My new NEW Singer machine and one for you too!

Hi everyone! Guess what? I have a new sewing machine!

And it’s actually new!

So obviously it’s from Singer and it’s mine until they give me something else.

But don’t get too green with envy ok?

(Hehe, see what I did there?)

Because guess what? My machine is green and you’ll be tickled pink when you see the raspberry version I have to give away to one lucky NZ reader!

Keep reading… 🙂

So what’s this machine all about? It’s a Singer Simple 3223, an entry level mechanical sewing machine aimed at beginners and here in NZ it comes in green (ok, aqua) and raspberry.

So pretty.

Now let’s address the elephant in the room. I am not a beginner sewist. At the most you might catch me calling myself advanced intermediate. So you might be thinking, why did they give you this machine? Good question!

When I think about my current machine (it’s not a Singer, so we won’t talk about it in too much detail, you understand…) it’s not particularly fancy either. It has a lot more stitches than the Simple but really what stitches do you actually use for garment sewing? I use straight stitch, zig zag, blind hem, I insert zippers, I sew on buttons (because I hate hand sewing) and I make button holes.

That’s pretty much it.

So what can the Simple do? Well, it does straight stitch, zig zag and blind hem. It can insert zippers, sew on buttons and make button holes!

Tick, tick, tick…tick!

I’m going to give you a quick review because I’ll be sewing my next Singer Sewing project solely on this machine and then I’ll be able to give you a better idea of what it’s like to “live” with in a future post. Fluffing around on fabric scraps is fun but sewing an entire garment? That’s a real test of endurance!

The Singer Simple 3223 is a fun, retro looking mechanical sewing machine aimed at beginner sewists. It would also make an excellent backup or travel machine, it’s got a great price tag and it’s pretty colours really stand out among all the white and grey machine options.

I got to choose what colour I wanted and I really struggled. I can tell you what I think of this machine but I am afraid you’re on your own when it comes to choosing which colour!

It arrived in a colour matched box (squee!) and was very well protected, snuggled in a polystyrene inner and plastic bag. Immediately inside the box was the instruction manual and DVD, a dust cover and the electronic foot.

First impressions: It looks like a typical mechanical sewing machine but very pretty. The knobs and machine markings are colour coordinated, there is a thread cutter on the side of the machine and it has a front loading bobbin. The standard presser foot is attached (snap on) and the front sewing bed is nice and deep.

Inside the accessory compartment was a nice selection of standard accessories. There were a couple I didn’t recognise so I had to look them up! They turned out to be a fancy shaped screw driver, a darning plate (to cover the feed dogs in place of being able to lower them) and two different thread spool caps.

The full list of standard accessories is:

  • All purpose foot
  • Zipper foot
  • Buttonhole foot
  • Button sewing foot
  • Seam ripper/brush
  • Edge/quilting guide
  • Needles
  • 2x Spool holder caps
  • 3x Bobbins
  • Screwdriver
  • Darning plate

Ok, Harriet has approved the new addition, now let’s sew!

First thing I noticed was that the thread spool sits sideways and that’s what the caps are for! It might seem strange for me to point that out but this is new for me.

Secondly, I didn’t even need to glance at the manual to start filling the bobbin (in Singer red, of course!). Threading and bobbin winding threading sequence is nicely indicated on the top of the machine with arrows and numbers without being too “Fisher Price” obvious.

I did check about declutching! Unlike most machines I’ve used you don’t need to pull the handwheel to declutch, it’s automatic once you push the bobbin over against the bumper. With a full bobbin I threaded up following the markings, it’s all pretty conventional.

If you do need the instructions they are filled with lots of great diagrams and there is even a DVD if you learn better that way.

I started out sewing on some calico and went through each stitch option before trying out the 4-step buttonhole. Apart from the zig-zag stitch, you can change the stitch length but not the width. All the stitches were really neat and straight and there are 23 of them to choose from including the stretch stitches.

I posted a pic of my first sewing trial on Instagram and was immediately asked if the machine could sew denim. That sounded like a good test to me! I dug out some denim and changed to a jeans needle.

I folded the denim so I had a section each two and three layers thick (because who sews just one layer?!) and started with standard thread for straight stitch and triple straight stitch. It looked good, no complaints from the Simple so far and this denim is fairly thick, I use it for patching. Next I switched out the top thread for a heavy duty top-stitching thread and repeated the process.

Single and triple straight stitch looked great and even the decorative stitches sewed fine! The Simple didn’t sound like it was under any duress and I only had to tweak the tension a little.

