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Topic: Any help welcome for a new girl please  (Read 725 times)
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« on: December 17, 2005 04:19:17 PM »

Hello, I've been looking around the site for a while, checking lots out but I find everything a bit daunting. I'm getting a sewing machine for Christmas and haven't used one for a couple of years. I've also never followed a pattern in my life, the only sewing I've done was at school with little instruction and basically did whatever held the two pieces of fabric together. I mean, I could use it, but I don't really know how to make stuff look as amazing as it all does now. So I was basically wondering if anyone had some tips of what I could start out with, and any must need buys or anything else. I can't do much else sewingy except cross stitch. Well thanks everyone for all the great inspiration on this site.
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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2005 05:04:32 PM »

you might try the lined zipper pouch tutorial...also there are alot of cute and pretty easy purses and clutches with tutorials on here!  circle skirts are easy-peasy!  there are alot of tutorials on here to choose from!  have fun with it!

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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2005 05:30:10 PM »

Once you get your sewing machine, just start trying things! Many of the things on here were the product of someone just playing around with some scraps of material. Dont be afraid to mess up and you'll be surprised at what you can do!

and Welcome to Craftster! I hope to see some things you've made!

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« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2005 08:06:13 AM »

Here are my "Must Have" Items:

Sewing Machine
Needles (new one for every project)
Thread (not cheap dollar store stuff)
Fabric Scissors (never for paper)
Thread scissors (never for paper, small pair)


Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing

search google for free sewing patterns and you will get tons of things. 

Personally I believe that patterns are the easiest to learn from.  Especially Simplicity patterns.  They are cheap and they have great instructions. When you understand the basics you can move on to vogue or mccalls patterns which tend to be nicer and better fitting (at least for me).


Michelle Giordano


« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2005 08:25:25 AM »

Thanks guys, I need to get some fabric scissors think I have alot of other things, I'm not going to buy any patterns until I've learnt how to use my sewing machine it has something like 40 stitchs which sure sounds fun
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2005 11:15:16 PM »

As has been mentioned before, you'll need a good pair of scissors. This is the one item you don't want to get thrifty with because a good quality pair of scissors will make ALL the difference in what you make (a sub-par pair of scissors can leave you with snags and tears in your fabric, will cut unevenly, and that will show in the finished project). Not only that, but a good pair will actually save you money (no wasted fabric, and you won't have to replace them constantly). Ok, enough about scissors.

You'll also want many, many needles, because it's best to toss your needle after every project (a dull needle can ruin your sewing machine).

Large headed pins are also very useful, especially in different colors (because dark pins are easier to see on light fabric, and light pins easier to see on dark fabric. It just makes life easier).

Not related to supplies or projects, but probably the most important of all, is to clean your sewing machine regularly. 90% of machine problems can be traced to improper maintainance. When I first started sewing, I lost a very good machine because I wasn't aware of how important this is.

As for projects, the absolute easiest thing to start with is a-line skirts. All you need to do is sew two pieces of fabric together. And if the fabric has a little give, you won't need to add elastic, zippers, or any sort of closure. I can make an a-line in about 30 minutes (from cut to finish). They really are that simple.

Halter tops are also absurdly easy.

I make all my own clothes (which aren't only a-lines and halters), and I never learned to use a pattern. In fact, the company I worked for hired me specifically because I had never learned to use them (the theory being they stifle creativity and the only thing you learn from them is how to cut on the lines). If you don't want to use patterns, then don't. Instead, get comfortable with ripping garments you like apart to see how it's done, and then either do it that way or a way you think will be easier/better. One thing you'll see running rampant in the fashion industry is people who don't know (or care how to) use traditional patterns.

Another thing, feel free to buy thread colors you use a lot of (like white and black) in bulk at discount stores (like dollar stores, usually four for a dollar). Most design houses and seamstresses do this because they know there's little to no difference except packaging and price. Almost everyone I've worked with does this, myself included, and I've never seen a problem.

Above all else, experiment and have fun. Don't worry about making mistakes (everyone, no matter how long they've been at it, makes mistakes. It's how you learn).
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2005 01:33:04 AM »

Ditto to good scissors. If you don't want to invest $$$ off the bat, get a pair of Fiskars and really use them *only* for fabric. Or, check around your house to see if you have a well made, but dull, pair of shears and then just get them sharpened (again, for use only on fabric). I'd also get plenty of extra bobbins (of the type that fit your sewing machine, so you can quickly sew using another color/type of thread) and a magnetic pincushion, which is like a shallow small bowl with a strong magnet embedded in it, so the pins are attracted. That lets you work a lot faster, because 1) you don't have to spend 30min picking up if you knock over your tin of pins, 2) you can "sweep" up any loose pins with it after you work, and 3)you don't have to be as precise as with an acual "cushion", you can just pitch pins at it when you're done with them  (one by one, when sewing a seam).  That may sound totally silly, but the logic will make more sense when you've been at the sewing a bit w/your machine. Good luck!!
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2005 11:38:01 AM »

I'm a born-again sewer too. I've only ever followed one pattern and that was for a high school sewing class. I've never had a machine but I just bought one for myself the other day. The simple, no pattern projects I'm starting with are:

-catnip filled square sacks/ pillows (the cats LOVE these, I swear my cats are catnip junkies)
-an apron

Then I'm going to do a bigger, major project like a cat bed.

Some tools:
-sissors (I read you can sharpen them by cutting up a fine grain piece of sand paper)
-seam ripper (yeah, I used it a couple times on my apron when I accidentally sewed over 3 pieces of fabric instead of 2, heh. These come in REAL handy)
-multiple sized needles (I bought this cool multi-colored thread and realized when I got home that it required a heavy needle, luckily my sewing machine came with 2 of each size needle!)
-pins and pin cushin (I'm currently using a little stuffed animal but I plan to make one of those wrist cushins)

Since you're a new sewer, I'll point out that you need to buy your needles and bobbins for your particular machine. They have numbers that correlate. (This is one of those things sales people forget to tell you and then you waste a bunch of money on the wrong type needles).

From my own search on these forums about newbie sewing I found that there are lots of easy patterns and they often go on sale for a dollar or two. Then I went to the store and sure enough, lots of easy patterns, but they weren't on sale that day Sad The hard ones were on sale. The easy patterns are marked "easy" or "sew easy" or "basic" or something like that.
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2005 01:32:04 PM »

Thanks again people, everyone sure is nice here Smiley only 3 days left till Christmas, I bought the readers digest sewing book and I'm waiting to see what else  I get for Christmas with my sewing machine before investing in anything else. I kind of like the sound of looking at my existing clothes to see how they were made more than the idea of a pattern though I have discovered a shop near me selling some OK looking ones so may force myself to sit down and look. I think I just have something about me that won't allow me to though, I imagine I'll end up on a trial and error rampage until I find something that fits. I also have a bit of a fabric dilemma, I wanted to use fabric from existing clothes and mainly some children's clothes I might buy as they're really cheap and cute. This would be OK though wouldn't it? I'm sure everything will fall into place anyway. I did have a sewing machine for a while before, but it was ancient and past it's best and I think it got given to someone else. Anyway rambling, thanks again everyone. happy sewing.
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