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A Beginner's Guide to Sewing

by Nicholas Myers on June 15, 2021
Sewing is a craft that has been around for centuries, and it's still going strong today. It's an activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, and it's something you can do in your spare time, with friends, or as part of a hobby. Sewing is also a great way to save money on clothes and other items. With this beginner's guide to sewing, we'll cover the basics of what you need to get started, as well as some tips for sewing on your own.

Picture of a woman learning how to sew

Sewing Machines: The Basics

Sewing machines are a staple in many households, as they are used for everything from sewing clothes to repairing curtains. Sewing machines are simple machines that use a needle and thread to stitch fabric together. Sewing machines come in many shapes and sizes, but most have a few things in common. The machine will have a needle that moves up and down, a bobbin that holds the thread, and a foot pedal to control the speed of the needle. Some sewing machines also have a built-in light so you can see what you're doing.

Sewing Machines: Types and Brands

Sewing machines vary in price and complexity. More expensive models can do much more, including embroidery and quilting. A good starter machine will cost between $149-$500. The most basic sewing machine will have a straight stitch, zigzag stitch, and maybe a buttonhole function. There are plenty of different types of sewing machines, but for the sake of this blog post, we'll be focusing on those that strictly sew. You can check out our other guides if quilting or embroidery is more of your thing. Before we go further, it's essential to understand that sewing machines are classified by what type of power the motor supplies. 

 

  • Mechanical sewing machines are the old standard and how sewing first got it's start. Forget computer chips & memory, these machines work just like you'd think. They remind us of simpler times, and they are fairly simple to understand.
  • Computerized sewing machines offer more features and can be easier to use than mechanical sewing machines. Many even allow for decorative stitches, or even full alphabet sewing to piece letters together to form words or phrases. Typically, you'll have a better experiences to adjust stitch width & length, control the speed, and view presets with the built-in display interface.

To shop all, click here ---> https://myerssewing.com/collections/machines

Sewing Machine Features

Sewing machines come with a variety of features, and it's important to know what you need before making a purchase. For example, if you're looking for something that can sew through thick layers of fabric, then you need a heavy duty sewing machine.

Our most affordable machine can handle the toughest of fabrics - even up to a layer of real leather! See it here:

---> https://myerssewing.com/collections/machines/products/zest

Needle Threader

If you are sewing and you have a needle threader, it will make your life so much easier. A needle threader is a device that is used to thread the eye of a needle with a single piece of thread. The threader is usually made of wire and is shaped like a loop. You can make a needle threader by bending a wire hanger into the shape of a U. What's even better is what we call a built-in needle threader. These are by far the most convenient and the most reliable.

Take a tour of the Baby Lock Jubilant - it's the first in our lineup to pack a built-in needle threader.

---> https://myerssewing.com/collections/machines/products/jubilant

Sewing Machine Parts & Accessories

  • Needles: The most important part of any sewing machine, the needle is what creates the stitch. Without it, you're just moving gears! Sewing machine needles come in different sizes and shapes, so be sure to use the right needle for your project.
  • Bobbins: The bobbin is a small circular disc (either plastic or metal) that rests inside the lower shaft of the sewing machine. It assists in part with the top thread to form a loop. Different machines load bobbins either in the front, the side, or on top. Specific bobbins work with specific machines. We always recommend checking your instruction manual to see which bobbins your machine takes before making the mistake of choosing the wrong kind.
  • Feed Dogs: These are the little teeth on the bottom of the machine that pull fabric forward. The needle is located in the throat of the sewing machine, which is the space between the presser foot and the needle. The needle is connected to a thread spool that is usually mounted on the top cover of the machine. Some are vertical and some are horizontal.
  • Scissors: Scissors are used to cut fabric or thread. Large scissors are better for cutting fabric and shorter, or smaller scissors are better for snipping threads.
  • Pins: Pins are used to hold fabric in place while you sew it together. They can also be used to mark a pattern on your fabric before you start sewing, or they can be used as a form of decoration on the finished project.
  • Ruler: A ruler is a straight edge that can be used to measure and draw straight lines on your fabric. It can also be used to measure the length and width of seams when you are sewing them together.

Thread

Thread is the lifeblood of sewing, but it's easy to get confused about what thread is best for a specific project. Some threads are stronger than others, and some are more appropriate for heavier fabrics.

 

  • Polyester - great all-purpose thread.
  • Cotton - mainly used when quilting or matching cotton fabric.
  • Industrial - when you need the strongest fibers, look no further.

Sewing Machine Feet

The sewing machine foot is the metal attachment that attaches to the bottom of your sewing machine. It provides a flat surface for the fabric to be sewn on. There are many different types of feet available for your sewing machine, depending on the type of sewing you plan on doing. For example, there are just straight stitch feet, zigzag feet, buttonhole feet, and even overcasting feet so you can disguise the look of a frayed hem. The foot you need depends on what type of sewing you want to do.

Sewing Machine Care & Maintenance

Your sewing machine is a precision instrument, and like any precision instrument, it needs regular maintenance. The most important thing you can do to maintain your sewing machine is to clean it regularly. A good rule of thumb is to clean the machine and replace the needle after every 10 hours of use. You can also periodically take your machine apart and use a vacuum cleaner to get out any dust or lint that has accumulated inside. Other things that should be done periodically are oiling your machine and changing the needle. Sewing machine maintenance is an important part of sewing. It is often overlooked, but it can make the difference between a smooth sewing experience and one that is frustrating and difficult.

For a FREE evaluation, you can visit our Sales & Service Location (3770 E. La Salle St. Colorado Springs, CO 80909.) We'd be happy to help you ensure your sewing is ready for the next project! Cheers 🥂

    2 comments
    by Nick Myers on June 17, 2021

    Hey Donna,

    I’ve passed your feedback off to our Education Team so in the coming weeks we will start to think about how we can provide this for you. Make sure you sign up for our email list to be alerted about new classes & events. Additionally, you can click on “Classes & Events” at the top of our website to see our current calendar.

    by Donna Banks on June 17, 2021

    Is there a possibilities of having classes to show how to read patterns, maybe make a simple pattern from an existing garment, make a basic dress (not a project like you have for the kids).? I’ve been wanting to learn how to sew for years but can’t find anywhere to teach me. Most classes are focused on quilts and assume sewing skills are already known

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