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sewing

Winter Hobbies – heavy-duty sewing machine

Brother Industrial Sewing Machine

Brother Industrial Sewing Machine

Now that winter is definitely upon us, it’s time to put your vintage or heavy-duty sewing machine to good use.

Sewing is the perfect hobby for winter evenings and wet weekends. And if you are prepared enough, you can use your vintage or heavy-duty sewing machine to make home-made Christmas decorations and gifts at a fraction of the cost you would pay for ready-made products.

heavy-duty sewing machineWant a little black dress in time for all those Christmas parties? The little black dress is a staple in any woman’s wardrobe. You can pick the pattern that suits your figure, whether it’s for an A-line midi dress that skims the knees, a shift dress that works perfectly with a pair of boots, or something longer and more formal. The Fringe Association blog has rounded up some LBD patterns, from a slip dress to a gorgeous long version with a sexy slit to the thighs.

For decorating ideas, look no further than Sew News and this free template to create your own advent calendar. It’s a multi-dimensional wreath calendar, and you can decorate the wreath leaves with hand-embroidered numbers in little hoops that look like berries.

Or what about some beautiful advent calendar bunting? The Sewing Directory has this lovely tutorial pdf you can download to create a unique, home-made decoration. You can fill the bunting pockets with little treats that can be opened on the day, just like a traditional advent calendar.

Or why not try out linen placements for your Christmas table? The Sewing Directory’s ribbon and lace placements are suitable for beginners – why not try it out with your kids, for example – and they are great for experimenting with your machine’s buttonhole foot.

skirtSome people opt for a heavy-duty sewing machine from the start, the reasoning being that the machine will handle lighter AND heavier fabrics, so if you plan to do a lot of work with denim, for example, the heavy-duty sewing machine is your best bet. We really love these Allfreesewing’s ideas for what to do with old jeans, including this fantastic pattern that will transform a pair of worn-out jeans into a pretty skirt. Just the project for cold, dark nights!

As it is winter and cold, why not try out these scarves from Martha Stewart’s website? You take two pieces of fabric, one a wool material to keep you warm, pair it with cotton and voila! Simple and straightforward, and you can pick out the cottons that suit the individual person you are making the scarf for.

Have fun with your winter sewing projects!

Sewing4Everyone can offer you the perfect heavy-duty sewing machine. To see our selection, check out our shopDenim skirt image courtesy of imsewcheap.blogspot.com

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.

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.

London Fashion Week 2017

pre-owned sewing machinePeople who buy a pre-owned sewing machine tend to have an interest in fashion – and September is an important month when it comes to the fashion calendar.

The UK’s £66 billion fashion industry accounts for 6 percent of the UK’s market, and £28 billion is the direct contribution to the UK economy (up from £26 billion in 2013).

London Fashion Week (14th to 19th September) is just finished. What did the show bring this year? For a start, the week was launched by the British Fashion Council, Dame Vivienne Westwood and the Mayor of London’s announcement that the fashion industry was to lead a campaign for ambitious climate action.

They reached out to fashion brands and businesses and asked them to commit to green energy suppliers by 2020. The date ties in with the Paris Agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change.

Brands already committed to the campaign include Harvey Nichols, Selfridges, Stella McCartney, Marks & Spencer and Vivienne Westwood.

The UK is half-way towards its climate change target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

Caroline Rush, the CEO of the British Fashion Council, said: We are proud to launch this ambitious campaign to encourage our industry to be leaders of global change. It is our hope that the Fashion SWITCH campaign encourages brands and businesses to increase the demand for green energy; helping accelerate investment and the rate and scale of renewables in the UK.”

Fashion-wise, rope belts seemed to be a thing, tied around trousers, coats and jackets, along with smart tailoring – something anyone who has a pre-owned sewing machine will relish. Checks on checks seemed to be another key trend. Again, something you could replicate at home with a little smart joining together of two items. Pink – dusky pink in particular – was also everywhere on the catwalk. Buy yourself some metres of it in raw cotton and run up a beautiful skirt on your pre-owned sewing machine!

There were also plenty of dresses worn over trousers and white, ruffle-y dresses that looked distinctly bridal, but which weren’t aimed at that market. It might be a brave woman who wore one for anything other than marital reasons, though…

We’re delighted that there has been such a push on environmental action this year. After all, we encourage recycling and the home-made with the sale of the pre-owned sewing machine, heavy-duty machines et al. It’ll be interesting, too, to see how the high-end trends and predictions filter down to the High Street, too.

 

Sewing Sisters – Bringing Hope to Yazidi Women

IMG_6872Many of us are lucky enough to use our second-hand sewing machine to support a hobby or even a job, but what if you needed sewing to rebuild a shattered life?

This week, we are focusing on the charitable project, the Sewing Sisters, a collective of 15 volunteers who are based in the Rwanda Community Camp in Qadiya, Iraq. The project was set up under the auspices of the Lotus Flower charity and The Kindly Collective, and it supports women by teaching them income generating skills such as sewing and tailoring.

The project works mainly with female Yazidis refugees who have fled from so-called Isis soldiers who view the ancient Kurdish minority as ‘devil worshippers’. According to The Kindly Collective, many of the Yazidi women have suffered through unimaginable atrocities – from brutality at the hands of the Daesh (including kidnap, rape and slavery). The Collective says it is not surprising that many survivors find it hard to cope after surviving. Many of them have also lost family members.

