Sewing Machines

4

Hello,
I decided I would really like to learn how to sew but right now i have no idea how to. I was just wondering how you started (sewing clothes for dolls, reading books,etc) and any advice on how I should as well.
Thanks!

Although it's certainly possible to learn to sew all on your own, just from books and experimentation, it's easier for almost everyone if you take a few classes along the way — either informally from family and friends, or formally from teachers.

Assuming it's machine sewing you're interested in, I usually start beginners with projects like pillowcases or drawstring bags, tote bags, tool or jewelry rolls, pj pants or nightgowns. My own first hand sewing experiences were in embroidery, then hemming dishtowels; my first machine sewing was cafe curtains, when I was not quite 6.

Your first challenges will include skills like cutting accurately (easier said than done!), learning to control the sewing machine, stitching straight and curved seams accurately, pressing seams correctly and learning to select fabric and pattern that can work together.

If you're thinking about buying a sewing machine, and you happen to have classes available that will let you use someone else's sewing machines, I'd suggest you go that route for first experience; then you can better judge machines when you go looking. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100120140429AApYwiY

Where to find lessons: 4H, if you're young enough; fabric stores and sewing machine dealers; adult ed and community college classes, private lessons. If you're in the US and stuck, try contacting the local chapter of ASG, American Sewing Guild (http://www.asg.org) to see if someone can suggest a teacher. Good books to start with include Simplicity's Simply The Best Sewing Book (which has a home-dec leaning), Connie Crawford's Guide to Fashion Sewing (strictly garments), and the good ol' Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing. There are also videos and DVDs available; one I particularly like for a beginner is Crawford's Studio Sewing Skills, which starts with learning to thread a sewing machine and progresses through basic clothing construction, step by step. Check with your local library and grab some books or videos and start playing with some fabric!

Filed under Embroidery Library by on . 4 Comments#

2

I do not want to have to pack up a machine and send it away. What about waranties?

Look for a local shop that sells machines and provides service. Buy a decent machine — the cheapest new machines are usually impossible to repair or too expensive to repair, and are often fairly user-hostile. If your budget is limited, I strongly suggest buying a good used machine.

Generally, with machines that are available only through dealerships, the actual warranty work is done by the dealer.

Also, generally, purely mechanical machines (not electronic or computerized, but the ones that use cams and gears and a conventional electric motor) can be serviced by virtually any sewing machine shop. Things start getting tricky when you get into the fancier machines, and you'll just have to ask shops if they can fix a whatever…

http://www.cet.com/~pennys/faq/smfaq.htm

What I want for beginners in sewing:

– a machine that doesn't scare you
– a machine that isn't balky (cheap new machines are often very
balky or need adjustments often and are rarely repairable —
just too frustrating to learn on!)
– very good straight stitch
– good zigzag (4-5 mm is fine, more than that is gravy)
– a method of making buttonholes that makes sense to you
– adjustable presser foot pressure (which helps some fabric
handling issues)
– accessory presser feet that don't cost an arm and a leg
(machines that use a "short shank foot" typically handle
generic presser feet pretty well. Some brands of machines use
proprietary or very expensive presser feet)

If the budget stretches far enough:

– blindhem and stretch blindhem stitches
– triple zigzag (nice for elastic applications)
– a couple of decorative stitches (you won't use them nearly as
much as you think)
– electronic machine because of the needle position control and
because the stepper motors give you full "punching force" at
slow sewing speeds — mechanical machines often will stall at
slow speeds.

Please go to the best sewing machine dealers around and ask them
to show you some machines in your price range, *especially* used
machines you can afford. You'll get a far better machine buying
used than new, and a good dealer is worth their weight in sewing
machine needles when you get a machine problem — often they can
talk you through the problem over the phone. While you're trying
things out, try a couple of machines (sewing only, not combo
sewing-embroidery) over your price limit, just so you can see
what the difference in stitch quality and ease of use might be.
You may find you want to go for the used Cadillac. Or you might
want the new basic Chevy. Might as well try both out.

Suggested reading: John Giordano's The Sewing Machine Book
(especially for used machines), Carol Ahles' Fine Machine Sewing
(especially the first and last few chapters) and Gale Grigg
Hazen's Owner's Guide to Sewing Machines, Sergers and Knitting
Machines. All of these are likely to be available at your public
library.

Used brands I'd particularly look for: Elna, Bernina,
Viking/Husqvarna, Pfaff, Singer (pre 1970), Juki, Toyota

New "bargain brand" I'd probably pick, if new was my choice:
Janome (who also does Kenmore).

