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Sewing Books and the Beginning Sewer.

Last post Sun, Jan 9 2011 4:35 PM by MarthaMFI. 9 replies.
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  • Wed, Feb 13 2008 5:11 PM

    • Edey
    • Top 25 Contributor
      Female
    • Joined on Mon, Sep 10 2007
    • Los Angeles County, CA
    • Posts 3,869

    Sewing Books and the Beginning Sewer.

    Many of the sewing pattern companies and sewing supply companies have published how-to sewing books over the years. Simplicity, McCall's, Coats and Clarks thread company, Singer, Better Homes and Gardens, Reader's Digest have all published good sewing books for the beginner. Look at library sales, and thrift shops, swap meets, or flea markets for these books. They have excellent basic information for a beginner. The older books don't have modern information covering computer sewing machines or sergers, but these are more machine than a beginner needs anyway. A basic zigzag machine will be enough to get you started. Look at sewing machine shops for rebuilt ones and compare prices to a new one. Patterns are expensive so wait for them to go on sale. Patterns can sometimes be found in thrift stores for very little money. And while in thrift stores look for large skirts, or large mens shirts, all of which can be cut down to make other clothes. Blue jeans can be made into different kinds of bags. Flannel sheets can sometimes be cheaper than flannel yardage. These will make pajamas or nightgowns.

    Sewing your own clothes can be a rewarding hobby, one in which you can create your own style, and wear custom made clothes at the same time.

    Sewing for your residence is another good way to improve your skills. Curtains are a simple hemmed square or rectangle. Tablecloths can be square, rectangle or round.

    The sewing books will give you lots of ideas. Thrift stores can be a source for fabric and sometimes trims or tools. Look around and see what you can find. E

    Edey's Vintage and Current Needlework Blog

    Life is like a quilt - it is made beautiful from all the little pieces stitched together.

    Use a HandCranked tool, it doesn't need to be plugged in or charged up!

    Treadle sewing machines. Get a workout and save electricity all at the same time. Plus it can go anywhere, even outdoors!

    READ THE ARCHIVES! It'll do you good.
  • Wed, Feb 13 2008 7:58 PM In reply to

    Re: Sewing Books and the Beginning Sewer.

    elovestea:
    Sewing for your residence is another good way to improve your skills. Curtains are a simple hemmed square or rectangle

     

    I agree with you elovestea. January 2007 I ordered online all the material that I needed to make new curtains for the living room, the hallway, and for less than $100.00, I made eight pairs of curtains for our windows. I ordered muslin fabric for the main part, and for the tie-backs, I used  some Southwestern print fabricand where the rod goes thru the curtains, I put some of the same print so they all go together and the tie-backs don't stick out like a sore thumb.

    I was amazed at the cost of the fabric for to buy that many pairs of curtains, at only 42" in length, would have cost me about $12.00-$15.00 a pair.That amounts to more than $96.00 to $120.00 for them all.The best part is I like them and they go with our decor, that was the most important thing for me, having curtains that actually go with our decor, not stand out from it.

    I had enough material in my stash, to make curtains for the kitchen area to, so that was free, I don't remember how much I paid for the material when I bought it, but it couldn't have been more than $1.00 a yard. I am cheap. LOL

    Dh was glad that I made them for he was sick of the ones we had, we had used them since !998 and I too was  tired of them, and they didn't go with our decor at all, they just worked for the time being. I am not one who goes out and buys new curtains often, we really need them before I will buy them. I am a settled person I guess, for I don't move the furniture around, except to clean under it, then back it goes into the orginal position.

     

    ...and may the Lord bless us, with all we need. AMEN
  • Wed, Feb 13 2008 10:38 PM In reply to

    • Edey
    • Top 25 Contributor
      Female
    • Joined on Mon, Sep 10 2007
    • Los Angeles County, CA
    • Posts 3,869

    Re: Sewing Books and the Beginning Sewer.

    I'm probably going to have to make some new ones soon, as my living room curtains have been up since 1988. That is how much I hate to shop for curtains. When I bought those it took running around to several K-marts just to get all the pieces I needed to cover my 5 windows.

