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Singer Chainstitch Sewing Machine Review

As an avid paper crafter that also enjoys sewing and quilting, I was hoping to combine the two and start sewing on my cards and scrapbook pages.  But being the cautious person that I am, I didn’t want to risk ruining my sewing machine parts or settings with the paper crafting supplies.  I purchased this mini Singer sewing machine (the Singer Chainstitch Battery Operated Sewing Machine) a few months back to use solely on these paper projects.

Things started out well, with the instructions being easy to follow and the machine packed pre-threaded and ready to sew – it is marketed to young kids after all.  But unfortunately things went downhill from there.  I tested the machine on a single sheet of lightweight cardstock and more than half of the stitches “skipped”.

This was about the time I realized that a “chainstitch” (using just one spool of thread) is going to much different than a standard sewing machine with a bobbin and a spool.  Because not only does that chainstitch need to be continuous to be effective, you have to tie off the end or the whole thing will pull apart – just like crochet.
After this I tried two layers of cardstock to see if a bit of thickness would help.  Just looking at the top, I thought that it had helped, but scroll down to see the reverse where all of the stitches have been skipped.

Then I did three layers just for fun and the machine stopped half way across my test.

Starting to get discouraged, I went back to the test fabric that was included with the machine (blue) and also pulled out a piece of pink felt.  Surprisingly the machine worked perfect on both of these materials!

So at this point I’m guessing there is something about the texture of paper that the machine doesn’t like.  For my final test I used a piece of ribbon on top of some cardstock and got some improved results.

To sum it all up, the machine is perfect for a little one that wants to learn how to sew fabric.  The machine is easy to use and very safe (covered needle and all).  But this is absolutely not the machine for paper crafts or other serious sewing needs because of the nature of a chainstitch.  I’m not quite ready to give up yet, so I’ll keep testing on ribbon.  And if nothing else I’ll save it for my daughter in a few years.

Pros:

  • Easy to use right out of the box
  • Works well on fabric and a single layer of felt

Cons:

  • Does not work on non-fabric materials
  • Chainstitch can ravel
  • Cost of 2 size C batteries is almost as much as the machine
Any one have any advice for someone wanting to sew without using their main sewing machine?  Let me know if you have tested other “mini” machines.

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Cassandra has been scrapbooking and stamping for more than 15 years. Paper is her passion, and she says that she grew up wanting to own a stationery shop. She describes herself as "crafty" and enjoys projects ranging from card making and photography to quilting and crafts for kids. She was previously in corporate marketing but now spends her days at home with her young daughter. You can read more about Cassandra's adventures in crafting at the fresh crafts blog.
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11 Responses to Singer Chainstitch Sewing Machine Review

  1. Avatar
    Annette June 30, 2011 at 8:16 am #

    I just use my regular sewing machine..never tried anything else.

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    Toucan Scraps June 30, 2011 at 9:58 am #

    I tests a hand held machine once when I was a student – it ended up in the bin.

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    IamSusie June 30, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    I think every new sewer will make the mistake of buying one of these chain stitch machines, I know I did back in college from as As Seen On Tv comercial. They never work right. Singer makes great REAL sewing machines! I hope people find your review before they decide to purchase one of these.

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    Amanda R June 30, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    I have a full size machine but hated hauling it out for my cards all the time and bought a singer mini machine. It was awful and I returned it immediately. Bought the Janome Sew mini that I saw a lot of cardmakers have and LOVE it!

  5. Avatar
    Jan Castle June 30, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

    Great review…because I was thinking about getting one! Thanks for saving me some $’s….will look into the Janome Sew Mini recommended by Amanda!
    Jan

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    amandalarae June 30, 2011 at 9:59 pm #

    If you check out http://www.aboverubiesstudio.com she shows the handheld sewing machine she has been using and says it works great. It is under the June 10th fresh look friday video. I believe it is a handheld singer sew quick?

  7. Avatar
    c.darwin June 30, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

    Great advice on the Janome Sew Mini. We actually have a positive Craft Critique review on the machine here: http://www.craftcritique.com/2007/12/paper-crafting-with-janome-sew-mini.html

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    Anonymous July 5, 2011 at 6:33 am #

    I agree with you, but I’ll say it a little more bluntly – this little machine is a piece of junk. Don’t waste your time or money. I had to return mine. I have several sewing machines, but for cards and scrapbooks, I use the Janome Mini without any problems. If I need something a little “fancier”, I’ll use one of the big boys.

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    Scott February 15, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

    The word you are like looking for is friction.
    Cloth when punctured closes around the needle causing friction whereas paper or card stock when punctured creates a wide open hole.

    You could try something like rubber contact cement on the paper to test this out.
    Rub some contact cement on a sheet of paper or card stock and let it dry.
    Then place it cement down and see if the chain stitch works.

    Missed stitches in a chain stitch as you have experienced is likely due to the thread not remaining in the hole. As a result, the mechanism that holds the loop when the needle retracts misses the loop. That subsequently prevents the needle from passing through it’s previous loop creating the stitch.

    My suggestion is based on the fact that contact cement will remain pliable and provide the friction that chain stitching needs in order to work.

    Scott

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    Heidi June 18, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

    My niece was given one of these second hand. Any idea where to find instructions? She’s 6 so it is safer than an adult machine whatever problems it has.

    I use my normal machine for paper but keep separate needles. Paper won’t hurt the machine but it’s fairly brutal on needles.

    • Avatar
      C.darwin June 19, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

      I tried to search for the instruction manual online and on the Singer website without any luck. Unfortunately I have since donated my machine with the instructions and bought the Janome Sew Mini instead.