Filed under Embroidery Library by on . 2 Comments#

2

I want to start making my own clothes (I have someone to teach me how) and I can buy a Singer 2638 in excellent condition for $75. Is that a good model to start with? And is $75 a good price?

Singer is not the company it once was.

http://www.cet.com/~pennys/faq/smfaq.htm

What I want for beginners in sewing:

– a machine that doesn't scare you
– a machine that isn't balky (cheap new machines are often very
balky or need adjustments often and are rarely repairable —
just too frustrating to learn on!)
– very good straight stitch
– good zigzag (4-5 mm is fine, more than that is gravy)
– a method of making buttonholes that makes sense to you
– adjustable presser foot pressure (which helps some fabric
handling issues)
– accessory presser feet that don't cost an arm and a leg
(machines that use a "short shank foot" typically handle
generic presser feet pretty well. Some brands of machines use
proprietary or very expensive presser feet)

If the budget stretches far enough:

– blindhem and stretch blindhem stitches
– triple zigzag (nice for elastic applications)
– a couple of decorative stitches (you won't use them nearly as
much as you think)
– electronic machine because of the needle position control and
because the stepper motors give you full "punching force" at
slow sewing speeds — mechanical machines often will stall at
slow speeds.

Please go to the best sewing machine dealers around and ask them
to show you some machines in your price range, *especially* used
machines you can afford. You'll get a far better machine buying
used than new, and a good dealer is worth their weight in sewing
machine needles when you get a machine problem — often they can
talk you through the problem over the phone. While you're trying
things out, try a couple of machines (sewing only, not combo
sewing-embroidery) over your price limit, just so you can see
what the difference in stitch quality and ease of use might be.
You may find you want to go for the used Cadillac. Or you might
want the new basic Chevy. Might as well try both out.

Suggested reading: John Giordano's The Sewing Machine Book
(especially for used machines), Carol Ahles' Fine Machine Sewing
(especially the first and last few chapters) and Gale Grigg
Hazen's Owner's Guide to Sewing Machines, Sergers and Knitting
Machines. All of these are likely to be available at your public
library.

Used brands I'd particularly look for: Elna, Bernina,
Viking/Husqvarna, Pfaff, Singer (pre 1970), Juki, Toyota

New "bargain brand" I'd probably pick: Janome (who also does
Kenmore).

Filed under Embroidery Library by on . 2 Comments#

3

Besides sewing lighter fabrics, I need to have the ability to sew light and heavy denim.

I am also very interested in any recommendation as to brands, specific models, accessories, etc. that you have found helpful.

The brands I have found locally are Singer and Kenmore.

Any advice and help is sincerely appreciated.

namaste
Not everyone who sews is a seamstress and if you look at my avatar you might well realize I will never be a seamstress in this present manifestation or life time although I might be a tailor.

namaste

Take a look at Kate Dicey's essay on choosing sewing machines at
http://www.katedicey.co.uk (and take a look around at her site…
there are a lot of nice little tutorials there!). The FAQ she
refers to is at http://preview.tinyurl.com/l5rzu6 now.

What I want for beginners in sewing:

– a machine that doesn't scare you

– a machine that isn't balky (cheap new machines are often very
balky or need adjustments often and are rarely repairable — just
too frustrating to learn on!)

– very good straight stitch

– good zigzag (4-5 mm is fine, more than that is gravy)

– a method of making buttonholes that makes sense to you

– adjustable presser foot pressure (which helps some fabric
handling issues)

– accessory presser feet that don't cost an arm and a leg
(machines that use a "short shank foot" typically handle generic
presser feet pretty well. Some brands of machines use proprietary
or very expensive presser feet)

If the budget stretches far enough:

– blindhem and stretch blindhem stitches

– triple zigzag (nice for elastic applications)

– a couple of decorative stitches (you won't use them nearly as
much as you think)

– electronic machine because of the needle position control and
because the stepper motors give you full "punching force" at
slow sewing speeds — mechanical machines often will stall at
slow speeds.

Please go to the best sewing machine dealers around and ask them
to show you some machines in your price range, *especially* used
machines you can afford. You'll get a far better machine at a
specific price buying used than new and a good dealer is worth
their weight in sewing machine needles when you get a machine
problem — often they can talk you through the problem over the
phone. While you're trying things out, try a couple of machines
(sewing only, not combo sewing-embroidery) over your price limit,
just so you can see what the difference in stitch quality and
ease of use might be. You may find you want to go for the used
Cadillac. Or you might want the new basic Chevy. Might as well
try both out.

