Monthly Archives: October 2016

4 Tips to Help You Buy Your First Sewing Machine

With all the options available to choose from, buying your first sewing machine can be quite confusing. For most people, all the bells and whistles are unnecessary and a best sewing machine for beginners can be found for less than $200. Here are a few tips on shopping for your first sewing machine.

  • #1: Do your research

Do plenty of research before buying your first sewing machine. The best place to start is usually a magazine like Consumer Reports or an online consumer review site. Look at the recommendations first to get an idea of what type of sewing machine you want, then you can check online consumer review sites to get opinions from actual users. Remember that people are more likely to post something if they are unhappy with a product, so take the online reviews with a grain of salt. One or two bad reviews may not be a cause for concern, but a trend of unfavorable reviews with few favorable ones to offset them could be a problem. Once you have decided which sewing machine to buy, check with your local repair shop to make sure they will be able to service your machine if it breaks.

  • #2: Skip the unnecessary bells and whistles

Do not be tempted to buy a sewing machine with all of the available features. Most people will never need the more advanced options offered by today’s sewing machines. Not only is it a waste of money, but it can also be confusing to have so many different features, especially if you are new to sewing. If you plan to make sewing a lifetime hobby, you may want to buy a basic model that will be expandable later if you decide you need a particular attachment.

  • #3: What price range to expect

A first sewing machine should not be too expensive, usually in the $100-200 range. The available features are the main difference within that price range. You want a sewing machine that can handle the routine tasks like attaching buttons or creating buttonholes. Most of the other features you will find in this price range involve special stitching patterns that may not be important until you learn more advanced sewing techniques.

  • #4: Where to shop

You can either buy your first sewing machine online or at a local store. Online stores or auction sites like eBay will often offer the best price, but you are not able to see the actual machine before purchasing. It is usually a good idea to browse at a local store to physically inspect the type of sewing machine you are interested in buying. Be sure it is the proper size for you and is comfortable to use. Once you are sure you have found the right first sewing machine, then you can return to the online sites to find the best price.

Mini Bucket Sewing Kit

Some people have the luxury of their own little sewing room but others stitch when and where they can. If you’re such a person you could probably use a small, carryall sewing kit that can go with you whenever – and wherever – you go. It doesn’t take a large organizer to store common sewing things, like needles, pins, tape measure and buttons. Use a mini bucket and you’ll have a place for everything and a way to take your sewing needs room to room or from your place to someone else’s.

Dollar stores often sell miniature buckets that have lots of different uses. About the size of a cereal bowl – but a little taller – the buckets are perfect for making sewing kits. Choose the size and color of bucket you want then do a couple of add-ons to make the bucket into a sewing kit.

Wrap a piece of felt around the outside of the bucket and glue it in place. Wrap a length of roping, ribbon or lace around the top and bottom edges of the bucket to hide the raw edges of the felt. The felt serves to decorate the bucket as well as provide a place to store pins and needles. Don’t cover the entire bucket with the felt; just cut a wide strip and glue it around the top area, on the outside.

Glue a couple of cardboard rings inside the bucket, a few inches down from the top, and position them side-by-side. The rings can be sections cut from a cardboard tube or can be small cardboard rings from a roll of tape. These can hold everything from scissors to marking pencils.

Make one type of holder for the inside of the bucket by cutting a section from a cardboard tube then gluing or taping a circle to the bottom. Glue these to the inside of the bucket to hold buttons, snaps and similar things. Or, glue small prescription bottles, without lids, to the inside of the bucket. These, also, can hold buttons and snaps, cloth tape measure, thimbles and more.

There are so many things you can do to provide even more storage space inside and outside of the bucket. Cut pockets from old garments and glue the sides and bottoms on the outside of the bucket. Or, glue small bottles or tiny boxes all the way around the outside of the bucket, around the bottom edge. These additional storage places can hold everything from appliques to scraps of fabric to zippers. It’s a handy way to keep your most common sewing supplies all in one place or take them along with you from room to room.