My friends, I am on a quest.
In coming months, I’m planning on traveling a bit to research the best thrift stores in a few different cities so I can start writing corresponding thrifting travel guides. I know…cool right?!?!
While I’m out of town, I still want to refashion as well.
In short, I must find the perfect travel sewing machine.
Some of you may remember how I used to travel with my Janome Sew Mini, which I reviewed a few years ago. Sadly, I donated it when I didn’t have room for it in my previous tiny apartment.
These little purple and white mini sewing machines have been popping up everywhere. Amazon sells them. Walmart sells them. They even turn up in unlikely places like the aisle of shame at Aldi.
What I’m saying is, you’ve seen them.
They tend to cost anywhere from $20-$40.
But are these mini sewing machines any good? Can they handle basic sewing and refashioning tasks? Are they good for beginners and kids?
I had to find out!
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I ordered the Magicfly Mini Sewing Machine from Amazon because it had decent reviews. I was optimistic. It was a little pricier than its friends at $40, but I hoped that meant it would be the highest quality mini out there.
Here’s my review of my new mini sewing machine!
When my machine arrived in a box on my doorstep, I couldn’t wait to open it.
So far, so good. My machine arrived securely packaged, with no dings or nicks on the box to speak of.
I unboxed my mini machine and was pretty impressed by everything that came with it.
That little sewing kit is a really nice touch! It also came with an extension table, a dust cover, a foot pedal, and a power adapter (although it can run on AA batteries as well).
The most notable thing about these machines, other than their low price point, is their size. These little guys are tiny.
The package weight was just under 4lbs, and the machine itself comes in just under 3lbs.
This sewing machine comes with a few nice features.
It has two stitch speeds, a light, a thread cutter, an extension table, and a sleeve arm.
Its small size makes it easy to store and lift.
Unfortunately, the cons made themselves evident the moment I tried to actually sew with the darned thing.
First off, I hate the way this machine feels. Simply put, it feels like toy. I never felt like I was using a real machine. I was pleasantly surprised it worked at all, and that’s not great.
Threading the machine wasn’t very challenging (although the needle threads from left to right rather than front to back which is kind of odd). But the actual sewing part was challenging.
When I first tried to sew something, the needle kept coming unthreaded, which was incredibly frustrating. After much tweaking of the tension knob, I was able to fix that particular issue.
This machine only comes with a straight stitch (no reverse), but I wouldn’t have expected more options than that at this price point. And the flywheel can be turned by hand to backstitch, so that’s not a dealbreaker either.
However, I could NOT get this thing to stop skipping stitches and tangling the upper and lower threads.
I tried many different fabrics at varying thicknesses, but eventually stitches ended up being skipped on all of them.
I looked at the manual and discovered that apparently this sewing machine isn’t intended for most fabrics, which is incredibly annoying as it’s a sewing machine. What else would one sew if not a variety of fabrics??? Seriously.
This brings me to my biggest problem with this mini sewing machine…
Who is this mini sewing machine for?
I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of an ideal audience for this product, and I’ve gotta say I’m coming up short.
Is it a good sewing machine for beginners?
No way! It’s the most frustrating-to-use sewing machine I’ve ever encountered. Sewing should be a joy, but using this machine felt like a punishment.
The constant skipped stitches, tangling, and unthreading could potentially deter new sewists from a really fun hobby, and that just makes me mad.
Is this a good sewing machine for kids?
Once again, no! I’ve taught kids how to sew in the past, and never have I ever thought they needed a smaller-than-normal size sewing machine. They’re usually a little clumsier (It’s okay…they don’t have all their fine motor skills yet) and harder on sewing machines than adults.
They’d destroy this piece of junk in ten minutes. Which is what I wanted to do.
Is it worth the money?
I get it. It’s cheap. Like really really cheap. I remember being broke and unable to afford a sewing machine. Broke me would have been tempted to give this one a try. Broke me would have ended up really disappointed.
Don’t waste your money on this (unless miserable sewing experiences are your kink, in which case by all means, go for it).
For around $20, you could find a sewing machine at the thrift store that you’d likely be happier with.
And there are other less-expensive ways to get access to a sewing machine like borrowing from a friend or relative or checking with your library system to see if they have any available for checkout or onsite use (mine does). I ended up getting my first sewing machine as a Christmas gift.
The quest continues!
Sadly, this sewing machine didn’t come close to meeting my travel sewing needs, so I must move on in my search.
Do you have a recommendation for a travel sewing machine (or one you’d like to see me review here?). Or did you have a better experience with one of these ubiquitious purple-and-white minis you’d like to share? Drop it in the comments below!
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