December 17, 2010

New Years’ Resolution: Keep the Sewing Machine Humming and Camera Rolling

Posted in Assemble Your Sewing Notebook, Sewing 101, Videos and Step-by-Step Tutorials at 4:23 pm by kdthreads

Dear Faithful Readers,

I am so excited to announce that Santa Claus is bringing me a new digital video camera and tripod in his sleigh!  If you have not treated yourself to a fun notebook and binder, make them a Christmas present to yourself.  Finally, I will be able to film the sewing machine in action and you will actually be able to see the needle!  If you can steal away some “me” time, be frivolous, make some tea, put on some music (or a based-on Jane Austen DVD) and assemble your sewing binder.  Remember, this could end up being an heirloom, so enjoy making it pretty and a little over-the-top.  Do not get all tied up in using acid-free paper and ink.  My great-aunt’s notebook from 1915 is more precious to me with its tattered pages, faded cover and rusty zipper.

photo credit

Your other assignment: request tutorials.  Are you working on a project and stuck on a step?  Is your sewing basket collecting dust because you are still convinced you cannot sew a straight line?  Are you experienced but need some new techniques to inspire you to get back to work?  Ask me!

As your Christmas present to me, request a video, or submit a question/scenario  using the “comments box.”  If you would rather remain anonymous, either e-mail me, or choose that option when entering a comment.  If you don’t send me any requests, I will either ramble or purposefully spoon-feed you boring information in protest 🙂 Remember to click on this page for free printouts and projects you may include in your binder.

Peace,

Katie

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December 11, 2010

Need a Sewing Machine? I Have Good News.

Posted in Sewing 101 tagged , , , , , at 3:20 pm by kdthreads

Buy Me

Just in time for Christmas, I have glad tidings for anyone wishing for a new sewing machine.  Until now, it was impossible for me to recommend a sewing machine less than $600.  Why?  They are all rickety pieces of junk that will hold back anyone’s skills and production.  As much as I loved my little Kenmore ($120 in 1996,) it did not stop sewing when I lifted my foot off of the pedal.  It boasted 21 stitches and variable widths, lengths and a line of accessory feet, but these things are useless when the machine is flimsy and mechanically poor.  It is a common misconception that multiple stitches is an indicator for quality on a sewing machine.  A seamstress needs very few stitches and the essential ones: straight stitch and zig-zag are on any machine.

So what is this blessed, new machine?  I am shocked to say, it is a Singer.  Even though Singer started the machine-sewing world, in recent years their machines have been everything I described above, and worse.  Just when I had written this brand off completely, they released the Singer Talent 3323S.  On Amazon, it sells for $182 and has free shipping.  At Joann Fabrics, I believe it is $190 in sale.

In case you did not know, my mother is a sewing machine dealer/instructor for Husqvarna Viking.  She used to work in an independent store, but since Viking partnered with Joann’s, she is in a Viking Sewing Center inside a Joann’s location.  Even though it is a Viking store, they handle all of the machines that Joann’s sells.  So mixed in with the HuskyStars and Diamonds are Brother, Singer and White machines and sergers.  My mom and her colleagues have expressed frustration over the last ten years about the lack of good quality, basic, budget-friendly machines.  It seemed with the advent of Machine Embroidery and machines using software and USB ports, the machines that will “just sew” were forgotten.  Even Viking’s lower-priced models (which used to be amazing) began coming from China instead of Europe and no one in good conscience could push to sell one.  I guess Singer smelled an opportunity, because I can’t say enough good things about the Talent.

Not only is the Talent cute as a button with periwinkle dots and paisley decals, Singer added features that make it an incredible deal.

It includes:

  • A needle threader that works!
  • A one-step buttonhole function and appropriate foot.
  • A drop-in bobbin instead of front-loading (this is better.)
  • A thread cutter on the presser foot (why didn’t someone think of that years ago?)
  • Snap on, snap off presser feet that require no screwdriver to change.
  • A plate to cover feed dogs if you are doing bar tacks, etc.
  • A dual-feed/walking foot (a second set of feed dogs located in the presser foot giving you more control and the ability to sew thick fabrics with ease or machine quilt beautifully.)
  • Knobs to change stitch width and length in increments of half-millimeters, not just millimeters for a customized stitch.
  • A port for using a metal quilting guide (also included.)
  • A Gathering Foot is included making ruffles and eased seams less frustrating
  • A Darning/Embroidery foot allowing you motion control of dense stitching.
  • A Button foot that makes sewing flat buttons a one-minute affair.
  • An auxiliary thread spool.
  • Basic machine tools, needles, screwdriver, etc.
  • The manual is user-friendly.
  • And if you are interested…23 stitches.

In addition to the great design, Singer’s accessory line is cheap.  There are many other feet available for various tasks and they each run around $1.00.  With the top-loading bobbin, you can enjoy the lazy luxury of buying pre-wound bobbins if you do a lot of sewing.  This machine has a nice solid feel and does not rattle when you are operating.  The sensitivity of the pedal is proportionate to the motor speed allowing even beginner seamstresses maximum control.  In case you are wondering, my mom bought one of these machines for my 10 year-old niece and has full confidence that this will be a machine to not only hone her skills, but last her into adulthood.

If anyone has other questions about machines or is interested in purchasing a Singer Talent, please comment or email me.  I am happy to help.  Merry Christmas and happy sewing!

Included Accessories