While reviewing the Michley LSS-505 Lil’ Sew & Sew back at HQ, we did a little survey: how many of us first learned to sew on a “toy” machine, and how many learned it on a relative’s more advanced, heavy duty machine?
The results came back half-half, and the conclusion was clear: both sides wished they’d had something more in-between.
If you’re looking for that kind of alternative, whether for yourself as a beginner or any young children in your life, the Michley LS-505 Lil’ Sew & Sew sewing machine could be the choice for you.
It’s an easy and comprehensible machine that doesn’t promise the moon, but will guide you along as you master the basics.
Let’s take a closer look…
Michley LSS-505 Lil’ Sew & Sew: The Details
The Michley LSS-505 is a compact machine, which — considering its target audience — we definitely like: it doesn’t take up much space, stores easily and, at 5.4 lbs, isn’t a hassle to transport.
Each button, lever or eyelet comes with a small explanatory diagram — a nice touch for a machine aimed at beginners.
It’s a classic design in a classic color (white) that makes the diagrams easily readable and the buttons easy to locate.
We particularly liked the smooth lines both outside and inside the arm, making it hard for little hands to bruise themselves.
- Weight: 5.4 lbs
- Dimensions: 10.8 x 4.8 x 10.2 inches
- Stitches: 8 build-in stitches (5 zig-zag, 3 straight)
- Speed: There’s two speed options, ‘fast’ and ‘slow’.
- Computerized/Mechanic: Mechanic
- Bobbin: A simple drop-in bobbin system
- Warranty: One year warranty
The Michley Lil’ Sew & Sew comes with all the basics any beginning sewer (or an experienced one looking to mend a basic garment) could need. Doesn’t look like much, but this handful will suffice without overwhelming.
We’re talking about:
- Two thread spools
- Two metal bobbins
- One needle
- A needle threader
- A foot pedal
- An AC adaptor
Michley: The Company
Michley Electronics, Inc. is not a heavyweight in the world of sewing machines, and you’d be forgiven for not having heard of them before. But of course, not everyone needs to be a heavyweight in order to play a good game.
Michley was established in California in 2005, and is in fact a collection of several brand names such as MiTraveler, Tivax, and (as with this machine) Lil’ Sew & Sew. They produce a wide range of sewing machines, from small portable ones to larger desktop machines.
Michley offers quick and friendly customer support before and after purchase. This, their tagline goes, is to make your life “just a little easier.”
All in all: a good-sized company that hasn’t been around forever, but has already produced several lines of well-performing sewing machines.
Michley Lil’ Sew & Sew comes with a one year warranty, which doesn’t sound like much in comparison to some of the heavy-duty machines in the higher-price range, but considering its low retail value, this isn’t too surprising.
On the up side, within this first year Michley does cover material defects as well as any repairs that might need additional labor.
Keep in mind, though: if you return a product that is found not to be defective, there’ll be a $25 handling charge.
For more information on Michley’s warranty agreement, see here.
The Michley LSS-505 comes with eight built-in stitches: five zigzags, and three straight stitches, each measuring at a different width.
For a learning sewer this is just the right amount of variety: enough to get the hang of skills such as hemming, patching quilts, even elastic insertion.
Also a good basic selection for more experienced sewers looking for something easily set up for a quick mending job or for simple stitching.
A handy little feature you don’t often see in beginner machines!
This option is another element that will make this machine a learning tool for some and a good portable go-to for others.
The reverse-stitch buttons allows you to sew back over a stitch to reinforce it, which is often needed either at the beginning or end of a stitch.
2 Speed Settings
Another great thing about the Michley Lil’ Sew & Sew machine is that is has two speed settings: fast and slow.
Not only is it great for beginners (or those tricky projects when you need a little more slow stitching control) but also has a faster option for when you grow in confidence.
Pedal or Buttons
This add-on might be what makes this machine a great option for on-the-go sewers: the foot pedal is optional, and you can easily operate the speed and stitching by hand on the machine itself if you prefer.
This will make life easier for either young children who aren’t yet confident with the pedal, or more experienced sewers who — for whatever reason — find themselves sewing in a cramped space.
Again: not too shabby, for a beginner’s machine.
The sewing arm has a little sleeve nook built in, allowing you to secure a (you guessed it) sleeve — or any garment with a narrow opening — in place and rotate it while stitching.
Clear-top Bobbin Case
If you ask us, the clear-top bobbin case has two major functions: first, you’re quicker on the up-take if the bobbin comes loose.
Second, and perhaps just as important, it gives a beginner sewer a good look into the machine, allowing them to learn how each element of the sewing process works together by seeing.
A small addition, but nonetheless an important one!
Especially for a portable machine that might be used in different spaces (at different times, with different lighting): the option to turn on that little LED light could make all the difference if deciding between several beginner’s options.
