Five Tips for Getting Started

Like a lot of lucky people, you may well have received a sewing machine or even an overlocker for Christmas. Or perhaps you might have just treated yourself? But have you got it out of the box yet?  And do you know what you’re going to make? 

Sometimes it can be a bit daunting with a new bit of kit sitting in front of you and you’re not sure quite what to do with it. So here are 5 things to help:

Make friends with your machine

I would thoroughly recommend having a play with your new machine and just go through the instruction manual. It sounds terribly boring and something your mother would say but seriously just getting to know your machine and what it can do will set up on the right track. 
Even if you’ve been sewing for years and new machine, will always mean new stuff to learn. Work out what the settings are, where the tension controls are and most importantly how to change the needle! You will invariably go through a few.

Sew a Creative Reference library

The kids in our holiday or after-school clubs just adore playing around with all the stitches. And you can even create your own works of art with the different embroidery or zigzag stitches.
They can make a great reference library when you go to work on a project too and maybe need something a little different to add a bit of detail, like I did on my red Viola Skirt

My machine embroidered red-work circles just using the stitches form our Janome machines

Start with something simple

Again at the risk of sounding like your Mother, I’d recommend keeping it simple to start with. Working on a straightforward project from start to finish that’s quick and relatively easy to make will give you that instant sense of gratification and the ‘I can do this feeling’ you want to keep you going onto the next one.  Even if it’s just a pincushion or a needle book. They don’t use up much fabric, are incredibly useful and will give you that sense of achievement you deserve for all your efforts. 

Pace yourself

Once you get to grips with your machine and you’ve made a couple of quick and easy projects it can be tempting to race into the next bigger one. But you’re not on the Great British Sewing Bee so you don’t have to worry about how long it’s going to take you. Just pace yourself and enjoy the process. I know plenty of people who really dislike the cutting out stage and want to rush through that and get on to the sewing. But each stage has its own merits and deserves your care and attention to enable you to get the best results you can. Trying planning out what and when you can manage and take your time.

Remember to finish it

This sounds obvious I know but I’m speaking from personal experience here. You’ve worked so hard on your sewing project, whether its a cushion, a bag or a piece of clothing and the temptation is to get to a point where you – only just have to. . . sew the hem, add the buttons on or whatever. GET IT FINISHED! Even if you don’t like it once you’ve made it. If it’s finished you can gift it, or even wear it or use it as you intended.  But it won’t be sitting in your pile of UFP’s – unfinished projects, providing that mental block preventing you from moving on and starting something new. 

As a bit of an extra incentive you can download and use our Sewing Project Planner to help you get started. 

Happy sewing!