needs and goals.
It was when I attended my second sewing class that I took the opportunity to ask the tutor’s advice on sewing machines. I was the only person in the class, so I had lots of time to pick her brain. After discussing my budget and my sewing aspirations (probably not the right word to use, as I’ve not set very ambitious goals so far) I was pointed in the direction of a bottom-of-the-range Juki. I was told that despite it being at the lower end of that particular brand’s range, it was certainly not what you would expect from a cheaper machine. I was informed that this manual sewing machine would allow me to develop my skills whilst providing me with exactly what I needed: an uncomplicated, hard wearing machine that would continue to make sewing appealing for me. I was informed that it had an automatic needle threader, so no struggling to thread the needle, an automatic bobbin winder, again less faffing around, and a built-in LED light to help me see better when sewing. Threading the machine would be simple, with arrows directing me at every step. I was told that it can sew buttonholes and has lots of fancy stitching, which only vaguely makes sense to me at the moment, but essentially it would do what I needed it to do: stitch in a straight line, reverse, start, stop and be as hassle free as possible.
I asked to use the machine for the duration of the class, in order to complete the project and I’m really glad that I did. So if my first piece of advice is to do your research, and my second is to ask an actual person who knows about sewing/sewing machines, my third is to try the machine before you buy it. I used the machine for two and a half hours and fell in love with it, because it was just so simple and easy to use. I never struggled to figure out how it worked. I made mistakes with it and rectified the issues easily. I also knew it would be a machine that I wouldn’t be afraid to use for fear of breaking it – something that I think is important as a newbie because I’m bound to do something wrong at some point. I took the machine home, set it up and spent the entire evening practicing my newly learnt skills.
I can’t currently give much of a review, because I’ve had the machine for less than 24 hours. Plus, this is my first machine and I have nothing to compare it to. At my current skill level, I am happy for a machine just to turn on and work when I want it to. As my skills and knowledge of sewing and sewing machines improve, perhaps I can offer some insight into whether or not this was really a good investment. However, judging from the advice I received from the tutor, the online reviews I found and my own limited experience of this machine, so far it has been money well-spent. Time will tell and I will keep you updated. I must say that I was particularly impressed with how well packaged the machine was. Especially because I hadn’t planned on buying a sewing machine that afternoon so was ill-prepared to transport it home: imagine one newly made project, 2 bags of sewing supplies to start two projects at home (a cushion and two aprons as made in my classes) plus my handbag and a bus ride home.
I did pick up some more items to add to my basic essentials, which were now necessary to purchase, due to the arrival of the sewing machine. They were some bobbins (the machine came with 3 but I didn’t realise until I opened the box at home), sewing machine needles (I’ve been advised to change the needle after every project, to ensure the quality of work is maintained and not lessened by a blunt needle) and some thread to match the fabric for my projects. Combined with my earlier purchases, I am now all set to sew. I can’t wait to really start using this machine. I’m excited to look back at my initial posts in 6 months time and hopefully see how much I’ve progressed. I’m officially ready to start sewing at home. It’s the start of a new relationship for me and my Little Juki. Will it be a match made in sewing heaven? I do hope sew!