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How to Give the Gift of Sewing

I was planning on waiting until after Thanksgiving to start our Gifts for Sewists posts, but I've had a lot of inquiries about machines in the past week, so we're bumping this one up! The links below are Amazon Affiliate Links, but every item I recommend is because I wholeheartedly believe it's worth your money. I won't ever recommend something that I haven't personally tried out or own. I'm not compensated in any way by the makers of these products, just a sewing nerd that wants everyone to have good stuff! So first up... THE MACHINE.

Machines are pretty personal and experienced sewists have major brand loyalty. I've always sewn on a Singer and think they are fantastic machines. At our classes and parties I exclusively use the Singer 4423 Heavy Duty and I recommend it for any beginner sewist. Why I love it:

  • It's durable. We schlep these ladies from class to party to my house and back to classes all the time. They stand up beautifully. You may not be moving yours around that much, but it's good to have a machine that won't get all finicky on you as you learn.

  • It's basic. There aren't a lot of bells and whistles to this machine. It's mechanical so there's no computer to break which means the repair costs, if and when you need them, will be significantly less.

  • It's has all the necessary stitches: straight stitch, stretch stitches (good for sewing garments), decorative stitches and a 4 step buttonholer.

  • It's heavy duty. This kind of goes along with durable, but it also means that when you're testing it's limits and shoving multiple layers of canvas through it-- it will hold up. I want new sewists to be adventurous and creative and not worry too much about what their machine can handle. This machine can handle it. (I tried sewing a couple of layers of leather... THAT it didn't like, but that's the extent of it).

  • It's great for all ages. We have kids and adults sew on these machines. It's tempting to by ones that are marketed to kids, but they aren't always a high quality and this is a machine they will have for years.

Now.. HOW TO USE IT! Once you get the machine, you need to learn how to use it-- Big surprise! We can help with that too! Starting in the New Year we're going to have monthly Machine 101 classes for both Adults (13+) and Kids (8+). This 2-2.5 hour class will give you everything you need to get your machine up and running. Here's an overview of what we'll cover:

  • The anatomy of a machine and what each part does.

  • How to select a needle, thread, and fabric.

  • How to wind a bobbin and thread your machine.

  • How to adjust tension, stitch selection, stitch length and stitch width.

  • Basic troubleshooting.

  • How to change a needle and presser foot.

  • Finish up by practicing your new skills with a starter project. For kids it will be the pillows below and for adults, the drawstring bags shown in the machine photo above!

Taking our Machine 101 class also allows you to take our other class offerings (and we're going to have a lot in the New Year!). Of course you can take them without the 101 class, but you'll need to have equivalent experience. So... WHERE DO I GET ALL THIS GOOD STUFF? For the machine, please consider purchasing using this link (again, the Affiliate thing). If you plan on transporting your machine anywhere (say, to a Machine 101 class) then I also suggest you purchase a carrying case. It's basic, but again very sturdy, and the one we use for the class machines. For the classes, check out our new website registration page! We keep class sizes small so that you have all the attention you need to learn the machine-- so register soon!


Of course you need some more than a machine! There are some seriously great tools and books out there and I'll be covering all of them in upcoming posts. If you have any questions at all about these or our classes, please send me an email at hartfordstitch {at}gmail {dot}com and I'd be happy to help! Happy Stitching! Laura

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