Suggested reading: John Giordano's The Sewing Machine Book
(especially for used machines), Carol Ahles' Fine Machine Sewing
(especially the first and last few chapters) and Gale Grigg
Hazen's Owner's Guide to Sewing Machines, Sergers and Knitting
Machines. All of these are likely to be available at your public
library.

Used brands I'd particularly look for: Elna, Bernina,
Viking/Husqvarna, Pfaff, Singer (pre 1970), Juki, Toyota

New "bargain brand" I'd probably pick, if new, decent and budget
was my choice: Janome (who also does Kenmore).

Filed under Embroidery Library by on . 3 Comments#

2

I'm new to sewing and don't know too much about it & the machines, but I'm looking for something that will let me do different fonts and adjust the size of the stitching. Hoping for something that's no more than $400.. Would Amazon or perhaps Walmart sell ones like this? Thanks

There are two major methods of machine embroidery — free motion, where you guide the hooped fabric, and can be done on any sewing machine, and computerized, which requires a special machine. I do some free motion embroidery — here's sort of the great grandfather of textbooks of machine embroidery. free motion on a treadle machine: http://archive.org/details/singerinstructio00sing and the best modern book I know of: http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Book-Machine-Embroidery-Creative/dp/0801976480/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1 done just before embroidery machines became commonly available to home sewing.

The other method is computerized embroidery, and there are several types of machines there: combination sewing/embroidery machines like http://www.bernina.com/en-US/Products-us/BERNINA-products-us/BERNINA-Sewing-and-Embroidery-Machines-us/BERNINA-8-Series-us/BERNINA-en (this one was a mere $12.5K when it was first released) or more reasonably, http://www.amazon.com/Brother-SE400-Combination-Computerized-Embroidery/dp/B003AVMZA4/ref=sr_1_1?s=arts-crafts&ie=UTF8&qid=1359239253&sr=1-1 and embroidery only machines like: http://www.amazon.com/Brother-PE770-Embroidery-Memory-Stick-Compatibility/dp/B002MQI2NM/ref=sr_1_2?s=arts-crafts&ie=UTF8&qid=1359239253&sr=1-2 or a multihead (many needles at a time) machine like: http://in.bernina.com/product_detail-n3-i258-sIN.html which sews many colors at the same time, and is typically used by an embroidery business.

Most of the people I know who do computerized machine embroidery have started with a 4×4" hoop combination machine, then discovered that 1) they wanted a bigger hoop and 2) if they didn't have another machine, they couldn't sew while the machine was laboriously stitching out a design. The folks I know who bought embroidery only machines plus a sewing machine didn't pay much more (if any) than the ones who bought a single combination machine, and most of them seem happier with their initial purpose.

On top of the machine, you usually wind up buying several types and weights of embroidery stabilizer, perhaps a digitizing program so you can make your own designs, another program to help convert predigitized designs into a format your machine can use, and thread. Lots and lots of threads. So the machine is only the tip of the iceberg.

If you can, see if you can find a basic machine embroidery class where they supply the machines. There's a fairly steep learning curve at first, I understand, and see if it's something you really want to invest in. Me? I'm happier doing embroidery by hand.

7

I am looking for a small sewing machine that I can use to do repairs (hems and such) and sew small items like cat toys. I don't want anything really fancy or expensive, but I DO want it to work well! Does anyone have any recommendations?

Ask your local sewing machine dealers about what they've got in used machines.

http://www.cet.com/~pennys/faq/smfaq.htm

What I want for beginners in sewing:

– a machine that doesn't scare you
– a machine that isn't balky (cheap new machines are often very
balky or need adjustments often and are rarely repairable —
just too frustrating to learn on!)
– very good straight stitch
– good zigzag (4-5 mm is fine, more than that is gravy)
– a method of making buttonholes that makes sense to you
– adjustable presser foot pressure (which helps some fabric
handling issues)
– accessory presser feet that don't cost an arm and a leg
(machines that use a "short shank foot" typically handle
generic presser feet pretty well. Some brands of machines use
proprietary or very expensive presser feet)

If the budget stretches far enough:

– blindhem and stretch blindhem stitches
– triple zigzag (nice for elastic applications)
– a couple of decorative stitches (you won't use them nearly as
much as you think)
– electronic machine because of the needle position control and
because the stepper motors give you full "punching force" at
slow sewing speeds — mechanical machines often will stall at
slow speeds.

