My favorite Christmas gift this year was my new sewing machine. Already, I feel like it is saving me a great deal of time and love its features. Having a computerized machine, compared to the basic one I was using before, has significantly cut down the amount of time I spend on a project and spend troubleshooting problems.
I’ve been sewing somewhat regularly now for about a year now, originally using my mom’s basic/no-frills Singer. I feel like I’m still a beginner, but I’m getting braver in trying new techniques and starting to feel more comfortable in the process. In light of my new piece of equipment and the work I’ve done thus far, I want to highlight a few tips for anyone starting out with sewing that I’ve picked up along the way.
1 – Regardless of which sewing machine you have – read the user manual. Try techniques in it. Know how to properly troubleshoot it, maintain it, and make adjustments. With a lot of things, I feel like the user manuals are worthless and get tossed aside. However, with both sewing machines that I’ve been working with, I’ve referenced the user manual almost every time I’ve worked on a project. It’s time-consuming at first, but it will help you in the long run.
2 – Don’t break the bank on fabric. I almost always get my fabric from the “sale” bin of remnant pieces, and have found some great fabric that way. The best part of it is, it is always discounted and the inventory changes daily, so check the remnant bin every chance you get for some good finds.
3 – Get a few good basic tools for starting off.
Sewing shears: do not use them on paper, it will dull them. I bought a really good pair several year ago and they still do a great job.
Straight Pins: If you are hoping to do a lot of quilting or other projects that involve a lot of ironing, get glass head straight pins. If not, the regular ones will work just fine.
Rotary Cutter & Cutting Mat: I received one for my birthday last year and it makes such a difference in being able to properly make straight cuts.
Seam Ripper: I use mine a lot ;). It’s a must have!
Quilting Ruler: This is needed when using the rotary cutter.
Heat n Bond: A must have if you want to do any sort of applique work.
If you are looking to add a few other tools to your sewing “toolbox”, I recommend the following:
Pinking Shears: A lesson in looking “cool” at the fabric or craft store, these shears are the ones who do the “zig-zag cutting.” Do not actually ask for “those scissors that cut in a zig-zag” and just ask where the Pinking Shears are. (Hey, don’t judge, I’m still learning) I have used these for added details on some projects, especially for baby gifts.
Binding Buddy Ruler: Great for cutting strips for binding for quilts. I have also used that technique on non-quilting projects, so it has been pretty handy to have.
Ironing Accessory Pad: It’s pretty awesome
Quilting Square: It saves a lot of time when trying to make a bunch of uniform squares.
Marking Pen: I love this one, as it has disappearing ink and washable ink
Pre-Wound Bobbins: It’s ridiculous, but I despise winding up bobbins. Given that they sell them pre-wound, I’m going to guess I’m not the only one :).
Hopefully, I can post some of my latest projects up soon!