Thursday, April 19, 2012

IKEA's New Sewing Machine



I am beginning to be suspicious of that huge blessing to parenthood that is Smaland, IKEA's supervised play area. We get to drop off kids, ostensibly so we can collapse in the IKEA restaurant with their free (if you are part of their Friends program) hot beverage diffusing into our arms through IV drips, our iphones (or android versions thereof) clattering uselessly to the floor from fingers so limp that only rigor mortis could revive them.


Suddenly childless, and clutching the notebook I'd brought with me so I could sit at a pastry-laden table to just write and make happy lists and have uninterrupted thoughts, I went shopping instead. I don't need stuff, I tell you. I don't know what it is about IKEA - it must be the only store on the planet which I leave with 100 things I don't need but suddenly can't do without. And that's not counting the cardboard boxes. Those Scandinavian designers with their beautiful aesthetic and clean lines and clever colors! Serviettes! How many times have I bought serviettes (OK, paper napkins, you US folks) just because they looked like fat quarters?


Anyway, let's get the confessional show-and-tell over and done with. I bought fabric. There.


I don't need fabric, curse it. Especially not floral print cotton fabric. But this was such happy fabric. And that yellow bias-print gingham was laminated cotton. For $8 a (wide) yard. Only.

And then it got worse when I wandered into the kitchen section. Out of nowhere, I imagined myself hosting dinner parties and bought glassware. In my defence, look:
I could drink a lot of tea or hot-chocolate-with-Baileys in those. Couldn't you?


And then there are all those debut products that IKEA promotes with cunning tags that shout NEW! Like their NEW! Sewing Machine. Did you know IKEA stocked sewing machines? Even the staff didn't. When I asked the fabric-cutting lady how the little storage compartment opened, she didn't know and I had to experiment and then show her. And when I checked it out, another staff member dragged her colleague over to peer in my cart and effuse about it. Claimed it was the cutest thing ever and they didn't even know they had it. Was it some new marketing ploy, to make customers feel like they'd just bought treasures, I wondered - but no, they sounded genuinely surprised and amazed.


As a habit, I never buy sewing machines that I haven't personally tried out. Sometimes I even go back several times to do repeat assessments before deciding if I like one. Which supports my theory that there is something about IKEA that makes people blissfully stock up. Don't misunderstand my whining, friends - I love IKEA. It's just that I have no self-control in their stores. Maybe it's their huge carts, or their charming Swedish names for everything, or how there are always little wooden pencils around to make lists with, or the thrill of taking home their products in lovely, large, plain cardboard boxes. Whatever the case, I bought this little sewing machine today, just like that. No amazon reviews, no recommendations from pinterest, no scrap fabric to test stitches on the (unplugged) display model, no sales pitch, nothing. The girls have needed their own machine for a while and although I wasn't in a hurry to get one, this one seemed as good as any. Took it home to do the test run. Want the review?




First, it's cute. It's smaller and lighter than a typical adult machine. It has a decent-sized foot pedal and a carrying handle.


It has all these stitches - more than what I have on my own Pfaff. There is no separate stitch-width adjuster: the first three stitch positions (ABC) are a sliding variation of the straight stitch, just as the second three positions (DEF) are a sliding variation of the zigzag stitch.




There's the upper tension dial,


the backstitch lever,


the thread holder, which tips back to hold a spool, and tucks back into a little indentation when empty,



the bobbin winder


and the lamp.


It came with these accessories (that clavicle-looking metal thing at the bottom is a screwdriver, apparently)


which tuck (but not very securely; better to have them in a mini zippy so they don't explode out whenever you have to change the bobbin) into the storage compartment, that slides out


to access the bobbin (not drop in). The entire housing of the bobbin case can be removed for cleaning and lubrication. And the bobbin case fits all the different bobbins we have in the house, except my Pfaff ones.


There's also the thread cutter, which is one of Emily's favorite features of my sewing machine.


The manual is lovely. Even I can understand it.


(updated to add: I can't believe how many people emailed me for my English manual. So many that I had to return to this post to add in this note. I'm sorry but I will not scan and email you my English manual. Or photocopy it. Or post it to you. Or sell it. Or give it away. Nor do I know where you could get a copy of it in English. Maybe you should write to Ikea and ask. Maybe they'd start selling their English copy online. Or maybe it already is on sale online.)

(updated even later to add: So some readers actually contacted IKEA for their English manual. They don't sell it a la carte. And believe it or not, one reader actually got referred back to this blog post by the IKEA staff for user instructions. Yes, IKEA referred someone back to ikatbag for how to use their own sewing machine. Talk about going in circles.)

(updated July 2013: A reader sent me this link to a pdf version of the manual in three languages. The link is also in the comments below).


So how did it perform? Let's lower that presser foot and find out.



Quilting cotton

Home dec

Knit


Stretch terry


Chiffon

Oilcloth

Vinyl

Neoprene

 and eight layers of canvas.

All with the same needle. Yes, I'm a hard taskmaster. 

One last test - push the back lever to release the foot


and clip on the buttonhole foot


to make a 4-step buttonhole. 


