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Contributor
Posts: 67
Registered: ‎07-28-2013

I've always wanted to learn to sew my own clothes... nothing too fancy, but maybe a wrap skirt, or to fix a dress that has a torn hem or doesn't fit quite right. 

 

I would LOVE to eventually do fancier things, so I need some help from sewing experts.

 

1. Would you start with a really good sewing machine or start smaller and trade up as your skilled progressed?

 

2. What is a good sewing machine for someone who wants to make clothes (like summer dresses and wrap skirts) at home, as well as do things like sew patches on uniforms for my boys or fix hems or pockets for my husband?

 

3. I checked locally at Michaels for a sewing course, and none of the local ones have a starter class. Is there a good online class I can take?

 

I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to start this hobby, I always wanted to learn and feel like it would really make me more self sufficient so I don't have to pay so much to get something tailored or tape up hems.

 

Thank you!

Honored Contributor
Posts: 53,421
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

I bought my first sewing machine, a heavy, metal Singer model, in 1964.  The only fancy stitch it does is zigzag.  I've never felt like I needed another machine and am still using this one, although I don't sew much anymore.  I think I paid about $140, which was a princely amount back in those days, but it's paid for itself 1000 times over.  I've made my office work wardrobe on it for years, did children's clothing, made draperies and pillows, mended a million things, hemmed thousands of pants and skirts, even made a vinyl canopy for a boat.

 

Keep in mind that the fancier a machine is, the more there is to go wrong with it.  I'm all for keeping it simple; I doubt most people ever use most of the features on the expensive electronic machines.  You certainly don't need them for basic sewing.  The only accessory I have is a gadget that makes beautiful buttonholes.

 

Go to some of the brand stores like Singer and get demonstrations.  Ask questions.  They might even know where you could get lessons.

New Mexico☀️Land Of Enchantment
Honored Contributor
Posts: 14,252
Registered: ‎03-13-2010

If you decide to sew......keep it a secret.   Otherwise all your friends, relatives, neighbors, etc., will be bringing you things to alter or repair (!)   I speak from experience.

♥Surface of the Sun♥
Contributor
Posts: 70
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Hi -I agree with the other poster the simpler the sewing machine the better- my SIL and I have both sewn alot and used and have owned a number of machines and are now back to old,sturdy Singers that go forward and back only!! A machine that can do zig-zag and maybe buttonholes are all you will need.You can teach yourself how to sew,patterns have alot of info. and the clerks at the fabric store can probably help you to select fabric for your first few projects I just got done making some reversible fleece dog coats for a couple of our dogs..it is really fun and dont forget you tube for tutorials also!

Contributor
Posts: 70
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

I also forgot to say that sewing things for the home like curtains is a really good way to learn about your machine and a way to do a bunch of straight  seams.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,258
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

@IHeartFashion wrote:

I've always wanted to learn to sew my own clothes... nothing too fancy, but maybe a wrap skirt, or to fix a dress that has a torn hem or doesn't fit quite right. 

 

I would LOVE to eventually do fancier things, so I need some help from sewing experts.

 

1. Would you start with a really good sewing machine or start smaller and trade up as your skilled progressed?

 

2. What is a good sewing machine for someone who wants to make clothes (like summer dresses and wrap skirts) at home, as well as do things like sew patches on uniforms for my boys or fix hems or pockets for my husband?

 

3. I checked locally at Michaels for a sewing course, and none of the local ones have a starter class. Is there a good online class I can take?

 

I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to start this hobby, I always wanted to learn and feel like it would really make me more self sufficient so I don't have to pay so much to get something tailored or tape up hems.

 

Thank you!


@IHeartFashion

 

Answers in order:

 

1.  Sewing Machine:  I wanted to replace my Pfaff about 6 years ago, so went to all the cheap places like Target and the like.  Without a doubt, the Singer machines I evaluated there were junk. and would never purchase one.  I'm guessing there are "quality" Singers, but I didn't see one.  Ended up going to a "sewing and vacuum cleaner store."  I know this sounds weird, but there are thousands of them in the U.S..  I would recommend purchasing the best machine I could afford, because over the years, purchasing and purchasing and purchasing will be very expensive for you.  Buy a Bernina, Elna, Janome or Pfaff and go for the middle grade.  Farther down the road, purchase a serger to accompany your sewing machine, which will finish edges (sooooooo important) and much more.