I was on a role now so I switched back to standard thread and changed the needle to stretch. I found some cotton knit and tested out the zig-zag and stretch stitch options. No problems again and the fabric stayed nice and stretchy without popping any stitches.

This little machine actually really impressed me! I honestly didn’t think it would eat the denim so easily and if I am brutally honest I did not have particularly high hopes for stretch sewing…but it proved me wrong and lives up to the long standing Singer name.

Ok but it can’t be all roses right? No, it cannot. But they aren’t total deal breakers as you will see. Remember this machine sells for only a little over NZD$300 (on special until the end of May for just NZD$299) and as we’ve already seen it’s pretty capable….and also really pretty.

So, what don’t I like?

First thing I noticed: No number markings on the needle plate. It’s broken down into 1/8th lines  but they aren’t numbered. I was quite surprised when I first noticed this because seam allowance is a really important thing to keep track of as a beginner…and always. Plus I would expect a machine marketed to NZ/Aus would have both metric and imperial markings. Needle plates are removable and therefore replaceable…and that’s the subtle hint I dropped at Singer.

Has it stopped me sewing? No. I’ve started my next project already and I’m using my magnetic seam guide to keep my stitching in the right spot. Another option would be to use pretty washi tape, you can relocate it as needed and I‘d be lying if I said I’ve never done that myself on my other machine. Several times I’ve had tape markings on the plastic bed halfway between the needle plate and the upright arm!

Secondly, the bobbin door is spring loaded and opens just short of completely flat. You can’t fold it much further down because it gets hung up a piece of plastic that sticks out. It’s not a big deal but at first I found it a little awkward to put the bobbin in. This is also possibly a result of the extra deep sewing bed which is a good feature for new sewists. Hey, you can’t please everyone! I do have pretty big hands and I’m just used to a bit more room on my other machine, anyone else might not even notice 😉

That’s kind of it…so what’s next? Well I’m currently sewing a dress out of very naughty slippery fabric so that’ll be a good challenge for the Simple and then a new coat for winter…that’s a big ask right? But I think she’ll be ok…watch this space…

Now, to thank you for reading my little Singer Simple 3223 review I have the pleasure of giving away a raspberry version of this machine to one lucky NZ reader. So exciting!

To enter jump on over to the Singer NZ Simple 3223R product page to learn more about the machine, check out the description (big hint drop). While you’re there look out for the special competition code (you’ll need it to fill out the entry form – it is not the sewing machine’s model code!) then just hit the button below!

Sorry this competition is now closed.
What do you think of the new colourful Singer machines? I’d love to hear all about your current machine (or lack of…), tell me in the comments below 🙂

Good luck everyone!


I was given the Singer 3223G Simple Sewing Machine you see me using in this post to review as part of my work with Singer Sewing Company Australia New Zealand. All opinions expressed in this post are honest and my own. I freely chose to review this product because I genuinely believe it is a good product, I enjoyed using it and will continue to use it in the future. My samples were stitched on calico, denim and cotton knit using Singer Universal, Jeans and Ball Point needles, Gütermann 100% Polyester Sew All and 100% Polyester Extra Strong M782 thread.

Indie Pattern Giveaway (kind of)

The wonderful Bronwyn of Pattern Postie contacted me recently to offer a give-away for Indie pattern month.

  • Pattern Postie is based in NZ but posts to Australia and worldwide
  • She stocks all major sewing brands with 20% off Kwik Sew and Vogue every day
  • Their stock of Out-of-Print patterns is huge with up to 70% discount off RRP
  • Her site is also an excellent source for current and back issues of BurdaStyle and Ottobre
  • She currently has Simplicity on sale at half price until June 30th
  • Plus lots more so go take a look 🙂

Bronwyn was keen to offer up a Burda magazine for last months sew-along but life is busy sometimes and it didn’t work out so this month we’re going with not one, but two (!) Ottobre magazine issues…because Ottobre is kind of indie, OK, maybe not really but I have never seen one in the shops and it’s my giveaway, so my rules 😉

I will do two prize draws, one exclusively for the Kiwi readers and one for everyone else so please note in your comments if you are NZ based or international.

For the Kiwi’s – Ottobre Spring/Summer 2012 – because I don’t know about the rest of you but I need a reminder that Summer will return sometime!

Click for more preview images

And for the everyone else – Ottobre Autumn/Winter 2011

Click for more preview images

So please comment below, tell me where in the world you sew and if you are sewing along with us or if you have ever sewn from an Ottobre magazine.

This give away is open until Midnight (NZST) Sunday June 30th, I will draw the winners (possibly with help from Harri) on Monday evening.

A huge thank you to Bronwyn for her generous offer, I’m excited to see what the winners stitch up.

