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I want to learn to sew!

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
So, I made an apron in Home Ec in high school a gadzillion years ago, and haven't done anything apart from sewing on a button since then. I really would like to learn how to sew basic clothes, for my super skinny toddler who's too thin for any pants, and for myself, possibly. What's a good way to start? Should I buy a machine? If so, how do I figure out what kind I need? All advice very welcome.
Thanks!!!
post #2 of 14


I'm curious too!
post #3 of 14
i live in a very rural area, so this is not an option for me, but in more urban areas, there are sewing salon type places, or sewing centers. Some community centers have sewing areas, too. If you have something like that near you, that would be a way to try out different machines and even take classes.
Some libraries offer sewing/crafting programming, too- it might be worth your while to ask at your public library to see if they had any ideas, and also they will have books on beginning to sew. I have a few beginning to sew books- I think they're the "sew-what" series (bags and one for skirts, and i think there's a baby one, too)
as far as sewing pants for the baby, you can visit a site like craftster.org and look for tutorials-- baby/kids clothes don't necessarily mean you have to have a machine. Here's a link to the craftster kids clothing tutorial page http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=182788.0
post #4 of 14
Join sewingmamas.com. Get yourself a good sewing manual like Vogue sewing and simple pattern and get stitching. You'll make mistakes, but you will learn.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the suggestions. The closest place I can find to take sewing lessons is Joann's about 40 minutes away. I feel like I really need to either take lessons or just buy a machine (or both). But I can't figure out what machine I need. Thanks for the links too...those are great. I've found several things I'd like to make for my skinny ds.
post #6 of 14
I highly recommend classes it's well worth the time and money! I've taken a few over the last 10 years and I always learn new tricks and ways of doing things that help my sewing and reduce costly mistakes. I know how to sew and I still look forward to making some time in the future to take more classes.
post #7 of 14
buy a Janome machine, they have features that take a lot of headaches out of learning to sew (needle threader, drop in bobbin, etc). The Kenmore machines at Sears are made by Janome, too.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ms.shell View Post
buy a Janome machine, they have features that take a lot of headaches out of learning to sew (needle threader, drop in bobbin, etc). The Kenmore machines at Sears are made by Janome, too.
Hi, is this a good one: http://www.amazon.com/Janome-TB12-Th...0179771&sr=8-1

I have no idea what some of the features mean...are they pretty typical for a basic machine? Would you suggest buying a machine online or in a store?
post #9 of 14
yes, that is "a good one" in that it is Janome; it is all metal...i am quite sure that is an excellent machine. if you think pants and just constructing basic garments is the most of what you will be doing, i bet you will be very happy with that machine. Some of their other models have a 1 step automatic buttonholer, which is a feature i definitely want, and a reason i havent considered that model in my shopping. I am upgrading my Janome (plan to buy this tomorrow: http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1...e=Computerized
in going to get that link, i saw this: http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_02016231000P, which for the same money i would personally buy over the TB12, because of the buttonholer, and it having so many more stitch functions. But the TB12 is entirely mechanical...which is nice; i love my mechanical Janome, which i have figured out how to fix myself everytime i have gotten into a jam and i am nervous about having a computerized machine- i wouldn't buy one if i didnt have a mechanical for backup, for say if some circuit blew or whatever and it needed to be sent away for repair. ....so i would recommend getting a mechanical machine, which the TB12 you saw is. The same priced one i linked to at sears said it has some "electronic" features, but in the specs, it called it basically mechanical.....OH; here ya go and its less money: http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_02018221000P That is what i would get. They probably have it Overstock, too, listed as Janome with an 11-something model number, but i think right now these Sears prices might be beating them. Last I looked, tho, Overstock did have QUITE a few mechanical Janomes, some good basic ones for less than $100 even. I would get one with the automatic buttonholer and more stitches.
Good luck....i hope you love sewing!
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you for explaining to me what to look for! I will keep these in mind, but I think I'll take a class first, just to find out what is a 1 step buttonholer! I'm embarrassed to say I don't know
I've got some ideas in my head for projects...so I'm really excited to start. I'll probably try to take a class next week.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ms.shell View Post
yes, that is "a good one" in that it is Janome; it is all metal...i am quite sure that is an excellent machine. if you think pants and just constructing basic garments is the most of what you will be doing, i bet you will be very happy with that machine. Some of their other models have a 1 step automatic buttonholer, which is a feature i definitely want, and a reason i havent considered that model in my shopping. I am upgrading my Janome (plan to buy this tomorrow: http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1...e=Computerized
in going to get that link, i saw this: http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_02016231000P, which for the same money i would personally buy over the TB12, because of the buttonholer, and it having so many more stitch functions. But the TB12 is entirely mechanical...which is nice; i love my mechanical Janome, which i have figured out how to fix myself everytime i have gotten into a jam and i am nervous about having a computerized machine- i wouldn't buy one if i didnt have a mechanical for backup, for say if some circuit blew or whatever and it needed to be sent away for repair. ....so i would recommend getting a mechanical machine, which the TB12 you saw is. The same priced one i linked to at sears said it has some "electronic" features, but in the specs, it called it basically mechanical.....OH; here ya go and its less money: http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_02018221000P That is what i would get. They probably have it Overstock, too, listed as Janome with an 11-something model number, but i think right now these Sears prices might be beating them. Last I looked, tho, Overstock did have QUITE a few mechanical Janomes, some good basic ones for less than $100 even. I would get one with the automatic buttonholer and more stitches.
Good luck....i hope you love sewing!
post #11 of 14
A one step button holer is really nice. It means you set it up w/ the button you're using and the machine makes the hole the right size all in one step. W/ the 4 step button holer you make the top, bottom, and each side separately and you must decide the size of the hole yourself. It's more trouble, but do-able. I'm currently looking to upgrade my machine and one of the must have features is a 1 step button holer. The other thing I'm looking for is a stretch stitch so I can sew knits. That way I can reconstruct t-shirts etc.

