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Sewing machine for 8yr old DD? Dangerous & frustrating, or a good idea?

(36 Posts)
SylvaniansKeepGettingHoovered Sat 01-Nov-14 22:00:20

DD is 8yrs old and loves craft, I'm wondering whether a mini sewing machine might be a good Christmas present for her, something that she might get a lot of use of, however I've never used a sewing machine and I don't have an aptitude for crafts in the same way that DD does. Would it be too frustrating for her, seeing as I can't teach her what to do? And would the needle be dangerous?! Could she hurt herself? I'm so clueless. Is the needle protected?

I've looked at John Lewis £50 one. Also the 'sew cool' range but it seems a bit babyish to look at, and isn't a real machine at all just a plasticy thing? I'd spend £100 if I thought it would give DD a lot of fun and develop her creativity. Any thoughts or advice?

KatyMac Sat 01-Nov-14 22:04:08

I'm not sure about a 'kids' machine - I think a fairly basic model would be OK

You can sometimes buy add on bits (or at least you used to be able to)

Good craft scissors & a book with age appropriate projects plus they stuff might be better than a machine - I think DD was about 10 when she started using mine

CarmelasFridge Sat 01-Nov-14 22:07:02

I crushed my finger using mine the other day hmm. Can you still get hand powered ones? That's what I learned on and would be a bit safer.

Sunnyshine Sat 01-Nov-14 22:09:55

My DD got hers for her 8th birthday. Has made a skirt, bags, toys etc. Needs help with threading etc but manages the rest on her own. She has the john Lewis one in coral and loves it grin

Sunnyshine Sat 01-Nov-14 22:22:40

KatyMac Sat 01-Nov-14 22:44:06

I take it back - that is gorgeous

I want one & I won't be showing it to DD

SylvaniansKeepGettingHoovered Sat 01-Nov-14 22:49:29

Thank you all so much for the replies. Sunnyshine that's the machine I've been looking at online...I love the colours smile It's lovely to hear that your DD has managed to make a few nice things with it.

But I am worried about crushed fingers on Boxing Day. I wonder if I could pop in to John Lewis and ask to see it 'in action'. It might help me decide. I don't want DD to have a frustrating Christmas holiday. I really wish I could be better at practical crafty stuff. I'm sure I could if someone had ever taught me. My mum can knit but never taught me, and she had a sewing machine but I never had a go of it.

whatsagoodusername Sun 02-Nov-14 06:06:14

Have you looked around for kids sewing classes? You could see if there's one starting after Christmas.

I'd get a proper, basic machine instead of a kids one. I was using one at 8, never hurt myself on it. An occasional pricked finger while threading the needle, but no more than with a regular needle.

Chottie Sun 02-Nov-14 06:26:44

I would second getting a proper machine and not a kid's one. I loved using my mother's machine when I was a child. Just make sure she follows all the safety guidelines and all will be well.

icklekid Sun 02-Nov-14 06:47:39

I had a kids one and loved it as a child. We teach year 3 and up to use in school on normal adult ones. No crushed fingers yet wink

code Sun 02-Nov-14 06:50:58

DD has had a proper full size Janome one since she was 7 and sews well unsupervised aged 9. She knows to have it on the slow setting and I supervised her for some time to ensure she knew how to place her fingers away from the needle. Some places do kids sewing classes which is a good idea.

DwellsUndertheSink Sun 02-Nov-14 07:15:31

Id get a proper machine. Make sure you can adjust stitch length and, very important, that it had a speed control other than the pedal. Get her sewing quite slowly at first, then she can graduate to fast sewing. The main stitches she will use are straight stitch (----------) and zigzag (VVVVVV) and so dont be too over excited at buying a machine with 100s of different fancy stitches, - you wont need them. A blanket stitch (looks a bit like LLLLLLLLLL) is also useful.

Crushed fingers? Nope, just show her how to guide the fabric properly. There are lots of videos on youtube regarding sewing, threading a machine etc. Get her some fabric swatches to play and practice with - our local fabric shop sells bags of offcuts for £5, or get some fabric from cutting up old clothes, or the remnants bin at a fabric shop (although I find these expensive). Felt is cheap and available in big packs from craft stores.

Buy some decent white thread (guttermans is good) and some spare bobbins, a good pair of fabric scissors and you are away !