Michley LSS-505 Lil’ Sew & Sew Multi-Purpose Sewing Machine Review
Great for On the Go
The Michley LSS-505 is a really good combination of everything a portable sewing machine should have: the choice between button-operated and pedal-operated, and the choice between batteries and adapter.
It’s small, compact, very light — easy to store, and easy to take with you on your stitching travels.
Similarly, if you’re just looking for a machine that will be able to tackle light mending jobs, the Lil’ Sew & Sew sewing machine is perfect: it’s easy to use, compact, and can be taken out and stored away easily.
For Beginners With Ambition
To be clear: the Michley Lil’ Sew & Sew is very much a training-wheels kind of machine, but if you keep that in mind, it has its unexpected little extras that will help you along as you develop your sewing skills.
The reverse stitch, the sleeve arm, the five different zigzags — you won’t sew entire gowns on this lil’ one, but if you’re looking for something to grow with you as you begin to get a hold of some of the more advanced basics, this might be a good option for you!
While the Michley LSS-505 is very easy to use and get started with, it doesn’t have the bells and whistles of a more expensive machine — like an automatic needle threader, for instance, or jam-proof bobbin winding.
We actually think that’s great — this way, you’ll be forced to learn these skills on a simple machine so when you graduate to a more advanced sewing machine, you’ll be all set.
Here’s a great instructive video on how to thread the needle on the LSS-505:
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, take a deep breath and have a quick read through of the Quick Start Guide: michley-lil-sew-and-sew-sewing-machine-user-manual
Quality For Price
As we’ve mentioned before: it only has 1-year warranty, but for such a low price tag, that’s actually not a bad deal at all, especially considering labor costs are included.
For a sewing machine that isn’t a toy, and not as flimsy and some of the other machines available in its price range, the Michley LSS-505 certainly offers quality for its price.
The major drawback to the Michley LSS-505 Lil’ Sew & Sew machine is the fact that it can only take you so far.
A bit of mending? Great. Experimenting with some light fabrics? Perfect. Anything else? You’ll need another machine.
It’s cheap and cheerful — a beginner’s machine that’s perfect for kids and those who don’t require too much horsepower.
If you’re considering using thicker fabric, quilting or anything other than your most basic sewing needs, you’ll need to look at something a little more robust (and expensive!).
The thread tension on this mini sewing machine is very sensitive, and unfortunately not very easy to reset.
If you don’t adjust it too often, it should be fine, but if you’re looking for something that’s easily re-threaded and returned to its original settings, this will be something to keep in mind.
Has a Few Glitches
It’s not the most intuitive sewing machine for beginners we’ve ever set eyes on.
So, while the design of the machine itself is very clear — the diagrams make is easy to set up most of the threading — once there’s any issue that needs troubleshooting, that’s about where the intuitive nature of the Lil’ Sew & Sew stops.
For some, this might be an unexpected plus: it definitely makes you try and understand the machine (and how it works) better, meaning you’ll end up with a better understanding of the sewing process.
One of its main issues is its bobbin case, which tends to come loose every now and then. The fix is not incredibly easy (a screwdriver and a sharp object will need to be involved), but on the upside, Michley seems to be aware of this problem and even has an instructive video up on their page explaining step by step how to go about righting the wrong.
Unfortunately, a couple of low-key glitches are to be expected with a sewing machine at this low price point. As we’ve mentioned before, we think it goes above and beyond its market value, but it’s far from perfect.
The Michley LSS-505 Lil’ Sew & Sew could be a great beginner’s sewing machine for many aspiring sewers out there.
It’s compact, not overloaded with add-ons but has the basics needed to grow along with you as you learn more and more.
Who’s it not for? If you’re on the more intermediate-to-advanced end of the sewing spectrum, this machine might frustrate and disappoint. In other words, if you’re looking for something to help you along on a big project, our advice would be to continue your search.
However, if you’re looking for a machine that will help you grow as a learning sewer as well as challenge your knowledge of the mechanics behind the craft? Then Michley’s Lil’ Sew & Sew might be the right one for you.
Where to Buy the Michley Lil’ Sew & Sew
The LSS-505 multi-purpose sewing machine is deservedly popular, thanks to its low price and beginner-friendly features.
As such, you can find it in a variety of stores, both online and in person.
Check these out for starters:
And, of course, you can find it on Amazon.
Have you tried the Michley LSS-505 Lil’ Sew & Sew yet?
Michley LSS-505 Review
Good for Beginners?
Craft Sewing Specs
Value for Money
The Michley LSS-505 Lil’ Sew & Sew machine is ideal for beginners. It’s easy to use, portable and there’s some wiggle room for your skill development too.
It’s very basic — don’t expect too much from it — and it certainly has a few glitches, but it’s cheap and kid-friendly.