Start Sewing With These 10 Simple StepsSo you decide to take up sewing? Congratulation, you are about to discover a whole new world of possibilities and creativity.Sewing is not as hard as some people think it is, but it’s not the easiest set of skills to master either. So arm yourself with some basic knowledge first so you are not overwhelmed when all the new things start coming at you.Here is what you need to know for a head start in sewingThink About What Type Of Sewing You Want To Learn FirstThe word sewing has a broader meaning than you think.It might be making clothes for children or for your own. Sewing also includes quilting to make colorful projects like a baby blanket or a table runner.Doll making is part of sewing too.Rather than spending time and effort trying to master everything, start small. Learn the skills you find the most interesting. Once you have the hang of it, branching out to others sections will be easier.Find A MentorClasses on sewing are widely available online nowadays. They can teach you everything you need to know through videos so you can learn at your own pace. Online classes are convenient as you don’t have to travel to anywhere else but your own room to learn. These videos are uploaded free online so there is no fee to worry about.Of course, in-person classes have their own advantages. You have someone with expertise there to guide you and answer your questions right away. Moreover, these classes usually have sewing machines and other tools available for the learner. You can try some of them and decide if you like them before actually buying anything.Who knows, you might find a good sewing machine for beginners in one of these classes. By the way, I have my own list of beginner-friendly machines right here: https://plus.google.com/communities/112409156495039515706Choose A ProjectYour first project should be as simple as possible. A simple but successful piece of sewing is more useful in encouraging you to keep up with the hobby than a complex pattern but wonky outcome.You cannot become an expert in anything overnight. Sewing takes time to master and once you did, your possibilities are endless.If quilting is what you like, start with a placemat first. It’s practical but not hard to make.For those who want to make their own clothes, a simple skirt is a nice project.Stock Your Materials And ToolsNo one can sew without some basic equipment. However, don’t rush to the shop and buy everything at once. Try some of the basics first to see if you like them.A pair of scissors is an absolute must. Without of sewing machine, you can always sew by hand, but without a sharp pair of scissors, cutting fabric is out of the question.Use the pair for cutting fabric only. There is nothing worse than a dull pair of scissors.Hand sewing is OK but it’s super time-consuming. For a starter, I recommend finding the best inexpensive sewing machine for beginners. For more information on these models, read reviews here.Master The Basic TechniquesSewing has its own lexical resource just like other hobbies. They are the terms that make sense only when in a sewing-related context.For example, find out about the meaning of the term seam allowance, free motion quilting, or flat felled seams.Learn to read patterns is also beneficial. You cannot follow instructions if you don’t know how to read the symbols and terms there.More questions will arise but the sewing community is large and vibrant so you always have someone to ask.Keep A Record Of Your ProgressSewing is interesting but sometimes you need a little push to encourage yourself. Keep all of your projects even if they look weird or wonky. You can compare them to your later achievements and see how much progress you have made.Join some forums or communities online or at where you live. It’s better to have people with the same interest around to help you.Find InspirationWhen you love and know something, you will find inspiration everywhere. For example, an intricate design someone shares online may bring you some new ideas of a baby blanket.Clothes from your favorite designer can be suggestions for you to make your own designs.Practice Makes PerfectTo be good at something means you have to do it a lot.Practice sewing until it becomes your second nature. A few first attempts might not be what you expect. Don’t worry, everyone can be in that situation. The experienced sewists you see with beautiful and complex projects were once beginners like you are now.Doing something a lot also means you get more chances to make mistakes.Mistakes are good, I tell you. Mistakes are indications of a set of skills you need to work on. If cannot sew straight, stop for a while and focus on straight lines first.Make One Project At A TimeThere are so many stunning patterns out there for you to make. But don’t get in the trap of trying to do many projects at once.First, each project requires different levels of skills. If you do so many things at the same time, there will be as many things you need to master. So spare yourself the pressure and stick to one thing at a time.Another reason is you may forget about some of these unfinished projects. Over time they will accumulate into a pile of work in progress. A total waste of time and resource.Push Yourself Out Of The Comfort ZoneOnce you have mastered all the basics, it’s time to learn something new.A good way to keep your interest in something is to find yourself a dose of a challenge once in a while.If you have known all the basic seams inside out, how about learning some new stitches?When I mastered all I need in hemming, I invested in a cover stitch machine so that I can focus on other aspects, like create my own design. I have made a cover stitch machine reviews so if anyone is interested in one of those, read here to find out more.Design your own patterns? Why not? Most beginners like to use patterns they found online or in a book to have a beautiful project in no time. However, sometimes your own creations are valuable and worth sharing as much as the work you find
How To Sew With Invisible Thread
If you have been quilting for sometimes now I bet you have heard some things like this:
Invisible thread damages your machine! It will ruin your projects! Don’t let children come near it! Don’t even waste money on it! Don’t you ever think about it!
