Good afternoon Buttoneers! I am have officially moved house (and my studio which is Eliston Button Headquarters of course) and am back here on the blog! Hooray! The studio is currently box city and I am squirrelled away in a corner and surrounded by my boxes of my crafty goodness, on my new sewing table, as a makeshift desk. Not ideal but it’s good to see that the Eliston Buttonsphere didn’t implode and you lovely Buttoneers didn’t run away during the break (You know me by now – ever the worrier!)
Anyhoo, I return with a very exciting blog post for you. I was recently given the super exciting opportunity to have a play with a new sewing machine with Hobbycraft. You can find their wonderful range of sewing machine goodness here.
I obviously grabbed my buttons and jumped in feet first with a squeal of excitement.
I had a play with the Janome 140M sewing machine. I eagerly pulled it out of the box with excited anticipation. What a great excuse to be able to sit and sew for the afternoon! This super cute little machine was really lightweight, I mean I could easily pick it up, pop it in a cute sewing machine bag and carry it to a craft group or take it on holiday with me. I was initially concerned that this would be a problem. I have had machines in the past that are so light that when you start to sew, they travel across your table! This was definitely not the case with the Janome 140M. It has little rubber pads on the base of the machine and this grips the surface and keeps it in one place at the same time as leaving me worry-free about any scratches on my new sewing table!
The machine came with three bobbins, two spare and one in the machine, two needles, one spare and one set up ready to sew, a needle threader, the AC adapter and the machines foot pedal. I grabbed it all out of the box and wanted to figure it all out for myself. I hate reading instruction manuals but they were very well laid out and easy to follow. I had a quick read through, plugged in the foot pedal, plugged in the machine to the mains and I was ready to rock and roll!
I found it a lot easier to thread the bobbin using the bobbin winder than on my old machine too. The machine has a thread spool stalk which angled the thread away and stopped it getting tangled up and kept it all separate. The stalk was pretty robust too but I made a mental note to always push it back in after use as not to snap it off or catch it on anything.
I found inserting the bobbin a refreshingly quick and easy task too. I hated my old machines fiddly bobbin case and awkward angles. The Janome 140M has a top drop-in bobbin system with a clear panel so you can see what you are doing without having to take it all apart. I also found this to be handy when I got all my threads tangled up! It enabled me to immediately see the problem and simply slip the clear panel off and untangle it all! I loved that I could see the magic of the bobbin thread catching when I drew it up with the threaded needle, that part totally fascinates me!
I found my way around the machine easily to set it all up. I loved that the threading at the top to the needle was marked out for you as I always forget the ups and downs and hooks and notches. I also loved the eye in the thread take-up lever. My old machine just had a hook and the thread would forever work its way out and loosen too much so this was a welcome addition.
It’s all about the little things making it all a lot more enjoyable!
The Janome 140M has 4 lengths, 3 widths of zigzag and a straight stitch and naturally I wanted to take it for a spin to try them all out! The first thing I noticed was the slower stitch speed and feed of the fabric, even with the presser foot fully engaged. First of all I thought this would be a problem but actually I found that I could be a lot more deliberate and precise with my sewing. I wasn’t swept away in a panic of wavy lines and out of control errors. I found that I enjoyed the process a lot more, I could relax and pay more attention to detail and have total control over my lines (and even make them wavy wherever I wanted to, not where the machine wanted to!) which is great for a perfectionist like myself.
The clear presser foot made a really good guide for a straight edge too. I could see through it to have a lot more visibility and use it as a marker against the edge of the fabric and the other stitches which you can’t do with a metal presser foot. It seemed robust enough though and even though the machine comes with a warning that “Extra thick and tight woven fabrics cannot be sewn with this machine” I managed to sew a thick braid on to a little project I was working on perfectly and it managed the thickness very well without having to force it under the foot or struggle with the needle.
Overall, I had a lot of fun playing around with this sewing machine. It is lightweight enough for me to carry it around but robust enough for me to not feel like its fragile or that I am going to break it. I think the Janome 140M would be a fantastic starter machine or even for a more experienced machinist to be able to transport around to craft clubs, classes or just around your home. I played around with the stitch tension and sewed together a fabric carrier bag holder including a thicker braid handle and I couldn’t have asked for a more reliable and compact machine that I actually felt like I was in control of rather than being swept away in panic! The only thing I would have added if I were to have designed the machine myself would have been a handle on the top that you could lift up and sit back down onto the top of the machine afterwards. When I moved the machine around the sewing table to have room to cut my fabric and thread elastic etc, it would have been handier to not have to grab it from the thick side or top. However, it’s a small price to pay for such a natty little machine that I will surely be using for future projects for years to come!
I will post a tutorial for my fabric carrier bag holder soon and you can see more of this machine in action so keep your eyes peeled!
What would you have sewn together with this machine? Can you think of all of the possibilities! Where would you take it to be able to sew away from home? Maybe in a cute little handmade curtained caravan or a holiday cottage overlooking the sea!? I would love to hear all about it!
Meet me for a chat with a cup of tea in the comments below. I’ll click the kettle on!
**Written in association with Hobbycraft. I was sent this sewing machine to review, however I am not affiliated with the companies or brands mentioned in this post. Therefore the thoughts and opinions expressed in this blog post are solely my own and I would never share anything with you lovely Buttoneers that wasn’t a good fit with this blog**