Impulse Buys - Hot or Not
This past weekend I attended the Road to California Quilt Show. I really love going to quilting events. It's so much fun to see a wide selection of quilts across multiple styles, and you know I love the vendor halls! Walking through a show with your friends makes it so easy to get caught up in the excitement of a product. If you're anything like me, you've more than once impulse bought a big ticket item you weren't originally planning on picking up. In my experience, some of these items are amazing and I love them and share about them, and some sit in the back of my closet and are kinda a huge waste of money. I thought I'd share some of my big impulse buys, and whether they were winners or big flops. Maybe my experience can help you make a choice about an item you've been on the fence about!
I originally bought this machine over the phone, sight unseen after a few of my Instagram friends purchased it. It was a classroom model from the 2013 Quilt Con, so the price considerably lower. My machine actually had a faulty mother board and died after the first year, but I loved sewing on it so much I replaced it with the same machine. I pretty much paid full price all told. The lesson I learned: Buy your machine from a local dealer who can service it regularly and who offers a warranty that covers those kinds of faults. I think I got a lemon to start, but my replacement machine has been perfect, and I sewed on it every single day for 4 years.
VERDICT: A+++ Investment, No regrets. This machine really changed my sewing life. It can be so frustrating to sew on a small machine - even basic things like maintaining a 1/4" seam allowance is so much harder. This machine has excellent lighting, perfect tension, storage, and SO MANY STITCHES. I really loved sewing on it, and as a first upgrade to a big machine, it's such an excellent choice.
Price Tag: $90-120
I first saw this iron when my friend Nichole bought it. She absolutely loved it and kept raving about it. When I went to the Sister's Outdoor Quilt Show I had the chance to use it for demos, and liked it, so I brought one home. The iron is cordless and charges on a base station. It has a point on each side, so it doesn't matter which way you press with. As a bonus, the base stand has this plastic cover that clips on with a handle, so it's easy to pack up and travel with this little guy. It's also lightweight which is easier on my wrists.
VERDICT: A little bit of a waste of money, but not like throwing it straight in the trash. I don't feel like it was a mistake, but I'm also not in love. I like the portability of this iron, and the lack of cord makes it really convenient if I need to move my pressing station. I really dislike how quickly it auto-offs and takes a while to heat up. I ended up buying a new iron to replace this one, but this is definitely one I'll keep for any travel classes or sew-days.
Price Tag: $130-190 (light) + $45 (base stand)
One day I walked into my machine dealer (Pal's Sew Vac) and I saw this light. It was SO bright and I wanted it. He only had a floor model (with a base stand) which sounded good to me, as did taking it home right then, so I bought it. Also, since I was buying a floor model I got a great price too. I've used it every single day since then, and highly recommend it. Even though the 8900 has fantastic lighting on its own, this slimline light really made piecing easier because I could see everything more clearly. Now that I've changed machines and I'm sewing with the 1600p, this light is a real lifesaver, especially since the light on my new machine is darker and more yellow.
VERDICT: BEST BUY. I've never regretted spending the money on this light. It's perfect for right in front of my sewing machine, helps me see everything I'm stitching, and it's super flexible, so I can move the light to other surfaces I'm working on quickly and easily. This light was my gateway light for Daylight Company products. I loved it so much I started working with them to share their other products as well.
Price Tag: $250
When I brought my machine in for servicing to Pals, I saw this suitcase. My heart pitter-pattered, it's just so pretty. It says JANOME on the side, it has zippers and it's a suitcase. Obviously I needed it in my life. I had restraint, I walked away. Then my restraint totally went down the drain and I came back within a month and bought it.
VERDICT: Why OH WHY did I even spend this money. Seriously, this suitcase sits in the back of my closet, and it's HUGE. Sure when I first got it I said I would take it to so many Sew Days. In actuality I hate leaving my house, and I maybe went to 3. I did use it when I moved from one house to another, but other than that, it's not like I leave my machine in storage. For this price you'd be better off just saving the box your machine came in and transporting it that way. Plus, it's just a giant empty suitcase, there's not a lot of protective layers in there to keep your baby safe. Every time I see this I shake my head at past me and the impulse shopping, but if you think that stops me....
Price Tag: $65
I'd been using the 8900 for a while with regular spools when one day I walked into Pals again (are you sensing a theme yet) and I saw this cone holder. I decided I needed it. After all, it was a fancy attachment for my machine that I hadn't already shelled out some money on.
VERDICT: This was a super practical great purchase. If you're sewing a ton, you're going to go through lots of thread, and buying cones is a great investment over small spools. While you could probably buy a cheaper stand alone cone holder, the convenience of one that connects directly to the machine and stays out of your way while you're working was totally worth the extra money to me. Thankfully the 1600p (my new machine) has this feature already built on to the machine, so this cone attachment stayed with the 8900 when it went to live with my Sister-in-Law!
Price Tag: $70-130
The remote thread cutter is the smaller pedal on the right of this giant foot pedal. It comes connected to the black metal base and the standard foot pedal attaches to that. The entire point is being able to hit a pedal to cut your threads, which can be super convenient during a marathon piecing session when you want to keep your hands free.
VERDICT: Love it, but could leave it (if I had to). Most of the higher end Janome machines have a thread cutter button on the machine already - including the 8900. It's not hard to train yourself to push that button, but I won't lie, I did like having the option of a foot pedal. This attachment is actually standard on the newer machines (like the Janome 9400), but if you have an older model and you've been thinking about it, I'd say it's worth the money. Plus, it's compatible with any Janome model that allows a remote thread cutter (including the 1600p), so this is one I kept with me.
Portable Pressing Station
Price Tag: $30
This Cushioned Quilter's Square 'n Blocker was something that was highly recommended by Anita Grossman Solomon for a class she was teaching. I know $30 isn't a big ticket item to splurge on, but as someone who already had both an ironing board AND a pressing station, it was an extravagance.
Verdict: Great purchase! This blocker has a hard base enclosed, so it's easy to move around. If the burns are any indicator, I clearly use this a lot and I obviously forgot that not every iron is an Oliso. All that to say I feel like this is a great addition to every sewing room, especially since it's affordable. There's nothing more helpful than having a pressing station right where you're sewing.
Does it count as an impulse buy if I've heard a lot of great things about this product and have been thinking about getting one for a while? This totally stemmed from my dislike of the Panasonic Cordless 360 as my main iron. I'd been thinking about replacing it, and my friend Jen sent me lots of encouraging texts about how great the Reliable iron was. Then at Road to California Susan and Lisa started raving about it too. It's still too early to give a final verdict on this, but now that I've gone through pretty much every big brand of iron I think I'll share more about my iron experiences another day. That should also give me time to use this one more and see how it holds up!
I'm curious to know about everyone's favorite impulse buy that ended up being a contributor to your sewing space. I'm always keeping an eye out for fun new toys. :)