Sewing 101: Tips on Choosing a Pattern

Fabric shops have turned into one stop craft shops. The warehouse feeling can be overwhelming for someone brand new to sewing. If you want to test your skills on a simple pattern you have to start by putting your blinders on and following a few tips. These tips are based off choosing a basic skirt pattern, since those are typically a good first project.

Sewing Patterns

Pattern Size. You do not buy patterns in the size you normally wear. Your pattern size is based off your exact measurements. Be sure to carry these with you on a note card into the fabric store.

Measuring Tips

  • Wearing only your underwear, hold the measuring tape snugly around your body.
  • You will need a waist, hips and waist to hem measurement.
  • The waist is taken at your thinnest part of your middle.
  • Hips are measured at your fullest part.
  • Waist-to-hem is taken with your shoes on from the middle of the back of your waist to the desired point on your leg that you want the skirt to land.

Pattern Choice. Look through the pattern books or racks to find the “easy” “beginner” or “one hour” choices. Most of the major pattern companies offer these options. These patterns typically have the fewest number of seams possible. They also have the least amount of details. You won’t find pleated skirts or complicated tailoring on the waistband or over all design. Once you find a selection to work with, look for a style that normally looks nice on your figure.

Finding the Pattern. After choosing a style from a pattern book, you now need to find the pattern. Some stores are self-help, meaning you will need to go to a file drawer labeled with the manufacturer of the pattern and the number range your choice falls under. At other stores you only need to give this information to a sales clerk who will pull it for you.

Reading a Pattern. Once you have chosen the style of the skirt you will be sewing, flip a pattern package over to find the charts.

Choose the pattern size according to your measurements. .

Look for the amount of fabric you will need. Be sure to also double-check the fabric width when choosing a fabric.

Check the recommended fabrics for the design you have chosen. Stick to this list. The manufacturer has your best interest at heart here, they know which fabric works best with the design of the skirt and your beginning skill level.

Look for the list of notions. This will be all the extras you will need to complete the design. Thread, zipper, elastic, buttons and other decorative elements.

Once your supplies are chosen, you are ready to check out and start sewing!

Sewing Machine Review: Singer 201

The Singer 201 is one of Singer Manufacturing Company’s older creations. It may now be considered vintage equipment, certainly a treasure to numerous collectors of vintage sewing machines. The machine is still made of a very durable material, certainly not plastic, but stainless steel which is a trademark for Singer’s older models. The Singer 201 model is a very simple sewing machine for beginners and certainly does not have the modern electronic and computerized features yet. There are no programmable controls and settings which you can use to modify your work according to the specifications of the sewing project. Every adjustment is done manually. You will have to learn to place the thread into the needle, wind the bobbin, adjust the pressure foot and vary the length and width of stitches. It has a huge cabinet to store all sorts of sewing accessories. The accessories include a ruffler, rolled hemmer, and shirring foot to add more designs into your sewing project.

Stitching functions are also excellent though it is mainly more capable of creating straight stitches which is not as flexible as the newer models. You will not have any problem creating beautiful stitches with this machine. The end result is never crude but smooth instead. This is due to the smooth metal plates beneath the sewing area. It was not made for heavyweight material such as denim, wool or leather though, so you will have to stick with the regular materials if you do not want to end up with broken needles and damaged equipment.

What makes the Singer 201 very special is its durability. As mentioned earlier, it is made of stainless steel to make it last for years. Vintage machines like the Singer 201 have lasted over the years even with constant use but with proper maintenance and cleaning, of course. These are sewing machines built with the goal of seeing the machines still being used by many generations after its first creation and because it is a simple machine, it is also very simple to operate. Despite its bulkiness, the Singer 201 sewing machine runs surprisingly quiet. It does not produce that annoying, mechanical sound that can distract you from your work.

Accessories and parts are still available in the market, though the machine itself is no longer being manufactured by Singer. If you are lucky enough, you may find this machine sold at less than $50. At this price, it would already be in good condition, complete with all the parts and accessories needed to come up with fabulous patterns for your sewing projects. Try one for yourself and see the difference when using one compared to the other sewing machines you are accustomed to use.

Sewing Lessons Near Amelia, Ohio

Sewing classes are something many women like to get involved in, primarily because a lot of women do not know the proper way to sew. Sewing classes are a good gift to give someone if you are looking for a workshop environment or are looking to give a gift for someone who really wants to learn how to sew. Sewing is an art, one in which you do need some training to learn how to do properly, and if you are around Amelia, Ohio you have a couple different places where you can learn how to sew.

