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Saturday, 19 August 2017

Let There Be Light!

Bonlux sewing machine light
My new sewing machine light...
They say that getting old is what you make of it, but often, it's hard to make a case for it being great.

Take the matter of deteriorating eyesight. Long before I admitted to needing a little bit of help with closeup work, I noticed that it was getting harder to see things in dim light. Difficulty reading restaurant menus was my first hint.

Many months ago, I saw an ad for an LED sewing machine lighting kit. It's basically a tube of LEDs that can be adhered to the underside of the horizontal arm of a sewing machine to light your way. It seemed like a nifty idea to me, since I've always found the little bulb inside the machine itself — which I've never changed out in all of the forty years I've owned it — inadequate for late night sewing binges.

Not that there've been many of those (late night sewing binges, that is), but when they happen, I've had to rely on my magnifying lamp.

Magnifying Lamp
A flexible and handy helper for the sewing room!

But this is a rather bulky addition to the table top when I'm trying to sew. Something on a smaller scale would certainly be preferable.

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That said, I didn't want a permanent strip of lights stuck on my sewing machine, either. So when I saw this item (US link here, CDN link here; I'm not an affiliate) while shopping on Amazon for hubby's birthday present, I added it to my cart and thought, what the heck, let's give it a try.

Bonlux sewing machine light
A portable magnetic LED light that adds light to your sewing area...

This light has a super magnet at its base so that it can be attached to various magnetic surfaces. Apparently, while my Kenmore is made out of metal, it's mostly not magnetic metal. The only place where I could stick this light was on the wheel, which is an impossible location when you think about it.

One of the reviews for this item mentioned attaching it to a sardine can if you're unable to stick it to your sewing machine. Most charming!

I looked around my sewing room for a more elegant solution and found this wrench, obviously left over from some "assembly required" item from my past. It ended up being just the thing I needed.

Bonlux sewing machine light
A perfect solution for my magnetized sewing machine light...

This wrench is highly magnetic; the base sticks to it like crazy! With the light attached at one end, the other end slips right into the small gap between the edge of the sewing machine and the base of the carrying case.

Bonlux sewing machine light
The wrench acts as a "stand" for my light...

We recently changed out most of our household bulbs for new LEDs as a result of a government rebate program. We actually didn't have many incandescent bulbs, as hubby and I chose mostly halogen fixtures when we built our house. I can tell you that I really like the brighter white of LEDs. And now having this light at my sewing machine is a blessing for eyes that are getting older.

In fact, within a few days of having it, I deemed it necessary for my sewing "comfort".

Bonlux sewing machine light
Here is my machine with the light off...

And really, I much prefer a solution that can be used elsewhere if I need to, rather than having something be permanently secured.

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The previous picture showed the light off. Here is the machine with the light on, in a picture taken just seconds later. (These are without flash, of course.)

Bonlux sewing machine light
It lights up the work area really well!

Specs? The light is made up of 30 LEDs with a total operating power of 2 watts. Apparently it gives off 180 lumens. Stated colour temperature is 6000K daylight.

Bonlux sewing machine light
Closeup of the 30 LEDs...

It has a 12" long goose neck for flexible placement of the light. There is an on/off switch at the base for convenience. (By happy circumstance, the location where it's attached is absolutely ideal; I can just reach around and click it when needed.) The cord is not exceptionally long; you'll likely need an extension. In my case, the one I already use for the sewing machine accommodates it.

All in all, it totally works for me... along with these, of course. It can be bright as all heck, but at this stage in life, I need a little magnification too.

sewing glasses
My sewing glasses... these were both dollar store items from years back...

Know what I was also thinking? Those headlamps typically worn by campers or tradespeople would also be a good bet for lighting up late night sewing binges. Handsfree, the light would lead you from cutting mat to ironing board to sewing machine... all good. (You might have to explain to your family why you look like a coal miner, but that would be a one time explanation!)

Do you use any spot lighting to augment your sewing machine when you sew (late into the night or otherwise)?


  1. Well Rochelle GREAT minds think alike! I bought 3 of these same lights for 3 of my sewing machines, although I got them someplace cheaper. I couldn't magnetically attach them to my machines either and since 2 of the machine I wanted them for are computerized machines, I was afraid of using a strong magnet on the machine. I rigged up a different setup for mine. I hot glued heavy duty Velcro on over the magnet and then used heavy duty Velcro with a sticky back to stick it on the left side of my sewing machine head. For the cord I bought those clear Command Hooks that are for hanging Christmas lights and stuck those (2 on one machine and 3 on the other) on the back of the machine and the cord easily slips into the hook, and it's easy to remove the cord from the hooks when I want to move my sewing machine, and easy to place the cord back into the hooks. So far this is working well for me too. But I also have other lights on my sewing table too! I want it bright. Reading glasses too and sometimes magnifiers, lol!!!

  2. Looks like the perfect machine light and I love how you found a work around to the magnetic problem. I was going to get an LED strip, but this might provide more light.

  3. This is just what I need! Thanks

  4. I use a slightly smaller version of this, which has a clamp I can clip to the lid and snake around. But your version with the wrench is geeenius. Thank you!

    1. Thank you and you're welcome. Not quite sure what you mean by a "lid" but if it works for you, super!

  5. Thank you! I've seen these before but my machine doesn't have a metal shell so I thought I wouldn't be able to use it. With your tip I'll be able to rig something up, thinking of using two-sided tape to attach the wrench to the machine, to make it work. I, too, have these types of wrenches left over from putting something together. Also, while looking it up on Amazon I found that the company also has one with a dimming switch, so I've added that one to my wish list. Here's where it can be found: https://www.amazon.com/Bonlux-Gooseneck-Magnetic-Mounting-Dimmable/dp/B0177KS7EQ/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1503236143&sr=8-6&keywords=sewing+machine+light
    Thank you again for you tip.

    1. You're most welcome. I took a look at your link and that lamp only has 20 LEDs; not sure if the dimmable factor is useful in that case. I wouldn't even want to dim the one that I have, since brighter is always better... unless we're talking the brightness of ten thousand suns! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. :-)

  6. What a clever idea, Rochelle!!! I love it! I use an office lamp to lighten my sewing maching. Have a great week, my friend.

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment, Mia. You have a great week too!


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