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

Using a basic block EasyT to create a dress

I was gifted the class the EasyT by a few years ago. I created woven and knit teeshirts and dresses cut to my own measurements. When my mind wandered to caftans thanks to the hashtag Caftans and cocktails it came up with a shape I couldn’t quite find in a store bought or indie designer pdf. I began looking at that self drafted block and wondered, What IF I…..

Go to Zede and Mallory’s blog to read how I turned a simple block into this.

Lauren looking at camera with hands in pocket of self drafted pool or beach dress in white cotton

Sewing for kids: The Marieke Playsuit

I recently acquired a new indie sewing pattern from France, the Marieke Jumpsuit from At ikatee there are lovely makes for kids and women. I rarely sew for my kids anymore. They are such opinionated little style makers that it’s hard to give them what they want when they want it. Sometimes they just want something in a fabric I’m not a fan of and that makes it harder for me to say yes. I know that might make me a fabric snob, but I know that a printed quilting cotton in just an “ok” substrate isn’t going to be as comfortable as a double gauze. They don’t know what substrate means or proper hand, so bit by bit I try to teach them, and bite my tongue when the dig their stylish heels in.

Image of young child in a floral jumpsuit with lime green pocket and shoulder ruffles in front of a blue green cabinet.

This jumpsuit was my idea, not something the little one picked out. I saw how cute all the variations were and just thought it would be a great summer make for all our outings. I printed out a size seven and pulled out fabrics from my stash that could make a wearable muslin, knowing she requested another fabric. I made a few adjustments, a tiny bit more room in the belly and bum but that was it. I think it’s quite stylish as a first run. It would be so lovely in a double gauze or with some color blocking in the bodice top and bottoms.

Image of a young child looking over her shoulder with a floral jumpsuit with a lime green waist band and shoulder ruffle standing in font of a blue green cabinet doors.

The instructions were very well written and it works up pretty fast. The waistband in the contrast chartreuse is actually a tube the elastic is fed through and could even be a drawstring if you add button holes. I love how easy it is to assemble and not fiddly like folding over and stitching in the ditch. Sleeveless with a ruffle was cute and it would be just as cute without. I just realized I could make a version with my pink pearl snaps that didn’t work for my Harrison button down a year or two ago. YAY!

Up next is to make it in a black and pink plaid with cute skulls, she is so my kid.

Close up image of a front button placket with bubble machine embroidery stitches and lime green waistband
May your bobbin always be full signature sign off