The one where Kerry accidentally buys two sewing machines

Background: Last weekend at the EMMQG meeting I intended to make a couple of stockings for the charity collection thing we were going to contribute to. Anyway I popped out Smelly, the smaller of my machines (Smokey being the Husqvarna), a machine that literally smells after a while of being used that was from either Lidl or Aldi that my Dad had bought me for Christmas when we lived in the house before last, so we must be talking at least 8 years old. It lived in the loft for a few years until I fixed the last problem it had. This time though, the stitch selector dial was somehow wonky when I put it in my bag and wouldn’t go back into place but I thought nothing of it.Until I started sewing.

It just chewed the fabric. I tried adjusting the presser foot tension,checked the feed dogs, had the stitch length on maximum and still it was stuck sewing on the spot. I gave up and OH kindly drove over and brought me my bear quilt to sit and glue instead.

I like to have a back-up machine, especially since I usually have some sort of publication project on the go and Hank is prone to such delightful activities as this…

So on I went to eBay to see if I could pick up a cheap working but ugly machine from the 90s or early 00s with a generic low shank foot attachment that was light and portable enough to bring to meetings, especially since these look to increase in number from January. I put an offer in for a Toyota machine in Nottingham whilst still sat in the meeting, but I didn’t win.

Then a few days later I bought this one (“Sew Land” apparently, which is code for JVC-own-brand- but if it works well I don’t care what the brand is, my last one was a Lervia/Aldi/Lidl one after all) from Leicester at auction…

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And then I had an offer I’d all but forgotten about accepted for this Brother PS-33 machine from Birmingham at about the same time. Oops.

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I’ve been driving around collecting them over the weekend and given them a test side-by-side before deciding which to keep.

First off, the Sew Land has a top load bobbin, which I prefer. Front loaders always seem a bit more temperamental to me and of course you can’t see when you’re running out of thread. It only straight stitches as far as I can tell, though the manual is excellent, I just need to take the time to read it.

The Brother has a one step buttonhole, plus a quick stitch selection which I prefer too. The Sew Land threads from a spool at the back which-in my opinion- makes it a reasonably good looking machine despite effectively being a toy. It’s teeny too. Comparing build quality (i.e. is it going to die if it falls over in my car) it’s not great as it’s mostly plastic bits- including the presser foot-  and it’s also noisy when in use and a bit slow for my liking too. In weight terms, I could carry it forever just with my little finger.

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The Brother meanwhile is in a shocking state. After having to go back to the address as the seller wasn’t in when I said I’d call round, I should have been a bit less shocked to see so many bits broken off such as the spool pin and bobbin winder, a dented needle plate and the reverse stitch button pressed back into the machine, not to mention the crazy amount of scratches that I tried to bleach to hide them a bit and the accessories box not fixing on. I’m looking at a quote for all the bits I need and I have been emailed a manual by a shop, but the accessories box will have to be cellotaped on. At the time of buying it I was only advised about the bobbin winder and also that it “needed a new needle”… -_-

When it comes to stitching, I tested it on some scraps. The Sew Land is the one with the red stitching on the left (note: I set it for short and for long stitches but I can’t tell the difference) the green is the Brother…

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After a bit of faffing with needle position I found the sweet spot on the Brother for a perfect 1/4″ seam.

Whilst I don’t like or dislike either machine, keeping both is a bit silly, so I’ve decided to keep the Brother, purely because the stitch is better and it’s a lot quieter. If anyone is interested in the Sewline one let me know and you can have it for slightly less than the price I bought it for- £20- (plus not-very-much-as-its-so-light postage if not collecting from NW Leicestershire)! It might just make a good present for a sewing curious child that isn’t worth taking the risk on a “proper” machine.

And hey, if anyone is interested in ol’ Smelly for free, you’re welcome- for spares or repairs- else it’s off to the tip on the next visit. Just drop me an email 🙂

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