2022 is seeing some big things for us here at Start to Stitch, and the first is welcoming a new member of the team into the family!
I am thrilled that thanks to a generous grant from Cultivator Cornwall I am able to offer an exciting employment opportunity for a creative, sewing minded, self-starter, for 21 hours a week, for an initial period of 6 months.
Read on for more information!
Marketing & Audience Relationship Officer (MARO)
You can download the Role and Person Spec here:
As I also mentioned in my live the challenge has had a little re-vamp for 2022 including lovely new graphics - and the introduction of GetsetsewBINGO!! I have made a little bingo card which you can stamp / cross out / whatever you like, your monthly challenges (10 in total - we have a break in May and June) and there may be prizes at the end.... you will need to share you bingo card either on Social Media or in Kernowsewcial (my LOVELY group which is totally free and very very inspiring!)
Make something, anything, from fabric in your stash, using a pattern you already own, or that is FREE online... If you can up-cycle something pre-loved, that's fine - but this is all about burning through your stash which as it turns out is exactly what many of you has set as new years resolutions, so win win!!
Its dead simple, nothing too complicated, and a nice way to ease us into the New Year....
Are you ready? Get, Set.... SEW!!!
You’ve probably had lots of practice winding the bobbin up, changing needles, and figuring out how to keep your sewing machine in good, working order (URL to machine maintenance link). So let’s dive into something new - the presser foot.
What is a presser foot?Put simply, the presser foot is the part of the sewing machine that applies pressure to the fabric whilst you sew, thus keeping it all in place. There are many different types of presser feet - sometimes they’re categorised by their uses, other times by the way they attach to your sewing machine, and sometimes they’re categorised by the height of their shanks (this usually only applies to vintage machines). It’s unlikely you’ll ever need to use them all, but having a good collection on standby can really help take your sewing to the next level.
Changing your sewing machine’s presser foot.Before you can start playing around and experimenting with the different variety of feet, you’ll need to know how to change the presser foot. Most modern machines have a lever that simply releases the presser foot and allows you to easily click a different foot in place. Some older models of sewing machine may require you to unscrew to release the presser foot - this is obviously a bit more time consuming - so make sure to check your sewing machines manual for more information.
Looking for more help or advice?If you’re struggling with changing out your presser feet, or indeed any part of your sewing machine, feel free to head over to Facebook and join our free Facebook community, Kernow Sewcial. The group is full of like-minded sewists who are always happy to offer advice and support during your sewing journey. We also host monthly #GetSetSew challenges! These are completely optional, however they serve as a fantastic way to practice/learn new skills, support and advise others on the same path as you, and allow your creativity to run wild.
Sewing Machine Presser Foot Guide For Beginners
The standard foot, or zigzag foot, comes with all sewing machines. The standard presser foot is great for straight and zigzag stitching, as well as a few decorative stitches, depending on your brand of sewing machine. The standard foot is a great presser foot for beginners to use whilst they get to grips with the machine and basic stitching techniques.
Regular Zip Foot
This presser foot comes with most sewing machines and has openings on either side of the foot. These openings allow you to sew close to your zip on either side, you can also use the regular zip foot to sew piping. Depending on the side of the foot you want to use, you’ll need to alter the needle to ensure it’s in the right position.
Quarter-inch seam foot
As the name suggests, this sewing machine presser foot allows you to sew the perfect quarter-inch seam every time. It’s a favourite among most quilters and dressmakers as it ensures flawless seams and perfect finishes.
Another favourite of quilters is the walking presser foot. This uses teeth similar to the feed dogs and is ideal for thick and heavy fabric, or fabric that tends to stick. HOWEVER, this foot also comes into its own in all manner of garment making and is an absolute essential when it comes to sewing with knit fabrics ( we have a fabulous course on this!! )
Automatic buttonhole foot
Found yourself struggling when it comes to creating the perfect buttonhole? You’re not the only one! Luckily, the automatic buttonhole foot is a great little presser foot for your collection. This clever foot creates perfect buttonholes each time by measuring the button which is inserted into the back section of the foot. We cover all about buttonholes in our Intermediate skills builder course - LEARN TO SEW: Skills builder!
