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

The Washi Dress

This dress is one of my favorite garments in my closet. It’s busy but in the repeating black chevrons hides a peek of fuchsia and the pockets hold EVERYTHING. This is the Washi Dress from Made by Rae patterns. I have tested a few patterns for Rae in the past but purchased this pattern.

The pattern is very easy but for a beginning sewing person there are a few skills you learn while putting this together, like how to work with elastic thread in your bobbin or how to burrito method your lining fabric. I did a quick video of it here.

Hints of fuchsia with the chevrons.

For this being my first go with the pattern I also gave it a full bust adjustment, here is my video of how I do a FBA. I know that Rae will be releasing more sizes for the Washi so this may be an obsolete alteration for some in the future. I really love this dress in the lightweight cotton lawn from the now gone The Fabric Store LA, it was just a bit see thru so I lined the bodice and to about the knee with white cotton batiste. Up next is a top I made with the altered pattern and the Washi Expansion pack….

Feeling very Twin Peaks in this dress and I’m loving it.
May your bobbin always be full signature sign off

Reading to kids stories about sewing

I still read bedtime stories to my kids, they share a bedroom so sometimes the books we read start with board books and end with a few pages of Harry Potter. I love books and the library, while I no longer horde books like I horde fabrics, books give me a comfort and soothing similar to sewing. I wanted to share some of my love of sewing with my children at bedtime, I found an extra bonus because some of the books gave us some history or dealt with overcoming fears. Continue reading “Reading to kids stories about sewing”