Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Sew what?!

I've bought a sewing machine.

I've been dallying with the idea for several years now, but each time I've looked at machines I've had to lie down in a dark room to recover.   I do actually have a machine already, an ancient Singer, which is very pretty but is (a) a nightmare to use,  (b) weighs a ton, and (c) (d) (e) is a nightmare to use.  In fact, that is partly what keeps putting me off buying a new machine.

I don't know how to sew.   I tried at school at 13, and was hopeless.  Like sports, the needlework lesson wasn't really about being taught , it was about doing.  Like sports, I put it in the "I can't do that" category.

I found a lady a few miles away who runs classes, and this gave me the prompt to think about it again.   Her lessons were booked up,  but I was sure she'd start a new class. I looked at machines. It was too complicated.  I decided I's wait until I had had my first lesson, and I'd get some advice on what machine to buy.

The May course finished. She didn't post any new dates.  Then she took an extended holiday.  And she still hasn't restarted.

The reason for me wanting to get restarted is that I wanted to sew some bunting.  I know it's a bit extreme, buying a machine to sew bunting.... but bunting was really the poke I needed.  

Once again I did some research.  I looked on the John Lewis website.   I looked for nearby sewing centres who might be able to give advice.  All the well rated places are hundreds of miles away.

Then I came across a blog where someone was actually talking about sewing machines for beginners who were looking for a mid range machine.  She really rated Janome,  and actually recommended a machine, the 5018.   I looked at the machine online, it was available in John Lewis.  It was also available from a very highly rated online place, SewingMachinesDirectwhich gave a 5 year guarantee for the machine.

It was so much easier than previous attempts where I'd been trying to compare across makes as well as within makes.
I did what I always do.  I compared the machine to the one or two below it in price, and the one or two above it in price.  The next machine up, 5024/5124,  had some additional features that I thought would benefit me.  It was available in John Lewis and the online shop.    It looked ideal.  

I looked for reviews.  It was promising, although one of the forums had a discussion about this machine versus another Janome, the 3050. .  John Lewis had that one too.  I looked for second hand versions.  I could see that second hand machines don't hold their value, and it would be much better to pick one up second hand, and resell it if I didn't like it.

I parked the idea, waiting for the "heat of the moment" to die down.

It didn't. Yesterday morning I had a spare hour. I went to John Lewis to look at the machine.   I was baffled.  The assistant wasn't able to demo the machine as she had another demo booked.  I left the shop, wishing that I had know that it was possible to book a demo.  I didn't know what to do.

If I booked a demo at John Lewis, I would feel obliged to buy from John Lewis.  Maybe that was the answer.

I searched some more online.  Then I found a recent forum posting discussing exactly the machines I had been looking at, plus a 3000 which was badged for Sewing Machines Direct.  I compared the machines.  Once was electronic, the other computerised.  The computerised one was significantly cheaper,  but the forum discussion leaned heavily towards this one, recommending purchasing the quilters pack to go with it.

I couldn't find an exact equivalent to the SMD3000 at John Lewis,  so there wasn't much point in going back.  Surely I'd be able to work it out? Ot there woudl be Youtube videos?

In the end, I went for the SMD3000, the cheaper option.  It had some features that the 5024/5124 did not, like a stop start button so I wouldn't need to use a foot press.  It didn't have the onboard storage that the 5024/5124 had, but that seemed like a small thing.

I ordered it yesterday afternoon from sewingmachinesdirect, and it arrived today!

It sat, still in its packaging, while I considered what I had done.

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