This presser foot has open grooves on the underside which holds the piping or cording in position. The piping/cording then passes through the foot in a straight line, producing neat, even stitching every time. We cover all about piping in our Intermediate skills builder course - LEARN TO SEW: Skills builder!
This is the perfect choice for laminated fabrics, vinyls, leathers and suedes. The presser foot is coated in non-stick Teflon which allows the foot to glide easily over the fabric without the friction caused by a standard presser foot.
The satin presser foot is usually made of a clear material to allow you to easily see where you’re sewing; it also sometimes has an open toe. This foot is used for decorative and satin stitching as it allows a build up of stitches to be sewn onto the fabric and gives you maximum visibility.
Darning/free machine/open toe foot
If being arty with your stitching is something you enjoy, this is a great addition to your presser foot collection. This foot is used primarily for free hand machine sewing which makes it ideal for quilters and those who like to produce patterns and textures on fabrics. In order to allow the fabric to move freely while using this presser foot, the feed dogs need to be lowered.
Easy Beginner Projects
At Start To Stitch, we want to share our love of sewing with as many people as possible. That’s why we offer FREE sewing patterns that are great for beginner sewists. If you’re looking for something that’s simple and useful, how about trying your hand at our Start To Stitch Free Bunting tutorial, our Free Facemask tutorial, or our free Twist Headband Tutorial?
What should I do next?
Practice makes perfect, so get sewing! Most sewing machines come with a selection of presser feet, so start by figuring out what you’ve got and from there you can learn how to release and change your presser foot. Next, start working with the presser feet you’ve got and notice the benefits each one offers.
Once you’re comfortable, you might find that you want to take your sewing to the next level. We offer beginner and intermediate online sewing courses. In each course, you’ll learn new techniques and troubleshoot common issues, as well as create wonderful handmade items. Both courses are held through a dedicated Facebook Group, with detailed video tutorials. Live video support and weekly tutoring calls are also included as part of the course, meaning that support and encouragement is always only a click away.
Head to our Online Courses page for more information.
Even better it is a fully pimped up cape design now complete with optional hood, and options for neck closures including velcro, button and tie fastening.
What's more - it is completely reversible! Which means that you can make two characters in one cape, saving time, space and money and allowing for hours of endless fun...
My kids have not complained though and we had a lot of fun creating this photo shoot in our local woods this morning.
So, I bet you want to know how you can make one?
Well, dear reader, read on! AND you may be glad to know that as with all of my other free patterns I have created a few free video tutorials to talk you through the making process - these will be linked below.
NB: This is for personal use only - not for commercial production.
MAKING THE CAPE
Contents: Cape pattern, tie fastening option, hood option, wizard motifs, hero motifs, hero mask.
Materials: 1 m fabric for each side of the cape ( so 2m in total - 140 wide ), felt and / or glittery felt for motifs and mask, button/velcro for fastening (if required)
In these examples I use a polyester satin from ebay priced at under £3 which is cheap, washable and perfectly silky for those fluttering cape moments. You could also use cotton or poly-cotton, a lightweight denim, velvet, or short pile fur (but this is not recommended for a reversible version) NOT SUITABLE FOR STRETCH.
First thing's first - you need to download the FREE pattern pack from my shop here (and don't forget to opt in if you want to be the first to know about future exciting freebies!)
Printing: Set your printer to print at 100% to ensure that it comes out at the right scale. Print the first page only to make sure that the test boxes are correct. NB a couple of mm difference won't make much difference, but you don't want them to be any small than that.
Pattern assembly: If you have never assembled a pdf pattern before you can can watch my video on how to do it here. This is for another of my patterns - but the principal is the same and you will see how it all lines up when you print out the cape pattern. If you have any questions at all just drop me a line.