My verdict:
  • I bought this for the girls. It was pitched (by IKEA) as a "good machine for beginners", never as a "child's" machine. As far as a suitable-sized non-toy machine goes, this is definitely a good one for kids. Updated to add: I've seen this post pinned and linked all over the place (thank you), often accompanied by the comment "Good for beginners" (or similar). Um.... please note that I didn't say that- only IKEA's tag did. Might help to read what I said in the comments about this.
  • The stitches were good.
  • The buttonhole was not great. The spacing between the two lines of stitching was too wide. But then, this is not a Pfaff or Bernina or whatever. And a wide buttonhole is easier for kids to cut open without ripping the stitches.
  • It doesn't have a needle position-adjuster. The needle shifts to the left or right according to the kind of stitch it is making. You can't, for instance, affix the zipper foot (two-sided, incidentally) and sew lines of stitching closer or farther from the foot as you like. In other words, sewing piping might result in visible stitching lines. But how likely are kids to sew piping? 
  • It sewed neoprene. Without a teflon/roller foot, or 3M magic tape. True, it was only one layer of 3mm neoprene, but still- neoprene.
  • It doesn't have a walking foot. I'd forgotten how sewing without a walking foot felt like, since my Pfaff has its walking foot engaged 99% of the time when I sew. This machine sews knits, but it would be better with a walking foot. But then, any machine would be better with a walking foot.
  • There is no slow/fast speed adjuster lever on the foot pedal. However, we (i.e. 5-year-old Jenna) managed to go real slow when she wanted to.
  • I doubt if the feed dogs can be lowered. 
  • I love the snap-on feet and the release lever.
  • I do not love the horizontally-expectorant storage compartment. But it was great once we contained the contents within a small ziploc bag.
  • It is very easy to thread.
  • It does not purr the way my Pfaff purrs. But it sounds exactly like I expected it to sound - like any typical sewing machine. 
  • It came in a plain cardboard box. 
  • It was only $59.99. Did I forget to mention that?


The girls were very pleased. They gave it a bit of a workout today - Emily sewed up the edge of a small quilt she'd been working on, and made arm warmers for Bearaby, Jenna made a camisole for Bearaby, and Kate sewed straight lines on scrap fabric. 

I did not sew anything today. But I have a swim robe/dress tutorial for you coming up! 




P.S. IKEA did not pay me to write this review. Nor did they give me a free machine to write about. Pity.

118 comments:

  1. That looks like a great little machine! It made for very happy little girls, I'll bet!

    Methinks it's a good thing there's no IKEA closer to me than you are. ;)

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  2. Very cool, thanks! Might have to run in and grab one tomorrow.

    Incidentally, is the marketplace back yet? Went there to buy lamps and sheets and the whole downstairs was gone!

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    1. Yes it is. Or, rather, I didn't know it ever disappeared.

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  3. How cool is that?! An Ikea sewing machine? I think I want one! :)

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  4. Such a cute sewing machine!! Good buy (^_^)

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  5. This is the neatest thing lately! and thank you so very much for the detail review. I live sooo close to IKEA and think I will get one just as a backup, I would have serious withdrawal if I could not sew!! Coco

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  6. What a great review! I'm going to check now if they store it in Ikea Dublin...
    And I love the introduction of this post about the whole store, I think you're not the only one experiencing all that!

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    1. I can confirm they have them in Dublin!

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  7. Beautiful review...........if I had an IKEA close by .........would have bought one. I am a real Ikea fan....we do not have one in India. I love sewing and the only imported sewing machine we get here, is one model of Janome, which does all of which I read in your review and I paid 3 times the price of the Ikea sewing machine !

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  8. So wish we had Ikea in New Zealand, one of these would be perfect for my girl.

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  9. Sounds better than my Brother, which cost about $90. . .

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  10. If you can't drop the feeddogs... you can just cover them with a thin layer of cardboard and masking tape....

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  11. That's a very cheap machine. Here in Belgium, Europe, we have to pay 79€ (= 103.38$) and in The Netherlands, about 30 minutes drive from our home,79.95€ (= 104.62$). That's weird!!!

    I like Ikea a lot, but I don't like all these different prices.

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    1. $69.00 in Canada!

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    2. Not weird per say, you forget the 19% tax added in to the price in Germany. Taxes are different everywhere.

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    3. Prices are lower in the US because the sales taxes are much lower than in Europe.

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  12. Thank you so much for this review!
    Some friends of mine would learn sewing and we were wondering if IKEA's sewing machine would be ok for them.
    I guess it is.
    Thanks again.

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  13. I've seen this in my local IKEA and wondered if it was any good. Might be worth recommending for be friends who are beginners.

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  14. I linked this article on my little blog. If you don't like this just tell me, I'll delete the post.

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  15. How cool!!! Emma would love this, but I think she'll have to settle for the sewing machine I replaced at Christmas. Not quite as cute, and probably similar quality (minus the thread cutter).

    Love that it is IKEA blue and yellow. And I'm very impressed it sewed through eight layers of canvas!

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  16. Hm, this machine sounds really good. My daughter has a Sew Mini (janome) but this actually looks better (and is cheaper). The only thing I would be worried about is speed and the finger under needle-part (the Sew Mini has a different foot in order to avoid minor mishaps like a broken needle stuck through the index finger).

