Tag Archives: sewing machine

Lots of secret exciting things are happening!

I have lots of REALLY exciting things going on in my sewing life right now and I’m not allowed to tell you about any of them! Well OK I can’t tell you about:

1) A challenge block for a famous fabric designer in which I get some free FQs of beautiful and not-yet-released fabrics(!!!). All will be revealed next month.
2) A block design that has won me some sewing goodies in a lovely magazine- more on that again in August when I can release the pattern for it right here

BUT I can tell you that I have won a competition for the Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop for Quilters book that everyone is raving about and I have my idea down for the Brit Quilt mini swap and I have a fabric delivery coming from Pink Castle Fabrics soon.

…and I can tell you about this…

A Pfaff Expression 2. It’s beautiful and it arrives TOMORROW. I am so excited like a kid at Christmas. I might be too ill to go to work tomorrow. *cough cough* Really I shouldn’t have spent £700 on a sewing machine but it does everything I want and it felt like the right time. reason being- I am strugging to quilt with the tiny arm my current machine has and I keep breaking my machine in various ways due to the fact I need a more industrial, heavy duty machine. So once I get a new throat/needle plate (whatever you prefer to call it)- I will have a 2 month old AEG 680 for sale. (click here for some reviews!)

I’m not one of those lucky types that needs a spare machine, I’d rather have the cash towards paying back what I’ve spent on my new one. I’m thinking I want £150 for it, it was £220 new and is £240 online at the minute. Reason I blogged about this in October but the machine is only 2 months old? I managed to damage the first one in my car, so this is a shiny replacement one that I have knackered the needle plate on. It will be fine for less aggressive stitchers and anyone not trying to pound 6 layers of interfacing with a 110 needle 😉

So yey and squeee!

And I can now reveal the secret projects I was working on last week that were for Laney. She knows it was me now so it’s OK. If you read her blog you will have read about the story of Claude (her cat) and Dave (one of her hens), which is what prompted the drawing. The dragon embroidery is because there appears to be some kind of dragon fixation going on over on Craft Pimp with the glassy girls!


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!

I made something with fabric and it wasn’t a disaster!

Title says it all really. I decided this morning to print off the instruction manual for my cheap Lidl sewing machine and learn what all the different feet did. I cut a piece of vintage curtain 18″ x 42″ and hemmed the two shortest edges, before folding 12″ from the edge right sides together and sewing up the sides on both ends to make a simple slip cover for a 16″ cushion.

I decided to experiment a bit further and learned how to sew a buttonhole with the 4 step system I didn’t know my machine had, and even sewed on the buttons with the machine! It was an interesting experience and it isn’t exactly perfect- the back isn’t level for a start! Still I think this is great for a sewing-phobe like myself and I look forward to more adventures with simple sewing!

I also got an e-mail today advertising “Craftseller” magazine. It’s out quarterly starting tomorrow and is aimed specifically at those who make so much stuff their house is full and they want to sell some of it! I’m going to order a copy online to see what it is like, though I imagine it’s probably going to just be yet another multi-craft magazine out this year (I count this as the 4th new release since Feb!) and not teach me anything I don’t know. We will see!

Some new buys…

I have a new camera! I got myself a D90 yesterday to replace my tired old Fuji S5, but I can’t photograph it as I used it to take these pictures!

Last week I saw this outside a junk shop and had to buy it! It’s a Jones Sewing Machine and iron leg table, made in the UK and later bought out by Brother. I think it’s circa 1930s, but if you know more than me please let me know! It even had the old instruction manual and haberdashery bits. I have the wooden cover too and the key to lock it! I’ve started to sand it down as I plan to varnish it as it looks like lovely natural wood underneath the harsh black paint!

I bought this fabric deer head from a guy I saw at a craft fair. He sold the one I wanted before I had the money to pay for it, so I since ordered it custom and picked it up on Wednesday. Isn’t it fab?

Both look great in my new office!