2.  See points made in #1, plus: purchase a sewing machine in which the bobbin is inserted by sliding a little door to the right and lays FLAT in the machine.  Some machines require you to place the bobbin in a housing, which you then have to hold onto, ease down into the machine and attempt to slide into place on the left.  The is a pain in the neck, not easy and a bad decision for a beginner!

3.  Joann's may have classes, as they sell sewing machines, or at least used to.  However, I would highly recommend taking a block of courses from an instructor whose profession is doing just that.  Try local fabric shops and the internet for leads. When learning an art such as sewing, hands-on instruction is to very important vice online courses.

 

A couple of hints: if your sewing project calls for a specific weight of thread, purchase that weight of thread.  Please don't go cheap here, as you'll regret it; in addition to the presser foot that comes with your machine, budget to purchase a quarter inch seam foot, a zipper foot, a Teflon foot and a clear plastic presser foot; if your project uses cotton, wash the fabric first, dry on low heat, then use spray starch while ironing it; purchase a "rotary fabric cutter," which can be found near the scissors; purchase a quality pair of shears and a small pair of scissors; for pinning, purchase long pins with plastic heads,like butterflies - the old type pins are shorter and have glass or plastic heads;  when pinning fabric, place the pins perpendicular to the edge of the fabric, versus parallel to the fabric (old fashioned way and not recommended); ***get to know and understand that sewing with cotton, wool and knits require different techniques.

 

Once you have your machine, read the instructions, then remove your pressure foot.  At this point, get several pieces of paper from your computer printer. On one, draw a "picture frame" 1 inch from the border, then another picture frame one inch inside fist and so on.  Now, without the presser foot on, start "sewing" directlu on those lines.  On another piece of paper, draw a swirl and "sew" over that line.  On the last piece of paper, draw a frame, then an "X from corner to corner of that frame.  Now sew away.

 

There is so much more to sewing that needs to be said, but I'm sure you'll find a great class and will learn enough to get you on your way to sewing for the rest of your life.

 

 

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,258
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

@newshound6 wrote:

Hi -I agree with the other poster the simpler the sewing machine the better- my SIL and I have both sewn alot and used and have owned a number of machines and are now back to old,sturdy Singers that go forward and back only!! A machine that can do zig-zag and maybe buttonholes are all you will need.You can teach yourself how to sew,patterns have alot of info. and the clerks at the fabric store can probably help you to select fabric for your first few projects I just got done making some reversible fleece dog coats for a couple of our dogs..it is really fun and dont forget you tube for tutorials also!


@IHeartFashion

@Newshound

 

I'd suggest starting out with a simple apron pattern or one for pillow cases.  Be wary of clerks.  Bring along an experienced friend.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,279
Registered: ‎05-15-2010

Re: Beginner to Sewing

[ Edited ]

I started with lessons from a great teacher in a community college.  I still have my old Singer and while I don't sew much anymore, I did love

creating clothes for me.  You will feel so accomplished and proud of yourself.  I still have dresses I made in the 70's that I can't part with.  I look at them and realize how perfectly they were sewn and I'm proud of that.

 

I do recommend lessons, for sure.

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎05-06-2010

Congratulations on finding such a great new hobby! My granddaughter is very interested in getting a sewing machine (thanks to the Project Runway show). I told her that I would teach her how to use my sewing machine after she mastered simple hand repairs on her clothes. We put together a nice little hand sewing kit for her from my extra stash of supplies.

 

If all goes well, I would like to buy her a sewing machine and was also wondering what to buy. I agree with the other members who posted that a simple sewing machine is better. My mother had a very sturdy Singer machine from the 60's and then inherited a more complex machine. The newer machine was always going in for repairs but the old Singer kept chugging along.

 

You may consider going to your local Senior Center and placing a notice on their bulletin board for sewing machine lessons. Our older neighbors have a wealth of information and are often happy to teach certain skills. (I agree that pillow cases are a great first project!) Best of luck to you and have fun!!!

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,291
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

@newshound6 wrote:

I also forgot to say that sewing things for the home like curtains is a really good way to learn about your machine and a way to do a bunch of straight  seams.



Brother XL2600I sold at Amazon. I like things about this machine, the price, the front drop in bobbin, and the included attachments.