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That little ‘mini sewing machine’ from Hobbycraft

Word of advice from a sewing teacher …

Whenever ladies or children bring this machine to class, I’m asked to give one to one support on how to thread the machine and explain why the owner is having handling issues. I’m sorry to report that this machine is simply not a good beginners machine. Save up some birthday money and treat yourself to something better, or go for a second-hand machine.

Hobbycraft don’t use this machine in their beginner videos, they use the Brother LS14 machines, which is exactly the machine you’ll find in my sewing classes and to me, the Brother is a great beginner’s machine.

We don’t like to be negative here because we want everyone to love sewing. I’d like to review this machine to prevent people investing in this for themselves or their kids. We have so many disappointed faces when we can’t get them to work for more than a length.

  1. Here’s my overall review of this machine.

  2. It holds very little thread at a time.

  3. It sews very slowly.

  4. The wires are very short.

  5. The power is so low that the needle can’t pierce through much.

  6. It is so light weight but at its disadvantage, it moves a lot when you sew.

  7. It can’t hold proper reels of thread, you have to fill a bobbin.

  8. The bobbin falls off mid sewing and then it’s fiddly to thread up.

  9. The metal is aluminum so bends easily which means you need to be extra careful using it and storing it…. but when you’re using it, it moves a lot so not easy to take care.

  10. It’s not like a regular sewing machine, this is a chain stitch machine which means you need to lock your stitches at the end of each row of sewing manually.

  11. If a part gets lost or broken it’s cheaper to buy a new machine.

Please, if you do like this machine, let me know why and what benefits you see for this machine over another, other than it’s cheap and looks cute.

A good beginner machine… I like the Brother LS14 at £70.

Here’s my opinion, and it really is just my opinion.

This brother is quiet, a good beginner machine with a good beginners selection of feet and it’s worth its weight – I used 4 of these in all my sewing classes and have had no issues.  I take them from event to event, use them on craft stalls, adults and children use them in my classes and almost a year of use, I have had no issues at all. I used Janome 301’s and had issues with all four of the machines in their first year, so they were promptly returned.

I used Janome 301’s and had issues with all four of the machines in their first year, so they were promptly returned. Computer breaks down, lock stitches get confused, the machine sews an extra stitch after you stop, the pedal wires shred, the paint chips off making them look tatty, the stitches reset themselves.  I’m sorry to say, I really don’t like Janome machines in general, they’re clunky, loud and too heavy.  Before anyone yells at me about this opinion, I have used Janome for over 20 years, all sorts, and as an engineer, I get loads and loads of models through the door.  If you have money to spend get a Pfaff Smarter and build up the Pfaff or Bernina range.

My best advice if you have a small budget is to buy second hand but get the seller to demonstrate the machine working properly before taking it away. For £30 you can pick up something good. It might need a light clean, but it should work well. Then learn how to sew first, and build your way up.

My preference is Brother until you can afford a Husqvarna, Bernina or Pfaff (my dream machine).

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