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My mum bought this machine for me about 2 years ago, mainly because she was sick of me borrowing hers all the time. It seems that once you become a full time Mum you need other pastimes to make you feel worthwhile, pastimes apart from being a Mother of course! And my 'thing' was sewing, I have made all sorts for my kids over the last few years, and these include comfort blankets, pram blankets, play mats, bed coverlets, pillowcases, clothes, and most recently two patchwork quilts which I am very proud of! I have also made some cushion covers and arm protectors for our settees. All the above items were produced using this machine so I think it has done quite a good job!
Brother LS-2125 is actually quite a basic model (as far as I can tell, I'm not that clued up on sewing machines if I'm perfectly honest and would class myself as a beginner when it comes to sewing). Here is a quote from the Brother website - "The LS2125 is perfect for basic alterations and repairs. With a traditional metal chassis you can put your trust in this easy to use sewing machine that is built around the values that you know and expect from a Brother Sewing machine".
The functions it performs are as follows:
14 automatic stitches
4 step buttonhole
Free arm conversion
Front loading bobbin
Automatic bobbin winder
Forward and reverse sewing
Twin needle sewing
Clip on presser feet
I found setting up the machine really quite simple, everything is clearly labelled in the instructions (once you find the correct language!), and diagrams are simply laid out so it is very easy to set up for winding your bobbin, and then of course threading the needle. Once you get the hang of it, it's a very quick and easy process. There are also simple diagrams on the top of the machine to remind you should you forget where to put your thread.
**A Stitch In Time**
The 14 different stitches are various zig zag stitches and standard straight ones which are either very small stitches, or larger depending on which option you select , and there are 3 wacky stitches which I think are for when you use 'twin-needle' sewing (not something I have tried) - you select the stitch you want by turning the large circular knob on the front of the machine. You can also adjust the 'closeness' of the stitch by turning a very much smaller dial (more like a screw head) to shorten or lengthen the stitch. For example if you were doing a zig zag stitch but wanted the zig zags really close together you would turn this dial towards the minus sign and you would get a very much bunched up zig zag rather than one that was spread apart.
When I first started using the machine I was quite shocked at how noisy it was, especially with it being a brand new machine. I was used to my Mum's noisy old thing so I thought a new one would be silent and smooth running. A noisy one was not what I expected but never mind, it was performing it's functions quite well so I was prepared to let the noise pass, although I always have to wait until my children are complete asleep before I start using it on a night for fear of keeping them awake! If I push the pedal right down to the floor I sometimes wonder if the machine is going to shake itself off the table.
At first some of the stitches didn't seem to be working quite as well as I'd hoped, it seemed to be dropping a stitch every now and then, but I'm presuming this was just teething problems because I have not had any problems like that since the first couple of uses, so perhaps it was just warming up.
I'll be honest and say I haven't used every function on this machine, I have never replaced a zip or sewn a button hole, but these type of things are beyond me. However, I have extensively used the machine for other reasons and I have found it to be trustworthy and it can also take a lot of hammer! The reason I say this is because I am not one of these people who will half press the pedal down and take it steady with each thing I sew, I tend to shove the material under the foot and press the pedal to the floor (not unlike my driving skills...) and the material will shoot through the machine and come out the other side sewn just as I wanted it. Admittedly, sometimes I am more careful, especially with more intricate items, but when you are sewing together lots of small patchwork pieces, one after the other, speed is the thing you need!
It copes a lot better with material which is 100% cotton, this stuff sews beautifully through the machine, but more lightweight material such as polycotton can sometimes get snagged, and often will bunch up (probably due to my high speed sewing techniques). But I have found that the material that gets bunched up can easily be flattened out again once you have removed it from the machine. The 100% cotton more or less glides under the foot and you hardly need to touch the material as it goes through, whereas lesser material needs directing and a close eye.
The patchwork quilts that I have put together using this machine have been made up of a combination of 100% cotton and other 'lesser' materials and although you are not really meant to use different materials together in a project like this, my machine coped quite well with it, and the quilts ended up not too bad (if I'm honest I think they look awesome, but a professional quilter would not agree).
There were a few occurrences of material being stretched as it went through the machine, but I think that was more my fault, and the material's fault rather than the machine. I also used a wadding in the middle of the quilt, and then 'quilted' the quilts (i.e. I used the machine to sew the layers of the quilt together) so the machine was actually sewing through two layers of material and a layer of wadding, and it coped brilliantly. I was a bit dubious about subjecting my machine to such tough tests so I was pleasantly surprised when it all worked out okay.
So as you can tell, I've put my machine through quite a lot and the fact that it is still working is quite a marvel, my Mum was actually quite horrified by what I was producing using this machine, she would never treat hers the way I have treated mine; but if it copes with it then why not?? She couldn't believe the size of the quilts (a bit larger than a single bed size) I had produced, and they were all done on the machine.
Something I have noticed recently is that sometimes I don't seem to be able to regulate the speed of the sewing machine, it's either at a standstill or it is going at 100mph, and no matter how gently I put my foot on the pedal it only has one speed. This doesn't happen all the time, but it has occurred on a number of occasions during the last few times I have used the machine.
I am actually going to try and get it serviced in the very near future because I have noticed that the tension on the stitches is not quite right anymore, and no matter which way I turn the tension dial (located on the front of the machine) it doesn't alter the state of the stitches. I have never had it serviced before so it's probably due for a clean up anyway.
I wasn't sure where to include this additional information within the main review so I've just decided to add it on at the end.
There is a forward and reverse button located on the front of the machine to the right hand side. This is more like a lever which you press down to get the stitches to go backwards. I usually use this as I finish each section of sewing, just so I don't have to tie it off each time. I'm not sure if this was the intended use of the 'forward/reverse' function but this is what I use it for.
There is a light which shines on the sewing area and you have this on or off. I usually have it on when I am sewing, just to give a clearer view of the area I am working on.
The plug and pedal come on quite a short lead, the pedal only just rests nicely on the floor from the height of my table, and I think my table is quite a standard height, so if you have a high table, then you might want to check this. Also you need to be able to sew near a plug because the lead from the plug is also not that long. I have found it also gets tangled up quite easily, but that's probably my fault for not storing it correctly.
There is a deep recess at the top on the back of the machine which is the carry handle, and this makes it very easy to move the machine about.
Extras included with the machine include a little screw driver, spare bobbins, spare needles, a twin needles, a spare foot and a zipper foot, and a couple of other things which I aren't quite sure about! These all come in a little white pouch which can be stored in a little compartment in front of the bobbin compartment.
I have been really pleased with this machine, and for someone like me who is still learning, and picking up new skills along the way, it's perfect because it's not too expensive if you happen to break it, or decide that you don't need to use it as often as you thought. It's great for practising on because it is so simple to use, but it is also great for simple projects that a more experienced person may undertake. I think since I have had this machine at my finger tips my sewing skills and techniques have definitely improved and I feel more confident about what I am able to produce. But I may have to upgrade if I carry on making patchwork quilts because I'm not quite sure how much more of that it can take.
You can get this from TJHughes for £79.99 which is the cheapest I can find.