    Good thing the next IKEA is not right around the corner from here, I might save expenses on kindergarden - just drop the kid off at Smaland and go shopping for the money instead! Well, I guess we would need a larger flat then for all the suddenly needed stuff, so I won't. Too bad ;)

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  17. IKEA is the method that will be used for the Scandinavians to conquer the world! I don't use paper napkins, but who can resist those colorful squares of "serviettes"! It is a blessing that the closest IKEA to me is a 4 hour drive away. However, my husband has taken me there twice as mini vacation/weekend getaways! I lead SUCH an exciting life : )

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    1. IKEA is a great place for dates! Shopping, food and babysitting. Plus pretty room displays so you can point and say, "Hey! Let's throw out the old tartan sofa and buy that one! Now! Before we even sit down to lunch!" Can't beat that!

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  18. Hey all, I'm commenting here in response to the questions about whether this would be a good machine for a beginner. I'm of the camp that believes that if one is serious about sewing, one should invest right from the start in as good a machine as one can afford. If possible, I'd go to a dealer (not amazon/Walmart/Costco) and try out different ones with that beginner, and ask questions and put it through the various fabric tests like I did in this review. My rationale is this - people improve a lot faster than they think they will, and with all these sewing blogs and books and trends, they'll want to eventually work with fabrics and projects that are beyond just the quilting cotton rectangles-sewn-into-pillowcases/tote bags sort (which even toy machines can handle). If they were stuck with a no-frills machine when they actually need a quilting or embroidery machine (i.e has more stitches than just straight and zigzag), they'll have to quickly trade it in anyway to get one that better matches their skill level then.

    I reviewed this IKEA machine for my children's needs. I bought it because it was small and did everything that I imagined the girls would need to take them into their teen years. For under-10 seamstresses, it's very decent. I also think it's a lovely machine for a backup machine, or for a person who already knows how to sew, but doesn't do it much now, and just wants a portable contingency machine around the house for repairing hems, or whipping up blankets or whatever. For e true beginner who's not a child (e.g. a 25-year old learning to sew for the first time), I don't know that I would even consider a small "beginner's" machine like this. ANY small beginner's machine. If I could afford it, I'd buy a regular size machine, even gently used. Same goes for, say, a 15 -year old. I'd be thinking about the years down the road when, as adults, they'd be sewing and improving and needing a regular machine (preferably with a walking foot, because they're so wonderful, integrated!)

    So to answer your unasked question: Yes, I will definitely be buying (or helping them save up on their own for) a regular sized machine when they're older and bigger. If they're still interested in sewing, I mean. I did not buy them that regular-sized machine now (or anything more expensive, but equally small, with 1000 features) because this is not going to be their eventual machine.

    Bottomline - for $60, it's a good non-toy, non-regular-size FIRST machine for a child.

    Hope this perspective is helpful!

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    1. Forgot to elaborate: I'd pick a dealer over amazon any day because
      1 They give dealer's warranties and will be physically present to replace parts etc without the hassle of shipping.
      2 They offer free classes to use said machine.
      3 They often offer trade-up arrangements. For instance, when I bought my Pfaff 6 years ago, there was the possibility of trading it in within the year (I think) for a better model if I found it insufficient for my needs. I'd just pay the difference.
      4 You get to compare all the different machines and ask questions about them before buying, and watch the expert demonstrate what they can do.

      I realize that this might not be possible for people who don't live near dealers. So IF POSSIBLE. I also know of many people who just order machines from online stores and they're fine with it. And then there are people like me, who go shopping for household items in a furnishing store and spot a sewing machine, and throw it in the cart along with glassware and serving platters :)

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  19. I saw it last time I was there, and if I had been alone (my husband does not see what's great about a sewing machine when I already have one), it would be home with me now ! I have to go back... are they done with the remodeling, then ?

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    1. I imagine so, Cecile. I mean, when I was there yesterday, I didn't even know they had remodeled. I mean, the marketplace looked exactly like it used to be.

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  20. Pesky IKEA. I don't need another sewing machine. Not even for my 6 year old son who wants to learn (in case any future inventions he invents need fabric stuff in them). The four I accidentally already have will do us fine, but they make me want it anyway!

    (The most dangerous time in my life was as a newly-wed with not quite enough furniture and we lived a 20 minute drive from an IKEA. These days I have to make do with making lists and sending my husband on his way home from work as there is now one 10 minutes from his office, but an hour from home).

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  21. Hi - I think you've already discovered one downside, it is difficult to control the speed of the foot pedal. I've heard of sewers building a box for the foot pedal to sit in (cardboard anyone? ) that blocks the foot pedal from being pressed all the way down.

    This machine reminds me a lot of my 3/4 Janome Hello Kitty machine. The bobbin case with the swinging holders looks identical, as does the sewing foot. You've got more stitch options though and a great price.

    I totally agree with you about not getting a toy machine for the girls. Most of them are chain stitch with no bobbin, that gets annoying fast! I love having a lighter, smaller extra machine around. I took the needle out so the kids could pretend to sew with it (without direct supervision) while I use my full size machine.

