Sew, What's New?

Curating sewing and quilting talent, techniques, and tutorials, since 1997.

Hello, all:

My name is Maureen, and I've never sewed a stitch in my life, but I'm ready to learn! In a few months (I'm saving up right now), I'm going to buy a machine, but I don't have a clue where to begin. My inspiration is home decor: pillows, blankets, and quilts (is quilting the same as sewing?!). I'd also like to be able to hem pants and skirts. My budget is tight, around $600. Of course I'll visit some local dealers, but I'm wary of getting caught in a sales pitch. So I was hoping that Sew-What's-New, seeming like a very positive/helpful community, could shed some light on my search. For example, which functions should be on a "must have" list, and which functions should a novice avoid? Any, ANY information or resource suggestions would be HUGELY appreciated! Thanks, y'all!

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Here are some other threads where someone is asking about advice for buying a sewing machine. You may get some ideas from them.
Thread Under Beginner Sewing
Well I went to edit my previous post to add more info and I guess something happened and I lost it. So I will try again.

I'm a quilter and posted about what I think are requirements for a quilting machine here:
Thread re requirements for quilting machine

Also, I would just add that check with the dealers in your area. I would recommend that you buy as much machine as you can afford. Unless you find out that you don't like or want to want a machine that you will grow into and not grow out of. I am the voice of experience as I bought a newer machine and then found out that I needed more than it had.

For home decor, you want to be able to sew easily thru heavy fabrics so I would make sure that you take pieces of various types of fabrics with you. Dealers will usually let you test drive the machines so make sure that you sew thru 2 and even 3 layers of denim or upholstry fabrics as you want to make sure that you get something that will sew thru all the layers without a struggle. Hemming jeans can be a challenge on some machines due to the layers.

A zipper foot to sew in zippers, a blind hem foot and a blind hem stitch to hem items, an overlock edge foot and stitch to finish your seams and a good button h*** feature would be some other essentials. You may want some decorative stitches to decorate what you sew.

I know that you are a beginner sewer but from an experienced sewer's point of view a needle threader, a speed control feature and a needle up/down feature are some wonderful features whether you are a quilter or not.

Hope this helps
That DOES help, very much. I appreciate it! I will bring your reply with me when I go shopping.


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