I had the opportunity to take a look at Heather Ross’ new book, Weekend Sewing at our last sewing Meet Up. One of the attendees had just gotten it as a gift and brought it to the meeting for everyone to check out.
I was immediately in love with all the realy unique projects the book was filled with. I saw a lot of things that I have not seen before in sewing books and that is what gets me really excited. One that sticks out it in my mind is this newborn kimono shirt that is going to be my next staple gift for baby showers. It’s absolutely adorable and I have never seen a pattern for it so small!
The other thing that I think I fell in love with about Heather’s book is all the vintage sewing machines that were photographed with the projects. I seem to have become a collector of broken vintage sewing machines, as my shop is full of them now.
Whether it’s machines that we have been using for class that break down, or adorable pastel colored sewing machines that I come across at flea markets and just can’t resist having, even though they don’t work. In my opinion they make great decorations at the shop.
There’s nothing like a business conference to get you inspired about taking your side gig or your business to the next level!
I’ve been fortunate enough to this week to attend etsy’s first ever business conference for makers and my head is exploding with ideas and inspiration.
It’s funny because I’d don’t necessarily consider myself a maker anymore, at least in my business. but I admire etsy as a company so much and have love spending the last two days surrounded by other (mostly)women who are self made.
I think the highlight of my conference experience was hearing the keynote speaker, Nelly Gelan. She’s a ny times best selling author of the book Self Made and she’s on a mission to inspire other women to unleash their spark and hustle.
I loved hearing her story and finding so much relate-ability to how she became the rocking entrepreneur she is today. She told us the story about how the first company she worked her butt off for suddenly got sold and her boss was just like, sorry. Finding herself without the job she loved and worked so hard for created a fire in her to never work for anyone again. Oh how I can relate to that 100 percent.
Around the year 2000 I found myself being laid off from the online marketing team of the dot com I worked for.
One day I was worked my tail off creating banner ads and optimizing search engine results. The next minute I was packing up my desk (along with the rest of my department) and vowing to NEVER work for someone else again. That was the day my entrepreneurial flame was lit and that ember has been going ever since.
So when Nelly took the stage at the conference and began speaking I was immediately relating to all the things she was saying and could just feel my excitement starting to simmer.
There were all sorts of great speakers and panels throughout the conference. But I’ll be honest I think a lot of the inspiration just came from being surrounded by so many creative, smart people who’ve started their own businesses. I don’t hang out with other small business owners nearly enough and that became really clear over the course of the conference.
So if you’re stuck in a creative rut and not feeling all that inspired (or even if you’re not stuck!) i highly recommend doing some research to see what conferences are nearby that you can attend. It’s money that is truly well spent and and you can even write off the expense of the conference when doing your business expenses.
So many people I have worked with and taught really want to learn to sew with stretchy knits, but are completely afraid to try it.
I’m not really sure why this is, but I would guess it’s based on what they’ve heard about sewing knits. The word on the sewing streets is that sewing with knits is a genuine pain in the butt. I’d like to try to dispel this myth and give you two important “sewing with knits bylaws” that are going to make sewing with stretchy fabrics a breeze.
When sewing & constructing projects made from knit fabrics, the major rule is this: If the fabric stretches, the seams you sew must stretch too. If your stitching doesn’t stretch with the fabric, the seams will break as you use, bend and move in the garment or project. So – here’s how you can make sure that your stitching stretches with your sewing project.
1. Use the correct needle
I tend to be a lazy stitcher, especially when it comes to changing my needle. My rule for changing my needle is to test out the knit fabric on the needle that is on my machine first, then determine if I need to change it.
Try testing out your stitches on a swatch of the fabric you’ll be using. Some stretchy fabrics (I think it’s based on how much elastic is woven into the fabric) will work just fine with a regular sewing machine needle. You’ll see pretty quickly if it’s sewing normally and not skipping a bunch of stitches as you go. If this is the case, hooray, you should be able to use the needle that you use for all regular fabrics.
If the stitching looks funny, like it’s only stitching every 4th or 5th stitch, you’re going to need a different needle to sew the fabric you’re working with.
