This One Simple Step Will Up Your Sewing Game!

The Best Tips and Tricks for Learning to Sew!

You’ll find yourself asking how it could have been so simple

I unapologetically admit that I had a bad case of new mommy syndrome when my babes were little. I didn’t like the idea of leaving them with sitters when my husband traveled, which was often. Running errands usually involved lugging kids with me, so taking sewing classes, when I could find them, wasn’t within my universe. 

YouTube proved a terrific source for learning to sew, but I had fundamental questions that project tutorials didn’t answer, like which presser feet to use, which threads paired with which needles, when to use a zigzag stitch versus a straight stitch…

I started sewing with an old Kenmore sewing machine, and when I fleeted up to a different machine, I wasn’t about to jump in with both feet until I was familiar with its bells and whistles. I didn’t want to damage the machine—a real threat because I had no clue what I was doing. With all its fancy digital capabilities, my new machine may as well have been an aircraft cockpit. I was terrified that I’d change a setting and not know how to get back to zero. I decided to do the unthinkable: I read the entire manual from cover to cover!

Guess what? Sewing machine manuals offer a whole lot more than maintenance and setup instructions. My manual had a reference chart for which needles to use for different fabrics. I learned how to use the lines on my machine for making perfectly squared corners. I learned sewing terms like concealed zipper, blind hem, rolled hem and shell tuck. The manual taught me how to ease in a sleeve, how to gather fabrics and which foot to use. It taught me how to darn, make buttonholes, and how to install zippers. I learned that a narrow stretch stitches are best for knit fabrics, while short stitches help you to sew on curved lines, and topstitches look best as long stitches with thicker threads.  

How could it be so simple…all this priceless information with precise instructions right between the pages of a manual? In fact, it might be time to dust mine off again for refreshers and information that I didn’t catch the first go-round. If you want to take your sewing up a notch, or you simply want to know what that expensive piece of gear can really do, grab your machine’s manual, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and don’t take another stitch until you give your manual a once-over. Happy sewing, and happy learning! 

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