Thursday, 2 September 2010

And Sew On And Sew On…

Mags commented that she was taken aback by my remark recently about “two of my machines going off for service” and asked “how many do you have?”

Well, I have to admit, I have four

Number One  - the Frister Rossman Beaver, which Bob bought for me in 1979 just after our honeymoon [because till that point I’d been borrowing Mum’s machine and she wanted it back]

F&R Beaver

It’s a fairly basic machine –but for nearly 30 years it was constantly in use making clothes, curtains, costumes, cuddly toys, car seat covers – and a million other things [not all beginning with ‘C’]

Number Two Then about 11 years ago,  Rachel’s Mum, Jenny, let me try out her overlocker – and I ended up getting myself a Toyota SL

toyota overlocker

This was my first machine from Bambers in Manchester. I learned about all the different, useful techniques which this little beauty can perform – not least sewing a seam,trimming the allowance and finishing the edges all in one go. Brilliant for doing big quantities quickly when speed and ease is more important than meticulous detail and durability [eg 100 cotton waistcoats for a holiday club craft, and yards of red, white and blue patriotic bunting for a VE Day commemoration event] It is also useful for sewing knit and stretch fabrics – I have lost count of the repairs done to friends’ tee shirts, and school sweatshirts.

Number Three In 2004 I went back to Bambers for a Janome Memorycraft 300E Embroidery machine


This one really comes into its own for personalising things. It has three built-in fonts so it is easy to stitch names on facecloths, bibs, shoebags etc. It is great fun to take it to coffee mornings and craft fairs and use it to raise money for good causes. Children [and adults] love being invited to type their name onto the screen and then watch the machine sewing the letters. The machine has over 50 built in ‘motifs’ so I can add a giraffe or a little car or some flowers to the design. Furthermore, there is an SD card – so I am able to download designs from the internet [this is my favourite website] or prepare my own artwork using the software which came with the machine – then I take the card out of the PC, put it in the machine and Bob’s your uncle.

Number Four In 2005, I decided I wanted a newer basic machine, as things had moved on a lot since I got my FR back in ‘79. So when we were up in the North West, we popped over to Bambers and I got this


It is a Janome MS2522.  This one does 21 different stitches including buttonholes, and I love it! Like the embroidery machine, it uses drop in plastic bobbins. IMPORTANT TIP – Bambers advised me to buy a packet of spare bobbins and I said “I’ve got loads of compatible metal ones at home” – but they said that even though metal ones fit, they should never be used with the newer electronic ‘drop-in’ machines. Apparently they can cause problems! So I have put all my metal bobbins safely out of the way! This is a mid-price machine, and popular with secondary schools and colleges because of its range and solid construction.

Initially, the FR went down to Steph in Stoke Newington, but she never really got round to using it, and when she moved, I brought it back for Sewing Club. Then I moved the FR to Cornerstones – where it has hemmed curtains, sewn quilts and done other practical stuff.

So, Mags, I have got FOUR sewing machines, but all of them are used regularly and bring me enormous pleasure, and I believe they are useful to others too. They each have different uses, and between them, I am able to tackle a variety of sewing tasks efficiently.

Fortunately, Bob understands my fascination with the machines, appreciates what they produce, and doesn’t begrudge the money I have spent. After all, he is the man who wears this tee shirt!



  1. Four machines does seem like a lot, but then you do sew a lot. Mind you I hope to get a new machine at the beginning of next year. I have forgone a birthday present this year, and will forgo a Christmas present as well and the amount Andy would have spent will be added to next year's birthday amount plus some from my pocket and I will buy a really good solid mid range machine. Until then, my Brother is ok, just a bit stretched to the limits.

  2. I got my very first sewing machine almost two years ago. I managed to hem all the curtains, and then made some Christmas decorations and gifts. I have many projects (and the fabric to do them) waiting for me...just simple stuff, but I have high hopes!

  3. I love this love this love this love this love this post! Thank you extremely muchly wonderfully much! And WHERE would one find such a tee-shirt? I so want to get one for PC for Christmas! (114 sleeps now!!) And did I say thank you?

  4. I now have sewing machine envy! I dearly want a serger, but I'm afraid I'd never figure it out. And the quilter in me longs for a Bernina, but I can't afford one. So for now I will live with my plain jane Kenmore and be happy.


  5. I love this t-shirt, hubs wears his a lot.


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