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used sewing machine

Sewing Programme Host Dies

used sewing machineThe New York Times last week featured an obituary that caught Sewing4Everyone’s eye – the death of Nancy Zieman, star of Sewing With Nancy.

Born in Neenah in 1953, Nancy Lea Luedtke learned to sew as a child. She later majored in textiles and journalism (an interesting mix!) at the University of Wisconsin Stout, and her first job involved working for a fabric chain, Minnesota Fabrics. She met Richard Zieman there and married him in 1977.

In 1979, she began a mail order sewing supply business, Nancy. Notions. By 1982, its success led to a fabric store in Milwaukee asking her to host a sewing programme, which first ran on the Satellite Program Network.

As cable television was in its infancy, not many people watched – something Ms Zieman later said was a good thing as she wasn’t great in front of a camera. The series folded after about a dozen shows when the store decided it wasn’t profitable.

Ms Zieman decided to do something on her own, and Wisconsin Public Television started broadcasting Sewing With Nancy in 1982. The programme was popular and picked up by public television outlets across America and Canada.

Ms Zieman was able to reach a large audience of those who did sewing seriously and the more hobby-based fans trying it out on a used sewing machine.The NY Times described her style as “nothing flashy”, but “straightforward advice, delivered with geniality”.

All in all, some 910 episodes went out, the last one ‘I Sew for Fun, a show on team sewing with children aged five to nine that featured her granddaughters.

The sewing host also published numerous sewing books and made appearances at expos and other events, such as the Sewing Extravaganza in 1992 in Florida. There, attendees flocked to see Ms Zieman, who wore a turquoise and pink suit she’d made herself.

Apparently, she was also a “go-to interviewee” for reporters writing about the increased interest in sewing. Her explanation was that people want to feel creative and that sewing offered the opportunity to create, when often work doesn’t.

[And a used sewing machine is a great place to start, if you want to get creative yourself.]

Published in 2013, her autobiography (written with Marjorie J Russell) is called “Seams Unlikely: The Inspiring True Life Story of Nancy Zieman,”.

Nancy Zieman died on 14 November at her home in Beaver Dan, Wisconsin. She was 64.

Sewing4Everyone is THE place to find an amazing used sewing machine, a best sewing machine for leather, vintage sewing machines, and more. Check our shop to find a competitively-priced used sewing machine you will love.

Picture thanks to Wisconsin Public Television.

 

Cleaning your Used Sewing Machine

used sewing machineHave you bought yourself a used sewing machine? Naturally, the ones we sell are top quality items and will last you a long time. But sewing machines need a little love and attention if they are to work optimally and be one of the things you can leave your grandchildren!

Sewing machines will gather dust and tiny bits of fibre. Cleaning them helps performance.

Firstly, read your manual. Individual machines will have different components, so it’s important you clean according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you have lost your manual, you might be able to find one online. Search for the make and model of the machine and Mr Google may well provide!

Gather together any tools you might need (a plastic brush, oil, cloth etc.) and turn off your machine, unplugging it too. Make sure the needle is in the ‘Up’ position, and remove the needle and pressure foot holder. Slide off the flat bed attachment, and slide the needle plate cover towards you. There will probably be lots of lint and dust underneath this.

Do brush your machine regularly. Many devices come with a small plastic brush that is used to clean out all the lint and dust that gathers in a sewing machine. If you don’t have one, you’ll find them in specialist sewing shops or computer supplies as they are also used for computers. Tweezers are also useful for removing gatherings of dust and lint.

Talking about computers, you might be tempted to use an air duster spray to blow out the dust – just like the ones that are used for keyboards. They use cold moisture to get rid of the dust, and this isn’t good for the metal parts of your used sewing machine so don’t use them.

Oil the machine precisely as the manufacturer’s instructions tell you. Some machines do not require oiling. Don’t over-oil either, as it will be messy.

Clean small parts at a time. This will help you do it precisely and minimise the risk of damage to your used sewing machine.

Keep your machine covered when not in use. Again, many machines come with a dust cover, and that’s for a reason. Use it to minimise dust build-up.

Change your needles as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Sometimes, this is as little as every four to six hours of sewing.

With any luck, regular care and attention will ensure your used sewing machine is good for years to come!

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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