    I've been looking into the different presser feet that fits the older sewing machines on e-bay, one of which is a ruffler. If I can get one and it works I might tackle some projects with it like curtains. I have a set that came with my Singer treadle, but they are for a White machine, so I went looking for what might be available for a Singer. I've bid on some but haven't won any yet. The ones I bid on will fit my electric Singer, not the treadle, but that is okay too. I find those presser feet fascinating. Somehow in learning how to sew the only ones I knew of was a zipper foot and zigzag foot, other than the ordinary foot. There are hemmers, binders, edgestitchers, rufflers, buttonholers, pintuckers and embroidery feet. All the things that the new computer machines do, those attachments did. And didn't require a computer chip to do it. My mother's machine had cams that did the different stitches, they were little discs that she could install to make a particular stitch.

    Sewing machines fascinate me, why I don't know. I don't think I am the only one. The older ones I like. I would never own a computer model, too expensive for one, too complicated for another. And most of what it does I don't need. E

    Edey's Vintage and Current Needlework Blog

    Life is like a quilt - it is made beautiful from all the little pieces stitched together.

    Use a HandCranked tool, it doesn't need to be plugged in or charged up!

    Treadle sewing machines. Get a workout and save electricity all at the same time. Plus it can go anywhere, even outdoors!

    READ THE ARCHIVES! It'll do you good.
  • Thu, Feb 14 2008 6:34 PM In reply to

    Re: Sewing Books and the Beginning Sewer.

    I bought myself an embroidery machine with my Christmas bonus year-before-last.  Ahhh... what a machine!

    Mind you, it doesn't replace my husband's old war horse--the circa 1970 cast iron Singer--for sewing canvas and leather and denim (I'd not even want to try it on my fancy machine), but it's surprisingly uncomplicated.  Instead of dials or switches for stitch length and width, you have a touch-screen that allows you to select it (and it gives the width and length in MM, which allows you to follow a pattern's recommendations exactly, instead of having to guess if 2.5mm is a setting 3 or 4 on your machine). 

    Also, mine tells me which presser foot to use for which stitch.  No excuse if I use the regular foot to zig-zag and I end up breaking my needle.  It also stops and tells me when the bobbin is running out of thread, so no more sewing a long seam only to realize that it's not sewed half of it because you ran out!  But, by far my favorite feature is the automatic threader (push a button and BOOM! your needle is threaded) and the automatic scissors.  I have my machine set up so that when I start something, it automatically backstitches, and when I get to the end of my seam, I press a button and it automatically backstitches three times, then cuts the thread for me.  It also has a knee press to raise and lower the presser foot so I don't have to reach around for it.

    It makes sewing a lot faster and I make fewer mistakes (like forgetting to backstitch).  Oh, and it also sews faster and quieter than either of my old Singers (I have one circa 1992). 

    But yes, they are expensive.  I bought one of the cheapest (new) and it was $1,200.  But I think I'm about to be rewarded for my vision, as it looks like I may be getting into business for myself this year making church vestments.  And you better know I'm going to embroider on them using my machine!  If I make a good go of it, I will probably, eventually, upgrade to the $5,000 model which makes much larger pieces of embroidery. 

  • Thu, Feb 14 2008 9:20 PM In reply to

    • Edey
    • Top 25 Contributor
      Female
    • Joined on Mon, Sep 10 2007
    • Los Angeles County, CA
    • Posts 3,869

    Re: Sewing Books and the Beginning Sewer.

    Question: what do the automatic scissors do?

    If you can put your machine to good use than you haven't wasted the money on it. Embroidering on church vestments is a good use. But if you never use the embroidery feature or most of the other features, than the money spent on them is wasted to some degree. The computer machines would seem to be very expensive to repair also if it should be necessary. I wish we could post pictures so that you could show us your projects. E

    Edey's Vintage and Current Needlework Blog

    Life is like a quilt - it is made beautiful from all the little pieces stitched together.

    Use a HandCranked tool, it doesn't need to be plugged in or charged up!

    Treadle sewing machines. Get a workout and save electricity all at the same time. Plus it can go anywhere, even outdoors!

    READ THE ARCHIVES! It'll do you good.
  • Fri, Feb 15 2008 6:30 PM In reply to

    Re: Sewing Books and the Beginning Sewer.

    I haven't used the full embroidery feature yet because I haven't had time to fool with it, but even before I started thinking about working for myself, I had every intention of using it for our medieval clothing.  I have used some of the specialty stitches on it, though, that I didn't have on my Singer.  