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  22. OH, does this mean the Minneapolis IKEA is done being renovated? I tried going in early March to look at their fabrics and the Marketplace area was greatly reduced. Just some plates and rugs and stuff. That gingham print is TOO CUTE!

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  23. Thank you for the review, I will definitely be heading out to Ikea very soon and hopefully I can pick one out!
    Thanks!!!!
    :)

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  24. I buy napkins every time I go to Ikea! Then I see stuff like this napkin wall from Land of Nod (http://blog.landofnod.com/honest-to-nod/2012/02/try-this-napkin-wall.html) and am inspired to go back to buy even more. Hello, I'm an Ikea napkin hoarder and I need HELP!

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  25. WOW. Who knew. I will taking a trip next week.

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  26. omg. I must have this. but that means going on a Saturday. egads!!!

    ok, and can we talk about how you nailed my sentiments about ikea, right on the head? because I was dying, dying I tell you at your apt description of how they get you, every, stinking, time.

    too funny.

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  27. omg. I must have this. but that means going on a Saturday. egads!!!

    ok, and can we talk about how you nailed my sentiments about ikea, right on the head? because I was dying, dying I tell you at your apt description of how they get you, every, stinking, time.

    too funny.

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  28. IKEA last had a sewing machine on stock some years ago, back when I only thought about starting to sew. I couldn't decide whether it was a good enough machine to not ruin the beginner's fun and having a perfectionist tailor as a father stopped me from buying one.

    BUT: after they sold off these machines it took a couple of years for SY - the machine you reviewed - to come on the market. It's far more cute than the former model. Here in Europe it costs much more as one of the other commenters already mentioned (79 Euro). And I also wondered if it was any good. So thanks a lot for your review. I won't be buying it in spite of it because by now I already got a rather nice beginner's machine, picked by my dear father himself ;-)

    All the best from sunny Munich * Germany
    Doris

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  29. I'm glad I'm not the only one with an Ikea addiction. My husband and I suffer the same malady.
    We're actually building another piece of Ikea furniture this weekend -- bookcase for oldest daughter's room. Last weekend we built her Ikea desk and our new Ikea backyard awning. : )

    E has been asking for a sewing machine but the kid machines look so (sew) cheap I can't bring myself to buy her one -- maybe this would be a good start....will think about it for Christmas.

    Thanks for the heads up about oil cloth (laminated cotton) at Ikea -- I need some to make a drop cloth for the girls' painting easel!

    Love those flowery mugs too!
    xoxo
    MaryLea
    (pink and green mama)

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  30. Enjoyed this information, Lissa. You are awesome!

    Did you know anyone can order it online?

    http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60208974/

    Blessings!
    Donna

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  31. Hi LiEr,

    thank you so much for this detailed review! Since you're an IKEA fan AND a cardboard fan I immediately had to think of you when I stumbled upon this: http://www.ikeahackers.net/2012/04/smile-youre-on-knappa-camera.html

    An IKEA cardboard CAMERA!

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    1. EEEEEEK! I pinned it! I want it!

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  32. I've got absolutely no reason to make the tip up to Ikea fora sewing machine. None. But now you've got me wanting one....

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  33. That bias gingham fabric is amazing!
    and that little sewing machine is amazing too. So very very neat. Thanks for the thorough review!

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  34. Loved your review. My first visit to your site and I will be back often. Loved it.
    Can you tell me if the sewing machine has a power adapter built into the power cord at the wall plug end? I live in Australia but frequently visit the States and really miss sewing while I'm there. I can buy a machine at Ikea here but need to know if the voltage transformer is on the power cord. 240 volts here, 110 there. No machines available at the ikea there and not available for shipping. Thanks.

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  35. Loved my first visit to your site.
    Can you tell me if there is a voltage adapter built into the power plug. I travel a lot and would love to have the portability of a machine such as this. I miss sewing while I'm away and I think this littler machine could be perfect. Thanks so much.
    Kay, Sydney, Australia

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    1. No, there isn't a voltage adapter, unfortunately.

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  36. I'm curious as to why there are water droplets on the machine in your photographs?

    Cool machine and I hope to see at an Ikea near me soon.

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    1. I'm surprised no one asked me that earlier! No big secret -it started to drizzle soon after I'd put the sewing machine out on our deck for its photoshoot. So here's another great feature about it- it's water-resistant!!!!

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  37. Oh my goodness, until I read your post it hadn't occurred to me that now that my 3yo was potty-trained I could drop the kids off at the Ikea play area! I am seeing some "field trips" in my future...

    Thanks for the review. That machine is so adorable. My daughter is only 6 and hasn't expressed any interest in learning on my machine yet (she likes hand-sewing) but when the time comes, I will be checking this one out.

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  38. I am with you about IKEA, I went to "look" and as my husband says "it is the last 800 feet that always kill me!" My last "look" trip I bought a new cube shelf for fabric. Anyway, Hubbie bought me BabyLock machines in March and when we were in IKEA last time we saw this machine (I should say our IKEA said they were behind in production and were not sewing any at this time) but hubbie was like "You mean I could have bought you a machine for $60.00 instead?" Ummmm, no!