Please go to the best sewing machine dealers around and ask them
to show you some machines in your price range, *especially* used
machines you can afford. You'll get a far better machine buying
used than new, and a good dealer is worth their weight in sewing
machine needles when you get a machine problem — often they can
talk you through the problem over the phone. While you're trying
things out, try a couple of machines (sewing only, not combo
sewing-embroidery) over your price limit, just so you can see
what the difference in stitch quality and ease of use might be.
You may find you want to go for the used Cadillac. Or you might
want the new basic Chevy. Might as well try both out.

Suggested reading: John Giordano's The Sewing Machine Book
(especially for used machines), Carol Ahles' Fine Machine Sewing
(especially the first and last few chapters) and Gale Grigg
Hazen's Owner's Guide to Sewing Machines, Sergers and Knitting
Machines. All of these are likely to be available at your public
library.

Used brands I'd particularly look for: Elna, Bernina,
Viking/Husqvarna, Pfaff, Singer (pre 1970), Juki, Toyota

New "bargain brand" I'd probably pick: Janome (who also does
Kenmore).

Filed under Embroidery Library by on . 7 Comments#

2

In the price range of $300 or less, what is the best sewing machine to buy? Brand name and model specific please. It would be used to create designed stitches, and would like to make button holes but not a must have.

"create designed stitches" is not a phrase I really understand…. are you trying to say that it needs to do embroidery? Or are you saying you need programmable stitch functions? Or are you telling me it will be used for a variety of garments? If you can clarify for me, I'd be happy to try further. Otherwise, here's my advice for first sewing machines:

http://www.cet.com/~pennys/faq/smfaq.htm

What I want for beginners in sewing:

– a machine that doesn't scare you
– a machine that isn't balky (cheap new machines are often very
balky or need adjustments often and are rarely repairable —
just too frustrating to learn on!)
– very good straight stitch
– good zigzag (4-5 mm is fine, more than that is gravy)
– a method of making buttonholes that makes sense to you
– adjustable presser foot pressure (which helps some fabric
handling issues)
– accessory presser feet that don't cost an arm and a leg
(machines that use a "short shank foot" typically handle
generic presser feet pretty well. Some brands of machines use
proprietary or very expensive presser feet)

If the budget stretches far enough:

– blindhem and stretch blindhem stitches
– triple zigzag (nice for elastic applications)
– a couple of decorative stitches (you won't use them nearly as
much as you think)
– electronic machine because of the needle position control and
because the stepper motors give you full "punching force" at
slow sewing speeds — mechanical machines often will stall at
slow speeds.

Please go to the best sewing machine dealers around and ask them
to show you some machines in your price range, *especially* used
machines you can afford. You'll get a far better machine buying
used than new, and a good dealer is worth their weight in sewing
machine needles when you get a machine problem — often they can
talk you through the problem over the phone. While you're trying
things out, try a couple of machines (sewing only, not combo
sewing-embroidery) over your price limit, just so you can see
what the difference in stitch quality and ease of use might be.
You may find you want to go for the used Cadillac. Or you might
want the new basic Chevy. Might as well try both out.

Suggested reading: John Giordano's The Sewing Machine Book
(especially for used machines), Carol Ahles' Fine Machine Sewing
(especially the first and last few chapters) and Gale Grigg
Hazen's Owner's Guide to Sewing Machines, Sergers and Knitting
Machines. All of these are likely to be available at your public
library.

Used brands I'd particularly look for: Elna, Bernina,
Viking/Husqvarna, Pfaff, Singer (pre 1970), Juki, Toyota

New "bargain brand" I'd probably pick: Janome (who also does
Kenmore).

Filed under Embroidery Library by on . 2 Comments#

2

My hubby wants to buy me a sewing machine that is made in the USA and I can't seem to find one. Can anyone help ??? Thanks so much

I believe the only company in the US making sewing machines still is Merrow, and they're industrials — they're inventors of the serger.
http://www.merrow.com

There are some excellent machines out there, though, that are not US made.

You may want to poke around at http://www.patternreview.com 's sewing machine review section when you get your machine choices narrowed. Some of my friends who do machine embroidery prefer to have separate embroidery and sewing machines — they can keep sewing while a design is stitching out. I only do hand and free motion embroidery, so I haven't looked at embroidery machines.