Missunreasonable Sun 02-Nov-14 07:48:14

That john lewis machine is perfect for an 8 year old beginner. It is a proper machine, a small entry level one.
Make sure to get some cheap but nice fabric and some thread to wrap up with the machine as DD will not want to wait several says to get to the shops before she can use the machine.

It might be worth getting yourself on a one day sewing course so you can help dd with the very basic stuff (but don't get carried away and claim the Machine for yourself grin.

Lidl also regularly sell decent cheap machines.

RavenRose Sun 02-Nov-14 11:44:26

I know some on here rave about that mini machine. I bought one for dd1 to learn on and from that experience you'd be better off with a full size one. I'd probably go for a full size basic Janome and add a finger guard. Just make sure it has a variable speed that you can set to low.

The mini has to be the most frustrating, shoddy, piece of junk I've ever bought. She couldn't ever get the tension right, the build quality was pretty poor, the plate covering the bobbin was so flimsy it broke on first use (by meblush) and the quality of stitching was dire. She now uses my brother and the mini has long gone back to JL. We possibly got a bad one but i've overheard a lot of complaints when I've been in buying thread and stuff. For another 50 quid you could get much better quality which will last longer and be less stress!

I would also try any local fabric shops to see if they know about clubs and classes aimed at children. We have a few round here now which run on Saturdays. Some of them even run their own clubs and classes.

SylvaniansKeepGettingHoovered Sun 02-Nov-14 20:10:56

Thanks everyone, lots of really helpful messages.

I normally like to buy things that are built-to-last, good quality, so I do have reservations about the £50 John Lewis mini machine. DD (and me!) would be complete beginners, and I don't want to put her off if the machine is going to be frustrating.
I'm planning to head to John Lewis and take a good look. I do like the idea of going on a course/workshop myself to get the hang of the basics. I could probably get quite carried away with all the lovely fabrics and end up wanting my own machine though!

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 02-Nov-14 21:49:06

The manager of haberdashery in my local John Lewis doesn't rate that mini machine at all. She suggest the £100 singer for my 10 year old DD.

mineallmine Sun 02-Nov-14 22:29:53

I've taught sewing to kids and I don't like those mini machines at all. Some of the kids had the ikea machine here and I thought it was great.

Missunreasonable Mon 03-Nov-14 07:06:30

I got a singer brilliance 6180 (much more advanced than the JL £100 singer) from lidl last month for £100. Lots of people on here don't rate singer though (mine has been great).

Missunreasonable Mon 03-Nov-14 07:10:12

A review on the ikea one on this link, seems a good buy

WhoKnowsWhereTheSlimeGoes Mon 03-Nov-14 07:11:31

My 8yo DD manages fine with mine (which has no speed control or finger guards, didn't know either existed). She needs help with threading.

Missunreasonable Mon 03-Nov-14 07:12:07

Correct link, hopefully it will work this time

skylark2 Mon 03-Nov-14 20:38:34

I bought DD an Aldi cheapy when she was doing GCSE textiles (so rather older than your DD). It works fine and threading is so easy - it has little pictures on it and everything! (I've used it but I am spectacularly uncoordinated and much prefer my ancient Singer which has a handle to turn!)

But I actually posted to say that Aldi have only just had a set of every colour under the sun thread, with one reel and a matching sewing machine bobbin for each colour. 30 different colours for £5. If she's having a sewing machine for Christmas that would be a great stocking filler or present from another relative (if your family is anything like ours, they'll be forever saying "can you get her something from us as you know what she likes, we'll pay you back...")

SoCarpedium Mon 03-Nov-14 21:14:43

Skylark, I agree with your sentiment about the Aldi kit but I bought one a few years back and the tread is awful. I couldn't work out (at first) why my machine was jamming all the time. T'was the thread.
The thread set would be great for tacking and any other hand sewing.
Please don't let a new sewer thread up with that set.
Buy the best thread you can afford from your local haberdashery for machine sewing.

skylark2 Mon 03-Nov-14 21:26:56

That's a shame - it feels nice and smooth! Though I've not tried it yet.

I feed my old Singer cheapy thread from ebay all the time. Hadn't occurred to me this would be any different.

SoCarpedium Mon 03-Nov-14 22:35:56

I think the older Singer's are very forgiving (I have one). I may well be wrong, but on some of the cheaper plastic machines, cheap thread gets chewed.

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