Buying or servicing sewing machines
Sewing machine advice from Kat at Sew In Brighton...
At Sew In Brighton we like and use Janome 525s Sewist machines, which are the same machines they used on the BBC's The Great British Sewing Bee (£219-£239 depending on special offers - spec at bottom of page). I do, however, recommend going to one of the sewing machine suppliers locally (below) to try out a few different brands and types. Buying locally rather than online also means you can go back for help and advice - even if it's years later I've found!
You can buy cheaper new 'Wimsew' machines which are similar to the Janome 525s's from Richard Mouland on Bear Road, Brighton for £149. He also does reasonably priced repairs (£35 ish as distinct from £55+VAT in the other shops below). Richard: 01273624725/07931963185 http://www.rmoulandsewingbrighton.co.uk/
I'd recommend getting a machine with adjustable stitch length and adjustable zig zag width rather than set stitch length and zig-zag stitches(if you say that at the shop they'll show you what that means!). It's also very useful to be able to adjust the needle position manually for doing your own choice of topstitch/understitch width on straps, seams etc. I also find a transparent square-ish shaped sewing foot very handy and I recommend getting a zip foot (usually comes with the machine in the little accessories section) and an invisible zip foot. You can buy all sorts of extra feet, but we mainly use: transparent sewing foot, zip foot, automatic or 4 step buttonhole foot (also comes with machine) and invisible zip foot. You can buy these cheaply on Ebay, but it can be hit and miss as to whether you have bought the right one for your machine, so might be less hassle to spend the extra £5 and get from a local shop.
You could wait and buy a machine once you've been to a couple of our classes and tried our Janome 525S and Wimsew (just let us know on the booking form that you’ll need to use one of our machines and then ask your teacher to let you try a different machine at each class), then you'll have had a bit of experience to go on and feel better informed.
Regular student Hannah has this to say about her lovely Janome QXL605. "I think it's probably meant to be a quilting machine as it comes with one of those extra large tables. It's normally quite expensive (think around the £400 mark) but I was just lucky in that Varneys had an ex demo one on special. It does have really amazing button holes!"
- Richard Mouland sells New Wimsew machines £149 and does very reasonable repairs & servicing. Richard was the sewing machine technician at Jaeger for years - there isn't anything about sewing machines this man doesn't know! He's based in Bear Road but can pick up and deliver. 01273624725 / 07931963185 http://www.rmoulandsewingbrighton.co.uk/
Brighton Sewing Centre based in Brighton's vibrant North Laines, selling: sewing machines, overlockers, haberdashery and offering sewing machine repairs …
68 North Road brighton, east sussex BN1 1YD 01273 621 653
- Varneys Sewing Machines, Portslade, Brighton.
A family run business - established since 1940. Offers excellent advice when choosing your new sewing machine or overlocker. We also have an onsite workroom which provides FREE estimates for repairs/servicing of machines, just bring your machine (complete) to us & leave it with us for a few days.
56 Station Road, Brighton BN41 1DF. 01273 418777.Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 9.15 am to 5pm.
When buying more bobbins for the Janome 525S, we've found these to be the cheapest source: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/180710933549?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649
About the JANOME Sewist 525S
This value for money Janome machine is lightweight yet solidly built with a top loading, jam proof bobbin system and convertible free arm to sew around sleeves and trouser bottoms etc.
It's a versatile machine with the power and precision you need to get through your projects without fuss.
The Sewist 525s gives you 24 essential stitches plus 1-Step Auto Sized buttonholing and offers both stitch width and length adjustment.
There's a drop feed facility for freehand work and it comes with a hard carry cover.
See it on Janome's website here
24 Stitch selections
Top loading jam proof bobbin
Universal 'no fuss' thread tension
Adjustable foot pressure
Variable stitch length
Variable stitch width
Twin needle facility
1-Step Auto Sized buttonholing
Drop feed facility for freehand sewing
Stretch, overlock and blind hem stitches
Deco and satin stitches
Hard carry cover
Built-in carry handle
Extra high foot lift for heavy fabrics
Built-in accessory storage
Weight approx 8kg
Machine Carry Cover
Adjustable Blind Hem Foot
Satin Stitch Foot
Set of Needles
Additional Spool Pin
Spool Pin Felt