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Learning to use a sewing machine?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by ROSIEGIRL, Sep 23, 2020.


    ROSIEGIRL Lead commenter

    I haven't used a sewing machine since I was about 11, which is a very long time ago. And I was rubbish at it then.

    What are the chances of me being better at it now? Are modern machines more user friendly? Am I likely to be any better at sewing in a straight line?

    I fancy having a go at something creative during the coming (long, boring) winter months and it just appeals. I don't want to make clothes, but would like to be able to make cushion covers, hem curtains and little craft-type projects.

    Any advice or suggestions for alternative outlets for my rather limited arty/crafty talents? And not crochet, please - can't stand the end product!

  2. angiebabe

    angiebabe Occasional commenter

    @ROSIEGIRL I would definitely urge you to have a go with a sewing machine. You don’t need to buy anything too complicated (unless you feel confident to learn). There are so many things to make - just look on Pinterest. You can buy swatches of fabric called ‘fat quarters’ which are really for quilting I believe but they’re a perfect size for making a variety of things and they come in a beautiful array of co-ordinating patterns and colours.
    Before I moved to be nearer my daughter and family I belonged to a sewing/craft group that met one Saturday a month were we taught each other skills, not just sewing. It was the best day of the month for me as I lived on my own and although I had lots of friends I needed that outlet to be creative. I could send you pictures of things I’ve made if you want.
    Lara mfl 05 and ROSIEGIRL like this.
  3. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    My neighbour has a family of six and she has been making face masks herself with a sewing machine. I like that idea-the sudden surge n requirement for a mask has brought all the trappings of thoughtless consumerism-stupid profiteering, lots of rubbish, and disposable ones which are just a waste of resources.
    She got the pattern online and adjusted the sizes for her kids, which i also think is nice. She made the nose part slightly bigger* and says they are more comfortable than shop bought.
    You can make two sorts of mask if you're not confident with the machine-the simplest is simply a three or five way pleat with bands sewn on, and more fiddly is a fitted one to sit breathably over your nose down to chin level.
    There you go-make washable, comfortable masks.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2020
    Lara mfl 05 and ROSIEGIRL like this.
  4. sparklepig2002

    sparklepig2002 Star commenter

    Your sewing group sound such fun! I'd love to see pictures of what you've made. I bought a sewing machine a couple of years ago and am always looking for new ideas. I also like projects that don't take too long to complete. Thank you in advance.

    I 've just bought some Christmas material and have started to make these for little Christmas gifts for friends.

    Last edited: Sep 23, 2020
  5. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    Modern machines can be had for £60 at Hobbycraft and they're probably a bit faster and more powerful than the last one you used.
    Be sure to read the manual and watch any videos to be sure you get the tension and settings right, and pay attention to how the bobbin (bottom thread) is threaded. Any old sheets, teatowels and pillow cases are great to practise on.
  6. Nellyfuf2

    Nellyfuf2 Lead commenter

    Do it. Modern machines are easy and fun. You'll be fine.
    Lara mfl 05 and ROSIEGIRL like this.
  7. hplovegame48

    hplovegame48 Occasional commenter

    I would echo Aquamarina1234's advice. I would also suggest you have a look at FB for sewing groups - they are a mine of information and advice. Buy a cheap, modern machine to get going and practice. You will make mistakes so don't beat yourself up.
    I speak as someone who makes and sells clothing based on vintage patterns-and started with zero knowledge.
    ROSIEGIRL likes this.
  8. lapinrose

    lapinrose Star commenter

    I trained to teach Home Economics and did O and A level needlework, getting an A pass in each one. PM me if you need any help, but definitely practice sewing straight and curved lines. You can do this on paper with an unthreaded machine or on odd bits of fabric, eg old clothes.I would recommend using the paper first as you can follow the lines and check on how spot on you were.
    If you're getting a first machine, you probably only need straight and zig-zag stitching. Some machines do have a lot of embroidery stitches added, but a basic machine may include a few embroidery stitches and enable you to so buttonholes..
    Good luck and pm me if you need any help. The first 2 on the link below will give you an idea.

    Last edited: Sep 23, 2020
    ROSIEGIRL likes this.

    ROSIEGIRL Lead commenter

    Thank you for the encouragement and practical advice!

    I've just been looking at Hobbycraft for ideas and to tempt me to take the plunge!

    Thoughts on machines?

    There's the Hobbycraft Midi at £50 or Brother basic ones, up to about £80?
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2020
    Lidnod likes this.
  10. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I agree, get yourself a cheap basic machine and see how things go. Then if you take to it, you can always get a machine to do other things in the future.
    ROSIEGIRL likes this.
  11. lunarita

    lunarita Lead commenter

    What end product? (There are so many possible end products, I'm sure they can't all be repellent to you!)
    ROSIEGIRL likes this.
  12. lunarita

    lunarita Lead commenter

    I recently bought my first sewing maching, having not used one since Home Ec classes probably in Y9 at the latest. I have been surprised at how easy it is to use.

    I remember horrible looping / temsion problems - that doesn't happen. New ones are miles lighter as well.

    There are loads of places to look for patterns and ideas. Unlike you, I am hoping to make clothes - but school started back just as I was getting the hang of it and now I have no time....
    Lidnod, Lara mfl 05 and ROSIEGIRL like this.
  13. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    I last used a sewing machine when a young boy of 9,My mother taught me.
    I next used a sewing machine when I was 70 to help my Mrs with her craftwork. I managed and relearnt quickly as the basics were not to bad. Now I make teddies,tote bags, simple garments, repairs, Christmas decs, headbands some table clothes, fsce masks and othe subdry things,
    Take heart, you can do it!
    Lots of videos on youtube if you search,
    Nanny Ogg, Lara mfl 05 and ROSIEGIRL like this.
  14. angiebabe

    angiebabe Occasional commenter

    CCE2DB9A-CEBD-4354-916B-4D76607715E5.jpeg Some of my masks, I must have made 50/60 by now.
  15. sparklepig2002

    sparklepig2002 Star commenter

    Well done, Angibabe. You have used some pretty fabric there. Functional and fashionable. :)
    smoothnewt, Lidnod and Lara mfl 05 like this.

    ROSIEGIRL Lead commenter

    And now my daughters have suggested they buy me the machine for my impending birthday. :)

    ROSIEGIRL Lead commenter

    My apologies to crocheters - sorry, but I've yet to see anything crocheted that I'd actually want. I'm happy to be proved wrong though!
  18. lunarita

    lunarita Lead commenter

    There's more to crochet than doilies, runners and loo roll covers. And jumpers you'd never wear.

    I mainly crochet clothes, for myself, but admit to having made these for bro and nephew (with no real expectation that they'd ever wear them)
    ROSIEGIRL likes this.

    ROSIEGIRL Lead commenter

    I take it all back! :p
    lunarita likes this.
  20. JessicaCampbell74UWZ

    JessicaCampbell74UWZ New commenter

    I know that sewing is not for me. that's why I admire people who can sew!
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.

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