There are two types that can be used for knits:
Ballpoint Needle – These needles are best used for sweater-type and loosely woven knits. They have a rounded point that penetrates the fabric without catching or cutting through the yarns.
Stretch Needle– These needles are designed to prevent skipped stitches and sew through tightly knitted jersey fabrics with high Lycra content, like swimwear.
2. Use the correct stitch type and stitch length
Most modern sewing machines will come with a stretch stitch.
It’s the one that looks like 3 rows of stitching next to each other.
This stitch will sew two stitches forward and one stitch back. Two stitches forward, one stitch back. Sometimes it feels like you’re not getting anywhere when you sew with this stitch. And for someone like me who’s impatient it can be torture sewing an entire project using this stitch. But believe me it’s worth it! What it’s doing by sewing back and forth, is building a stretch into the stitch so that when you’re done sewing you can pull it off the sewing machine, pull and tug at the seam and it will easily stretch with the fabric, without the seams breaking.
Word to the wise – Do you’re best not to make a mistake when sewing with the stretch stitch. It’s a doozy to seam rip! Because of all the back and forth sewing, taking this stitch out of knit fabric becomes nearly impossible, depending on the fabric you’re using. When it’s happened to me (and it’s happened plenty!) I’m way more likely to cut away the stitch than I am to seam rip and sew again. Keep in mind cutting the stitch off means also cutting away the seam allowance, making the project smaller and less likely to fit. But 9 times of out 10 it still fits because it’s stretch. Oh stretch, how I love thee!
If you’re sewing machine does not have the glorious stretch stitch, use the zigzig stitch. Set your stitch length to the narrowest zigzag setting (.5mm on many machines), and your stitch length to between 2.5mm and 3mm. If you have a very thick knit, you may need a longer stitch length. You do not need to stretch the fabric as you sew. The slight zigzag will give you the stretch needed.
Sewing with stretch – Bonus Tip
When sewing stretch fabrics, NEVER begin right at the beginning of your seam. Start in about an inch or so so the feed dogs have fabric to grab to get your started. If you try starting right at the beginning of your seam, you’ll wind up stitching in one place because the feed dogs have not fabric to get it started moving.
You’ll need to go back and sew that one inch that you didn’t sew. Just flip the project over so that the one inch where you started is at the end of the seam and you can start by sewing over the stitching that is right before it and sew all the way to the end. Make sense?
Life is funny! I never in my wildest dreams thought I would make a career out of teaching people how to sew. Writing this post has been a big trip down memory lane for me. Starting from my very first sewing workshop back in 2004, all the way to today where my amazing staff of sewing teachers are about to dismiss our talented campers from another week of sewing summer camp at the studio. All while I type this blog post from my home office. And the point of saying all of it is to get my thoughts together about the qualities that I feel make a great sewing teacher. But let me back up just a little before I get to that.
Sewing wasn’t even on my radar until about 6 months of working the real world. Wait – I take that back. I did learn to sew as a kid and enjoyed doing it in my 4-H group in rural upstate New York. In fact I even showed sewing projects at the county and state fair, so I guess I was decent at it. But I guess I lost interest as there was absolutely no sewing for me in High School or College! I didn’t even really think about it.
Then upon leaving college, I had an job at a top advertising agency in New York all lined before I even graduated. I graduated on May 17th and started my new gig at Ogilvy & Mather on June 1st. I was ready to work! Ready to be in the real world! Ready to be in New York City! I had these crazy dreams of climbing the corporate ladder.
I am just about breaking out in hysterical laughter as I type these words.
It didn’t take long to for me to see that this was not the life for me. About 6 months into the new gig, I was home visiting my parents, who still lived in rural upstate NY at the time. For whatever reason I saw my moms old singer sitting there in my childhood home. I think I was just craving creativity so badly that I snatched it from the house and brought it back to my little apartment in Hoboken. I don’t even think I told my mom. Even though she NEVER used it, I guess figured she wouldn’t let me take it so I snuck it out. Even though I was working in the real world and making a real pay check, there were no extra funds to buy myself a sewing machine. So I stole my moms. What a little sh*t I was.
