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how to sew

Vintage Sewing Machine – Make Your Own

IMG_8979Did you buy your vintage sewing machine to create your own clothes? A story in the Eastern Daily Press caught our eye this week, reporting on a woman who has set up a company to cater for pear-shaped women.

It’s a common problem. Most ready-wear clothing is made for a particular body shape – the straight up and down one. Pear-shaped women, i.e. those who have bigger hips than shoulders, struggle. Skirts and trousers might fit at the waist, but they will be too tight over the hips. Or they gape around the middle.

This is precisely the problem that Vicky Young from Harleston faced. She describes herself as pear-shaped and realised there were plenty of other women suffering from the same problem, so she decided to c create clothing especially for this body type.

She already had sewing experience, having worked as a bridal seamstress for years, and having recently undertaken a City & Guilds Level 3 in dressmaking, which included pattern cutting.

Her company is called Kookie Cat, and she makes smart- straight-legged trousers, jeans and two types of jersey dresses. All her clothing comes in sizes eight to 18, and it can be custom-made if people send in their own measurements.

Vicky told the Eastern Daily Press that she knew it was very frustrating to go shopping and find that none of the clothes available in the High Street fitted. Her company was all about finding sizes and patterns for people who didn’t fit one size or a standard shape.

If your vintage sewing machine is to be used for making your own clothes—or even to set up a business, just as Vicky has done—we definitely approve. You do need a certain amount of skill to be able to alter patterns so that they are customised to your or others’ measurements, but it is one of those very satisfying things to learn.

We’re big fans of learning to sew through lessons. It’s sociable as well as the best way to pick up tips and work out what you’re doing wrong, but there are also some terrific books that can really help if there are no sewing lessons available near you.

One is Complete Dressmaking Skills by Lorna Knight, a step by step guide which also offers couture techniques.

If you like the Great British Sewing Bee, then Claire-Louise Hardy’s Fashion with Fabric has more than 20 patterns/projects you can do.

The Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking by Wendy Ward covers the basic techniques for making clothes, and for everyday clothing too, rather than more formal outfits.

Sewing4Everyone is the best outlet for a vintage sewing machine. We also sell refurbished, heavy-duty sewing machines.

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.


Learning to Use Your Pre-Owned Sewing Machine

File:Young Woman Learning to Sew 1936.gifHave you just bought yourself a pre-owned sewing machine? Congratulations – welcome to the wonderful world of sewing.

The chances are that you might not have been taught sewing. There are classes that will teach you the basics and beyond, but if time, money and opportunity is limited, then there is always YouTube! Ah, what we would do without YouTube?! For skills such as sewing, visual learning is often easier than following written instructions.

Sewing4Everyone has its own favourites on YouTube. Here’s our roundup of who they are and where you can find them…

YouTube Examples

Let’s start at the very beginning… As you might expect, Good Housekeeping’s channel features a lot of sewing videos, and there’s a great 25-minute film called, Learn How To Sew, Easy Sewing Class For Beginners. Gretchen Hirsch promises to make you feel confident and comfortable at the wheel.

Threads offers garment sewing instructions and in-depth information tailored to suit the beginner and the advanced sewer. There are insider secrets, designer techniques for adapting your patterns to suit your body, fitting, tailoring and more. For the most part, the videos are fairly short – for the most part under five minutes.

How to Use a Sewing Machine + Sewing Tips is another great place to start if you’ve just bought your pre-owned sewing machine by Crafty Amy is a super easy to watch and follow video. Sit in front of your machine and listen along. This covers a lot of the basics.

There are lots of different options on Sewing TV (and it’s British too), so you should find something to help. The videos are well-produced, concise and waffle-free. Start with the Sewing for Beginners Basic Techniques Part 1. There are guides to pattern cutting, how to work with Lycra, and sewing jeans and tee shirts.

Desperate to create something easy, that will also give you a sense of achievement? Try Anita by Design’s Circle Skirt. You can make yourself a beautiful skirt – or a few of them. Why not? Anita’s instructions make them easy to create. You might run up one for every season of the year! In the first lesson, Anita teaches you to take your waist measurement, read the pattern envelope, buy the fabric and pre-treat it. Subsequent lessons teach you everything else.

Pre-owned Sewing Machine Tips:

  • Familiarise yourself with the terminology. It’s a lot easier to follow a video if you know what they are talking about.
  • Watch the video a couple of times so you can take in the instructions properly.
  • Keep a notepad handy, so you can jot things down.

Sewing4Everyone sells pre-owned sewing machines, as well as vintage models, heavy duty sewing machines and more. Check out our range to get started on your sewing journey.


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