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  39. Thanks for all the great info. Very helpful. I just received the Sy sewing machine as a gift and the friend brought it ot me directly from Sweden.( I live in EU). However the manual of course in only in Swedish and I have been looking all over the internet for where I can download an English version. Any ideas? Thanks

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    1. Hi! Any luck with obtaining the English instructions? I'm also looking and quite desperate already.

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  40. Thank you so much for reviewing this! I just moved to Sweden and saw that IKEA has a machine...I'm so glad you showed us all the capabilities and what to expect from a $60 machine. This might just be my temporary machine until I can get my dream one, since my good ol' 90s Kenmore got a bit banged up in the move.

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  41. i am just about to buy an ikea sewing machine so i am looking for good reviews. yours is the best one! thank you so much. i am not a pro nor a beginner--- i think this machine will just suit my needs. thanks again.

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  42. I bought this machine a couple of months ago to use at my studio (I'm a painter and am using some stitching in my work and was tired of schlepping my machine around). I was so excited about this freakin' adorable little machine. I didn't expect it to be great, and it's not. The bobbin is super hard to get in and out and I actually accidentally took the whole bobbin assembly apart the first time because I couldn't get the bobbin out according to the instructions... Anyhoo - I used it for a while just fine (not without some frustration), but today it seems to have met its maker. The top thread keeps breaking (or coming loose). I did all the troubleshooting things it said in the manual, but it still won't work. I wasn't doing anything fancy - just sewing straight lines on paper. So (sadly) I'm going to take it back tomorrow. :-(

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    1. Thanks for the feedback, Deanna! Our machine is still going strong, thankfully. We haven't worked it hard (yet) though, so it is hard to tell whether it will stand the test of time. I sure hope it does!

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    2. Do you know, I bought it too, and my boyfriend and I struggled and struggled with the bobbin because the thread wouldn't pull up when it was all assembled. We finally discovered that some of the bobbins were simply too big for the housing!! It came with 5 or 6 bobbins, and at least two of them cannot be used AT ALL, but will make you crazy until you figure it out. So something to watch out for - if the bobbin won't go in and out easily, don't use it. I actually broke one in half trying to get it out of the housing.

      Another similar thing that happened to me - the top thread was looping around like crazy, and I finally discovered that the tension was on '1' instead of '4'. I don't know how it happened since I had already made an entire purse and didn't change anything, but something else to check. (I am a complete beginner.....and the instructions to my machine are in Swedish too!)

      I do really like it a lot, and since the dealer recommended a $600 machine to me, I'm happy to use this one for a year or so until I decide if I'm really willing to make such an investment. :)

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  43. Thanks for your detailed and thorough review of this 'do-it-all' starter machine. We looked for on in Orlando Ikea and they have sold out (or in true American fashion " oversold" ....!! Thanks from a man looking for a small inexpensive machine to do little (easy) jobs.

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  44. Wow. I was looking for info on teaching kids to sew, and I found your blog. Thanks for this article on the Ikea machine. I bought a toy machine for my granddaughter, and I think a "real" machine would be better but she's too little to reach a foot pedal. Can you please share how you resolve this issue? Thanks.

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    1. Marshmallow Jane: I put the sewing machine on a little kids' table, or a coffee table.

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  45. Thank you for writing such a detailed review. I was at my local IKEA yesterday and noticed they are now selling a seeing machine and was contemplating purchasing one. I have not gotten it yet, but the price can't be beat for what you're getting. Thanks again :)

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  46. Thanks for the detailed review, still a bit undecided about getting the IKEA machine or a 'proper' one...
    When I went to inquire about it today in my local IKEA in Dublin/Ireland, the staff also didn't know they had it and eventually I was told it was sold out.
    Well, obviously, it's popular!
    To be honest I never had a sewing machine before, so I wouldn't know much about them, but I always enjoyed sowing on other people's machines. A recent project where I made costumes for kids (with other people's machines) really made me think that now finally it would be probably a good time to get my own. I definitely want a fuss free sewing machine with not too many stiches (which I wouldn't use anyway) or functions for any kind of sowing that incurs in a busy household with children. I usually do 'easy' sowing, never tried a button hole or a zip ... There are loads of reviews on machines, which can be a bit confusing and I know you recommend to visit a dealer to try out different models, but with young children I just simply feel I won't really have the time for this.
    Would there be an easy fuss free model you could recommend trying out, just in case I should decide against the IKEA machine and actually make it to a sewing shop?
    Thanks again from Dublin!
    Astrid ;oD

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    1. Hi Astrid! Thank you for your comment - I'll try and reply here and hopefully you'll be back to read it. My sewing machine (Pfaff 1525) has even fewer stitches than this IKEA machine. I only ever use the straight and zig-zag stitches anyway, and I've done a lot of sewing over the years. I'm with you on going to a dealer with little kids: I did it and it wasn't real easy BUT our Pfaff dealer had a big box of toys (smart) and blocks that entertained the kid with me at the time and allowed me to try out machines happily. Unfortunately I don't have a model to recommend to you, other than my own Pfaff, which is lovely and 100% fuss-free and performs amazingly. Most machines will do all the things you mentioned you'd need (eventually): zippers, buttonholes etc. I personally would NOT buy the IKEA machine for an adult as their only/first machine because it is so small. I'd rather buy a full-size machine.