2

I would like to learn how to sew what is a good sewing machine for a beginner?

http://www.cet.com/~pennys/faq/smfaq.htm

What I want for beginners in sewing:

– a machine that doesn't scare you
– a machine that isn't balky (cheap new machines are often very
balky or need adjustments often and are rarely repairable —
just too frustrating to learn on!)
– very good straight stitch
– good zigzag (4-5 mm is fine, more than that is gravy)
– a method of making buttonholes that makes sense to you
– adjustable presser foot pressure (which helps some fabric
handling issues)
– accessory presser feet that don't cost an arm and a leg
(machines that use a "short shank foot" typically handle
generic presser feet pretty well. Some brands of machines use
proprietary or very expensive presser feet)

If the budget stretches far enough:

– blindhem and stretch blindhem stitches
– triple zigzag (nice for elastic applications)
– a couple of decorative stitches (you won't use them nearly as
much as you think)
– electronic machine because of the needle position control and
because the stepper motors give you full "punching force" at
slow sewing speeds — mechanical machines often will stall at
slow speeds.

Please go to the best sewing machine dealers around and ask them
to show you some machines in your price range, *especially* used
machines you can afford. You'll get a far better machine buying
used than new, and a good dealer is worth their weight in sewing
machine needles when you get a machine problem — often they can
talk you through the problem over the phone. While you're trying
things out, try a couple of machines (sewing only, not combo
sewing-embroidery) over your price limit, just so you can see
what the difference in stitch quality and ease of use might be.
You may find you want to go for the used Cadillac. Or you might
want the new basic Chevy. Might as well try both out.

Suggested reading: John Giordano's The Sewing Machine Book
(especially for used machines), Carol Ahles' Fine Machine Sewing
(especially the first and last few chapters) and Gale Grigg
Hazen's Owner's Guide to Sewing Machines, Sergers and Knitting
Machines. All of these are likely to be available at your public
library.

Used brands I'd particularly look for: Elna, Bernina,
Viking/Husqvarna, Pfaff, Singer (pre 1970), Juki, Toyota

New "bargain brand" I'd probably pick, if new was my choice:
Janome (who also does Kenmore).

Filed under Embroidery Library by on . 2 Comments#

6

I don't have a lot of money to spend, so I want to make sure I am at least buying the right brand.

Please, if you want, also mention why, or some pros and cons

Take a look at Kate Dicey's essay on choosing sewing machines at
http://www.katedicey.co.uk (and take a look around at her site…
there are a lot of nice little tutorials there!). The FAQ she
refers to is at http://preview.tinyurl.com/l5rzu6 now.

What I want for beginners in sewing:

– a machine that doesn't scare you

– a machine that isn't balky (cheap new machines are often very
balky or need adjustments often and are rarely repairable — just
too frustrating to learn on!)

– very good straight stitch

– good zigzag (4-5 mm is fine, more than that is gravy)

– a method of making buttonholes that makes sense to you

– adjustable presser foot pressure (which helps some fabric
handling issues)

– accessory presser feet that don't cost an arm and a leg
(machines that use a "short shank foot" typically handle generic
presser feet pretty well. Some brands of machines use proprietary
or very expensive presser feet)

If the budget stretches far enough:

– blindhem and stretch blindhem stitches

– triple zigzag (nice for elastic applications)

– a couple of decorative stitches (you won't use them nearly as
much as you think)

– electronic machine because of the needle position control and
because the stepper motors give you full "punching force" at
slow sewing speeds — mechanical machines often will stall at
slow speeds.

Please go to the best sewing machine dealers around and ask them
to show you some machines in your price range, *especially* used
machines you can afford. You'll get a far better machine at a
specific price buying used than new and a good dealer is worth
their weight in sewing machine needles when you get a machine
problem — often they can talk you through the problem over the
phone. While you're trying things out, try a couple of machines
(sewing only, not combo sewing-embroidery) over your price limit,
just so you can see what the difference in stitch quality and
ease of use might be. You may find you want to go for the used
Cadillac. Or you might want the new basic Chevy. Might as well
try both out.

Suggested reading: John Giordano's The Sewing Machine Book
(especially for used machines), Carol Ahles' Fine Machine Sewing
(especially the first and last few chapters) and Gale Grigg
Hazen's Owner's Guide to Sewing Machines, Sergers and Knitting
Machines. All of these are likely to be available at your public
library.

Used brands I'd particularly look for: Elna, Bernina,
Viking/Husqvarna, Pfaff, Singer (pre 1970), Juki, Toyota

New "bargain brand" I'd probably pick, if new, decent and budget
was my choice: Janome (who also does Kenmore).

Incoming search terms:

  • pros and cons for singer sewing machine plus 1

Filed under Embroidery Library by on . 6 Comments#