Has anyone had any experience with the White mightymender? It is a small machine that I am thinking of getting for my daughter. Just wondered if if works well. I know it only does straight stitch which is fine for her. Thanks for anyones opinon. Karla
I do not think you will get many users of a teeny tiny very basic straight stitch machine here (unless you talk to the quilters, in which case you'll find out they often use the older Singer Featherweight or the newer Brother PQ1500S, neither of which are inexpensive). Do read this before you shop: http://www.taunton.com/threads/pages/t00130.asp
1) How old is your daughter? (my kids did well on both of my machines starting at age 5, the sewing classes offered after school use mechanical Pfaff 1520)
2) What does she expect to use the machine for?
If she wants to sew clothes, then you would need a minimum of a zig-zag (then at least she could kind of sew buttonholes). If she wants to hem denim jeans, then you are going to have to make sure that the sewing machine has the power to go through several layers of denim (take fabric to the store and check it out). Also the small machines do not have much room for fabric on the right side of the needle (like quilting down the middle of a moderate sized quilt).
Before you commit to a small machine, evaluate how the machine will be used. Take samples of fabric to a sewing machine dealer and try them out. Make sure that the primary user is the one who does the test sewing -- have your daughter be in the decision process. Read this: http://www.skepsis.com/~tfarrell/textiles/sewing/buying.html#buy_other
Also, you will get a much better value if you get a good used sewing machine.
My daughter is 6 years old. We tried on my machine, but she was unable to control the fabric as it went to fast and I don't have any speed control on my machine. I thought this small machine would be slower and easier to manipulate. I sew a lot and I would like her to be able to do some of her own things.
No, you may be wasting your money on a cheap machine. Even if it were small, she would still need to learn to control the fabric. Again I defer to the Sewing FAQ: http://www.skepsis.com/~tfarrell/textiles/sewing/buying.html#toy_machine
It takes time to try to learn control. What my kids started out on was paper with lines drawn on it with no thread (through the sewing classes). The paper is just stiff enough to move with your hands. The first pieces of paper have straight lines, and then the second ones have curvy lines. It takes practice. You can also make it interesting by having her make patterns with a double needle or a winged needle (I just picked up some card stock for my son to make cards on the computer, that would be a good material for a child to start learning how to control a machine with).
My newer computerized sewing machine (a Brother PC-2800, I got it for the buttonholes and eyelets) does have a speed control. I can set it to a very slow speed, which can be okay. I did this when my daughter was 7 years old (though both kids decided they liked some of the fancy stitches of the mechanical better). Which brings up another idea, the various satin stitch patterns are also somewhat slow and easier to control, along with being fun (their favorite pattern happens to resemble a Christmas tree).
ALSO... when my mechanical machine's foot control needed repair (broken power wire) I was lent a substitute. The one they lent to me had a switch that allowed the user to set the speed. It could be set to slow down the stitch speed. I was tempted to get one, except it was over $100.
You could also restrict the speed of the sewing machine by putting a wedge in the foot control to keep it from being fully pushed down.
Kids to grow very fast. They do learn how to control the fabric and the stitches. It takes a while though. I recently made some very funky slippers disappear. Though this past Halloween they did make matching outfits for their Beany Babies for a Pet/Stuffed Animal Costume Parade and they are now 8 and 12 years old (much of the stitching they did by hand).
Thanks, I went to the website you gave; it was very informative! I think I'll pass on the toy machine and get my husband to make a wedge for the foot pedal on my machine. I got a new one for birthday/Christmas--a memorycraft 9000, so my daughter can use my old mechanical one! She'll just have to grow into it; I'll save the $50 and use it on fabric!
Why not check out used machines. I have a Singer Athena 2001. I have had it for 20 plus years. A very nice machine. Compared with todays machines not extremely fancy but it has a little more than the basics and it has two speed settings. Let the little one grow into it. I am sure there are other machines that would fit the same purpose. It originally sold for over a thousand dollars but I am sure today you could probably get one for around 100 dollars. Good luck.
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