by Christina Walker
Pick up an old hobby or learn how to sew with a new sewing machine. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced but out-of-touch sewer, buying a new sewing machine can spur you on to creative greatness and provide the motivation you need to complete your sewing goals. The only problem is choosing the best sewing machine for you. Because we at Overstock.com want to help you develop your talents and pick up new hobbies, we've put together this list of tips to help you buy and use your new sewing machine. Keep reading to learn more about how to find and start using a sewing machine.
Shop with someone who sews. Shopping for something that has a huge variety of options is intimidating, especially when you shop for that something alone. Taking an experienced sewer with you when you're ready to buy sewing machines has several benefits: the first being that you have someone who can be your sounding board or who you can discuss ideas with. Your sewing friend will also have experience to draw from that will help you choose a brand and model that fits your sewing style and goals. There are specific sewing machines for beginners if you've never sewed a stitch in your life or if all you need from a sewing machine is the ability to hem pants and fix tears and popped seams. If you're interested in a specialty sewing machine, such as sergers or embroidery sewing machines, an experienced sewer will know (or know how to find out) which computerized machines are the most user-friendly. Another major reason to have a friend shop with you is for price comparison because experienced sewers will be able to spot a good deal. Remember that the best sewing machine isn't always the cheapest; like many other hobbies, sewing requires an initial investment to provide a long-lasting return.
Keep the manual. You probably kept the manual for your computer, TV and other electronic devices, if only for troubleshooting tips and customer service phone numbers. Definitely keep the manual that comes with your sewing machine. It will list included parts and have basic instructions for things like how to wind the bobbin. If you buy a specialized machine, like a serger or embroidery sewing machine, the manual will also have tips and instructions for using the computer and multiple bobbins and needles on the machine. The manual will become your go-to guide when your sewing friend isn't available or the sewing patterns you have seem vague. Even the best sewing machines for beginners won't work very well without the manual that tells you how to operate them.
Learn how to sew a seam and buttonhole. Sewing a seam and a buttonhole are the two most basic and common tasks you will need to know. These projects will teach you the basic steps and stitches that more difficult tasks will build on, and you'll probably use these skills the most often. If you know how to sew but haven't hemmed pants or added a button to a shirt in awhile, buying a new sewing machine is a great time for a refresher; you'll learn to operate the machine by doing something familiar and hone an old skill at the same time.
Use sewing patterns. People who sew a lot don't always need patterns; they have learned through experience which stitches work best with which fabrics and which designs. If you're learning to sew or haven't sewn in a long time, you'll want to use and follow sewing patterns. Patterns will specify what kind of fabric and thread to use, how much of them you need and how to cut and sew the pieces together. The more you sew with your new sewing machine, the better you'll become at knowing which fabrics pair with which stitches and visualizing designs in your mind.