15 December 2010
Sewing machine love
My Mum is in the midst of making nativity costumes. So when she commented that she was so frustrated that she couldn’t get her sewing machine to work consistently and had to keep stopping and starting, I said ‘I’ve got two sewing machines here to review if you want to use one’. I arrived home from work a couple of hours later to find one sewing machine and one empty box. Half an hour later I got a text saying ‘This machine is amazing, you are not having it back!’. That from a seasoned dress maker and daughter of a professional tailor.
When you read this review you need to keep in mind that my comparison point is the old machine that I got for my 21st Birthday. I won’t tell you exactly how old that makes it but let’s just say that it’s a teenager ☺ It’s heavy, it’s clunky and it jams often.
When I suggested that I review a sewing machine or two to Amanda it was because I have been looking at some beautiful projects with sewing on them and wishing that I trusted my machine not to chew up an almost finished LO when I attempted to sew onto it and wanted to buy a new one. I was thinking more along the lines of a £20 job, but then I’ve not heard terribly good things about them. Therefore when Silver Viscount offered us a low end and mid range machine to review I was thinking, ‘That’ll be nice; I can create some LO with stitching on before I have to send them back’. But I had no intention of buying either of them because of the cost. This is a prime example of paying for what you get though.
The midrange machine is the Silver 1045, brand new to the market with an RRP of £419 but currently available for £279 at Silverviscount. This computerised sewing machine has 110 stitch patterns. This includes direct patterns and utility, buttonhole, eyelet, darning, quilt, satin, decorative satin decorative and cross stitches. The decorative stitches include vines, hearts and stars. ‘It even threads the needle for you!’ said my Mum and it does too. The LED screen and push button stitch control allows you to change the pattern and size of the stitch quickly and easily and you can control the speed at which the machine sews by sliding a speed control. I found this really useful on LOs where I wanted to go slowly to begin with to make sure that it would work, or where I wanted to go in circles or swirls and needed more control. The price and number of stitches may seem excessive for a scrapbooker perhaps but look at the LO I created below and tell me you don’t need that stitch ;)
With failed previous attempts with my old sewing machine in the back of my mind, I tentatively put the needle to some cardstock and put my foot on the pedal. Great! No jamming, no tearing, just beautiful stitching. Okay, so that’s not too tall an order. What about getting through some cardstock, some patterned paper and a photo? You better believe it. The machine didn’t even grumble! ‘Bring on the layers’, it said. ‘Fine, so what about chipboard then?’ (Can you see how much a part of the family it’s become? So much so that I have little conversations with it? LOL) And you know what, the 1045 didn’t even stop to think about it. Straight through chipboard onto cardstock it went. Genius!
The Silver 1008 is the low end machine. It’s retail value is £209 but again you can get a huge discount by buying from Silver Viscount for £119. This machine does 8 stitches which, to be honest, is probably all a scrapbooker or cardmaker would actually need. It has button hole stitches and an accessory box too. As a fairly basic machine it does the job. Let’s face it, most LOs and cards I’ve seen with stitching on use either a straight stitch and zig zag and it does those. The speed is harder to control and the paper didn’t feed through as easily so it’s much more manual than the 1045, which guides the paper through itself almost. It also tore through the paper a couple of times, but the more layers the better it was and this machine had no problem going through layers of papers and photos or even through chipboard.
I have a feeling that the mistake I made here was in using the computerised machine first. Once you’ve done that, you’ll find it hard to go back to a machine that’s not all singing, all dancing. In summary though, as a basic tool for scrapbooking and cardmaking the Silver 1008 is a well priced machine. However, compared to the Silver 1045 there’s no contest. In my opinion, it’s well worth paying the higher price for the quality and ease of stitching. It will appeal to a variety of crafters; dressmakers, scrapbookers, cardmakers and quilters for example. As the scissors rating says, I could easily sell this machine to my Grandmother and have already sold them to my Mum and my Aunt. It’s absolutely at the top of my Christmas list this year. I do have a wedding dress to make after all!
PS: I’ve had communication with two people at Silver Viscount and I have to say that they were both extremely helpful, polite and friendly. As representatives of the product they match the quality of the machines, that’s for sure. I have no doubt that if you had any questions or queries about any of their products then the customer service department would be only too happy to help.