Tuesday’s Tips, Tricks & Tools #1

I want to start blogging more so I thought if I came up with a regular weekly post I would do so. So here’s a start, Tuesday’s Tips, Tricks & Tools. In this weekly post I’ll talk about some of my favorite sewing tips, tricks I’ve learned over the years, and some of my favorite tools to use. I’d like to share some of what I have learned that makes sewing more enjoyable.

Let’s start off with one of the most important tools you will want for sewing, the sewing machine. I first learned on my mother’s sewing machine, a Kenmore. It was a great first machine. It was a metal beast that could eat through anything and had a whole bunch of cams for lots of fun stitches. As a college graduation present my dad bought me a Bernina Activa 240. I still kept the Kenmore as a backup. Then last year I bought the Bernina 8 Series 820 and sold my first machine. It was hard to let the Kenmore go but I was happy knowing it was going to get use and not sit and collect dust. It went to a very talented friend of mine who makes some amazing things on it.

When you first start out, it’s good to get a nice machine that does the basics. You don’t need all the fancy bells and whistles and you certainly don’t need an expensive one. You don’t want to invest in something that you may not enjoy. Plus a simple machine to start is great for a backup, to pass to your kids or friends, and much lighter to carry to all those sewing classes you’ll want to take. I have friends that still sew on a classic original electric Singer. All it does a straight stitch and zig zag. If it does the job it’s a great machine. 

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As you progress in your sewing skills you may want to upgrade your machine. When you decide to do this I think it’s best to try out a variety of machines first. Most dealers will let you come in and play on them. They can also help you decide what model will fit with the type of sewing you primarily do or plan on doing. As much as I love Bernina and highly recommend checking them out, it really comes down to preference. So check out a Bernina dealer, Husqvarna Viking, Janome, and Brother. Find which one sings to you because this is a machine you’ll be with for a long time. Chances you’ll stay loyal with the brand. The upside of this is all those fancy feet and tools you’ll end up accumulating usually fit on all the models of that brand, so if you do decide to upgrade you won’t have to replace all of that.

The key for any sewing machine is how well you take care of it. Keeping up with maintaining it will keep your machine running for years and less problems for you when sewing. Make sure to clean the lint out regularly, oil your machine, and keep a cover over it when not in use. I usually clean the lint out after every project. If it’s a larger project like a quilt I will clean it multiple times. I also do the same with oiling. Make sure to run a scrap of fabric through the machine after oiling to keep the excess from getting on your project. I also highly recommend taking your machine into a repair shop once a year to get maintained. They basically open the whole machine up and give it a good cleaning. It’s amazing how well your machine will run after it’s yearly visit. A cover will keep dust from getting in your machine when you are not sewing on it. It’s best to get in the habit of even covering it at night even if you do plan on sewing right away in the morning. Most machines come with a simple plastic one that will do the job or you can make a fun colorful one.

As for thread, needles, and all the other parts of the machine, we’ll get into that another week. But for now go out and find a machine that’s right for you and start sewing!

Cheers,

Kyle