Monthly Archives :

August 2017

National Sewing Month – September

refurbished sewing machineIf you’ve just bought one of our refurbished sewing machines, why not join in with National Sewing Month?

The celebration of all things needle and thread is an American initiative promoted by the Sewing & Craft Alliance in partnership with the American Sewing Guild. It began in 1982 when the then President Ronald Reagan declared September as the sewing month “in recognition of the importance of home sewing to our nation”.

The organisers say it presents the perfect opportunity to indulge a passion for sewing or introduce yourself to the craft if you’re a newbie – or the recent purchaser of one of our refurbished sewing machines! Free sewing projects and guidelines for sewing, craft and applique and embroidery articles are available on the Sewing & Craft Alliance website (www.sewing.org)

Sewing, the organisers reckon, is creative, therapeutic and calming, and its effects can be celebrated all year.

Ways to get involved include:

  • Teaching a member of your family or a friend to sew
  • Volunteering your time at a voluntary organisation to teach sewing
  • Sew more often – find a new project, start making your own clothes or do some repairs that you have been putting off
  • Sign up for some sewing classes
  • Create your own sewing group or circle – it’s much easier to learn (and fun to do) if you have company.

You can’t accuse sewing of not moving with the time, as free projects for September include a sew your own Kindle cover and a 1 in a Minion quilt.

Themes for past years have included Go Green, Sew Green, which encouraged people to use organically-grown fabrics and to re-use, re-make and restyle. Here at Sewing4Everyone, we definitely encourage reusing and refurbished sewing machines, so fabric scraps used for contrasting pockets or applique work well here, as does snipping buttons from old jackets to use on a new suit.

Sewing isn’t just fun, though. It can be a terrific way to save money. Hemming skirts and trousers, replacing buttons or zips, and repairing rips and tears are a better way to budget than buying new items (and then adding to landfill). And it’s always wonderful to create or recreate something through sewing. The results can be dramatic, and that can be with just a few hours spent on your refurbished sewing machine.

We hope you find some way to celebrate National Sewing Month!

Where Does Quilting Come From?

heavy-duty sewing machineA heavy duty sewing machine can make light work of the thickest quilt – but have you ever wondered where this hobby comes from?

Quilting can be enormously satisfying, as well as very creative. Quilts can be personalised to the recipient, and there are many beautiful examples of specially made-quilts. Quilting uses a needle and thread to join two or more layers of material together, and a heavy duty sewing machine or a machine with a walking foot will make light work of this task. The most commonly-used stitches are rocking, straight or running stitches.

People have been quilting for practical and creative purposes for centuries, although few surviving examples pre-date the 18th Century. At that time, silks were the most commonly used materials for quilts, and quilted petticoats were popular.

By the end of the 18th Century and into the 19th Century, changes in textile manufacturing saw the spread of printed cotton fabrics, and these were incorporated in quilts. Cottons were pieced together using a mosaic patch work method. By the mid-19th Century, cotton was much cheaper and rich, contemporary quilters began to favour silk and velvet. Synthetic dyes had been created too, which gave rise to vibrantly coloured and patterned cloths.

In Victorian homes, you might see patchwork cushions, throws, tea cosies and more, beautifully embellished and trimmed.

The wholecloth quilt flourished in the late 19th and early 20th Century, particularly in Wales, the Scottish borders and the north of England. A wholecloth quilt is as the name suggests, made from one continuous piece of fabric. They rely on elaborate, decorative stitching and often incorporate embellishments such as beading. Quilt stampers were professional markers who drew the designs onto plain or pieced material. Different areas developed their own unique style – feathers and twisted ropes were common in the North Country, and in Wales, you would find leaves and spirals.

In Colonial America, quilts were mostly wholecloth and medallion style (a quilt with a central ornamental panel and borders). Patchwork quilting dates back to the 1770s and quilts often mixed silk, linen, wool and cotton in the same piece. As paper was so scarce, women often used letters, newspaper clipping and catalogues to provide the pattern and insulation.

In the UK, quilting became less popular in the 20th Century, thanks to two world wars and a scarcity of materials, and competition from commercially made products. But by the 1960s, there was a resurgence of interest in this beautiful art form, and in 1979, the Quilters Guild was established to ensure the craft was kept alive and passed on to new generations of quilters.

A heavy duty sewing machine can help you with thick quilts, as can a walking foot. Check out our selection of sewing machines to find what you need for quilting.

 

With thanks to the Quilters Guild.

 

How to Use your Used Sewing Machine!

used sewing machineMany people who buy a used sewing machine have some rudimentary knowledge of sewing, but what if you’re a complete beginner?

First of all, congratulations on taking that first step! Your used sewing machine will provide you with years of service. It’s a great investment. Here are some ideas for getting you started on your sewing journey. We’ll turn you into an accomplished seamstress in no time!

There is a brilliant and thorough guide to using a sewing machine here by Dwellonjoy. The writer reckons it took her longer to write the ‘how to’ post than it did to figure out how to work her used sewing machine.

Another great website is How to Sew, which offers sewing tips and patterns for beginners.  First projects they suggest include winter coasters, star pincushions, Easter egg decorations, Valentine’s Day garlands, place mats, Christmas cocktail napkins, tissue holders, hair turbans and more. All of them are straightforward and yet satisfyingly crafty at the same time.

Another useful resource they offer is How to Thread Your Sewing machine, two tips to make the job easier.

Patterns will refer to different kinds of stitches so make yourself familiar with the differences between basting, zig-zag, double needle and more here.

We’ve blogged about it before. You can find many inspirational and helpful videos on YouTube. Often, it’s much easier to learn by watching someone do something – and with YouTube, you can watch over and over again. There’s a beginner tutorial here (part one of five).

Does your local community college offer lessons or evening classes? Learning with others is incredibly useful, and it can be a way to make new friends too.

Buy a book. The great thing about a physical guide is that you can have it open next to you, beside your used sewing machine. A Beginner’s Guide to Machine Sewing: 50 Lessons and 15 Projects to Get You Started is one we recommend. Get it here on Amazon.

Finally, this won’t be news to most of you, but the best way to learn to sew well is to practise, practise and practise some more! Why not offer a hemming service to your family and friends? Unless you’re buying tailor-made, it can be difficult to buy trousers that fit perfectly, and many people need them taken up. You’ll be very popular if you can offer this service to people!

Sewing4Everyone specialises in the used sewing machine, refurbished and heavy duty sewing machines.

Image by rok1966 posted to flickr and shared under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

 

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