Sewing with the Kids

It’s Friday afternoon. Two of my little neighbors braved the monsoon outside to come stitch for a couple of hours. They made themselves right at home! Notice where Sadie is?

This is my normal set-up with 2 kids per table. It’s easier for them to share and help one another if they are sitting on the same side of the table. I prefer no more than 3 machines per table due to all the cords, sewing supplies and class materials on the table.

Tell me more about the machines in the photo.

The machines you see pictured are an Elnita EC30 and a Baby Lock Jubilant. Ideally, I’d have two of the same machine for classes. The Elnita EC30 is very kid-friendly and offers good value for the money at just under $300. It also sews very well on all kinds of fabrics. There are enough stitches to cover most any sewing need. The start/stop button and speed control slider are a bonus. It’s a good, basic all-purpose sewing machine at a decent price point. Be sure to budget some extra $$ to spend on any additional presser feet that you might need (1/4″ foot, open toe foot, walking foot, darning foot, etc.). Wide extension tables are not available from Elna (Janome) for this particular model, so you’ll need to order it from Sew Steady or Tailor Made Tables.

Now about that Baby Lock Jubilant. Great selection of stitches, bright lighting, sews well and feels good in your hands. It’s slightly larger and quieter than the Elnita. The one thing it lacks is a straight stitch needle plate. Just saying – a sewing machine at the $500-$600 price point ought to have a straight stitch needle plate available for it – the competition does! As with the Elnita, you’ll need to add some additional presser feet, depending on the type of sewing you do. An extension table IS available from Baby Lock for this particular machine. Baby Lock products are only available through their dealer network. FYI – Brother makes the Jubilant to Baby Lock’s specs. That said, many Brother accessories (available on Amazon) will work on the Jubilant and can be had a cheaper price. Keep this in mind when shopping for presser feet.

Which one would I purchase a as a second classroom machine, for a beginning sewist or as a machine to take to sewing classes/retreats/travel? The Elnita EC30. I would also add some LED lights under the harp to brighten up the rather dim work space.

Which one would I purchase for myself as an everyday machine or for a highly motivated teen sewist?
The Baby Lock Jubilant. It’s well worth the extra $200.00. For quilters – the new dynamic walking foot from Brother/Baby Lock is SO quiet. The quilt binding foot from Baby Lock is wonderful with back-to-front binding sewn by machine. Finally – this machine has the long, wavy stitch we like and the stitch is FULLY adjustable. The stitch length doesn’t stop at 2.5 like some other machines do.

I’ll keep using both machines described in this post, adding the Elna Star Edition and my big fancy machine as necessary. No need to buy more machines right now.