Toyota SPB15

I bought an old sewing machine last year. I really wanted to try my hand at sewing and thought I wouldn’t buy an expensive machine without knowing if it really was for me. I’ve sewed before using my moms machine, but I’ve always felt the sewing machine controlled me instead of the other way around. In school (many, many years ago) I’ve made one pillow. I didn’t like it. We couldn’t choose our own colours or our own design. It had to be Mondrianesque.
This resulted in a very wonky pillow, as I didn’t want to make it. I’d much rather tried my hand at woodworking, which the boys got to do.

So last year I bought this old machine for € 25,00. It worked perfectly, but there were only two stitches it could do. Straight and zig-zag. I couldn’t do button holes, I couldn’t do any nice stitches. And the extension table was missing. Presumably it had been missing for years, but it began to annoy me when sewing, as I had to hold the fabric up to the needle instead of resting it under my hands.

It clearly was time for a new sewing machine. But which one? There are so many different brands, so many different series. And one brand can have both bad and good series. But who can you trust? Which reviews are good? Which are bad? When the reviews told me the machine was good, people on forums said they couldn’t sew thicker pieces of fabric. When I thought a machine looked nice, people said it was too light and ‘walked’ across the table when sewing. I thought it would be best to wait for a while and see what came up.

toyota spb15

A few weeks back I wanted to go shopping (which almost never happens, as I don’t like shopping all that much) and we went to a nearby town that’s slightly larger than the one we live in. On our way back from the shops I wanted to go to a DIY store to check if they sell a certain item. While we were in there I saw the Toyota SPB15. On sale, for a little under € 65,00. Which sounded quite cheap. But, as I like to search online for reviews and pricing before buying anything, we went home without buying it.

That evening I’ve spent ages reading reviews, all of them very praiseful. I asked around on Twitter and got one reply from someone I know in real life and I know I can trust her. She, too, was praiseful about the machine. I’ve also looked at prices and the price was great. So the next day we went back to the DIY store and bought the sewing machine.

The next week I went to buy a few fabric scraps and began sewing. I’ve made a phone pouch, a few other bits and bobs and two messenger bags. Which I love!

The machine is quite easy to handle. Where I always had trouble threading the upper thread in the old machine, it’s very easy with the Toyota. Even threading the lower thread is so much more easy. With the old machine I had to get down on my knees and use a torch to see what I was doing. The Toyota has the bobbin case only inches away from the presser foot. This makes it so much easier as the light shines directly on it.

The machine is quite sturdy and doesn’t move whilst sewing. Well, only if you don’t place in on the fabric… (yes, I did that…)
The presser foot lever is in a much more reachable location in the Toyota than in the old machine. With the old machine I had to reach over the machine to get to the lever. Here I only have to get to the side of the face cover.

I’ve read one review that said the machine is quite bulky. I guess that depends on what you’re used to. I find it quite a bit smaller than my old machine. And it’s a lot lighter to carry. This is especially important for me as I don t have a place for it. I sew on the dining room table when I sew. And I put it in the attic when I’m done.

What I like about the Toyota SPB15:

  • easy to use
  • great manual
  • threading is very easy
  • lightweight
  • sturdy

What I would like the Toyota SPB15 to have:

  • Automatic threader
  • better hollow for carrying

What I mean by this? Well, I find it very hard to get the thread through the needle. I have those little helper things, but they break quite often and it’s hard to get hold of those things.
And the hollow for carrying the machine hurts my fingers. It also tips the machine a bit. This makes the foot controller fall off the machine. Which is a shame, as I now have to hold the machine with two hands when I carry it. It’s light enough to carry around in one hand, but that’s only if you hold the foot controller in the other hand. Which makes it hard to open a door.

As you can see, there’s not much wrong with this machine, as far as I’m concerned. If you want a good sewing machine that’s easy to use and doesn’t cost the world, try to get hold of the Toyota SPB15!

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