So You Bought a Sewing Machine!

What an exciting time for you! And with the current Stay-at-home orders currently being extended in many places, sewing could be the perfect hobby to get started with. Over the years, I have had several friends purchase machines, people ask me to teach them, and just a ton of questions about how to fix, grade or correct a pattern to get a good fit. I decided it was time for me to go ahead and give a series of lessons and that the best way to do this is via my blog and Facebook page (any live feeds will be added to my YouTube channel with closed captioning with a brief post here to let everyone interested it has gone live.)

This is a project to help out friends getting started with the wonderful world of sewing. I am accomplished in the sense that I have been sewing off and on for over 30 years but really got back into sewing as a regular hobby when my youngest was born. I grew up consistently wearing handmade items from my mother and grandmother. And year after year, I was roped into gift making and crafting throughout my school days. As a young adult, I always worked, rarely giving myself time to indulge in any kind of crafting except handmade cards for people for birthdays and gift giving. Take a look at the photo archives for some of the creations, I have been wearing handmade virtually my entire life.

TL: Hand crochet baby blanket with a baby in the middle. TR: Small curly haired child wearing striped pjs that say Grandmas Lil Turkey ( my favorite pjs apparently). BL: Me and my brother with Santa, I’m wearing a sweatshirt dress (very popular when I was in 1st-3rd grade) made by a grandmother. BR: My mother putting shoes on my feet in a handmade by her clown costume (I was about 18mos.)
These photos were taken in 1987ish, all of us (my cousin, brother and I) are wearing handmade items. My cousin in a romper, my brother in a military inspired shirt and khaki shorts and my shirt.

Once Sweet Pea was born, we realized it would be easier for me to stay home and I set about to figure out a way to enjoy being at home with her when she was napping and between therapies and appointments (one can only nap and read so many books.) Joseph happened to have a small, very cheap and basic sewing machine and I remembered basic sewing skills from all the years off and on. I set about to remember the things I forgot and that is now 6 years ago.

So now that you know my history, let’s talk about you and your new machine. Whatever machine you have purchased it’s really important to get to know your machine, what type of stitches it performs and how to maintain the machine to get the best use and life out of your machine.

Over the years I have seen are 3 different types of people when it comes to getting a new machine:

1.) People that rip into the box and pull the machine out and start fiddling with settings

2.) People that go right for the instruction manual and read it thoroughly before or after pulling out the machine

3.) People that may or may not read the manual but leave the machine in the box for months and months sometimes afraid to get started

I am a #2 person, I get excited and slightly terrified to open and begin using the machine but feel a ton better once I read the manual several times. Which kind of person are you?

Let me start with saying that if your machine comes with a manual that is your best resource when your machine begins to act up.

Let’s assume you have already read the manual and you are ready to get started playing with your machine. Many machines come with starter thread and needles (some even come pre-threaded.) If your machine comes with this set up, I would recommend taking out the thread, bobbin and needle if you are new to sewing so you can practice threading and changing the needle. The next post will cover changing the needle, threading the machine and bobbin.

Take a look at what else comes with your machine. Many machines have a storage drawer either containing a few extra items, sometimes the extra items are bagged separately.

I have a Viking Emerald 116, it is a “basic” machine- meaning it is all manually adjusted. My machine came with a removable machine extender that includes a small storage space plus some additional tools (your machine may come with some of all of these pieces plus small screw drive, small brush for getting lint out of the machine):

Working from top left: zipper foot, additional thread holder, additional bobbins, see through presser foot, automatic button foot, free motion arm for quilting, 2nd utility foot (there is one that came on the machine), a regular or manual button hole foot, and an edging foot.

What kind of tools or extras came with your machine?

Our next post I will be talking about getting to know your individual machine, how to change your needle, load your bobbin and thread your machine.

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