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Thinking about learning to sew.

9 replies to this topic

#1 hotsonfornowhere

Posted 09 July 2017 - 02:55 PM

Once a year or so I get it in my head that I would love to learn how to sew.

I have nobody to teach me, and live rurally with no support so I have no chance to go to any lessons, I figured I would use books/tutorials/youtube.

Before considering it seriously though, I was after advice on what equipment would be required straight up.

Clearly a machine, but I'm guessing other accessories as well?

Also, what would be the best/cheapest machine to start with? I wouldn't want to spend a heap and find out I'm hopeless at it :lol: But also, I would like to try and avoid upgrading (I wouldn't imagine that I would be doing anything too fancy with it).


#2 ~LemonMyrtle~

Posted 09 July 2017 - 04:14 PM

I learned to sew on a very ancient Janome that only had about 6 stitches. But it was good to learn that way. Kept it simple. I am still not an expert though, but I can take up pants and make basic things.

I now own a new janome that is just above the base model, has maybe 50 stitches but all I ever use is a straight stitch, and sometimes its zig zag overlocking stitch. I think you should buy a very basic machine in a good brand, it will last a lifetime then hopefully.

If you're a bit handy then sometimes op-shops sell sewing machines second hand. They generally need a good service though to get them working. You can usually get machines serviced at craft/sewing shops. Might be a cheap way to get started, then invest in a better machine once you know what you want.

Aldi also sell a decent sewing machine once a year. My mum has one, it's fine, noisy, but does the job.

Many sewing stores and spotlight stores run sewing classes, would be a good idea at first, when you buy your machine, to book in a lesson at the same place to learn how to use it. Then you can use you tube and books to expand your skills.

Other things you need is a good quick unpick and some good fabric scissors, needles, cotton in a few colours, black, navy and white are a good start, lots of pins, a tape measure. You can get a decent starters kit from most craft stores.

#3 AnotherFeral

Posted 09 July 2017 - 05:59 PM

I agree with getting a basic machine. You'll want straight stitch, reverse and zig zag at a minimum - most machines will have more than this but don't be swayed by lots of fancy stitches as you are unlikely to use them. A mechanical Janome from a sewing store would be good if you are buying new. There's nothing wrong with second hand, either, but you'd have to make sure it's in good shape and that might hard to judge for a novice.
YouTube is great for tutorials and machine reviews.
Start with testing out stitches and settings on scrap fabric (e.g. cut up an old sheet). Stick to plain woven fabric at first, rather than knit/tshirt fabric. Happy sewing.

#4 EmmDasher

Posted 09 July 2017 - 09:16 PM

Basic janome for the win. It's all I have and it does everything I've ever needed.

What do you want to sew?

#5 hotsonfornowhere

Posted 10 July 2017 - 07:26 PM

I'm not quite sure yet! Some dresses and skirts for me hopefully. I ended up buying a Singer online last night :eek:

#6 **Tiger*Filly**

Posted 10 July 2017 - 07:58 PM

Congratulations on taking the plunge OP! I often read people talking about buying a machine that will last a very long time but I personally prefer the idea that it doesnt have to last for ever, it's perfectly ok to buy  a reasonably cheap machine and upgrade when you're ready and know what you want.
There's a big international sewing community on Instagram of you're looking for inspiration and sharing your makings. Try these hashtags #sewing #sewcialists #sewist #memade
There are lots of sewing bloggers and vloggers too. Usually whatever technique you need help with there will be video tips on YouTube or sewalongs on people's blogs.

#7 DirtyStreetPie

Posted 10 July 2017 - 11:33 PM

View Posthotsonfornowhere, on 10 July 2017 - 07:26 PM, said:

I'm not quite sure yet! Some dresses and skirts for me hopefully. I ended up buying a Singer online last night :eek:

I'm really excited for you, OP! :)

I started learning last year, and now I'm obsessed. Here are some ideas that might help you:

* I noticed that you've two kids, and one on the way (congratulations!). This means that you are likely very busy and have little time to yourself. So, if you have the space, set up a sewing area (a desk or one corner of the dining table will do) so you don't have to keep putting away your sewing stuff. When you only have short pockets of free time, having to unpack your sewing supplies every single day can be a bit of an impediment to learning.

* If possible, have an easy setup for ironing. I always have my ironing board ready to go. But if you don't have space, don't worry - my mum never had an ironing board; she just put towels on the dining table and off she went. The reason for this is that dressmaking involves a crazy amount of ironing; you get beautiful results when you press your seams before moving onto the next step, so it's good to have your iron handy. Some people do not press their seams, but if I'm going to all that effort, I'd like the best-looking results possible!

* Sign up for the email newsletters for the sewing retailers you're interested in. This way, you'll always know when fabric, thread, needles, etc are on special. I've signed up for Lincraft, Spotlight, fabric.com and HobbySew.

* Everyone learns differently. Some people do not find online courses useful, but I love them. The first course I took was with Tilly and the Buttons, and I'm also enrolled in a bunch of Craftsy courses. If you want to save money, sign up for a Craftsy account; every few months, they have a special where all their courses are under US$20 each, and you'll find out via email.

* If you're ever stuck, Google it! I do this just about every day hehe.

* Have a little bin, or a sturdy bag, near/under your table. This way, you can quickly sweep fabric scraps and little bits of thread into the bin so they don't end up on the floor. Every single seam leaves thread tails that need to be cut off!

I hope you enjoy your new hobby. Please keep us updated on how you like your new machine! :)

#8 JaneMummy

Posted 10 July 2017 - 11:57 PM

Hi OP,  sewing is awesome!

In regards to a machine, anything has straight stitch and zigzag is great.

In regards to additional equipment: a decent pair of scissors (JUST for sewing), pins, an ironing board/iron, and a space to layout patterns/material (I use the floor or a table).  For tracing patterns I use a sharpie, for tracing paper you can use paper, newspaper, baking paper, anything you like.  I use a thicker, transparent paper as it is more durable and I tend to use the same patterns a lot.  Some people use interfacing which I've heard works well.

With young kids what I find works the best is set up your sewing stuff in the middle of a play pen.  Everything can stay set up, you can see the kids and they can't get to all the sharp, dangerous sewing stuff.

Edited by JaneMummy, 10 July 2017 - 11:59 PM.

#9 talopine

Posted 11 July 2017 - 12:08 AM

Woven fabrics are good to start on, but knit fabrics actually aren't that scary -- there are a bunch of good tutorials online that go through how to sew knits. The bonus with knits is that they're nice and drapey, so you don't need them to be as accurate in the fit of the garment.

Someone above mentioned you have small children -- kids' and babies' clothes are great to practise with -- they don't use much fabric so they are cheap and quick to make, and the fashion victims -- I mean, lucky recipients -- don't care if they look kinda wonky :D

#10 hotsonfornowhere

Posted 11 July 2017 - 07:00 AM

Thank you so much for all the replies! I'm rather excited :D The tips are very handy, we have a tiny house, with soon to be three boys so I'm already trying to plan where I can stash everything :D As long as I make some things with dinosaurs/animals on them I will have willing victims :lol: Although they would probably like some "princess" dresses and tutus as well :)

Edited by hotsonfornowhere, 11 July 2017 - 07:09 AM.

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