I realised I had outgrown my sewing machine when I was making my Gerard Coat. My beloved Elna struggled with making a buttonhole on wool and I ended up making bound buttonholes instead. However, I knew I wouldn’t want to do this for every tailoring project. Time for a better machine.
My Elna is my first machine (model 2130), bought about 9 years ago. It’s served me well and has never seized up. I’m meticulous about cleaning the lint out of the bobbin every time I use it, so this could be the reason why it’s chugged away without ever needing a service.
Buying a new machine is quite daunting and whilst I was prepared to go up to £350-400 for my next model, I didn’t want to buy an expensive machine with lots of features, when in all probability I would only be using two stitches: straight and zig zag.
I went to a couple of stands at the Knitting and Stitching show and decided Janome was the brand for me. I weighed up a couple of computerised models and decided to go for the XL601. It operates without a foot pedal, has automatic threading (welcome to the 21st century) and a choice of three buttonholes, so great for tailoring. What sold me was the free quilting kit that came with it, including a walking foot and extension table. Quilting is something I’d like to do one day, so this was a machine I could grow with.
I’ve had my new machine a few weeks now and it’s so easy to sew with. I love the computerised stitch selection. No more having to fiddle with manual settings. The top loading bobbin is great as I know when I’m going to be out of thread. Fabric glides under the feed dogs and it made light work of the thick fleece I was sewing the other day. The stitching is very even and it’s a lot quieter than my old machine. Now that I’ve used a fancier machine, I wouldn’t want to go back to a basic model.
As for my old sewing machine, it’s going to a good home. My sister’s got the sewing bug, so it’s going to her. I hope she gets as much pleasure from it as I have.