Handy Stitch: "Does It Work?"

Last year in our "Does It Work?" report, we tested one of those mini-sewing machines called the Easy Sew and we were amazed by its combination of power and portability. This time we have another mini-sewing device. This one is even smaller than the Easy Sew. It's called the Handy Stitch. But "Does It Work"?

The makers tout it as the handheld sewing machine. The Handy Stitch is cordless and about as portable as you can get. Laura Burton tested the Easy Sew and was amazed when this little battery operated wonder sewed through several layers of fabric. The only thing it lacked was a backstitching feature. But a quick reversal of the the fabric and the stitch was quickly reinforced. Laura gave it a "yes".

So when we got hold of the Handy Stitch, it only made sense to give Laura a call to see if she would test it out. She agreed.

The Handy Stitch comes pre-threaded, which is nice. It has good power and basic operation is pretty simple. Just press a button and it not only sews, but moves the fabric through and past the needle. But because it doesn't have a backstitching feature, the makers force you to jump through hoops.. or at least loops to seal off your stitch. The instructions detail an elaborate plan to tie off the seam. Laura had a lot of trouble with it. After 30 minutes of practice, we got it to work once. But most of the time we ended up pulling out the whole stitch in the process.

Confident we could do it again, we tried hemming a girl's dress. But the Handy Stitch guided us down a path that unfortunately didn't include the backside material we were trying to secure. We missed the hem. "That's the hardest thing about this is you cannot control your material as well," says Laura. "And you can't get a straight line because you only have one hand because you're having to control it with the other. Whereas, the other was automatic, you didn't have to press a button."

One of the selling points of this gadget is supposed to be the ability to hem or repair curtains while they're still hanging. But it must work better in theory. Again we missed the hem. "You cannot be precise enough with this. I mean if you want to be able to hem it where it's supposed to be hemmed you have to be so precise and it doesn't have a speed control and you only have one hand and you can't be sure it's getting right on top of that stitch. Otherwise you're going to have to hem it down further and that's what happened with the dress too," says Laura.

And the little bit of the curtain we were able to sew pulled right out when we tried to tie it off.

So "Does It Work?" "No, no, no. No I wouldn't recommend it," Laura says.

And she likes the Easy Sew much better than the Handy Stitch.

No wavering there... We give the Handy Stitch a "no".

You can find the Handy Stitch for sale online. The cost runs between ten and twenty dollars.