Monday, May 9, 2011

It's House Party Time

You know that Dan Zanes song, House Party Time? I think of it every time I talk about my house party.

What's a house party? Here's the best way I can describe it... You apply to get free stuff. If you get the free stuff you must share it with your friends "house party" style.

I had applied for a Singer sewing machine house party, and I got it! The free stuff? Use of the machine for 2 weeks, 4 yards of fabric, patterns, thread, decorations, JoAnn coupons.... list goes on.

I was pretty thrilled to get to try out the machine. You see, I do all my sewing on a very basic Huskystar E10. It's ridiculously basic, and I don't love it. I haven't been able to try free motion sewing on it, and I've just kind of outgrown it. But I have no idea what to get as my next machine! Ideally something that will last me the rest of my life. Something that my sewing skills are worthy of, something that's not too expensive. I had narrowed it down... either a Singer, or a Bernina, or a Janome, or a Brother. So you see, that's not really narrowed down at all.

So getting to demo an electronic machine for two whole weeks? Awesome! I've learned a lot about it, and what to look for when I really start trying out machines to buy.

The machine I demo'ed is the Singer Confidence Stylist. Short story? It's a great machine for a beginner. It is really easy to use and comes with a bunch of extra feet and has some great features. It's also got a really good price point. But it lacks the "heft" that I need.

Long story?

Pros: Amazing number and variety of feet (standard, satin, zipper, darning/freemotion, walking, gathering, and a fancy cutting foot. Like a serger... but not! and more I'm sure I've forgotten). Automatic button holer. It was awesome. Drop feed capability. Automatic needle up. Numerous embroidery stitches. Automatic needle threader. Very very easy to use. Does not jam up! Even sewing with the foot up! It's a good little machine. Very smooth.

Cons: Automatic needle up. It would be nice to have the option for automatic needle down (for going around corners, or stopping while quilting). I can't control how many stitches it back stitches. Since it is electronic and always ends in needle up position, sometimes I'd get too many backstitches with one press of the reverse button. The needle plate hole is too big! When sewing thru thinner fabrics, the fabric would sometimes get pushed down into the bobbin area. This never happens with my basic E10. Lastly, the feed is not nearly as strong/heavy duty as it should be. It gets caught up going over zippers, which shouldn't be a problem for any machine. So overall, not enough "machine" for me, though I have been taking good advantage of the built in embroidery stitches!

And some pictures from the sewing party I held to show off the machine:

my friend Erica hard at work

three of the ladies with their completed projects

the party project: a snap card case (jewelry pouch, gift card holder, business card holder...)



Along the Ausable said...

that sounds fabulous, congrats on your house party!

craktpot said...

That sounds like fun! I had a friend who had a Betty Crocker cookie house party at Christmas.

Go with the Bernina. It's more expensive, but I believe it's more likely to last you 'for the rest of your life' than the others. You should find your dealer and get to know them. I know of two shops that sell them and both are willing to finance if you need to.

FYI, I have a 220 Featherweight which I pretty much love, but it only straight stitches. I have a cheap Bernette 46, which I never have loved... thought I was getting a taste of Bernina: NOT! So maybe someday, we will own a Bernina... nothing sews like one, they say!

QuiltyGirl said...

I found you through quilt story. :)
I vote janome! I have had a few old hand me down cheap machines, 2 berninas, and now I'm really happy with my janome. You get a lot more for your money, and I've found the quality to be as good as my berninas! I even reviewed my machine on my blog, if you're interested.
Love the pips quilt, by the way!

Anonymous said...

I'm searching the web for ANYONE who may help me figure out what is wrong w/my machine or what I am doing wrong! I have the Huskystar E10 and I saw that you have the same. PUHLEASE...if you will... WHY oh WHY is my machine always jamming up? I've tried numerous things. Tension, new needle, putting the thread bobbin in counterclockwise then clockwise, etc. I know you're not blogging about this...but I am about to throw the machine out the window! Frustration should NOT be a part of sewing ONE buttonhole! ANY help would be apprectiated! BTW: I look forward to reading more posts. :)
Thanks in advance,

craktpot said...

(*Waves* to June ;) Brigitte, I am guessing you have already referred to an owner's manual... and rethreaded and all those options? It sounds like with your level of frustration, you should take it--just as it is--to a machine repair guy. Show him exactly what it's doing.

I think some machines are more prone to jam with tension issues, but I also know that my friend who refurbs machines says 90-some-percent of the time, when you have issues with your machine, it's the needle or the tension.

Ask your friends or local quilt shop owner who is a reputable repair person. It might cost a bit, but it seems like it just might be worth it! They will probably clean and oil it, as well. Hope this helps,

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