Sewing Machine buying

I’m going to say something that may be counter intuitive to my ethos: Don’t buy that sewing machine.

What?! I thought she was a sewing teacher and trying to get more folks sewing.

I am and I do with a caveat.

A pair of white hands steady a fabric as it is fed through a red and white Bernini sewing machine
A student using my now “vintage” Bernina

I don’t want you to buy the mini sewing machine or that hand held glorified thread stapler machine, if you want to hem something yourself (instead of pay the dry cleaners or a seamstress like myself) you are better off doing it by hand then trying to make those things work. Glue and Iron on tape only work if the item is not going to be heated again, and if that works for you don’t forget to press with a scrap cloth/parchment paper or teflon pressing mat. Glue on the iron is a PITA!

A grey haired femme stands behind a short haired kid at a white sewing machine helping them guide a roll of fabric to be stitched.
Teaching all kiddos how to run a sewing machine can unlock their creativity

If you want to gift a machine to a budding sewing or fiber artists there are entry level machine in the 100-200 dollar range, they will be fine for a few years or less but FYI servicing/fixing them will most often be the cost of a new machine. Vacume shops that sell and repair machines sometimes have used sewing machines if new isn’t an option, as do garage and estate sales but then you have to pay to have it serviced if it’s not working. 

I don’t tell you this to talk you out of it, I WANT to get more people sewing. Here is what I want you to do:

  • Find your local sewing machine dealer, these will probably be more aspriational machines, as the price points are much higher. Ask if they sell used or trade in’s. Often the shop offers classes with new machines a win win. 
  • Find your local vaccume sales and repair shop(s) and ask if they sell sewing machines new and used, you could score a great deal and know it’s been cleaned, oiled and serviced. 

You might notice I didn’t suggest any big box craft retailer other than Costco (due to their return policy), it’s because they aren’t focusing on machine sales anymore. Sure they sell machines, but some of these retailers used to have dealerships inside their doors with folks who know what the uptake hook is and why you thread the machine with the presser foot up. Often you have a sewing superstar behind the cutting counter but I can’t always count on it.

I want to set you up for success not frustration at a dead end. The folks who know sewing machines are a specialized bunch who are often behind a machine. If you are lucky enough to have a machine head at your local store treat them well, it’s not easy working craft retail.

So get out there find you or your loved one a new or new to you machine and get stitching! If you need a little help threading you can always watch my machine threading video here.

May your bobbin always be full signature sign off

Off to Craftcation

Have you ever thought about selling at craft fairs or online but really wanted a friend or someone to help guide the way?

Craftcation is a long weekend in April every year (we shall not talk about '19-21 those were hard years for everyone) in Ventura, CA at the beach Marriot. It's part craft vacation and part business school.  The link below is the write up I did after my first trip there. It was amazing the motel 6 less so but it was my only option at the time.

A woman reaches up to look at a pennant banner hanging over a double hotel room. there are quilts and pillows on the bed made by a quilt guild
One of the wanderings room in 2019, a night of curated hotel rooms
A group of women with yellow lanyards sit on a hotel lounge u shaped couch and are smiling at the camera.
This is just the crafting group from Los Angeles in 2019

I am heading back there this weekend, and while we are still in the midst of a global crisis we have the proper mitigation strategies in place for the local health authorities, and hope for the best. I am so grateful for the community the organizers and volunteers work so hard to make possible.

A woman with teal hair and earrings takes an overhead shot on the second floor of a large group of people in the lobby of a hotel
2019 Jess Griffin taking the conference group shot, I think I was in class in the secret classroom

While I am SURE there will be differences and changes to this year’s experience, I am so excited to be back in the creative energy of the conference. From social media, business topics to how to use a Gelli plate the weekend has so many things to offer it’s attendees.

Where and what do you do to recharge your creative batteries?

May your bobbin always be full signature sign off