Little Brother, big Brother

Judging from my blog, my August sewing list might seem like a bit of a disaster: out of seven things, I’ve only posted about one. And that one – my pineapple Lilou dress – did take a long time and a lot of fitting. But I don’t want you thinking I’ve been lazy! I didn’t just give up there…

I made three versions of Ultimate Trousers, each with more fit alterations, but finally admitted defeat and bought Sew Over It’s online trouser fitting course. So more on that at a later date.

My Delphine was almost finished and my first Addison cut out when my sewing machine suddenly started to stutter, skip stitches, and eventually just started snapping the top thread whenever I tried to sew. Uh-oh.

The sewing machine was a little Brother LS-2125, bought second hand nearly two years ago on eBay. It was very basic and complained about sewing zig zag stitch, complained about any fabric thicker than a couple of layers of cotton, complained about sewing buttonholes. But I did love it. I learned to sew on it, I made my first clothes on it… But it wasn’t worth fixing.

At first I was absolutely miserable, because I knew that if I bought a similar machine, I’d have exactly the same problems as I had with my little Brother. But the mid-range, sturdier machines all seemed to be £500 or more – and I couldn’t afford that.

So I dithered around, unsure what to do, and that’s when I happened to see a video Rosabella of Sewn posted, showing her sewing corner, and, in particular, her Singer Confidence machine. An idle Google informed me that that machine cost £349. Hmm. That seemed a much more affordable step up.

So, a short car journey and a traumatic parallel park later, I arrived at Woodseats Sewing Machines Shop and asked to see a Singer Confidence. A little aside here – I really wanted to go to a proper sewing machine shop where they knew their stuff and could advise me; and where I would be able to take my machine if anything went wrong. If you are in Sheffield or nearby, I can’t recommend this shop enough. They were friendly, patient, answered my millions of questions, and showed me what felt like every stitch on every machine in the shop.

They didn’t have a Singer Confidence though… I really wanted to buy from this shop, and I really didn’t want to buy something without seeing it (so asking them to order it in wasn’t an option), so I asked what they had that was similar, at a similar price point.

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A big Brother!!! This is the Brother Innovis 20, and I love it. It was £320 with three years’ warranty, which I thought was pretty reasonable for a digital machine. I won’t bang on too much about the technical details, but it has 40 stitches, including a very nice looking stretch stitch and five different button holes. It also has some embroidery and quilting stitches that I know nothing about. The craziest thing, for me, is that you don’t have to use a foot pedal. You can, of course, but you can also just select a stitch, select a speed, and press “go”. Madness. It also seems to hold up much better with thicker fabric.

So I’ve not finished the items on my list and I won’t manage to make my Ginghamalong entry in time either – but I sure am happy with my new sewing machine.