I have been using invisible thread for quite a while now and so far, nothing bad has happened.
Maybe some people have experienced these incidents, but it does not happen to everyone using invisible thread.
Many quilters I know have been using it for years and produced beautiful projects without a single mishap.
I am sure you, the invisible thread is merely a tool like your sewing machine or your scissors. You use the right techniques and it will enhance your projects.
Here are some tricks and tips on using invisible thread:
Stick To The High-Quality Invisible Thread
You get what you pay for so stay away from the cheap. The thread you want should have a brand name sticks on it. It should be as smooth as your hair.
The one I love comes from YLI. Another quilter I know and trust recommend Sew Art.
The YLI thread is nylon and it has been doing its job fine. Some quilters I met online concern about the low melting temperature of nylon and decide to use polyester-based thread instead.
I always use low heat so the melting problem never happens to me. If you have the same concern, go ahead and use polyester.
Back in the days, invisible thread tended to turn brown after some time in use. It’s not the case anymore. If you stick to the high quality only, it will never change colors.
The invisible thread comes in a number varieties but the clear colors work on most projects. Smoke color works well on dark fabric but it’s advisable to stock some clear variety.
How To Sew With Invisible Thread
If you listen to me and use the high quality only, even the best inexpensive sewing machine for beginners can handle this delicate thread.
In case you are curious about the budget-friendly sewing machines, see here: https://www.flickr.com/people/bestsewingmachineforbeginners/
Adjust your tension
When using invisible thread, you want to adjust the upper tension to achieve a better result.
Stock pieces of scrap so that you have something to test on. Test until you are happy with what the sewing machine produces.
Switch To A Smaller Needle
Most invisible thread varieties are very thin so you should pair it with a smaller needle.
My favorite is a 60/8 but sometimes I prefer a 70/10 for free motion quilting.
As the eye of the needle is so small, you want to thread the machine by yourself even if yours has an auto threading function.
The invisible thread is, well, invisible, so some may have difficulty seeing them. If you have this problem, try coloring the tip of the thread so you know where to lead it to. When you are done threading, you can always cut off the part with color.
Don’t Use Invisible Thread For Your Bobbin
You can use invisible thread for your bobbin but it will add extra workload for you.
I prefer regular thread in the bobbin and if it shows on the upper side, I will color it to hide it.
Watch Out For The Thread Path
Here is what you should do if the thread gets tangled on the thread path:
If the thread is tangled on the bottom side of your project, it’s probably because your bobbin case has a burr. This tiny piece of metal catches your thread and makes it tangled. If you are using cotton or polyester thread, it’s not a problem as these threads are too big to be stuck there. While with invisible thread, they are too small to escape. You may think of your pantyhose torn up a little bit because of a hangnail.
If it is the bobbin case, you can take it to a mechanic so that he or she can remove the burr for you. A cheaper option is to buy a new bobbin case for this particular job. This is not weird at all. I know many quilters and sewists keep separate bobbin cases for a small and fine thread like silk or invisible thread.
