Birthday sewing surprises

You may remember that last Fall I helped a friend test a bunch of budget sewing machines for a major newspaper, and one of the machines was a tiny, red John Lewis Mini sewing machine. John Lewis is a chain of high quality department stores in the UK (and the only one which still maintains a haberdashery and fabric department) and this is one of their own branded machines, though it’s actually a Janome under the hood. If you had any doubts – when you order these off the John Lewis website, it comes shipped directly from Janome UK!

Anyway I didn’t have much need for a tiny, portable machine back in October, but happily James’s parents thought I might like to do a bit of sewing in hospital and gave me this for my birthday!

As I knew before, it’s definitely got its limitations, but as a second, portable machine, it should do nicely for me. It is really tiny, and very lightweight – the instruction manual for it is printed on bigger paper than the machine itself, and even I can lift it with one arm! It doesn’t have any accessories, or a light, for that matter, but it sews well, and through denim, too, being a sturdy mechanical Janome.

What it can do:

  • Ten basic straight and zigzag stitches
  • Triple zigzag (hello hospital lingerie!)
  • Two needle positions
  • Free-arm sewing
  • Use snap-on or high-shank feet (the latter being what my workhorse Joann Sonata uses!)
  • Reverse stitching (The sewing machine equivalent of writing “interactive menu” on the back of a dvd!)
  • Store a few accessories in its tiny drawer

What it can’t:

  • Buttonholes (though if I ever found a buttonhole attachment I suppose it could)
  • Finely adjust stitch width or length
  • Twin needle stitching
  • Sew in the dark (no light, see…)

And it’s red. And cute. And it inspires me to sew, and take it with me. Though now I need to add “Baby machine carrying case” to my To Sew List!

The other bit of sewing fun I received last night was from my friend Pip (she of the silk pyjamas and purple bridesmaid fabric) and her partner. I have no idea where she found this vintage sewing table/hutch/chest/box/whatever, but it is utterly gorgeous and in perfect condition!!

The woodwork itself is just gorgeous, and apparently it was reupholstered and re-French polished at some point in the 80s, using some gorgeous rose moiré fabric in all the drawers and the top compartment, as well as the pincushion area under the top lid! The sides of that top compartment are also lined with it, but they’ve done a really intricate, patterned, bubble effect that frankly, I can’t quite work out how it was achieved.

It’s a breathtakingly beautiful piece of furniture, and it’s almost too nice for my current sewing room with its MDF-Argos desk, Ikea table and plastic tubs of fabric!!

Pip also threw in a big bag of threads that came with it – she said it probably wasn’t anything worthwhile but she tossed it in anyway, and I’m glad she did!

Yup, that’s a ton of my beloved Gutermann Sew-All, plus some Sylko and assorted vintage spools! The previous owner quite liked her pastels, though there’s a fuschia or two in the mix, too. I pretty much only buy thread as and when I need it, so it’s good to have a bit more in the stash for random projects, even though this now doubles my thread spool count and means I need somewhere new to store my thread. Hmm, I know just the place… heehee.

And I was also a happy recipient of a renewal of my Burda subscription from my parents, an iPhone(!!) and a gorgeous engraved green amber necklace from James, chocolates, Lush stuff, and an Audrey Hepburn box set. I don’t quite know what I did to deserve all this, but I’ll happily do it again. Is 60 twice as good as 30 then? 🙂

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