Luke’s Vacuum Center has several different locations in the Cincinnati, Ohio area to suite your specific location needs, including one in Amelia, Ohio. Luke’s Sewing Center is located at 35 West Main Street in Amelia, Ohio and they provide a lot of different services including sewing lessons. If you are looking for a club-type atmosphere Luke’s Sewing Center is similar to that because they have a V.I.P membership as well as regular membership so that you can enjoy a variety of events that they host, which can be found on their events calendar. Being a member of Luke’s Sewing Center in Amelia, Ohio also provides you with the opportunity to get group or private sewing lessons. They have evening and day classes, as well as seasonal and non-seasonal classes for everyone to enjoy and the best thing is they are free. They provide basic sewing lessons free of charge for everyone and they are for an unlimited number of classes.

Sewing Lessons

The free sewing classes help put the worry away if you have to cancel or you can not go to a particular class. Free and unlimited sewing classes are perfect for someone who is looking to starting learning how to sew, but can not afford to pay for the lessons. This deal really makes Luke’s Sewing Center one of the best places in the Cincinnati, Ohio area to go for sewing lessons. They use the best and most well-known sewing machines to show you how to sew and embroider anything you can imagine. You can also get help from their website where they show you some sewing tips and frequently asked questions that come up for people learning how to sew, which is a good thing if you are just starting the sewing lessons and are trying something out at your house. Luke’s Sewing Center in Amelia, Ohio is a very good place to go to get sewing lessons if you live in or Amelia, Ohio and they always are friendly and are willing to help you learn to sew.

Hancock Fabrics is another great option for people looking to get into sewing classes around Amelia, Ohio. Hancock Fabrics are known for their great customer service as well as great communication skills when it comes to interactions with clients and customers. They have some of the best selections of sewing machines and different sewing needs and they take the time to listen to what you want to accomplish and then find the best suited machine for you. Hancock Fabrics is located at 454 Ohio Pike #46, which is right in the heart of Beechmont Avenue, just a 15 minute drive from Amelia, Ohio. On their website they have a class finder, which lets you put in where you live and it tells you where the nearest sewing classes will be held. Hancock Fabrics have several different locations throughout the Cincinnati, Ohio area which is a very good thing if you live further away from Cincinnati, Ohio like I personally do.

If you are living out near Amelia, Ohio this would be a great place to go to get excellent service and excellent details on how to sew. Hancock Fabrics has many different types of sewing classes, they also deal with embroidery and creating custom stitch patterns. Hancock Fabrics specializes in fabric-related crafts and is sure to have all the necessary tools and equipment both new and used to make your sewing a hassle-free experience. They have group lessons and also can provide you with personal lessons sometimes in one of their locations if you are needing some extra help with something. Hancock Fabrics is fairly reasonable on prices from what I have personally heard people say, although you do have to contact them for more information regarding their pricing and to get more information about their lessons and events.

How to Choose a Good Sewing Machine that Will Produce Quality Quilt Pieces

One of the earliest art practiced by most American women is quilting. Colorful quilt patterns decorate most of the average homes. But quilting nowadays has an improved process compared to the practice before.

Quilters can now take advantage of the modern technology to create beautiful quilt pieces. Instead of using needles and thread manually, people can quilt with a good sewing machine today. Manufacturers have answered the demands of present seamstress and produced sewing machines suitable for quilting. The key is just to choose the right one from those quilting machines.

A good feeding mechanism of a sewing machine should be taken into consideration. The head should be easy to maneuver. The faster you can thread, the faster you can finish a batch of quilt patterns. Another thing to remember is the number of stitching options a sewing machine can offer. The larger the choice of stitching on a sewing machine, the more useful it appeals.

The length of the bar is also a factor when inspecting which sewing machine is of good quality for quilting. You should choose a machine that has more space between the motor and the needle. This will determine as to how far you can go for the size of the quilt patterns that you will make.

Also, the motor is an integral part of a good sewing machine. It is possible that it will overheat due to the difficult process of quilting. Although sewing machines are initially manufactured to be used for a longer period of time, you must look for a good machine that is heat resistant and is offered at an affordable price.

Consider also the needles that will fit in the sewing machine. There will be various needles to use for quilting and make sure that it will match your machine. You need to make sure that high quality needles can be used for superior quilting pieces.

The best type of needles used in quilting is the Number 14 needles. The problem is that, not all sewing machines will hold this kind of needles. So make sure that you will choose a machine fit for them.

Ease of changing the needles is also a thing to remember. There will be instances that needles will be blunted. These should be replaced right away to ensure that quality in works is not compromised.