    But no, I would not have bought it if I hadn't had want of an embroidery machine.  The two machines I had were nice enough.  It is to expensive a toy for someone who doesn't sew a lot (I sew my own work clothes plus mine and my husband's medieval clothes and his 18th century clothing, although they are so tough to sew, I've relegated them to "hand sew only" status.  Too many gores and gussets and gathered collars and cuffs to attempt on a machine.  That clothing was never designed to be created on a machine, as our clothing is.  Which is why a friend had to make her corset by hand.

    The automatic scissors cut your thread for you.  They do leave thread tails in your seam about two-three inches long, but I generally just leave these alone and additional sewing seams usually tuck them away or I ignore them, or I go back and trim them all up at once--depending on what sort of mood I'm in, lol.  But while you are sewing, it's nice not to have to be constantly reaching for your scissors (I'm terrible about not putting mine down in the same place twice!)

    My machine is also set up to automatically stop with the needle down (in the cloth).  Gah, how terrible was I about not doing that when I wanted to lift the presser foot and just adjust the cloth, or turn a corner?  That feature is a lifesaver for me!  Also, because the scissors always cut the thread for you at the same place, you will not run into that other problem that plagued me, which was cutting the thread close to the needle while it was mostly down, only to have it unthread itself when it went up for the next stitch; the automatic scissors never make that mistake.

    I wish they put these features on a sewing machine that isn't also an expensive embroidery machine; it's the sewing, not embroidery, features that really save me time and frustration. 

  • Fri, Feb 15 2008 6:33 PM In reply to

    Re: Sewing Books and the Beginning Sewer.

    I can't post pictures here, but I have a medieval brag page that has some of my stuff on it. 

     http://www.angelfire.com/planet/medievalsca/beadingprojects.html

  • Fri, Feb 15 2008 6:48 PM In reply to

    • Edey
    • Top 25 Contributor
      Female
    • Joined on Mon, Sep 10 2007
    • Los Angeles County, CA
    • Posts 3,869

    Re: Sewing Books and the Beginning Sewer.

    What fun pictures! Thanks for sharing that. I liked the trim with the green beads and pearls, 2 of my favorite colors together. You look like you are really enjoying yourself. Was the wedding for real? Congratulations. E

    Edey's Vintage and Current Needlework Blog

    Life is like a quilt - it is made beautiful from all the little pieces stitched together.

    Use a HandCranked tool, it doesn't need to be plugged in or charged up!

    Treadle sewing machines. Get a workout and save electricity all at the same time. Plus it can go anywhere, even outdoors!

    READ THE ARCHIVES! It'll do you good.
  • Tue, Feb 19 2008 1:19 PM In reply to

    Re: Sewing Books and the Beginning Sewer.

    Lol, yes it was a real wedding.  My step-brother is a Methodist minister and he performed it for us.  All of our friends are re-enactors as well, so they all came dressed, and then my family made or bought or borrowed clothing to wear too.  My mother even put a coat (called barding) on the dog!  Only my husband's family refused to dress.  So they actually looked like the odd ones out.

    We had some friends get married a couple of years ago and they do medieval and 18th century and cowboy re-enacting, and so they had a multi-time period event where all of their friends came in whatever they wanted to wear.  The Elizabethan next to the Cherokee next to the Victorian lady made for some fun pictures. 

    Funny enough, we have a couple more friends getting married in a month and they are getting married at the same place we got married (at a state park in GA), and they're also having a medieval wedding.  When you already have a lot of the stuff you need, it actually makes for a cheaper wedding.  I made mine and my husband's clothing special for the wedding, but I've worn my wedding dress several times this year and will wear it again when we go to our event in March (then it will be put away for next winter because it's overly warm).  It's a good way to keep from wasting stuff; I like to brag that I'm going to wear my wedding dress until I wear it out. 

    The only problem is that now I am spoiled to fancy clothing and my older clothing looks pretty blah against the new stuff (I've also switched over to using medievally-correct patterns tailored to fit me; the old stuff is from commercial patterns that don't have the correct seam placement).  I'm going to have to get cracking this year if I'm to have new stuff for next War. 

  • Sun, Jan 9 2011 4:35 PM In reply to

    • MarthaMFI
    • Top 10 Contributor
      Female
    • Joined on Wed, Apr 16 2008
    • New Westminster, BC, Canada
    • Posts 10,850

    Re: Sewing Books and the Beginning Sewer.

    what books do you recommend for the new sewer?

    Officially recognized Stretchpert in Hobbies and Crafts
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