I’ll leave you with this super cute photo of Bronwyn teaching her daughter some sewing basics, awwww!

The rule of three: Pattern Pyramids & a Blog-o-versary (+ bonus giveaway!)

Last month I received my third Pattern Pyramid, this one all the way from Canada via Gjeometry and boy, did it take it’s time!

Posted on February 19th it didn’t finally turn up on my door step until May 2nd!

Check out Catja’s super cute (and very athletic) kitty choosing the winner. I am inspired to convince Harri into helping with my PP giveaway. Paper is one of Harri’s favourite toys right at the moment ss evidenced by the piece of paper I left alone on the couch last night which is now sporting some new tiny teeth holes!

So you all should know the drill by now, here is what is up for grabs:

I am keeping the Butterick wrap dress because I have a soft spot for wrap/reversible/infinity style clothing.

It joins these three in my pattern collection:

Here are your rules:

  • Anyone, anywhere in the world, can enter by leaving a comment on this post by midnight NZDT (UTC/GMT +12 hours) on Friday 31st May (which really means when I get up Saturday morning!) but you must have an active blog.
  • I will randomly select one winner and post them the collection of 6 patterns.
  • That person will then pick one pattern to keep for themselves, then host their own give-away. They will randomly select a winner to post the remaining patterns to.
  • And so it goes on until there is a last pattern winner…you get the idea.
  • Some people like to replace the pattern they are taking with another from their stash, this keeps the pyramid going longer, but is not compulsory. I am not adding this time around but I do have another giveaway to share below.

So comment below to be in the draw and tell me which pattern you would keep out of the selection above. Then pop over to Gjeometry’s blog, she just received one of the original Wellington Pattern Pyramids!

Now, apparently it’s that time of year again, it always sneaks up on me! It’s my Blog-o-versary, I have been blogging for 3 years, wow! 🙂

Blog-o-verary the third

So that’s a good excuse for another giveaway!

How about a BurdaStyle magazine? I should really have thought of this sooner, like mid-April, since May has been our Burda Month Sew-along but that’s OK, it’s still a good prize no?

The issue is November 2010 which you can preview here also.

Here are the highlights:

If the winner is not in NZ I’ll also throw in a bonus Kiwi treat for you to try 😉

Participating or not you can enter to win, anyone, anywhere is eligible. It would be awesome if you do win please sew something from it and share it with me later.

So, it’s easy, leave me a comment if you want the chance to win this magazine and tell me: Do you have any of these mags or none at all? Are you sewing along with us? Following in spirit? Have we maybe even convinced you to give Burda a try?

You can enter for either giveaway or both, just make it clear in your comments and answer my questions 🙂

Good luck!



Well hi there! 🙂 Just a quick reminder that I will be choosing the Pattern Pyramid winner early tomorrow morning so if you haven’t left a comment yet, please jump over now and get in the draw.

If you popped by recently to read a post and saw this:

It’s nice to be called popular, thank you FailBucket, but not nice that you hide all my photos, even from me!

You will be pleased to hear that in four days my bandwidth (which I didn’t even know existed) resets but in the mean time I have been busy moving everything somewhere else. I have re-connected the images in the most recent posts including the pattern pyramid and I’m taking steps so this doesn’t happen again. The rest of my images should pop back to normal on the 12th, phew!

So if you didn’t comment on the PP or another recent post or weren’t able to tell me which was your favourite pattern in the give-away please pop back and do.

Also, while I have your attention, please jump over to check out Hey Doll! Vintage Magazine and their awesome Issue 02. I recently discovered these guys (you know, because of my new “Oh hey, I can pull off the vintage look” obsession) with thanks to Kat.

Take a look, you might even spot someone familiar in there 😉

I haven’t done much sewing these last couple of weeks. Work is still crazy (but settling down to near normal) and I went on a short holiday to reset my brain.

I have a few things immediately in my sewing queue but last night, while quietly sifting through my fabric, I pulled out this piece and my brain immediately shouted “SHIRT DRESS!”

It is a cotton poplin in black with super sweet multi-coloured swallows all over, I just hope I bought enough.

I have included my scissors for scale, what do you guys think? Too much? Or the perfect combination of a vintage(ish) look fabric with a modern dress that I could wear to work? That’s what it looks like inside my head.

I was oggling these shoes yesterday afternoon in the shop window (in green of course) and I think they might have inspired me.

I am husband-less on Saturday, all day long, and I can feel the mojo ramping up for a full day of sewing 🙂 What have you got planned?