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    2. Thanks for your reply and the good advice! Will try out a few full-size machines before finally making up my mind! Thanks ; )

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  47. so, have you made any projects on this? Are you liking it after a few months? Has it held up well?

    I just picked one up a few days ago and still need to give it a real test. I have done each stitch on a scrap, but not made any projects yet with it. Trying to decide if I should keep it or not.

    I'd love to see pictures of any items you may have sewn with the Sy.

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    1. Speattle: I don't sew with this machine. I use my own full-size one. But the girls occasionally use it - they don't sew often. It's still holding up well as far as we know. Emily made a quilt (3rd photo) with it, and Jenna made bear clothes and a bear bag (last photo) with it. Photos here:
      http://www.ikatbag.com/2012/05/10-sewing-things-i-want-to-teach-my.html

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  48. I've been wanting a machine I can drag with me and this is it! I saw it in their catalog, googled "ikea sewing machine review" and found yours! I'm going to IKEA tonight to buy one!! SEW...thank you!

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  49. I just bought this sewing machine at Ikea Oslo (Norway). but the instructions are in Norwegian only (as well as other scandinavian languages). I am looking for the user's manual in English. Do you know where I could find it. thank you.

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  50. I love Ikea, but fortunately space out my visits so that I don't get into too much trouble.
    My honey and I went yesterday to check out some of the furniture and I spotted this sewing machine. I've contemplated getting a sewing machine recently, but with no space for a real deal one, I thought this would be perfect to use for simple projects. I haven't taken it out of the box yet, but I'm glad to have found your review because I am excited to give it a try. I'm not a complete beginner, but I thought this would be perfect to relearn my basic skills and take on a fee projects.

    P.S. I am loving those glasses you bought. Good think I didn't see those because I would have walked out with those. :)

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  51. omg 60 dollars!!!!! i'm buying one for backup immediately.

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    1. sewoeno: at last check (yesterday, when we were in the store), the price was $70. It went up by $10!!!!

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  52. Thank you so much for posting this review. It helped me make my decision. I am buying one asap. I am not a child, but definitely a beginner, and I needed to know whether this was a good machine (even for beginners) or not.

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  53. I am not a child either, but a beginner without ambitions ;) Just looking for a cheap and simple machine to sew some pillowcases etc. Small size is perfect, as it will be stored in the cupboard most of the time. Thanks for your review, will be going to IKEA soon to check it out!

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  54. I just picked this up at IKEA. I haven't cracked open the box yet but thanks to your review it helped me make my purchase decision. I have never touched a sewing machine in my life so this fits me just fine for now. :)

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  55. Thanks for the review
    My Daughter is getting a new apartment 19 hours away from home. She will need a slipcover for her couch and I was considering bringing my small (old) elna. After reading your review and seeing the multi layers of canvas I am convinced this will do the job.

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  56. Wow, what a fantastic review! Thank you so much for all of the details. I just returned home from purchasing this sewing machine and feel like I made a great investment. My old machine, has been giving me fits and since I'm just usually working on craft and easy projects, this will do fine for me. I have to go now. Need to get it out of the box and try it out (LOL)

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  57. So here I am... a total beginner (adult), who had never even touched a sewing machine before. I basically wanted a basic and cheap machine to be able to experiment a little, and finish some home decoration projects. I looked at some of the cheaper Singer models, but they did not seem right. Based on this review, I bought the Sy yesterday and I must say I am impressed. Simple, small and sturdy, with a clear instruction manual. After some trials, I was already able to finish 2 small projects! If sewing becomes a new hobby of mine, I will purchase a proper machine but for now the Sy is all I need, and I am very happy with it. Thanks for your review!

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    1. My sentiments exactly. I too purchased the Sy a few weeks ago and have enjoyed finally fixing some holes in a few things, and hemming curtains. The last time I sewed was junior high school and I was horrid. I was surprised I remembered the basics and think this little machine will serve me well. If I get serious about sewing (which I doubt) I'll look for something else. I found some sewing classes at a local store but a bit embarrassed to bring this machine with me *ha* I'm sure the others in the class (and instruction) will gasp and snicker. I'm fine now with simple projects and there are tons of tutorials online.

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  58. Okay, does ANYONE know if I can use some sort of rolled hem foot on this machine? I'm figuring since so many people are buying this as a back-up machine, maybe someone has a foot they can try on this machine? I would love to get one, but I have no idea how to tell if they will work or not. Thanks so much!!

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  59. I let my niece use the Sy the other day. She is 9 years old and this was her first machine sewing experience. She made a lovely little tote bag from Lazy Girl Blog. (The quick bag for little gifts bag)

    I played around the machine for a while and was very impressed with how well it sews around curves.

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  60. Thank you very much for this super detailed review! :)

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  61. My dad bought me one for my birthday (may have asked one to many times) but now it feels really good. He wanted me to have a Viking or something like that. I started sew 2months ago so. And he did want to pay for the viking anyway. Sorry kind of lost track here. Just wanted to say thanks for a great rewive (sorry if my spelling sucks, I'm swedish after all) and as all swedish people I LOVE IKEA (may have gone overboard but still it's a great store). Now I really have to get back to my croecheting or I will never get finished :).

