It Isn't Sew Easy

On the lookout for a sewing machine.
Stitching on both scrapbook layouts and cards have been on trend for the last 6 months or more in the industry. It looks like a trend that will be here to stay for a while and mentally I've been ready to take on the challenege.  It's a great, home-spun and relatively quick way to spice up any layout or embellishment that you can add to your crafts.

I've seen people encorporate on the technique on several occassions and finally have decided to have a more serious approach to stitching on paper. I'm really loving the application of the technique in place of or with glue, such as holding down 3 layers olf butterflies, hearts, or other stacked items and stitched down the middle with a simple chain stitch.
In practice, I haven't yet risen to the challenge. The problem is two fold: 1) tools appropriate for the job, and 2) money.

We R Memory Keepers - Sew Easy Paper Piercer
We R Memory Keepers - Sew Easy Paper Piercer
1.  Tools

Tools for stitching on paper really started arriving on the scene last year courtesy of We R Memory Keepers Sew Easy stitch piercer heads. This is a handle tool with interchangeable heads that you can use to "pierce" the paper with a foam mat as backing. In theory, this idea was great. In practice however, the stitch head would just wear and barely pierce the paper.

My first piercer head was ruined inside the packaging with no reconcilation with the trader who sold me the product - their idea of customer service was lacking as well as their protective packaging. Not only did they accuse me of breaking it, but then they accused me of purposely breaking it to receive another - as if having 1 completely ruined before using it -  out of the inadequate mailing package it was sent in - wasn't insult enough.

Since I hadn't learned my lesson and still craved stitching on layouts, I bought my next Sew Easy in the United States. I was going away two weeks before the broken piercer arrived, so I simply purchased another one overseas for incredibly cheaper. I also caught a Black Thursday sale on and cleaned up quite a bit as each head and the tool itself was $2 ea! But this has not satisfied the hunger for stitching on paper.

Short review:
In hindsight, I would have liked to see the Sew Easy head piercers made of metal, and actually strong enough to pierce the paper instead of just wearing down the tool head before the paper was even dented.  The tools soon got bad reviews from around the internet, as you couldn't pierce anything heavier than notebook paper, if at that, and the heads would fall apart and dent too easily.

For a while I attempted to hand-stitch, but found this work often tedious.  My stitches weren't tidy, and I couldn't hide them when binding multiple layers to a card.  It really just disappointed me and made me want a proper sewing machine all the more.

Janome Sew Mini Sewing Machine
Janome Sew Mini Sewing Machine
2. Money

Money is an issue because the serious tools for sewing cost quite a bit in this country (New Zealand). Sewing machines are imported and marked up for nearly 3x what they would normally sell in the US or Europe. I've been looking at Brother Models, and attempting to get my hands on a Janome Sew Mini. Getting your hands on a Sew Mini in NZ isn't sew easy. I've been searching for around a month now and nearly going on 2.

The Janome Sew Mini seems to be the sewing machine of choice according to posts on blogs and other crafting forums.  In the US this machine would normally retail for about 70$ - this machine has yet been unfindable in New Zealand - but I wouldn't be surprised if it's over $150 or near $200.  Sewing machines in general seem to be a market for markup for shipping alone - as they are often heavy items or require extra padding to remain stationery to protect the inside machinery.

Brother LS2160 Sewing Machine
I've also checked the Brother sewing machines - the LS2160 and the BM2600.  Both seem like very good machines - but at $149 and $170 respectively I'm not sure if I'm ready for a commitment to either of these two machines.  Online reviews are really hard to gauge, especially on or other forums where opinions can be anonymous - and subject to corruption from its manufacterers attempting to sell more machines by fraudulently giving more good reviews.

Brother BM2600 Sewing Machine
Brother BM2600 Sewing Machine
Upkeep and maintenance would also be an issue, as stitching on paper requires frequent changes of needles. I'd suspect I'd go through 1 needle per 2 projects, depending on how many layers of cardstock I'd be piercing, and the type of stitch that I'm using.  The more stitches that are involved, the more I'll have to change the needle.

If you've read this far, you're either looking for a sewing machine to stitch on paper, or already have a sewing machine and are happily using it to add cute detailing to your work.

I'd like to hear from anyone who uses a sewing machine already, and what they're using.  Or, if you're planning on encorporating this type of detail to your work, what machines you've been looking at.

Nichole Parker


  1. I use an old Huskystar sewing machine, that I got for my 21st birthday 9 years ago. The main thing that might be helpful to tell you is that I've not had to change my needle much for use on paper. In fact, until a few months ago, I was still using the same needle that was in the machine when I bought it. It was a general use needle, and boy have I generally used it! I have not changed it even between sewing paper and sewing material. I just go from one to the other. I probably use the machine about once a week on average, though sometimes it comes out more often. As long as you make sure not to stitch through glue I think the same needle can be used okay.

    In the last few months the needles have been changed a couple of times. Once because I wanted to sew through alpha stickers (hence going through a bit of adhesive - so I've set aside this needle as the 'sticky' one!), and twice because I broke the needle - but this was on material projects, because I tried to sew through a pin, and a stone that was caught in a hem - ooops!

    Do you think you'd ever be tempted to make a simple sewing material project? If so a machine might be worth the investment more to you. Or could you just buy a cheap basic machine, here in the uk you can buy a machine for £25 that does a simple straight stitch, which would be good for most things. If you type in 'mini sewing machine' you should be able to find one, even with international shipping they shouldn't be astronomical (try ebay?), because they're smaller and lighter. Then you could see how much use use it over a year, and think about buying a more heavy duty one if it works out for you?

    Hope some of that helps! x

  2. I bought a very old (1960's or maybe early 1970's) electric Singer sewing machine from a shop that sells both new and used sewing machines.
    With the new computerized machines, almost no one wants those old ones that can only do one thing - sew straight or zigzag. lol! But those old "workhorses" are cheap and very sturdy. I won't be surprised if it lasts a lifetime.
    I actually bought it to hem curtains or pants, but it would be perfect for sewing on scrapbook pages. I haven't dared to go there yet, though. ;P But I will... I will.