Stef's adventures in craftiness

My Sewing Machine

As you may have gathered, I recently bought a sewing machine.

I hadn’t done any sewing since school, and even then not much, so I was coming at it a newbie.

So why have I taken up sewing?

I had a pile of clothes waiting to be mended, and my hand sewing efforts were shoddy. I didn’t want to pay for someone else to do it, and I definitely didn’t want to throw anything away. Also, I like clothes but I hate shopping and am sick of spending money on things that cost nothing to make, that aren’t quite what I want or don’t quite fit, or end up unused in my cupboard. I wanted to do something arty and had recently contemplated drawing, pottery or pastry making but the ideas hadn’t really caught on.

Basically I wanted to do something that’s both creative and useful. Call it the engineer in me.

So one week in May I decided to just move beyond contemplation and go ahead and BUY BUY BUY. I walked into the Metro Sewing Centre at Southland to get myself a machine. Not having used one since school, I was a bit hazy on different types of machines, what they did, and what the jargon meant. The bare minimum requisite prior web research, and talking to the store lady gave me just enough details to make a purchase. I figured out there’s basically 4 types of machine:

  • Sewing machine – these are the basic ones for doing most everything, and where you can get all sort of price ranges from $100-$2000+
  • Embroidery machine – these also do the sewing, but are designed with a computer that can load and sew your own embroidery patterns. These are of course cost a bit extra. And I had a vision of embroidery being the strict domain of grey hairs, though I’m starting to think otherwise… Anyway doing it by machine instead of by hand I thought was cheating.
  • Quilting machine – sewing machine with accessories and longer arm better suited for quilting. Quilts used to be and still are often done by hand, but I imagine it would be quicker by machine.
  • Overlocker – these are quite different and can’t be used as a sewing machine. They basically trim and stitch over the edge of a garment giving a sturdy and professional finish. This is a complicated stitch with multiple threads and is the kind of stitch you see on most seams in clothes you buy from the shop.

Standard sewing machine it was. Next step was budget and features. I thought I’d go with a mid-range machine that’d cover most anything to keep me happy for a long while. Around my price point I had the options of:

  • computerised (come with a screen and are supposedly more precise) or manual
  • lots of decorative stitches, or just the basics
  • automatic buttonhole making
  • inclusion of a number of ‘feet’ attachments for different kinds of sewing
  • ability to sew thicker fabrics

I figured I didn’t need a computer (they crash anyway), or fancy stitches. The other options seemed useful. Janome was a brand I knew was good.

So this is what I got:

My Precious

A paltry $5 also went to breast cancer research.

Next step was figuring out how to use it.


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