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  62. Hi. I just bought one IKEA sewing machine, and I managed to bend the needle already by sewing. How can it change?

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    1. The manual does have a page on changing the needle. There is a screw-like knob on the right side which you turn as you pull out the needle. This seems to be the same for most all machines.

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  63. I'm a beginner (read, "what's a walking foot"???) and thinking about buying this machine for a beginner's sewing class that requires we bring in our own machine. Thanks for this review, now I'm pretty certain this is the route I need to go!

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  64. I found myself walking out of IKEA last Sunday with a sewing machine as well, and will be breaking it in tomorrow. Thanks VERY much for your tip on putting the to-be-stored items in a baggie first - all I need it the cat running off with the screwdriver...!

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  65. Thanks so much for this review - i am trying to purchase one from Ikea in Adelaide Australia - we seem to be the last people in the world to get items in the catalogue - the staff have no idea when they will be in - but i will keep on at them as i can't wait to get hold of it now!

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  66. I blogged about the cushion covers shown over at Ikea's Livet Hemma site and put a link to this review of the sewing machine. Great post.

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  67. this has been so useful. I think your original review was brilliant and the subsequent comments told me all I need to know. thank you so much.

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  68. thank you for this review, it has been really useful indeed... i bought it just the other day. i am a TOTAL beginner, but an enthustastic one. yes, it is true about no English manual. i bought in austria (i come from slovenia and i had to be satisfied with the croation version:(

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  69. Hi - quick question: I read this in another blog, "Another thing I noted about the straight stitches is that they are set. The machine doesn’t have the option of stitch width or stitch length, which for some people may be a little frustrating. Sewing gathers for example , even with the biggest straight stitch C and adjusting the tension to 1 still didn’t give enough to be able to pull the gathers through. It is do able but I found it a little annoying."
    Is it true that you cannot sew gathers on this machine? This is a make-or-break issue for me.

    Thanks much for your answer!

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    1. Anonymous: Two things:

      1 This is not a machine I would recommend as a first or only machine for an adult, even a beginner adult. It's a great child's machine and a nice second/backup machine to have around. See earlier comments for elaboration. I don't mean this to assume you want it as a sole adult machine - I just say this disclaimer as a rule whenever I respond to comments.

      2 I don't know what you (or the other reviewer) meant by "sewing gathers". I always sew my gathers manually - i.e. I use the long basting stitch length, even tension and then pull the threads manually to the width I want. Much better control of before-to-after fabric ratio by hand. The ikea machine does this perfectly (I plugged it in last night to try it out). Its longest stitch length on the C setting is about 4mm. The fabric gathers beautifully by hand, on both regular upper tension and loosest upper tension (although in the latter case, the thread tends to slip out of the stitches more easily than the the fabric can gather because the tension is so loose).

      If you (or the reviewer) is referring to the differential tension method of making gathers, which bears no consideration to the before-after fabric width ratio, then I'm sorry I don't know, because I don't play with the tension on my sewing machines for this as a habit. I did try this differential tension method once on my regular Pfaff machine to make gathers, because I saw it done on someone's blog, and the results were so unpretty and irregular compared to the manual method that I never did it again, and have no inclination to try.

      Hope this is helpful.

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  70. do you get this in INDIA PLEASE IF sO I will buy atonce .So cute
    yamuna

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  71. I've recently started a small sewing business making aprons, bunting, bags etc and bought the IKEA machine in Southampton, England, for £45! Bargain! It's a really solid machine, and if my business takes off I'll probably end up buying a more complex machine, but i needed to see if I'd enjoy sewing without wasting money on outlay.
    The very helpful member of staff said it was a robust machine, not a child's machine, and that all the soft furnishings in store were made by the professionals using this machine.
    So I bought one, and am very impressed with it :)

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    1. They told you the soft furnishing at IKEA were made on tiny, cheap domestic machines? That's hilarious.

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  72. Thank you so much for the detailed review. My present sewing machine is over 40 years old and very HEAVY and is a pain to carry or lift onto a table for small jobs. The IKEA model might just be what I need. Your review was very thorough and I think because of that it elicited some other usful comments. I have made up my mind to get one but before I get to the furnishing section I will have to pass by all those things that I also would like but definitely do not need.

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  73. The ENGLISH manual for Ikea SY sewing machine is available online here: http://www.raqueldeville.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/sy-machine-a-coudre__SY_machine.pdf

    This is an 81-page PDF manual that includes ENGLISH, FRENCH, and SPANISH instruction manual for the Ikea SY sewing machine.

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    1. Ahm Seventysix: Thank you!

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    2. That link doesn't work for me, but fortunately the pdf is also available at http://www.ikea.com/fr/fr/safety_data_sheet/sy-machine-a-coudre__SY_machine.pdf

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  74. As a sewing machine engineer of 20 years, I'd say that this was a machine for someone who sews something light once a year, or just to have around as a backup. It's about tolerances y'see, and this will have its timing knocked out before you show it some curtain header or a pair of jeans. Don't misunderstand, I think it's a bargain for that occasional sewer, but don't expect any longevity from it.

