Every seamstress from the first sewing project needs to know about their machine and how it works. Here are some basics to start with.
Sewing? Know Your Machine
Get to know your machines
Basic Sewing Machine
Every person who sews weather it be curtains or crafts to mainstream fashion design needs to know about their machines they sew with. I learned to sew when I was in 8th grade many, many years ago and we just got a primer as to what the parts were and the names and location of them. I also hear that Home Economics is no longer offered in Middle School anymore. Since then I found that it really is important to know all about your machine from each little part to how the bobbin works. Each brand and model of machine will be slightly different in where parts are located. Read your manual! I didn't at first either, but I do now. if you don't have your manual there are places to get them and I will have them on a link page at the bottom of this article. Knowing how it works will get you better acquainted when things start to go wrong. When they do you can look to see where the problem is originating in and go back and fix it. Most times it is a simple thing to fix. If it is more than you can handle ot a part that broke you will know exactly what to tell the dealer or sewing machine repair person what exactly is the problem. This will reduce the problem of communication and possibly cost. Oh and it is wise to get your machine checked out and overhauled once a year. It is like what they do with a car when you take it in for it's yearly maintenance. They will inspect all the parts, reset the tensions clean and oil it.
Buying Your First Sewing machine
What do you want to sew?
Time to figure out what you want to do with your new sewing machine. What kinds of things do you want to sew and how often are you going to use it? What kinds of fabrics are you going to be sewing on? There are many different types of fabrics and as many different sewing machines. One word of caution: Do NOT buy the cheapest one out there. You will not be happy in a year's time because, like with everything else, they will break down and you will have to buy another one. Shop around! Ask questions, get a feel for the machine. Most places that you buy Sewing Machines from will have a setup so that you can sew on the machines first before you purchase them.
The best places to purchase a sewing machine is in a sewing shop, although Sears sells machines and so does Walmart and other places. Take your time and ask lots of questions about it--especially parts and the availability of them. Do they do repairs and maintenance on them or where would you have to go to get these things done. Does it have a warranty and how long does it last? Again this ties into the repairs and warranty and availability of parts and such. I had a machine since 1975 and it was made by Wards. When they went out of business they stopped making parts for their sewing machines. I could get my machine in good working order regularly maintained but not replace any parts. I had to give them my machine because they could not find a replacement part for it when it broke down. I never thought Wards would go out of business! Just try to get something that will last like forever. My machine was all metal and hard to break. Some have plastic parts and in my experience most times those plastic parts will be more expensive then the metal ones. So, shop around.
Once you get your machine and set it up and do your first project--you will love it! One more thing. play with your machine and find out what all it does. They don't all just do straight stitch anymore!
Types Of Sewing Machines
There are machines for beginners which will have just the basic stitches on them. Those would be straight to zig-zag and some may have a selection for button holes and sewing on buttons. Now there are machines that do that and much more. Those would include the Embroidery Machines and that do any type of embroidery you wish or could ever want to do. There are machines that will do quilting and and they would also include the computerized sewing machines. You also have the family of Sergers that makes the perfect seams. I personally do not like them and will not use them. I like the old fashion way to do seams. I also like the fact that I can have enough seam to let out if need be. Sergers cut the extra fabric off as they sew. Weather you want to do simple sewing to more elaborate there is or will be a sewing machine for you.
All machines come with an instruction manual. Read it before you ever start sewing with your machine. Then after you read it you can thread the machine and so forth. Reading it first will get you to know what the machine can do for you and it will entice you to do more then you ever thought you wanted to do with your machine. This is why I tell you, don't get the cheapest machine because you will want to do more with it in time.
Beginner Sewing Machine
Advanced Sewing Machine
Advanced Sewing Machine
Sergers, Baby Locks, Inter Locks
I don't own a serger so I shopped around the Internet for you so you can make an informed choice about if you want one of these or not. I have always used my sewing machine for hemming and seams. I will tell you more about that when I get to that lesson. At any rate here is the site that I got this information from:
What you need to know before buying a serger
A serger, or overlock machine, is a terrific addition to a sewing collection. Not only can it sew faster than the traditional sewing machine, it is also designed to create perfect seams while simultaneously cutting away the excess fabric. Here is a quick guide to the basics of serger shopping.
Know your needs
The more spools of thread a machine can hold, the more complicated stitches it can create and the more expensive the serger. But what if you don't need to make complex decorative seams? If you only require an overlock machine for the occasional simple seam, a less expensive machine that holds fewer threads is your best bet.
Another great first-time purchasing idea for a serger is to look for a used machine. If bought through a reputable seller, a used serger will be in good condition and may even be complete with a warranty. Beyond sewing machine shops, many online sites sell used sergers as well. But if you are buying your machine online, be sure to test out the model you're interested in as all machines have a slightly different feel. Most retailers have floor models that can be test-used by potential buyers.
|Clover Wonder Clips, 50 Per Pack|
These mini clips feature great holding capacity and have a multitude of uses. Each clip opens wide to hold layers of fabric and the clip base is flat for easy feeding to the pre...
|Dritz Sewing Gauge|
Keep your work accurate with this versatile gauge. Sliding measure sets distance for marking hems, tucks, pleats and buttonholes.
|Little Foot That Purple Thang-|
LITTLE FOOT-That Purple Thang. You will be amazed at how easy this tool will make your projects! It pushes pulls and pokes. Every quilter crafter or seamstress needs one of thes...
|Wrights 881428 Flower Head Multicolor Pins, 75-Pack|
These Wrights flower head pins are perfect for marking or decorating your sewing or crafting projects. It come in a variety of beautiful colors that make them easy to see when s...
|Singer 1512 Beginners Sewing Kit, 130 pieces|
Singer 1512 Beginner's Sewing Kit contains all the basics for sewers and non-sewers alike. Makes a perfect traveling companion or as a child's "My first sewing kit" gift; everyt...
Sewing is fun once you learn how and what things you need to do so. A few things that you will need before you start your first project are:
- Extra Bobbins
- Needles: extras for your machine and hand sewing needles,
- Measuring tape,
- Cutting board(s), I have 1 for sewing and 1 for crafting and such.
- Pins, I tend to like using the bigger ones with the bright yellow round tops
- Needle threaders
- Seam Ripper
- Invisible Marking Pens
- quilters chalk
- Sewing Gage
- Pin Cushion, I made my own that fits on my wrist with a piece of cardboard, stuffing, a small piece of fabric and wide elastic. It in the top picture.
Some Helpful Tips
- When purchasing your fabric I always round it up to the nearest foot or yard. This way you will have enough if you make a slight mistake or have to add to your pattern.
- When you purchase your machine get extra bobbins. You will want to have a bobbin to match every color thread you buy. Some bobbins are hard to find and not all bobbins fit every machine.
- Put a piece of masking tape on the right side of the fabric when are are ready for placing patterns. Some fabrics are hard to tell the right side from the wrong side.
- You can wash your material first before you cut. I usually don't unless it is more than 40% cotton. Some Rayon fabric will fall apart if you wash them. Read the label on the top of the bold of fabric for instructions and fabric makeup. This will be discussed in a later article.
- When turning a corner, place your needle in the fabric and then lift the presser foot. Turn your fabric in the new directions and put the presser foot down and continue sewing.
- Think of your sewing machine like your first driving lesson. The physical part is knowing how much pressure you put on the peddle in relation to how fast the machine goes. This is why it is so important to *play* or *drive* with your machine.