Do some research before buying a good sewing machine. Some may come expensively but it will be worth it once you chose the right one. You will earn your reward once you get to enjoy your hobby while quilting through a good choice of sewing machine.

Shopping Thrift Stores for Your Sewing Supplies is Good for Your Community

Economic uncertainty has settled in for a nice long stay and everyone is looking to scale down his or her living expenses. In tougher times, hobbies and charitable giving generally fall down the list of priorities. In the past, making your own clothes and furnishings was the ultimate economy, now craft supplies often cost more than a comparable finished product. Fortunately, for those who like to sew or knit, thrift stores offer a great source for affordable notions and fabrics while giving back to the community.

Sewing Supplies

Shopping for finished clothing and other soft goods in thrift stores can be very time-consuming; you can spend an entire afternoon looking for a particular color of blouse that is not damaged, the wrong size, or out of style. Shopping second hand for fabric and notions may be more challenging than walking straight to the sewing section and picking out your buttons, but crafters still have the advantage. The fit and cut of clothes does not matter when all you need is that great fabric. A stain on a cuff doesn’t make a difference if you are making a patchwork quilt and can discard that small piece. The perfect sweater that is 4 sizes too big is just what you want if you are going to unravel it to knit a scarf.

Sewers who are looking for fabrics are in luck. Higher quality fabrics are the best bargain, as dressier clothes tend not to get worn much and you have more fabric to work with. Velvet may cost you $40 per yard in a retail store, but finding an old formal for $10 will get you not only the fabric, but the zipper, trimmings, buttons, and lining. Plus-sized clothing provide plenty of fabric for sewing larger items, and thanks to women’s tendency to get rid of clothes as soon as they lose weight, the larger sizes tend to be in very good condition.

Notions are another big money saver for the sewer or knitter. You can buy a tacky, shabby blazer for .50 if all you really want is the mother of pearl buttons. The faux fur cuffs, or suede patches are going to cost a couple of dollars, compared to $20 or more at the fabric store. That $2 purse? Who cares if it is torn when the handles would be perfect for the new bag you’re making, and don’t forget to save the bag bottom and flex frame for another project.

For knitters and crocheters, there are plenty of raw materials that are much less expensive than buying new. Sweaters (the larger the better) and blankets can be unraveled and the yarn reused in your own patterns. Smaller sweaters and scarves can be great for projects that don’t require large amounts of the same color, like domino knitting projects or mittens. To go even more frugal, get your hands on a sweater shaver – generally sweaters are tossed only because they’ve started to pill up, and these are even cheaper.

So what’s better than getting to continue to indulge your hobbies while saving money? Shopping thrift stores is also a way to ensure you support your community with the same dollars. Near my home there is a thrift store that supports a no-kill animal shelter and a Salvation Army. Both of these stores also train and support individuals who are in rehabilitation programs. There is also a privately owned thrift store near by, and I like to know the owner is successful and can support her family through her business. Chances are there is a thrift store around you that supports a cause, organization, or individual you care about, do a quick internet search to find them and then make them one of your regular stops.

So many frugal habits require giving up something that has given you small happiness. Maintaining your hobbies through economic tough times is a great way to keep the joy in your life, and being able to help those who have little joy at the same time can help you keep the meaning in it as well.

How to Begin Quilting as a Hobby

Quilting is an inexpensive way to make crafts and blankets. Hand made blankets are great gift and a great way to make some extra cash. It can be a great way to relax after a long hard day as well. The sense of accomplishment you get from creating something, is a sensation that you cannot replace. Here is how to start your quilting hobby.

  • Start off with something simple

Starting off with something simple to make is recommended. Finding a beginners pattern is fairly easy. You can download many patterns online for free, and you can find them for free at your local craft store.
Choose a small pattern, like a table runner, or a pillow. This will ensure that you do not get overwhelmed by the size.

  • Make your beginner fabric selections simple

Starting off, you can purchase what is called “fat quarter bundles.” These fabric bundles are guaranteed to match, and look great together. They will go with almost any pattern, and are great for small projects. They can be found at any craft store or Walmart and are fairly cheap.

  • Ensure the quality of your pattern

Ensuring the quality of your pattern is simple. Using cardboard, or laminating your pattern will ensure that you do not damage it as you cut out your pieces. If you do damage your pattern, cut another one. It is very hard to compensate for a damaged pattern.

  • Hand piece your fabric

It is very tempting to jump on a sewing machine to piece your project. However, it is important to learn the skill with a needle by hand. This will allow you to work on your project at any time, and will make quilting your project easier too.