The rest of the instructions can be found in these videos as the construction method varies slightly depending on what closure you intend to use and whether or not you are going to make a hood!
(If you are making a hooded cape with a button fastening - just make sure you insert the hood as per the wizards video before you attach both sides together and stitch around the neck)
MAKING THE MASK
If you want to make a character mask to accompany your character dress-up cape - then I have made a super quick tutorial talking you through the assembly process.
Felt piece for front and back 15 x 25 cm
Elastic - 25cm
If you make this please do share it with me either in Kernow Sewcial or by tagging me @starttostitch on instagram or using the hashtag #stskidscape.
I would LOVE to see how this pattern pack is transformed into your creations and see your small people enjoying it as much as mine!
Don't forget you can always drop me a line through social or email if you have any questions about it at all :)
Simple classes, just like our best-selling beginner course, combined with independently practicing at home using our free simple sewing patterns will give you plenty of knowledge and skills needed to take on lots of exciting sewing projects. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you could work on using up those leftover scraps you’ve collected, or you could even decide that furthering your knowledge by enrolling in our intermediate sewing course is the right thing for you.
Regardless of your sewing skills, there will always be something that you can make. A quick Google or Pinterest search will bring up thousands of quick and easy projects, however, it seems that these are often tailored towards women. Women aren’t the only ones who appreciate a lovingly handmade gift, so in this blog post, we’re going to be talking about the type of gifts that can be sewn specifically with men in mind.
If you’re looking for something to sew for your husband, brother, child’s school teacher, friend, or any other male in your life, this is the post for you. Read on and discover some practical sewing gifts to make for men.
Sewing Gifts to Make for Men - Tool Organisation
Do you know someone who’s always tinkering away or working on a new project? A tool bucket could be the perfect gift for them. With plenty of space inside and slots for tools on the outside, homemade tool buckets are a practical way to keep all tools needed for a job in one place. Plus, you can add handles to make it easier to carry! This tutorial is a wonderful starting point.
Something simple like this tool rollup is all it takes to transform a messy tool shed into an organised haven for appliances, gadgets, and hand tools. A simple cloth tool roll up is a great make for beginner sewists, but it’s also an extremely practical gift idea.
Sewing Gifts to Make for Men - Garments & Accessories
Formal or funky, you can’t go wrong with a good tie! This tie tutorial is brilliant and the website also details how to make smaller ties for children.
Another option for the man in your life who often finds himself wearing suits - a collection of pocket squares. They’re so easy to make (I mean, they’re squares!), a nice little bundle would make a lovely homemade sewing gift.
If you feel more confident behind the sewing machine, some new male garments would make a beautifully thoughtful gift! You can start simple with t-shirts or shorts, or you could challenge yourself to something more complex, such as a suit jacket or collared shirt.
Sewn Gifts For Men - Travel
Everyone needs a travel bag to keep all their essentials in whilst they’re away. As you may know, my Mister is the adventurous sort, so he’s often off exploring somewhere new. A travel bag would make a lovely gift for fellow adventure husbands, or men who often find themselves away from home a lot. Great for storing all the staples, such as toothpaste and brush in, they’re also handy bags to have at home to safely store shaving equipment.
A handmade messenger bag makes a great gift for teachers and students alike!
Another quick and relatively simple make is a classic electronics case. Whether you are making a cover for a big reader who wants their Kindle to remain safe, or someone who’s always on their phone or tablet, a protective cover is a thoughtful and practical gift. This gift idea is also great for children who are learning about responsibility and looking after their things properly, like their tablets or first phones.
Sewing Gifts to Make for Men - Autumn & Winter
Fleece hats for winter
Who doesn’t love a nice cosy hat as the weather starts to change? Sewing with fleece is a topic that we cover briefly in our Sewing With Stretch Fabric course.
