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Toy Sewing Machines

January 27, 2007

I bought my granddaughter this toy sewing machine for Christmas. She really, really wanted this particular one because of the Bratz branding all over it, and she wanted to be like me and sew – particularly blankets for her little brother. I was sold because it was purple. (Did I ever mention purple is my favorite color?) I got it at WalMart or Target for about $40. (Click on the thumbnail for a closeup.) She was so happy to get it.

Bratz Sewing Machine

It came complete with already threaded bobbins, cheap thread, a pair of tiny toy scissors (that are completely useless made out of cheap alumninum) in a miniature sewing case, and some cute little scraps of fabric. I had absolutely no delusions that it would behave like real sewing machine sewing anything firmly, but I did expect it would somehow stitch two pieces of fabric together. Okay, so my expectations might have been a tad optimistic.

First we couldn’t get the bobbin threaded properly. It’s a drop-in bobbin and you can’t see the slots the thread has to go through in the casing. Flaw number one. Futher flaws include being made out of cheap plastic and having very lightweight breakable parts.

Finally, after much work, I managed to get the bobbin thread through the casing and the needle thread to stay in the needle and was ready to try stitching something. The sewing mechanics seem to work but the machine doesn’t feed the fabric through. It just stitches in place and jams. Over and over.

Essentially, it’s a piece of crap. I know my granddaughter will be disappointed when she comes home tomorrow to her dad’s and is told it just doesn’t work. And of course, the manufacturers make opening the box in the first place such a chore that you have to tear the box to shreds, eliminating any chance of putting returning the toy and getting your money back.

Well, dear granddaughter has a birthday in July. Here’s what I think I’ll get her – if she still shows a serious interest in sewing. I should have purchased this in the first place. It would have been only about $10 more. And likely would have worked.

Janome Mini

Marketing Schmarketing. Bratz Schmatz.

By the way, my granddaughter will be six in July. I think I was about five when I got my first toy sewing machine, and in “those days”, toys really did what they were supposed to do.

Singer Toy Machine Singer Toy Machine with Lid

This isn’t the very same machine I had, but one just like it that was so generously sent to me by Sewing Diva Gigi about a year ago. I keep it on display in my sewing room. It reminds me to strive to always keep my childlike joy and love of sewing alive.

  1. January 27, 2007 8:41 am

    Fabulous post today! Yea for toys that work! Boo-Hoo for marketing that thinks we are stupid. g

  2. March 9, 2007 10:55 am

    Your blog is on the very high level and includes a lot of very interesting information and was very useful for me.

  3. Marty permalink
    December 28, 2007 3:25 am

    I read with interest your assessment of today’s lot of toy sewing machines. My mother, or should I say Old St. Nick, delivered a Singer toy sewing machine to me in the late 1950’s or early 60’s. I still have it, with case and instruction booklet intact. I didn’t have much luck with it as a child, but I have no problem with it now……and it sews a beautiful chain stich. It is not the cheap plastic junk they put out now. I am so glad I still have it all these years later……and it is now close to 50 years old and in pristine condition. You won’t find any of those cheap plastic machines around in 50 years!

  4. December 28, 2007 7:35 am

    Marty, thank you for commenting. You are correct. The older ones were really quite nice.

  5. January 15, 2008 4:10 am

    OooO! I would be interested in your advice on a cheap entry level sewing machine! I’m scarily intimidated by my 350 lb monster that it is pathetic. AND, when I dropped the casual idea of buying myself a newer carry-able sewing machine, it was STRONGLY suggested that I learn on the one I got! But all the classes these days say ‘bring your machine’; what to do?! Maybe I should hire someone to come to my house….

  6. January 15, 2008 9:07 am

    CuriousC: What is the 350lb monster that you have? It might work, but there are newer basic sewing machines for around $100 that work. You might also look at your local American Sewing Guild chapter and see if any members are selling a used machine for cheap. I was going to get my granddaughter the Janome one for around $79. They usually have them on sale at Hancocks or Joanns from time to time.

  7. January 15, 2008 9:07 am

    Oh, and Joann’s classes use their own machines. That’s their hook. They want to sell you on a smooth running, sexy new machine. It has almost worked for me. Hee hee.

  8. January 15, 2008 11:28 am

    I have the DRESSMAKER Model 155 Super Deluxe Zig Zag Machine. a gift from my Mother-In-Law who is an incredible seamstress and she has to reload the thread and bobber every time she visits. Which is rare – we live thousands of miles apart, sadly. She prob got it at an auction for $5, who knows!

    I don’t think we have a Joanns in my area that has classes but I will put this on my 2008 goal list…

  9. January 15, 2008 11:46 am

    CuriousC: That would be a total PITA in my opinion (having to wait for MIL to rethread the machine.) 😉 Go to or and you can order online. Also, you can get a lot of good information and reviews of machines at
    Hope this helps!

  10. January 15, 2008 12:12 pm

    Thanks! You’re a doll!

  11. Mechelle Roundtree permalink
    August 21, 2008 1:43 pm

    Thanks for the advice on the Bratz sewing machine. My daughter got it last Christmas, and now wants to use it. The problem is she lost the directions to show how to thread the machine. I am going to take it back and get her a better one.

  12. Mechelle Roundtree permalink
    August 21, 2008 1:44 pm

    By the way Purple is also my favorite color……

  13. Deborah Lane permalink
    October 29, 2008 6:08 am

    Like Marty, I also received a Singer Sew Handy Model 20 for Christmas from my grandmother about 50 years ago! I never could, and still can’t, get it to sew a chain stitch. If Marty could get me some clues on how to make it function properly, I would be eternally grateful!

    P.S. I now have 4 of these little gems – a new collection!!!

  14. Becky permalink
    January 5, 2009 11:24 am

    OMG same thing just happened to me this xmas and I was on here doing some research on what kind to replace the peice of crap that broke my sons heart!!!!!!!!!! Im so glad I found this and that is the machine I will get my son. ( have to say his was not a bratz purle one it was green which just happens to be his favorite color)

  15. June 23, 2009 3:31 pm

    Thanks for this article

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