The region is under significant financial pressure, so the women are in dire need of alternative ways out of the poverty cycle. Sewing Sisters gives the most vulnerable women in the camp the skills and confidence to sew – creating school uniforms that Lotus Flower sells to local schools.

A second-hand sewing machine and sewing instructions can save lives and make a huge difference to displaced and vulnerable communities. Those who were taught to sew have also become trainers and instructors, passing on their skills to others in need.

One of the women to benefit from the project is 24-year-old Sindus, who was interviewed for a feature in Grazia magazine. She was pregnant when the Isis soldiers drove into her village in 2014. She and her husband fled, and she gave birth to her child while on the run, but after her husband went off to search for food, she hasn’t seen him since.

Sindus is qualified as a Sewing Sister trainer. The project, she says, has introduced her to new people and helped with her depression. If her husband ever does return, she says she can’t wait to show him her tailoring skills.

Although Sinjar was recaptured from Isis in 2015, ongoing political and military conflicts mean that the Yazidi people cannot yet return home. You can donate to the Sewing Sisters through The Kindly Collective.

Sewing4Everyone offers a wide variety of refurbished sewing machines for sale, including the second-hand sewing machine. We also offer vintage Singer sewing machines. Check out our range here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Grow Followers for Your Sewing Blog

vintage sewing machineDo you love sewing and your vintage sewing machine so much you have to write about it all the time?! We don’t blame you! Sewing is something that has become more popular in recent years.

Older generations all knew how to sew, but sewing as a skill died out in the late 20th Century. Clothes had become so cheap, it didn’t seem worth making your own. But then ethical concerns came in – how were these cheap outfits being made? And is it sustainable to create a demand for tops and trousers that can be thrown away after only a few wears?

There are lots of brilliant sewing blogs out there. If you want to create one or you want to make yours more popular, read on for our tips to grow your followers…

  • Link your blog to your social media accounts. WordPress, for instance, can be set, so your blogs appear on Twitter, and Facebook et al. the minute they are published.
  • Follow other people with the same interests. They will follow you back, and you might find their audience likes what you do.
  • Write relevant information that helps people. If you type sewing queries into Google, the autocomplete will often suggest what other people are asking – things such as how do I care for my vintage sewing machine, or how do I use a heavy-duty leather sewing machine. A mix of general and niche is good.
  • Make sure your blogs are easy to read. Use short sentences and paragraphs, and check for typos before you publish.
  • Use plenty of pictures – or videos. They often demonstrate a point in the best way.
  • Use good keywords thoughtfully. Keywords are the words associated with a particular business or topic that people type into search engines.
  • Guest post on other sewing or craft blogs. If you can offer well-written, useful information, other people will want it. Encourage guest posts on your own blog.
  • Update your blog regularly. You don’t want to bombard people as they will stop following, but once a week is a good target to aim for.
  • Respond to likes and comments. It’s only good manners to reply to any comments. And it makes people feel the time they have taken to say something was worthwhile.

Good luck with your sewing blog!

Sewing4Everyone specialises in the sale of refurbished sewing machines, including the vintage sewing machine. Check out our full range here.

 

 

The Advantages of Creating Your Own Clothes

refurbished sewing machine

Have you jumped on the sewing bandwagon, or are you the happy new owner of a refurbished sewing machine, and keen to start to start your sewing journey?

There are lots of reasons why making your own clothes offer advantages…

Ethically sound. Sure, pre-made clothing is cheap, but cheap clothing has its own price. While clothing has decreased in price, the human and environmental costs have soared. People making cheap fashions often work in horrible conditions and for poverty wages, while the environment is affected because cheap clothing uses more resources and toxic chemicals.

Personalised. Even if you use patterns, the materials you choose for your outfit will be different. You’ll be wearing something no-one else has. The seams, buttons, zips and stitching will be uniquely yours. If you have an eye for great material, you’ll create eye-catching outfits people will envy.

Old school, vintage sewing machines. There is something hugely satisfying about the old-fashioned nature of making your own clothes. Double that effect by running up garments on a refurbished sewing machine.

old scissors various threads and sewing tools on wooden table

It’s a terrific hobby. Creating your own clothes can take up as much or as little time as you can afford. You might embark on this hobby and discover you LOVE it. Sewing something takes in many different elements. First, you must plan it either creating your own sewing pattern or buying one. Then, there are the materials to be chosen and bought. You’ll learn to lay out and cut, tack and sew, using different stitches to suit.

Find new friends. You’ll discover that lots of people share your hobby, and they all love getting together to swap skills and learn from each other. From craft fairs to weekly meet-ups, sewing events are now widespread. Want to find a group near you? Check out the sewing directory.

It’s something to do with your kids. As we mentioned above, sewing involves lots of different skills. Simple projects for kids, though, could include taking up trousers and skirts or making pillow cases or cushion covers. Remember, sewing isn’t gender specific. Little boys will enjoy it just as much as little girls. And it doesn’t need to be an expensive hobby. Buy one of our refurbished machines, and you’ll be getting a great piece of kit for minimal expense.

Satisfaction. We reckon this is a number one reason why so many people love making their own clothes. A home-made skirt, pair of trousers or dress feels much more precious than anything you can buy.

Sewing4Everyone specialises in used and vintage sewing machines (including the refurbished sewing machine option) for home and commercial use – quality equipment at cost-effective prices. Check out our range and start your own home-made clothes sewing journey today.

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