Review: AEG 680 sewing machine

I was browsing around on the internet for a review of this sewing machine before I bought it and not much information exists, I suppose this is because AEG only started selling sewing machines in June this year and not many people have gone out to buy one yet. I also thought some people might have similar experiences and difficulties as me (though I must say this is a favourable review!) and so I would share my experiences so far of the last 12 hours of owning the machine- hopefully it will be useful to someone!

Anyway this is the machine (as mentioned in my last post), I bought it for £200 from Argos as an online exclusive…

First up I should mention my experience with this machine is in comparision to the only sewing machine I have owned prior to this which was a mechanical Lervia machine from Aldi. So not particularly a very sophisticated machine so a lot of features I may be struggling with are things that non-primitive machinists will probably laugh at me for 😉

The AEG 680’s general specifications can be found here as it’s not worth me going through absolutely everything, though I will say it has a crazy amount of embroidery stitches and a LCD display for your stitch length and width.

It comes with a zigzag foot, a buttonhole foot, a button foot, a zip foot, a gathering foot and a blind hem foot, as well as needles (including a twin needle) and some samples of Coats thread. I quite fancy some spare bobbins, a walking foot and a free motion embroidery foot for it too, however AEG customer service haven’t been massively helpful and there were no suppliers for extra parts in the manual that was supplied with it (more about that later). I e-mailed AEG and after two days got a simple response that they don’t sell the parts direct and I am to go back to the retailer for them. Since the retailer is a catalogue shop I don’t think that’s particularly helpful so I have replied saying so, I probably won’t find out what I can do til later in the week. However, they seem to be pretty universal and I am sure the screw on feet I bought for my Lervia from HERE will fit. Which is nice because I already have the free motion foot and had hardly used it.

The instruction manual isn’t fantastic and if you like to read about your new buy in detail with a cup of coffee and a biscuit, you will be sadly disappointed. It is pretty to the point though, and so far there are only two sections that I feel could have done with being elaborated on, the first of which lead me to believe my machine was faulty yesterday and I sent another e-mail to AEG to complain!

So my first issue was the feed dogs. I lowered them using the switch on the back, however when I switched it back to up, nothing happened. I tried levering it up with a screwdriver from the bobbin compartment  but it dropped again and this was quite scary since I’d only taken delivery of it at 5.30 yesterday afternoon. What the instructions failed to tell me was that if you switch it to up and then start sewing, it electronically raises, so in fact there was nothing wrong with it. This is weird for me becuase on my old machine they thunked up and thunked down mechanically with a switch so I’m not sure if that’s me being behind in the technology or not!


My second issue is ongoing and is surely operator error. I have not got the hang of the lever and the one step buttonholes- I just got a ripped hole with some dodgy stitching in front of it. My background is in four step button holes so this might be me, but the instructions aren’t clear on what you’re actually supposed to do with the lever and how much user input is needed for creating a buttonhole, so I will have to persevere with this one and try and figure it out for myself.

It took me a little while to figure out the auto threading from the manual’s instructions and for a while I thought it would be easier just to thread the needle the old fashioned way. However with a bit of practise (and now I can do it with one hand rather than two) this should be a useful tool.

Another thing that doesn’t seem to work for me is the reverse stitch button which is supposed to secure the end of your sewing on settings 1 and 2. That keeps doing another stitch forward for me. Maybe I need to try holding it rather than just pushing it. I also haven’t used the start/stop button- it doesn’t work if the pedal is plugged into the machine, which I have been using cos I’m used to it.

Here’s some things I LOVE about this machine now I have gone over my main gripes…

    • I love how quiet it is.
    • The up/down needle feature is really useful for pivoting work and also for releasing the work without it being too premature.
    • The drop in bobbin with the little window is a godsend- I know most machines have this now but it’s awesome!
    • The feed dogs are really good at controlling the fabric and I have never had such neat and secure sewing before I got this machine.

One of the main draws for me was the fact that it was computerised (and the one step buttonhole that currently isn’t working!), but also the vast array of embroidery stitches. Especially this toadstool one, isn’t it cute?!

The one of the little dogs was a bit disappointing though- the picture looks like this on the machine (stitch 88- you can just about make it out)…

When stitched it splits one of the two doggies in half, poor thing! I could manually sew that missing stitch on each dog so it’s not a big deal, it’s just a bit sad really!

So anyway, after a bit of experimenting, some upset at a not-really-broken sewing machine and then going back to it again, I did manage to finish one of my many WIPs- the bag from last post. It’s not fantastic as I put the fastener too low, the straps are a bit weird where they meet the bag because of how I sewed the lining in (i.e. wrongly) and the corners confounded me. However I think it’s quite sweet so I’m going to make another one at some point- learning from my mistakes! Just a shame that cutting pattern pieces from large pieces of fabric is such a tedious and complicated arrangement!