You can’t go wrong with an infinity scarf as the weather starts to change. If you happen to have old or ill-fitting flannel shirts lying around, infinity scarfs are a great way to upcycling them. This free pattern here bases the sewing project on upcycling shirts, however, the tutorial can be easily adapted for any fabric you wish to use.
Another fleece make; the neckwarmer is such a good sewing project for those new to using the fabric. It is effectively a neck-sized tube, so it’s a great way to get in your stretch fabric practice, as well as making an attractive, practical gift for someone.
Sewing Gifts to Make for Men - House & Garden
Quilting is such a fun and satisfying sewing avenue to explore. Quilts can be made using favourite sport team colours, favourite TV/movie logos, upcycled t-shirts or babygrows - absolutely anything! They’re great to have around for those cosy autumn nights in.
Oven gloves & Pot Holders
Oven gloves and pot holders are cute and practical gifts for the chef in your life!
We all know someone who calls themselves the “King Of The BBQ”! BBQ aprons are simple to make and can assist your BBQ king with keeping all his trust BBQ tools close at hand.
There are quite a few different tutorials out there for sewing a wallet, but I quite like this one from The Sewing Directory. The measurements, equipment, and tips are all included and you could very easily print the page off or have it open on your laptop as you sew.
Let me know your favourite make!
I’d love to know what your favourite gift project from this blog post is. Are you going to try one out? Should I film some tutorials or write a detailed blog post for one or two of these gift ideas? Let me know what you would like!
Feel free to leave a comment, or pop over to our FREE Facebook group, Kernow Sewcial! We are an active, friendly bunch who are always around to give advice, support and have a natter about anything sewing related.
We also set monthly challenges (these are optional) that encourage members to try something new and step outside of their comfort zone. If you decide to join, please pop a post up and introduce yourself!
In this post, I’ve put together 5 of the most prominent reasons as to why I believe making your own garments is the way forward, no matter what your experience level is.
The term ‘fast fashion’ gets thrown around quite a lot in the sewing community. The term refers to the replication of popular fashion trends and mass producing them at a low cost. These garments are then distributed at low prices to huge conglomerates that turn a high-profit. Cheap clothing sounds fine, at first, until you take a closer look at the environmental impacts.
Did you know:
- 350,000 tonnes of unwanted, but still wearable, clothing ends up being burned or buried in our landfills per year in the UK?
- A lot of clothing that is burned or buried in landfills hasn’t even been worn? It is simply the most cost-effective way to dispose of unsold stock.
- Fast fashion is a massive contributor to water pollution and climate change!
The only way to challenge the fast fashion industry is to become more mindful about our wardrobes and think carefully about the type of fabrics we’re using. Repurposing spare fabric and fabric scraps is one way to do your part in fighting the environmental impact of fast fashion, another is to start producing your own clothing.
Perfectly fitting clothes, every time.
I see social media posts about the variation in UK sizing all the time! You’ve probably seen them too - how a pair of size 12 jeans from one brand happens to be about an inch smaller than the same sized jeans bought from a different clothing brand. How crazy is that? Not only does that feed into the landfill disaster of unworn clothing being thrown away, but it also causes havoc with our self esteem.
These tremendous inconsistencies and the emotional impact that comes with them, can be completely avoided when you choose to make your own clothing. Learning how to measure yourself for clothing is easy, and once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll always have perfectly fitting clothes to suit your style and needs.
Boost your confidence, self esteem & your overall mental wellbeing.
Mastering a new skill is one of the most widely suggested ways to boost your self esteem. Learning how to create something new, or or improving a skill you previously struggled with gives you an overwhelming feeling of achievement and satisfaction. This in turn boosts your confidence and self esteem, as well as giving your whole mental state. 2020 was one heck of a year for many, however my trusty sewing machine, along with the Kernow Sewcial Facebook group, and Cornwall Scrubs kept me sane. Quilting and garment making is an act of self care for many, and I have personally spoken out about my mental health and the role that sewing has had in my own mental health progression.