In basic models, the thread path is visible so detecting this problem will not be a problem. If you want one of these machines, see here Helpful Review On Best Basic Sewing Machine For Beginners – Good Machines For The Money.
Understand when to use invisible sewing thread
Understand when to use invisible sewing thread
When To Use Invisible Thread
Stitch in the Ditch
Stitch in the ditch is a tricky task to master as you just need to be a little clumsy and you will go off course. If you use regular thread on the ditch, everyone can see your mistakes. While if you use the invisible thread, no one can notice them unless they look really close.
With this task, I usually use a 60/8 needle because it allows me to go close to ditch’s edge.
Free Motion Quilting
The invisible thread will come in handy in free motion quilting, especially the places you don’t want the color of the thread to pop out.
It is also useful when your fabric has different colors and patterns and you don’t want the thread to ruin the harmony you have created.
Of course, I don’t say that you should use it for every spot on your project, but it’s great for some special areas.
I love to use invisible thread for appliques’ edges as they will emphasize the contrast colors.
My sewing machine is especially easy when it comes to free motion quilting. I found it after reading this article Expert Reviews On Best Rated Sewing Machines For Beginners You Should Buy.
Many quilters will tell you that invisible thread is suitable for beginners as their mistakes will be hidden well.
However, I oppose this opinion.
Beginners haven’t had a feeling for stitch length as with the experienced yet so it’s easy to go wrong.
Instead of invisible thread, use a light color thread first and then when you have had the hang of it, switch to the invisible thread
A sewing machine is a big investment for any new sewist. Most people want a budget-friendly model but it must have all the features they need at the moment and some for future use. The machine should also be durable as no one wants a tool that gets into problems every other day.
If you are one of those who are serious about saving money on sewing machines, a used model fits the bill nicely. However, buying these second-hand machines can be a risky task. So pay attention to the 9 tips below to land the best used machine.
Does it still work?
This is the first test to conduct whether you are buying a new or an old model.
For a new machine, most shops will have a test machine of each type for buyer to try. However, when buying an old one, you want to test on the one you intend to take home. Does it do all the stitches without any mishaps like skipped stitches or uneven stitches? Does it make any weird sounds? Does it run smoothly?
Bring along some fabric samples, some of the delicate and some of the heavy. Run a few lines of stitches on each one and see if the machine can handle them. Please note that you should change the needle and adjust the tension to suit each type of fabric. Even a new machine cannot penetrate something like a piece of leather if you don’t attach a special needle to the machine.
Is it in good condition?
How good the mechanism inside the machine is cannot be judged by looking on the outside.
In a lot of cases, the appearance looks as flawless as a new machine, but the inside has been running without maintenance for years. These machines are not a good investment at all. The extra money you have to pay to take it in for a tune up might afford you a whole new machine.
If you buy from a shop, ask the owner if the machine has ever been refurbished. If you buy directly from the owner, ask him or her how often the machine is maintain and when the last time it went for a tune up was.
I have a decent collection of good sewing machine for beginners here in case you want to go through some of the new models as well. See here for more good machines.
Who you are buying from?
Buying from a shop is always the safer choice, especially if you don’t know much about sewing machines to inspect them yourself. The machines you find in a shop have gone through check-up with experts and sometimes they come with a repair warranty.
However, expect to pay a higher price than buying from the previous owner if you decide to go to a shop. So the key here is know what you want and the price ranger you can afford.
If you are an amateur in sewing machines but still want a second-hand model, buying from the shop will ensure good quality merchandise at a more reasonable price than a new model.
How old is the machine?
This section is for those who want a vintage sewing machine.
These machines are usually heirlooms because they are no longer manufactured. It’s true that they are long-lasting and can be a real workhorse. They are also harder to operate and require much more skills than other newer models.
If vintage sewing machines are your thing, please bear in mind this note. Sometimes you have to change at least one part of the machine to restore its good performance. You will be in serious trouble if you are unable to find a replacement.
So before you take a vintage sewing machine home, see if the parts are available for purchase. If they don’t, think again about your decision.