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  75. I've been pondering a sewing for years. I miss my past sewing machine and didn't realize how much I used one until I didn't have one to use. I've had machines in my shopping cart more than once, only to slip them back onto an unsuspecting shelf before I check out. I don't need a fancy machine, as I only sew out of necessity. I saw these machines online and was also surprised. BECAUSE OF YOUR REVIEW and only because of your review, I am going to purchase one. IKEA certainly needs to REWARD YOU for your review/blog .... a nice little (fat) IKEA gift card would be a nice gesture. Maybe I will look into that :) Thank you for the clear, crisp, macro photos and your witty conversational skills. It was easy reading and well worth the time to actually commit to reading the entire review (most would have lost me before I could click up the next page!) Best Regards .....

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  76. I am to get a sewing machine and a friend recommended that but my worry is that whatever am making is 6 mm thick n don't know if it can handle it do tell me if it can and love this post really answered most of my questions

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  77. Hi, this is very interesting read, your blog and all the comments. I'm a die hard vintage machine person. The newest machine I would go for would be a 70s or 80s mechanical all metal sewing machine. So this little Ikea machine is definitely not me. It is cute and really suits the bedroom settings of any kids, and looks cool too since it really sews, albeit not as a full sized sewing machine. I would of course recommend the Hello Kitty version more than the Ikea one as it was tested as very good sewer. You did a great review. Thank you so much. :)

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  78. why not post the manual..?

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    1. I think for copyright reasons, she doesn't want to give copies of the English manual. She could have explained it though.

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  79. Hello dear, I was searching since yesterday as I have a problem with this machine. Actually I brought it 2weeks earlier I opened it yesterday for the first time to work with it but it doesn't work for a second. The needle goes down but then it doesn't bounce back. If u could help me in this regard, i'll be verrry thankful to u.

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  80. Before reading your review I emailed a 13 year current IKEA employee/ good friend of mine and his response to my question "do you like it ? " was simply." Well, it does get returned an awful lot.. And then I read your review. I don't have a child to buy this for .I was going to pick it up to make small cotton and burlap bags for my handmade jewelry. For simple straight non intense seeing needs , im thinking itll be just fine . First off, think ill make a simple slip cover for it !! Thanks for the insite . PS I've never sewn before . So I'm a beginner. :-)

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  81. I recently received this as a gift for Christmas. I was very excited because I've never sewn anything and I have wanted to start for some time now. I hadn't put much thought into buying a machine for myself because they can be very expensive. Now, I understand that you said this is a machine better suited for children and not specifically for beginners... well I'm trying it out as an adult beginner. So far so good. I made a throw pillow case and it came out great. I'm still getting use to the feel of it all. However, I recently came across an awesome tutorial, teaching you how to make a maxi skirt. However, one of the steps involves installing an invisible zipper. I read in your review that you are unable to install a zipper foot to this machine. If not, is it possible to include an invisible zipper on my skirt? Do you have any suggestions if not? Thanks for your help and your review. It was very informative and useful.

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    1. Briana - yes, you can install the zipper foot. In that paragraph, I meant that you can't install the zipper foot AND adjust the needle position to be farther or closer to the foot. Some machines can do that, and it is very useful for sewing piping with a zipper foot, which is the way many people sew piping without a specialized piping foot. So yes, you should be able to install an invisible zipper with the zipper foot that the Ikea machine comes with.

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  82. Hello, do you know which brand of bobbins are compatible with the machine?

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  83. Thank you for the review. My 7 year old has been asking me for a machine and this one will sure fit the bill.

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  84. HELLO, HOW DO YOU TURN ON THE LIGHT ON THIS MACHINE? X

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    1. turn on the machine. its automatic. the switch is near where the cords attach on the right.

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    2. Mine doesn't turn on either. Did you have to change the bulb or return it?

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  85. Hello from Ireland! Thanks for the review of the Ikea sewing machine. I'm looking for a new one but will probably get a Singer or some other brand. Hope your girls are still enjoying the machine!

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  86. Hello from Australia! Just wondering how the machine is holding up a couple of years down the track? I'm looking at getting one of these for my 6 year old for Christmas this year...

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  87. I accompanied my friend on her trip to Ikea (Wembley) to pick up some storage boxes last week and ended up coming home with this sewing machine!! I also purchased some fabric to make cushions, and was anxious after I'd bought it realising I'd nt read any reviews about it. This was the first one I read and makes me feel better about my purchase. I am looking forward to using it. I used to sew back in Sydney where I grew up and my mum had a Juki industrial machine which are the only type of machines I've used and am used to. I'm not sure how I will fare with these smaller machines. Very excited!
    Someone else had asked whether you can get a rolled hem foot for this? Does anyone have one or know where to get them? Does any attachment fit?

    Thank you for a great review!

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  88. http://www.ikea.com/us/en/manuals/sy-sewing-machine__AA-562846-3_pub.pdf

    IKEA has the manual online now.

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  89. P.S. Sorry, I didn't see it was in several parts. All are linked from the SY page: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60208974/

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