Save yourself some money.
We spoke about how fast fashion mass produces popular fashion trends at a low price earlier, and I think many people fall into the trap that because the garments are cheap, they’re saving money. In actual fact, these clothes are often made to be disposed of; they’re made cheaply and aren’t built to last for more than a season or two. Many items break or become unwearable so quickly that the low costing items soon add up that you’ve spent more money on fashion items than you’d originally planned to over the course of a year.
Sewing your own garments can save you money in the long run because you will be making your clothing with longevity in mind. By using good quality fabric and thread, you can easily make simple garments, even if you’re a total beginner. All it takes is a bit of practice and patience. If you want to brush up on your sewing skills, our Beginners Online Course is great for going back to the basics, or learning everything you need to get started. We also offer an Intermediate Online Course which serves as the perfect introduction to garment making.
You are your own designer and creator.
By sewing your own clothing, you are effectively running your own factory. Sourcing your fabric well can bring employment and income to your local areas if you purchase your fabrics and supplies from small local businesses. By working on your own garments, you’re cutting the chemical usage that pollutes our planet with toxins, and, absolutely brilliantly, you’re cutting out the use of child labour.
My personal mantra is: thou shalt not buy anything that can be made thyself.
I work on the principle that since I have a big stash of fabrics, there are a lot of things that I can make for myself, instead of having to buy them. When I get to the end of my stash, I try to buy more fabrics mindfully, thinking about where they’re coming from and how they’re made.
I am in no way preaching about avoiding shops - if you want to head to the shops and buy yourself some new wardrobe staples, go for it. However, I have to say there is something incredibly satisfying about creating your own clothing.
That’s why I teach my beginner and intermediate online sewing course; I want to give people the skills and knowledge necessary to help them create garments and items that they can be proud of, as well as helping to slow the speed of the fast fashion industry, while also helping you feel better about the beautiful body that you have been given!!
Sew your own wardrobe.
So many items in my wardrobe have been lovingly sewn by me. Very recently myself, and members of our Kernow Sewcial Facebook group joined in with the wonderfully organised #TheSewingWeekender2021 event, hosted by The Fold Line. The event entailed a blissful weekend of sewing and chatting with lovely, lovely people, however, as a result, my studio is now full of scraps of fabric that are just crying out to be turned into something practical and beautiful!
Create something brand new out of your leftover fabric.
If, like me, you find that your scrap fabric box is often overflowing, this is definitely the blog post for you. Often we’re left with pieces of fabric that are too small to create new garments for ourselves out of, but that doesn’t mean they’re totally useless. With a little imagination and some clever stitching, it’s possible to turn your scraps into something beautiful and practical that can be used in and around your home.
Practical items to make from scrap fabric:
Below is a collection of sewing projects that can be created using scraps of fabric. In honour of remaining sustainable, we’ve kept the list as practical as possible - there’s no point creating something with leftover fabric that you’ll never actually use. Our categories include health and beauty items, such as facemasks and scrunchies, items for around the home, children’s items, and sewing related goodies. Of course, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of possibilities when it comes to repurposing fabric scraps, so these are only a few ideas to help get you started.
Health & Beauty
Reusable makeup remover wipes
Reusable panty liners
Hand sanitiser keyring holder
Makeup bag / travel makeup bag
Around The Home
Reusable kitchen towels
Camera strap cover
Child’s sun hat
Arty Ideas For Scrap Fabrics
There are so many fun ways to use scraps of fabric up. Recently, over on the Kernow Sewcial Facebook group, we had a member who helped her children with their school homework; they ended up creating beautiful collages with scraps of fabrics and the results were absolutely stunning. If you're looking for some free tutorials I have also compiled a Pinterest board for you here!
