Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Word On Sewing....347 days to go...

Tomorrow I will do my first project out of my alteration/sewing basket pictured in my last entry. Like I said, I will try to show you how to do these alterations and mending tasks, as well.  If you have any special requests, let me know...I have a garment needing fixing for just about any project you could think of!

But, before I embark on more sewing and clothing adventures, I wanted to chat briefly about SEWING MACHINES! How many of you have a sewing machine? Although I know this is particularly egregious...I do not plan on making all my how-to's adaptable for hand sewers. I know, this is awful of me. But, I haven't hand sewn anything since gradeschool, I'm not particularly adept at it, and I think it would be downright negligent to act like I know what I'm doing in that regard! Well, maybe negligent is a strong word...

HOWEVER! I will tell you where some good sewing machine deals are if you are so inclined.  My pretty little guy, pictured in the last post, is a refurbished machine from Overstock.com.  I purchased it when I was doing professional alterations at a dry cleaning place and was having to lug my machine back and forth from home. I had a Viking, which weighed about 1 million pounds (I'm not even exaggerating! 1 MILLION POUNDS!!!). I still have my lovely Viking, I just use this little guy more because the computerization makes it super easy.  The Viking can handle more though, so it is good for sewing jeans and stuff. So here are some sewing machine shopping tips:

1) Overstock.com has great machines, and great prices. Stock moves quickly on their machines though, so if you see something that will be perfect, get it soon!  Mostly newer and lower end machines, but good especially for the beginner.  I just looked it up and you can get a refurbished Brother (the refurbished ones are fine!) for under $60. Pretty sweet!

2) For older, tank-like machines, check out www.eBay.com. I know, I know, you know eBay exists, and that they sell everything under the sun. But, it there are usually great deals on older machines. Shipping will be a TON, but the machines can be had for such a relatively low price that it makes shipping ok. I purchased my Viking off of eBay, and those old machines are really versatile and will last through anything.  I just looked, and you can get an old Viking for $30-$50, plus $20-$30 in shipping. That's a good price for such a well-made machine! Bernina's are the gold standard, but they will run you more. I think Vikings are really good machines, and a little less money. 

3) Good brands to look for (feel free to chime in with suggestions!)...:Higher end: Bernina, Viking, Elna.  Lower End: Brother is the only one I like.  I've never used a Singer machine that I liked, and the mini-sewing machines you can get are pretty worthless too. If you're gonna get one, get a real one!

4) If you have any sewing machine shopping questions, let me know! I'm happy to help out and answer any questions. 

Aside from the sewing machine, the initial expense of sewing is not that much. You need scissors, thread, thread-scissors, a seam ripper, pins, and hopefully a fabric pen to do markings with.  All of the supplies will pay for itself in money saved on clothes, alterations, and in how much better you'll be able to make your clothes work for you. Because after all, that is what your clothes should do!


  1. I have a growing pile of projects just like your basket; I feel inspired to work on it after reading your blog!

  2. I'm glad I could inspire someone else with my basket o' projects...even if I have trouble inspiring myself to finish it:) Good luck on your projects!!:)

  3. I have a Pfaff sewing machine that's pretty rockin'. I just need projects for it. And time. And inspiration. Hmmm...where to get those things...

  4. Pfaff is pretty awesome. I should have mentioned it! Thanks for bringing it up. Projects are easy to find, I think, but inspiration? Lol...another story:) Haha!

  5. Just found your blog and love it so far, just wanted to let you know. I think I'll be visiting pretty regularly. =D

    Also, so many choices on sewing machines. I always wanted one but I'm afraid I'll splurge and buy one then never use it for special projects cuz I'll get lazy. However, my mom does a lot of alterations on our Indian clothes (between 3 daughters and my mom, we all share Indian outfits.. she needs to alter them pretty frequently).. anyway, she's a great hand sewer but I think a sewing machine would make her life a lot easier and then I can use it if I ever decide to buy old dresses and spruce them up. To make a long story short, at the end of the day, which brand/model would you recommend (on a budget, of course)? I look forward to your response! thanks!!

  6. Well, welcome grumpibear501! Thank you for visiting, I hope to see you back:). It sounds like your Mom has her hands full with sewing! And all by hand! My my, that would be a lot of work. I guess if I had to recommend a budget model in a pinch, I'd definitely recommend one of the Brother sewing machines on overstock.com. The modernized features truly make it easier to work with, and you can get a computerized (well, slightly computerized) model for under $100. I've had mine for 5 years and it is still going strong. Good luck, let me know what transpires!!:)

  7. Thanks! Which Brother model do you have? And what do you mean by computerized? Lol, sorry, so many questions.

  8. Don't apologize..I love to feel useful:) Haha:). I just mean that some of the features on the Brother I have are digital...like thread pattern selection, stitch length, etc. I have a Brother CS-6000, which they have for around $150 here: http://www.overstock.com/Crafts-Sewing/Brother-CS-6000-Computerized-Sewing-Machine-Refurb/1584141/product.html , but some of the less fancy models look great too....like this one: http://www.overstock.com/Crafts-Sewing/Brother-CE4000-Heavy-duty-Sewing-Machine-Refurbished/3485980/product.html , and this one: http://www.overstock.com/Crafts-Sewing/Brother-LX-3125-Sewing-Machine/4395190/product.html (for a non-computerized version). And just to clarify, I really like the digital features, but, they totally aren't necessary!