Sewing for the beginner

Ok, you have a machine you that you can use. Either you bought one or borrowed one. I can’t help you set it up or figure out how to set all the dials correctly. Each machine will be different. Just set it to a basic straight stitch.

This nice lady has a great blog post on how to use your machine.

Get it loaded up with some thread. You actually have two threads in a stitch. You have the thread color from the spool and you have the thread color from the bobbin underneath. Usually these two colors should match. When choosing a thread color, most of the time you will just choose the thread color that is the closest color match to your finished side of the fabric. If your thread matches, then the stitches will be more invisible.

Ok, let’s talk about finished and rough sides of the fabric. Most fabrics have a side the is supposed to be seen and one that is usually hidden from sight. Some are super easy to figure out which side is the finished side, and which is the hidden or rough side. You will come across some fabrics that are pretty difficult to determine which is which. Usually for the difficult ones it will come down to a shine or not shine. The important thing to remember is to keep all the finished sides facing out and exposed for view, and the rough sides of the fabric hidden.  This seems pretty obvious, but every single sewer will craft something at some time and find that the wrong side is facing out.

For your first sewing project, find something fairly simple. Build a solid set of skills a few at a time without overwhelming your self.

You could try something like this.

brush holder

brush holder

They used two pieces of felt and sewed them together in long twisty stitch.

sew pattern

sew pattern

It looks like they just used a single piece of felt or fabric. Fold it over on the left side, then follow the pattern. When done it will leave little pockets for your crayons or pencils.

Above, when the stitch turns 90 degrees, get to the corner with your stitch, then turn the hand knob towards you until the needle is in the down position. Leave the needle in the down position (in the fabric) then lift the presser foot. The needle staying in the fabric keeps it from sliding all over. Lifting the presser foot will remove the tension/pressure on the fabric. Now you can rotate the fabric until the stitch is lined up again.

 a larger version

a larger version

To make something like this above image, take two pieces of fabric, green and flowers. Cut them to shape, and put them with their finished sides together (outside of green fabric and outside of flowers touching). The wrong sides (rough sides, unfinished sides) will facing out now. This is a very common thing in sewing, placing same sides together, sewing them, then flipping them right side out again. This process leaves the ugly seam hidden inside.

Here is another nice blog post that helps show that from another nice lady.

The biggest thing right now is to get some scrap fabric and sew them together. Learn how to handle the machine, learn how to handle the fabric. It helps a lot if you can start with some basic cotton fabric with a right side and a wrong side that is easy to tell the difference. Cotton is also one the easiest fabrics to sew together. Don’t start with anything stretchy, lacey, delicate, or filled with fibers that stick up like wool. Once you have sewn your first stitch, look online at some beginner sewing project or “first machine sewing project”. You don’t have to make them, just look at them and see if they make sense how they went together.

I have some great looking and really easy medieval clothing patterns I can share with you when you are ready to take on a full project.

go ahead, make a mess, sew some stuff, have some fun.

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