If you fancy having a go at some more fun and practical makes, check out some of the free patterns we offer on our website: Start To Stitch Twist Headband Pattern, the Start To Stitch Face Covering Pattern, and the free Start To Stitch bunting pattern. We also offer beginner and intermediate courses that are hosted online with video tuition.
Struggling with your machine? Head over to the Start To Stitch YouTube channel, where we have a variety of video tutorials designed to help you overcome some of the most common sewing machine issues, such as How To Change A Needle On Your Sewing Machine, and How To Wind A Bobbin Up On Your Sewing Machine.
Scrunchies are the perfect project for sewing beginners
Honestly, sewing your own scrunchies is probably one of the easiest sewing projects around, which makes it an absolutely perfect place for beginners to start. You only need a small amount of fabric - you can even use scrap fabric (link to how to use fabric scraps post) - some elastic, a safety pin, and your trusty sewing machine.
Looking for more beginners projects?
At Start To Stitch, we want to share our love of sewing with as many people as possible. That’s why we offer FREE sewing patterns that are great for beginners. Once you’ve mastered the scrunchie, how about trying your hand at our Start To Stitch Free Bunting tutorial, our Free Facemask tutorial, or our free Twist Headband Tutorial?
Once you’re comfortable with these projects, you might find that you want to take your sewing to the next level. We offer beginner and intermediate online sewing courses. In each course, you’ll learn new techniques and troubleshoot common issues, as well as create wonderful handmade items. Both courses are held through a dedicated Facebook Group, with detailed video tutorials. Live video support and weekly tutoring calls are also included as part of the course, meaning that support and encouragement is always only a click away. Head to our Online Courses page for more information.
How To Make Your Own Scrunchies.
First things first, gather your materials and tools. To make your own scrunchies, you will need:
- Fabric scissors
- A tape measure
- A safety pin
How to make scrunchies, a step-by-step guide:
Firstly, you need to measure and cut your fabric to 22 inches x 3 1/2 inches. Next, measure your elastic out, you’ll need 9 inches.
Fold your fabric in half so that the underside of the fabric is facing you, then pin to hold it in place. On one end, fold the fabric back 1/2 inch and secure with a pin. Stitch the outer edges together with a 1/4 inch seam to create a tube.
Pop your safety pin in the edge that you folded over and use it to help you turn the fabric right side out by passing it through the tube and pulling it out at the other end.
Press the seam using an iron and then attach your safety pin to the end of your elastic. Use the safety pin to help you thread the elastic through the fabric tube, ensuring that on either side you can still hold the elastic.
Scrunch up your fabric and tighten the elastic slightly before tying off with a knot, alternatively you tighten your elastic slightly and then stitch the ends together. If you have chosen to tie a knot, rotate it so that it sits under the fabric.
Tuck the raw edge into the folded edge and then stitch down the join and you’re done!
Practise makes perfect!
If you’re very new to sewing, this project might take around half an hour to complete. Make sure you double check your measurements before cutting and don’t feel disheartened if you go wrong somewhere! Stitches can be removed using a seam ripper, so don’t give up if at first you don’t succeed. Once you’ve mastered the art of making scrunchies, you’ll be able to make them in just a few minutes. Homemade scrunchies are a great way to use up scrap fabrics (scrap fabric link again OR sew slow 2020 fashion post etc) that you may have lying around, they also make great gifts.
Let me know how you got on!
Sewists of all levels are invited to join my free online community of friendly, helpful people who love to sew.
Pop over to our Facebook group, Kernow Sewcial and introduce yourself - I would LOVE to see your take on this tutorial, so please post a picture and let us know how you got on!
Kernow Sewcial is also a great place to ask for advice, seek new patterns, and natter away with like-minded people. If this sounds like something you’d benefit from on your sewing journey, please head on over and introduce yourself.
Your sewing machine will most likely have had an assorted pack of needles included in the box, however, if not, they’re commonly available in craft stores and online sites such as Amazon. Domestic sewing machine needles are standardised, so there’s generally no need to worry about whether or not the brand you’ve chosen will fit your machine.
