I haven't sewn in 20 years, and was only a beginner then. I decided to try sewing again as a hobby. The reviews on this machine were pretty good overall and the price was reasonable so I invested. As a beginner, I needed to rely heavily on the instructions for basic set up and they were a mess. They were not easy to understand. ~There is a one sheet "quick set up" that has pictures of how to set up the bobbin on one side and how to thread the machine on the other. From the pictures alone (as there is no explanation) I was unable to figure it out. The manual explained the steps, however it skipped one of the vital steps that was included in the picture. Winding the bobbin and threading the machine were a combination of reading, looking at pictures, and then plain trial and error. Now that I've done it a few times, however, it is very easy. ~ The maching offers many stitches, however little in the way of explaining what they are or how to use them. There are 25 stitches on the dial 1-13 on the outer part of the circle and 14-25 written in underneath them. How do you use stitches 14-25? I haven't figured it out yet. ~ For making 1 step buttonholes, the manual says to use the F setting for stitch length and stitch pattern 1, as well as changing to the buttonhole foot. I have done all of that, but still no buttonholes. I have read and re-read the manual, used trial and error, and even had the experienced sewers I work with trouble shoot for me, but no luck. The machine makes one pass and then the needle just moves up and down. Perhaps there is something more I need to be doing? ~ The manual is written in English and Spanish, but instead of doing a full manual in one language followed by the other, each step is written in English and then Spanish directly below. This format makes the directions difficult to follow. ~The troubleshooting section is not much help and there does not seem to be any other avenue for resources as to using this machine. I will have to find a retailer nearby and perhaps one of the employees will know how to use it. Overall, I am frustrated with the difficulties in figuring out this machine, but when I do get things figured out, the machine works well. the light is bright, it has a foot pedal, the needle is easy to thread (I did not use the threader)and I have not been having the bobbin and lower thread tension issues others have mentioned. I rated this a 4 as the machine itself seems to work great and has many features. If you are a true beginner that will need to rely on the instructions to work the machine and plan on doing more than just a basic straight stitch, I would maybe look around more. Otherwise, if you are comfortable finding your way around a machine, this truly seems like an excellent machine, especially for the money.
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