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It’s PATTERN PYRAMID time again! (Everyone loves getting parcels)

Wow I have received some neat parcels this week! 😉

(Apologies in advance: All these photos were taken with my phone because I have leant my usual camera to a family member)

I get most of my online purchased delivered to my work PO Box number, it’s just that bit more secure plus if I don’t have any reason to check the box the rest of the people I work with (all boys, heh!) will never check it!

This week I got three parcels! Ohh!

The first was from Robin at a little sewing, my copy of Drape Drape 2 that I won just before Christmas.

Ohh I love new sewing books. There are plenty of reviews about this book all over the internetz so I’ll just show you the two patterns that I am immediately caught my eye:

No. 3 three-piece vest with oversized pockets, page 30

no. 7 two-piece open batwing dress, page 52

Parcel number two was some AMAZING fabric that I keep seeing on different blogs and have been hunting hunting hunting for and when I finally found it I just got out my credit card and BOOM! Here it is:

Alexander Henry “Sewing is Easy” comic book print cotton

I am thinking of using this for a vintage dress but I am not sure if it will be too much, so perhaps I will add in a contrast for some elements…hmmm 🙂

And finally! The Pattern Pyramid. I finally won one of the original pyramids from Oanh at Unique Schmuck. Yay, and now it’s your turn!

Here are the Patterns Pyramid patterns:

A printed copy of the free Your Sewing Rocks 9-10 “Paperbag Ensemble Dress” & Simplicity 2339 Amazing Fit Blouse

I am keeping Simplicity Precious Pals – a Cabbage Patch Dolls rip off but my Cabbage Patch Doll (Edith) needs a new dress so I can happily display her in my sewing room…and creep out NH who thinks CP Dolls are…well, creepy! Swing Style Sensations Jackets/Coat, despite the hideous fabric, actually looks like a great simple pattern

McCall’s 8269 & Simplicity 9366 (ahh the 80s!)

A selection of Prima Patterns to choose

There are also 3 of the original Pattern Pyramid Make sew-in tapes left!

I am adding into the mix a very special Patrones magazine…well, special in that it is my last Patrones magazine for a while. I did not renew my subscription a few months ago…I am just feeling a bit overwhelmed with patterns from two magazines (plus the odd Burda that I buy and the envelope patterns) I enjoy them for the fashion but I am not fast enough to get my full monies worth so I am sticking with just Manequim for now.

Patrones 323 Spring Special

It’s a great issue:

I am sure you guys know the rules by now but just in case, a reminder:

  • Anyone, anywhere in the world, can enter by leaving a comment on this post by midnight NZDT (UTC/GMT +12 hours) on Friday 8th March (which really means when I get up Saturday morning!) but you must have an active blog.
  • I will randomly select one winner, Person A, and post them the collection of 6 patterns.
  • Person A will then pick one pattern to keep for themselves, then host their own give-away  They will randomly select a winner, post the remaining patterns to  Person B.
  • Person B will pick a pattern for themselves and promptly host their own give-away and post the remaining patterns to the winner, Person C. Person C will do the same and so on until there is a last pattern winner…you get the idea.
  • Some people like to replace the pattern they are taking with another from their stash, this keeps the pyramid going longer, but is not compulsory.

So write a comment below to be in the draw and tell me which pattern you would keep out of the selection above and why?


Pattern Pyramid Update

I’ve sort of been voluntarily offline these Christmas holidays but just a quick post to update you on my contribution to the Wellington Pattern Pyramid.

Hannah from Made with Hugs & Kisses has received my parcel and she chose McCall’s 6037 and has added two more patterns to keep the pyramid trucking along, including a cute kiddies outfit:

Made with Hugs & Kisses Pattern Pyramid!

If you missed out on one of the other Wellington Pattern Pyramids you should pop on over to Hannah’s blog post here and get yourself in the draw 🙂 Good luck!

I hope you all had an amazing Christmas xx


And the winner is…

*drum roll…

Comment number 5 – since my comments are displayed in reverse order (newest comments are first) I’ll count backwards to…

Hannah of Made with Hugs & Kisses! Hannah loved the McCall’s pattern, nice choice!

From Wellington my pattern pyramid is now off to Liverpool. I look forward to seeing where in the world it ends up next 🙂

Hannah, contact me with your address details through the contact form found here and I’ll get it off to you asap.

Thanks for all your comments everyone, it was a lot of fun to start a new pyramid, make sure you keep an eye on Hannah’s blog for your chance at the next round.

If you are sad you didn’t win why don’t you hop on over to Nikki’s blog? Her pyramid is still open and you currently have a 100% chance of winning a couple of super cute Style patterns!

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