If a needle is made for an industrial machine it will be listed for industrial machines and should be avoided.
Kernow Sewcial is a friendly Facebook Group filled with helpful members who are always on hand to support you and offer advice. Feel free to ask any questions, share your projects and celebrate your sewing accomplishments! Sewists of all levels are welcome, so pop over and introduce yourself.
To find out more about choosing the correct sewing machine needle for you, keep reading!
What do all the numbers mean?
In the UK and Europe, sewing machine needles range in sizes from 60 to 120, which refers to the diameter of the shaft just above the eye. US sewists measure the size of their needles differently; their system ranges from 8 to 19 and are usually paired with the European size, for example 60/8. The important thing to remember is: the bigger the number, the bigger the needle. As 60/8 is the lowest number, this means it’s a small needle that is ideal for lightweight fabrics.
There are various types of needle points to consider...
When looking at your needle packs, you’ll notice they’re usually named after the point of the needle. Using needles with different tips can help sewists achieve a more ‘professional’ look when creating their pieces.
Universal needles work for most fabrics, which is fantastic if you’re a beginner looking to try your hand at making something quick and easy, such as our Start To Stitch Bunting, or the ever practical Start To Stitch Facemask.
Ballpoint needles have a rounded tip, which works by pushing the fabric fibres apart. This makes ballpoint needles ideal for working on knit fabrics as it prevents the fabric of laddering.
Stretch needles have a scarf which allows extra room for the hook to pass closely and prevent skipped stitches. Stretch needles are ideal for fabrics such as Lycra, silk jersey, Spandex, and any other elasticated stretch fabrics.
Sharps needles are designed to work with several layers of fabric and wadding, and are therefore often used by quilters. These needles have a strong shaft which helps to prevent bent and broken needles when working with several layers of fabric. The sharp point penetrates the fabric smoothly, producing smooth, even stitches and buttonholes.
Quilting needles also have a reinforced shaft, however they are significantly shorter than sharps needles. This helps quilters to quickly achieve even stitching - beginner quilters may find small needles easier to use at first, whereas more experienced quilters may prefer the larger needle options.
Special fabrics such as denim and leather require needles specifically produced for that fabric and will be labeled accordingly.
How thick is your fabric?
As mentioned earlier, 60/8 needles are great for lightweight fabrics that flow freely, such as organdy. For a medium weight fabric like linen or Lycra, a 70/10 or an 80/12 needle works well. For heavier fabrics, including denim, upholstery and canvas, a 90/14 or 100/16 needle will be best suited. Finally, the 110/18 and 120/19 needles can be used for extremely heavy fabrics.
Finally, match your needle to your thread.
The thread you’re using needles to easily pass through the eye of the needle and fit snugly. Thick thread won’t fit through the eye of a small needle, so you’ll need to go up in size to find a needle that you can thread smoothly. Thread weights work in the opposite way to needle sizes, with the higher numbers being thinner and the lowest numbers being the thickest threads.
For a full explanation and some examples of the different types of needle - check out this video below!
Are you ready to take your sewing to the next level?
As your confidence grows and your love for sewing blossoms, you may wish to take your sewing to the next step. Here at Start To Stitch,we are proud to offer excellent valued courses for Beginners and Intermediate sewists.
In each course, you’ll learn new techniques and troubleshoot common issues, as well as create wonderful handmade items. Both courses are held through a dedicated Facebook Group, with detailed video tutorials. Live video support and weekly tutoring calls are also included as part of the course, meaning that support and encouragement is always only a click away.
Head to our Online Courses page for more information.
Whether you’re mad about quilting, or determined to create a brand new wardrobe for yourself, there will inevitably come a time when you find your sewing machine isn’t functioning as well as it used to.
This blog post contains lots of information that will help you with the upkeep of your machine; the tasks are fairly simple, but extremely effective at ensuring your machine runs at its optimal level.