Some sewists think the vintage are the best rated sewing machines for beginners because they are durable and only have the basic. For some other highly recommended models, you can see here https://www.scoop.it/t/best-sewing-machine-for-beginners-basic-sewing-machine-review
What are its accessories?
Accessories are another big contribution to the final buying decision.
What does the machine come with? Does it have a bobbin case? extra presser foot?
Know what you are paying for is the key to have good value for money.
Can the equipment you have at home used on this machine?
If you have already had some sewing equipment and accessories, check if they are compatible with the machine or not.
The next step is to check if the accessories fit well into the machine. Modern models have most of the parts standardized but some older ones may not. It pays off to be careful in the first place than to be sorry later.
Is it user-friendly?
A user manual is your best friend. It does not only provide you with information on the particular machine you are using but also answer most of the questions you may have when using it.
For some used machines, the manual is long gone and what you can do now is to ask the one who is selling the machine for you for a training class. Make sure you know what to do with the machine before you bring it home.
Fortunately, there are many brands that upload their manuals online, which save you and the sellers a lot of time.
There are a lot of user-friendly models out there, if you are interested, you can find some here easy to use sewing machine for beginners at Craftsselection.com.
Does it satisfy what you want?
The sellers can sometimes advertise the merchandise too much just to have a successful sale. So the key to land the most suitable machine for you is to know exactly what you want.
You only need a machine that has the basic stitches? Test the one you are having your eye on to see if it can handle them.
You want something that can embroider? Check if the machine has a wide enough workspace to do this job or not.
What is the price?
The key here is to buy the best one that you can afford.
All the fancy features will go waste if you cannot pay for the machine. So again, know what you really want and see if there is any machine that can meet the requirement without breaking the bank.
Sewing Machine Needles For Quilters
Piecing small blocks into a quilting artwork, making machine applique, putting patchwork together are just some of what make quilting such a fun hobby.
To avoid skipped stitches, fraying, and other problems associating with quilting, choosing the right needle is important.
When you land the most suitable needle for the project, you are half way to a beautiful quilting project. Here is some of my experience with cherry-picking a needle.
When you have had the most suitable needle for the project, even the best basic sewing machine can make beautiful quilting.
Use the right needle for quilting
To know what type of needles to use, first, familiar yourself with different properties and characteristics of each type. The needle should be chosen according to the project and the thread you intend to use.
The size of the needle is vital. For example, a needle for jean and denim is for penetrating through thick fabrics. The typical or the all-purpose ones can be used on assembling patchworks. One of the most common sizes is the 90/14. Its sturdy shaft can handle the pressure of quilting through a few layers of fabrics. Its eye is large enough for several different types of thread.
There are also quilting needles, which are specially designed for machine quilting. They have slightly rounded tips.
When you pick a needle, pay attention to its eye, whether you use a thick thread or a metallic one. My all-time favorite is the Schmetz’s Metallica needle. Its eye is longer than that of a regular needle so the friction between the needle and the thread is reduced. This one goes well with my best sewing machine for beginners so I have been using this brand for years.
An easy to use sewing machine for beginners
If you cannot get one of these or somehow don’t like this particular brand, other manufacturers also have similar models.
If you have to deal with stretchy fabrics, choose a needle that is made to handle this task. Other special types of fabrics also have the needles that are designed for them.
When you have to use extra thick thread, opt for a topstitch needle, which has a long eye to accommodate and allow the thread the travel freely.
Nowadays, there are hundreds of choices when it comes to needles for quilting. So the best way to land the most suitable one is to test it whenever you can. I prefer shopping in an offline store than online sites because I can touch and try the needles.
Please note that you need to know the make and model of your sewing machine really well because the best needle for another machine might not a good fit for yours. Read this helpful guide on best starter sewing machine at CraftsSelection.com in case you haven’t found yourself a good model to start with.
If you want to know more about the world of needles, visit a local store and see for yourself. Ask the dealer the staff about each type of needles if you are new to quilting.
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