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sewing tips

October – Pants Month

refurbished sewing machineNeed a new project for your refurbished sewing machine? October is Pants Month so why not run up a pair?

Yes, we know. The American term for trousers can be a little confusing. We’re not advocating that you make yourself lots of knickers (unless you want to), but instead try your hand at trousers. After all, winter is just around the corner, and you’ll want to keep your legs warm.

One of the big bonuses of using your refurbished sewing machine to sew your own trousers is that you get to make ones that are perfectly tailored to you. The drawbacks of the ready-made are that they are often too long or too short. Most of us, after all, aren’t a standardised height.

Here are some tips for making sure you create the perfect pair of pants (trousers)!

Make sure you measure accurately.

You should measure yourself while wearing what you plan to wear under the trousers as this could affect the measurements if you plan to wear thick tights or Spanx. Measure at your waist and the fullest part of the hips. The tape should be snug, but not too tight. You want those trousers to be comfortable.

Choose the right pattern size.

Not all of us are a standard size 14. Maybe we’re a 15, rather than a 16 though. It depends on the style of trousers which size you go for. If the pattern is for very fitted trousers, then choose the larger size, but most trousers allow room enough for you to pick the smaller size.

Choose your favourite trouser style.

If you’re going to get good use out of your tailor-made trousers, then choose the style that you wear most often. Whether that’s straight leg, wide leg, harem style, cropped or slim style, you want something you know suits your shape and style.

Plan adjustments.

The great thing about sewing your own is personalising a pattern so you can make the perfect fit for you. Commons adjustments for trousers include adding or subtracting the length, altering the depth of the crotch, and adding or subtracting the width of the upper inner leg to suit the size of your thighs. If you know how to do all of these (or can learn), your trousers will be the perfect fit.

As velvet was a huge feature of the Autumn/Winter runways this year, why not make yourself some luxe velvet trousers to keep abreast of the fashion pack?

Sewing4Everyone specialises in the refurbished sewing machine, vintage sewing machines, heavy-duty models and more. Check out our range here.

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.

 

Vintage Sewing Machine: Sewing Terminology

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Have you just bought yourself a vintage sewing machine? Good job! Now the start of a fantastic hobby can begin – the art of sewing.

First of all, like any other hobby or interest, sewing has its own language and learning what everything means will help you make the most of your vintage sewing machine.

Let’s get started…

FABRIC GRAIN – this refers for the way the fibre pieces weave or knit together to create the fabric. If you look closely at a piece of material, you will see this. (Leather and fleece don’t have a grain because they aren’t woven together.)

‘RIGHT’/’WRONG’ SIDES OF FABRIC – most materials will have sides that are meant to be seen and not meant to be seen. Usually, this is easy to tell. The ‘right’ side will be more vibrant and colourful, especially if it is a print.

PLACE ‘RIGHT’ SIDES TOGETHER – this is an instruction you will often see in patterns. It means that you put the sides of the fabric you want to be seen and sew together.

SELVEDGE – this means the self-finished edge of the fabric. A selvedge keeps the fabric from fraying or unravelling.

STITCHES AND SEAMS – a stitch is a loop of thread created by a needle pulling it through the fabric. A seam is a line of stitches that either holds two pieces of fabric together, or it can be used as a decorative line of stitches.

BACKSTITCH – this is when you sew backwards over your stitches and it stops the ends of your thread from unravelling. If you backstitch too much, you will create an untidy lump of thread so it’s best to do it a little at a time.

BASTING STITCH – a set of long stitches that is usually employed to hold something together temporarily. You might use it to keep together two pieces of material while you sew those two to something else. You can baste stitch by hand, or use your vintage sewing machine to do so, setting the machine to its longest stitch.

TOPSTITCH – this is when you sew along the top, or ‘right’ side of your fabric. It helps to give a more professional look, and it is usually runs parallel to a seam or the edge of the material.

SEAM ALLOWANCE – this is the distance between the edge of the fabric and the line that has been sewn. Pattern creators always include a seam allowance so that your finished item matches the intended measurements.

HEM – the edge of the fabric, which is folded under and sewn to hide the material’s raw edge, and stop it unravelling.

INTERFACING – material attached to the ‘wrong’ side of the fabric to help strengthen or stiffen the material. This is sometimes done around armholes or necklines.

Sewing4Everyone sells vintage sewing machines, refurbished sewing machines and heavy-duty machines for domestic and commercial use. Our machines are high-quality, premium items, and we know you’ll love the model you buy! Check out our range here.

 

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