Preventative Measures To Ensure Your Sewing Machine Stays In Tip-Top Condition
There are several preventative measures you can take to ensure that your sewing machine stays in tip-top condition. This list of maintenance tips are all quick and easy to do, so they shouldn’t get in the way of your precious sewing time!
- Dust is the enemy of all machinery, therefore make sure to store your sewing machine under a dust cover or hard case to prevent dust from gathering.
- Use good quality thread to reduce lint build up.
- Regularly use a small paint brush to remove dust from inside the bobbin case.
- Use a cloth to wipe down your sewing machine after each use, take a quick look in the bobbin case and clean away any build up of thread or lint that may cause damage to the machine.
Only clean one part of your sewing machine at a time...
Although it may be tempting to completely dismantle your machine in order to do a thorough clean, this can very easily become confusing and turn your maintenance tasks into a stressful event. Instead of taking the machine apart completely, remove parts from one section at a time.
Change needles regularly!
Sewing machine needles go through a lot, after all, each needle has to stitch thousands of stitches. Which means, after a while, the needle on your machine will become dull. It’s important to regularly replace sewing machine needles as dull needles can lead to skipped stitches, looped threads, and potentially even cause damage to your fabric. It’s recommended by experts that you change your needle every 8 hours, or after each project you’ve completed. If you’re unsure how to change your needle, take a look at our YouTube tutorial guide: How To Change A Needle On Your Sewing Machine.
Use compressed air to clear lint build up
After each project, give your machine a good clean as thread and lint can easily build up - even if you’re using the recommended high quality thread. Using compressed air is a great way to remove lint build up from feed dogs, tension discs and the bobbin case. When using compressed air to maintain your sewing machine, ensure you keep the nozzle at least 4 inches away from the machine to avoid introducing moisture to the inside of your machine.
Oiling your sewing machine
Sewing machines have a lot of moving parts and therefore benefit from being regularly oiled, just like most other machinery. It’s important that you use only oil specifically designed for sewing machines, as other oils may stain your fabrics. Ensure the machine is clean before applying a few drops of oil to the moving parts - your user manual will give you detailed instructions on how to do this. After you've finished oiling, run a few stitches with scrap fabric to soak up any excess oil before embarking on your next sewing project.
Some sewing machines are self-lubricating, so be sure to check your user’s manual to see if oiling your machine is necessary.
Sewing Machine Repairs
It is inevitable that at some point, your machine will need repairs. Finding an experienced sewing machine specialist in your area is vital, as attempting to repair your machine yourself can make your issues even worse. It’s often the case that technicians work with particular brands of machine, so make sure to mention your machine’s brand when making enquiries. Luckily for Cornish sewists, I run the super friendly Facebook group, Kernow Sewcial, where member’s frequently share brilliant tips and tricks, as well as recommendations for various sewing machine services.
Ready to sew again?
Once you’ve finished your sewing machine maintenance, you’re ready to get sewing once more. Here at Start To Stitch, we offer several free beginner patterns that are perfect for sewists to get stuck into. Choose from our Start To Stitch Bunting, Start To Stitch Free Twist Headband, or the ever practical Start To Stitch free Face Covering pattern. You can also check out our resource library too for more patterns.
Start to Stitch Courses
Here at Start To Stitch, we are proud to offer excellent valued courses for Beginners and Intermediate sewists. In each course, you’ll learn new techniques and troubleshoot common issues, as well as create wonderful handmade items. Both courses are held through a dedicated Facebook Group, with detailed video tutorials.
Live video support and weekly tutoring calls are also included as part of the course, meaning that support and encouragement is always only a click away.
Head to our Online Courses page for more information.
Sewing. pattern cutting, teaching, tea and Jelly Babies!
Beginner Sewing Projects
Cloth Face Covering
Gifts For Men
My Me Made Wardrobe
Ready To Wear
Sewing For Men