I echo pp of Janome being a good quality machine.

If you can find a sew and vac shop that might be a good place to look. We have one locally and the people are very knowledgeable and helpful. The machines are all set up and you can "test drive" them. They also offer classes to teach you to use your new machine and all its features for free if you buy from them.
post #12 of 14
Find someone to teach you as well as get a good sewing book. Simplicity the Best Sewing Book is good for a beginner (http://www.amazon.com/Simplicity-Sim.../dp/073942100X). So is The Reader's Digest Sewing Book (http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Guide.../dp/0762104201). There is also Youtube and online sewing sites that teach sewing. Sewing message boards to answer questions. Go to a sewing machine dealer to educate yourself about sewing machines, what the stitches/functions do, and to get an idea of what you want the machine to do. A dealer will also give operating lessons on how to use your new machine. If you can learn from the manual and winging it on your own, then after you learn from the dealer, buy a machine from a discount store--Wallmart, JoAnns, Sears, etc. The machine will be cheaper but you will be on your own to learn how to use it. Features to look for are straight stitch, zigzag, built in buttonhole stitch (1-4 steps. 1 step means that you only set up the buttonhole stitch once; 4 steps mean that you change the dial for each step). Some type of stretch stitch will be helpful.
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ms.shell View Post
I am upgrading my Janome (plan to buy this tomorrow: http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1...e=Computerized
This is the machine I have (the 19233). Highly recommend! You will LOVE it!

It is a discontinued model now so once the inventory is gone, it's gone.

It also means that if you have a local sears store you may be able to get a great deal on the demo model.

Happy Sewing!

ETA- Searsoutlet.com is a good source for overstocks and reconditioned janome-made kenmores if anyone else is interested.
hth
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ms.shell View Post
yes, that is "a good one" in that it is Janome; it is all metal...i am quite sure that is an excellent machine. if you think pants and just constructing basic garments is the most of what you will be doing, i bet you will be very happy with that machine. Some of their other models have a 1 step automatic buttonholer, which is a feature i definitely want, and a reason i havent considered that model in my shopping. I am upgrading my Janome (plan to buy this tomorrow: http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1...e=Computerized
in going to get that link, i saw this: http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_02016231000P, which for the same money i would personally buy over the TB12, because of the buttonholer, and it having so many more stitch functions. But the TB12 is entirely mechanical...which is nice; i love my mechanical Janome, which i have figured out how to fix myself everytime i have gotten into a jam and i am nervous about having a computerized machine- i wouldn't buy one if i didnt have a mechanical for backup, for say if some circuit blew or whatever and it needed to be sent away for repair. ....so i would recommend getting a mechanical machine, which the TB12 you saw is. The same priced one i linked to at sears said it has some "electronic" features, but in the specs, it called it basically mechanical.....OH; here ya go and its less money: http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_02018221000P That is what i would get. They probably have it Overstock, too, listed as Janome with an 11-something model number, but i think right now these Sears prices might be beating them. Last I looked, tho, Overstock did have QUITE a few mechanical Janomes, some good basic ones for less than $100 even. I would get one with the automatic buttonholer and more stitches.
Good luck....i hope you love sewing!
I decided to get the model 16231 that you mention above. It was 199 online...and 249 in the store! Today, I checked online, it was 169, so I found a $5 coupon, and just ordered it! As far as classes, I went to Joann's and they don't offer classes at the location closest to me...so I'm going to see if I can learn just by using books...and/or find some other class. I'm very excited; I can't wait to make some neat clothes for my ds. I have to say I was somewhat inspired by the teacher's clothes on the Magic School Bus - she was wearing a dress with ants on it...I think ds would LOVE stuff like that. Thanks so much to everyone for all the advice.
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