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rmatheny's picture

Hello ALL!

I'm new to the sewing/crafting world and need a lot of help and advice so I'm sure I'll be here often. For starters, i have no backround, what-so-ever in sewing. My mother couldnt sew a button to save her life. Therefore, I have no one to ask for assistance except within the virtual world. So for starters, sewing machine... which to buy? I do have a kenmore (er, from 1976) that I dont even know if I have all the parts for, so it's probably best to go buy something new. And, do you recommend any "sewing 101" type books to familiarize myself with fabrics, and stitches, etc.

Thanks all!!!

beo's picture

First, the books.  The Sewing (post #32296, reply #1 of 10)

First, the books.  The Sewing Stitch and Textile Bible is an excellent reference as is Sandra Betzina's Sewing Savy.  Also, check your local library for any sew how-to books.  As for a machine, can you afford a basic Viking?  New or used.  And finally, good luck!  We are pleased to have you in our presence.

Palady's picture

As a multiple Kenmore machine (post #32296, reply #2 of 10)

As a multiple Kenmore machine owner/user, the vintage one you have might be better than you realize.  Proviso of course is if it's straight & zig zag capable.  If it's been idle for a year, it needs cleaning & oiling.  Longer?  Shop check is likely in order.  A shop might also have a fair priced machine from a trade-up.  As a novice owner, a shop can also help you understand the machine operating principles.

 Depending on your locale, there might be an extension unit through your state offering sewing classes.  Some fabric stores schedule them as well. 

The post as to you heading to your local Public Library to check out the book offerings in Sewing, is well said.

MO, each author comes across differently to each reader.  If you can borrow books & read through them in the quiet of your home, you'd get a better 'feel" for the book content.  Caveat with library's, the volumes maybe less up-to-date.  but for the most part many tehcniques are tried & true.

Schedule yourself some time browsing your local bookstores.  Barnes & Noble if near you, has a variable 'craft" section.  I say variable because sometimes the offerings lean more to one than the other. 

Many tout Sandra Betzina's, but know there are others that might strike your interest.  It's a matter of your individuality.  

When you "get-into-sewing" pelase know the learning curve varies.  Choose your first projects with an eye to minimal pattern pieces & straight stitching.  Realize also, fabric handling comes into play.   The more you work with the more comfrotable you become.

Please keep us posted on your progress.

nepa

rmatheny's picture

Thank you both for your (post #32296, reply #3 of 10)

Thank you both for your responses... As i was looking online today at some books I can see how it would be difficult to name just a few that might suit me... there are so many different views... It will be exciting just looking for books to help me learn. I have someone who works on sewing machines (lucky me) so I will take it to them for maybe a tutorial and definitely a clean up... it hasn't been used since... er, 1990, maybe! ha ha. but it does work, i plugged that baby in last night and she came right to life! I'm sure I will be a frequenter on here and again, thankyou for your help so far!!!

rmatheny's picture

Thank you both for your (post #32296, reply #4 of 10)

Thank you both for your responses... As i was looking online today at some books I can see how it would be difficult to name just a few that might suit me... there are so many different views... It will be exciting just looking for books to help me learn. I have someone who works on sewing machines (lucky me) so I will take it to them for maybe a tutorial and definitely a clean up... it hasn't been used since... er, 1990, maybe! ha ha. but it does work, i plugged that baby in last night and she came right to life! I'm sure I will be a frequenter on here and again, thankyou for your help so far!!!

stillsuesew's picture

Don't forget that you can (post #32296, reply #5 of 10)

Don't forget that you can start at the public library and check different references  Some will be more understandable to you than others.   Then you will figure out which ones you want to have by your side.

I always suggest you buy from a reputable dealer.  You needs someone to go to if you have questions and/or problems.  Many dealers offer a trade up policy, so you can start at the low end and work your way up to something that has a little more capability.  You can't try something new if your machine doesn't offer those possibilities.  Good luck with it all.  You have a lifetime of fun and learning ahead of you.

nightsewer's picture

In the 70's in Canada in (post #32296, reply #6 of 10)

In the 70's in Canada in Sears, the Kenmore was made by Bernina I believe.   It might be wise to check this out.    If I am correct, you have a great machine and it will be perfect to learn to sew.  If not, try to pick up a Bernina 831 somewhere.   They are old but they still are great!   I paid 500.00 Canadian for a second hand one.  I do not know what they would cost in the States.  As long as you follow instructions in the manual, re cleaning and oiling it will reward you handsomely.  

If you are just learning to sew, take a course.  I had my grandmother teach me but if there is no-one like that in the picture take a course at your local fabric store, or high school.  It is amazing as well how much you can learn from books.  The old Singer books were fabulous with wonderful pictures. You might find them at a second hand book store.  I do not know if they are still  available.  Try the library as well.   

Once you enter the sewing community, you will learn so much from fellow sewers.   It is truly amazing what you pick up.  

teacozy's picture

If you can keep the Kenmore (post #32296, reply #10 of 10)

If you can keep the Kenmore do so . They have been made a various times by Singer and White both good companies.  Next, since you have someone that works on machines have them find the modle you have then go on line perhaps you may also find the instruction book for the machine.  Also, ask your "tech" what book they recomend, theyfrequently know what books work with what your machine maydo.

JunkQueen's picture

You might check out this (post #32296, reply #7 of 10)

You might check out this topic right here in Gatherings:

http://forums.threadsmagazine.com/gather...

(Introducing Teach Yourself to Sew) posted by Vicki North from Threads magazine. 

I'm thinking that if I were in your shoes, I'd avail myself of that resource.

SewingWithKathy's picture

Please do watch (several (post #32296, reply #8 of 10)

Please do watch (several times if you need to) the new beginning sewing videos Threads is just posting.  I have watched them and they are perfect for someone who is starting into the wonderful world of sewing.

Re Sewing Machine: Get the best BASIC machine you can afford.  Be careful about buying a machine that has too many bells and whistles that may confuse you, or that you won't use.  You can always upgrade to another machine once you have sewing experience and know more about features you will want.  Your "basic" machine is always a luxury to have if you are going to make sewing a big part of your life.

Play with your machine with scrap fabric to see what your machine can do.  When you feel comfortable using the machine you can start projects! 

Have fun and welcome to the world of stitches!

 

deemail's picture

It sounds like you're on the (post #32296, reply #9 of 10)

It sounds like you're on the right track, both books and machines.  I would keep the older machine and see whether this is the hobby for you.  The older Kenmores are great machines, I have one among my 20 sewing machines and I use it frequently.   If you don't have the original books that came with it for threading, maintenance and accessory info, the internet can usually find what you need.  

Second, ask around, there are lots of adult night classes, beginner sewing classes (the one online at this site is great) and if all else fails, I would go to the local senior center.   There is a huge repository of information in the people who go there for lunches, activities, etc.  Several of my friends and I go to our local center once a week for knitting lessons and there are lots of ladies (and men) who know lots more about these domestic skills as they were much more common among their generation.  There might  be some seamstress or tailor sitting there who would love to share what they know, who doesn't?

I have been sewing since I was 10 and I couldn't think of a better hobby to save money, express yourself creatively and end up with custom fit clothing....good luck with your new hobby!