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11 Comments

  1. Barbara Bird
    Posted October 19, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Kerry
    I found your review very informative as l’m thinking of buying this machine having had Singer machines all my adult life.
    My last had a mechanism that wound the bobbin in situ, it was such a time saver as you didn’t need to unthread the machine to fill the bobbin or to have 2 reels of thread, sadly they no longer do this.
    Just a thought about the one step buttonhole, on the Singer machines you put the button in the back of the buttonhole foot and there is a lever on the left of the needle bar you pull this down when doing the buttonhole and it sews them from the back to the front but you need to flick it towards you before you start and then it automatically goes into reverse when it hits the lever. Hope this may be of some help but not knowing your machine YET this may be completely useless info.
    Barb

    • Posted October 19, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

      No this was very useful, it sounds exactly the same! I think I was pushing it back rather than forward, but as I say the instructions aren’t the greatest …. and it was quite late last night!

    • Angela
      Posted September 27, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I bought this machine earlier this year. I couldn’t fault it until the foot control pedal stopped working. trying to get a replacement has been impossible. AEG are NOT helpful as they are not ‘sewing machine’ experts. Such a pity! Apart from that, it sews wonderfully well and you can use the on off switch instead of a foot pedal. It has handled quilting and will sew through most fabrics. I find its best performance is on medium to heavier weight cottons, denim. It is also ok with lighter or very sheer fabric. You also need to use quality thread to use the embrodiery features. If you use cheap thread, you get missed stitches and the pattern doesn’t reproduce properly. The embroidery stitiches are not freestyle. They are ok for edging only as they are linear decorative stitches rather than ’embroidery’ stitiches. On the whole, a good machine in its price range. It is quiet, it is reliable and your thread doesn’t keep snapping (an annoying feature of cheaper Janome models) However, if things go wrong with it, AEG are not good at follow ups.

      • Posted September 27, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        Hi Angela, it can be hard to track down the right people for spares and repairs- it’s not actually AEG in the UK but Adjustoform! I got a new needle plate quickly when I finally got the correct details from Argos’s buying department. I e-mailed Keeley Glynn there who deals with the sewing machine side of the business (along with Chris Darwent). Telephone number is 01233 642865 or email AEGsewingmachines@btconnect.com Good luck getting your new pedal!

    • Posted October 2, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi I have just bought the AEG it arrived today! :o) thanks for this blog review really helpful & thanks to Barbra as I was having the same trouble with the one step button hole as you but its so easy when you know how lol, as you say the instructions are very basic & it says to push button hole lever BACK when you don’t you pull it forward. This is my 1st proper big girls machine I just had one of those small craft ones before just for hemming etc and so far I love the AEG the top loading bobbin is great & so quick to thread top & bottom threads, although the needle threader is a bit flimsy & took a while to realize I didn’t have my needle right to the top & that’s why it wouldn’t work., Its early days & I haven’t made anything yet though still playing with all the stitches I want to try quilting & free hand machine embroidery I was given some feet from an old newhome machine & they fit & looks like the bobbins will too.

  2. tina siragher
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 11:52 am | Permalink | Reply

    it was great to see an honest review of this sewing machine. i am looking to buying one mainly for the embroidery stitches. can you tell me how big you can get them? your fabric and thread looks quite thick in the pictures. i would like to be able to use it for a crazy quilt so would need the embroidery stitches to cover the seams. do you think this machine would do that?
    thanks again for your review.
    Tina

  3. Posted December 8, 2011 at 10:44 am | Permalink | Reply

    Hi ladies,
    I am planning to buy this sewing machine for my wife’s Christmas present, so would you, in conclusion, rec\omend it?
    Regards
    Tony

    • barbara bird
      Posted December 12, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Tony

      The machine is made in China under the name of Fieuye who I know make industrial machines. I bought a similar one to the AEG from a dutch company on ebay. It was 137€ and I’m really pleased with it.
      It has a drop in bobbin, 80 stitches and 4 styles of buttonhole including a keyhole one.
      I know sewing machines as I used to work for Singer and I’m impressed with the “feel” of this machine and the stitches are very precise.
      So I would recommend the AEG
      Good luck and hope your wife is pleased.

      Merry Christmas
      Barb

      • Posted December 13, 2011 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        Thanks Barb,
        I’m pleased you replied just on time, so on my way to get this AEG beauty.
        Merry Christmas to you too and to all in this useful blog.

  4. Priya
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks a lot for your page… I’ve been researching for one and as AEG is not a very familiar make, I was a bit vary. But found the features advertised are really good value for money for home-user and I continued to read on about this machine. It is a shame that there is no official website for AEG machines. I came up with a page for all the other home appliances but no machines listed there ! Wonder if this is b’cos the product is new to the manufacturer.

  5. Sue Saunders
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    As a dressmaker for about 30 years, was very impressed with all you get for your money with this machine. At first (making quite intricate cloth dolls at the moment) found the needle automatically going up a pain, as needed it for tight turns and needed needle to stay in fabric. Still not overly impressed with foot pedal, it is not “comfortable”. Am a bit disappointed, am doing lots of hand gathering at the moment, that there is no info on how to use gathering foot in manual or online (also it looks nothing like the ones with other makes). BUT I do like the machine a lot, it is growing on me every day.

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