Anyway – some years went by. After I confiscated my moms sewing machine, I started a fairly successful bag making business. I sold customized bad online, back before the days of Etsy. I found out right away that I absolutely cherished the entrepreneurial lifestyle. I loved my little bag business, but knew it wasn’t something I could do forever.
While running my little bag biz, I kept getting questions from people who saw my bags about how to sew. They’d ask me how I learned to sew? Would I be willing to teach them how to sew? Um, sure?
That’s all it took.
THAT is how I became a sewing teacher. It wasn’t anything I set out to do. As with most things in my life, I kind of just ended up doing it. But at this point I knew teaching others how to sew was definitely the business opportunity I wouldn’t look back from. I taught my first bag making workshop in 2004 and I was hooked from the start!
I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. But look. Everyone learned how to make a bag. Everyone brought home a project they were EXTREMELY proud of. And I loved every minute of teaching them!
Along the way I have learned SEW much about teaching others how to sew. I have to admit, I probably wasn’t really that qualified to teach anyone how to sew when I began. Aside from a few sewing lessons in my 4-H club when I was around 11, I was pretty much self taught. I would spend HOURS on the sewing machine figuring things out. Making things over and over again. There was NO YOU TUBE at this time! Can you even imagine?
But what I did have was the gift of ignorance and a little bit of guts. Like all good entrepreneurs I faked it until I made it. And I am SEW glad I did. Along the way, I have probably taught close to 1000 people how to sew. Here are some of the most important things I have learned while teaching others how to sew! And they are in no particular order.
Patience – Am I patient person? Depends who you ask. My students have ALWAYS said this about me. I think it’s why I continued to do it and while people kept coming back. I was always extremely patient with my students and encouraged them along the way. I think I’m a natural teacher in that way. Ask my husband if I’m patient in my own life. You’re going to get a completely different story. But I can turn it on when I’m working with my students (and quite easily I might add). And firmly believe it’s a quality that every sewing teacher should have. And not just a little. I mean like uber, triple patience.
Organized– There is a lot of crap that goes along with sewing. And by crap, I mean stuff that makes the job of sewing easier. There’s of course your machines, your cases, your scissors, your seam rippers, your fabric, all your patterns, pens, pencils, tape measurers, tracing paper, tailor’s ham, and the list goes on and on. For the most part, students don’t put any of this away. You’ve got to create a fool proof system stat. or your going to drown in sewing crap. I refuse to drown in sewing crap, so I’ve become extremely organized.
Ignorance – I mentioned it above and I’ll mention it again. There has to be an element of ignorance in starting just about any business. But this quality of being blissfully ignorant has really helped me so much when starting out teaching sewing.
I didn’t know the things people were going to ask me to teach them. I didn’t know that I was even sewing the right way, as I’d never really had a formal lesson. But I was super young and clueless and I forged forward anyway. I can remember one of my very first private lessons. It was with two women who were friends and they were just about the same age as me. I was completely stressed the entire lesson because I didn’t know what they wanted to learn until they walked in the door. (Side note: I’ve since learned to check in with them beforehand so I can better prepare. Growth.) I just remember this feeling of doubt ing that I really knew what I was talking about the entire lesson? Am I teaching them the right thing? The right way? I honestly can’t remember what we worked on in the lesson, but had I thought about any of this before they came in or while I was booking it, I wouldn’t have done it. And for that I am so grateful! Also – I’m happy to report her kids still come to my camp each summer and have been coming since both were old enough.
The ability to think on your feet– So this goes along with the whole preparation skill I have since learned since starting to teach sewing. But no matter how prepared you are, you’re always going to run into situations where you scrap the game plan and have to come up with an alternate plan at a moments notice. I think this is true with ANY kind of teaching, but I was not formally trained as a teacher. I had to learn this skill from practice. From situations arising and then running with it. Again, I’m not good at a lot of things! I will be the first to admit it. But this is a skill that I excel in. I can keep a group of 7 year olds happy for hours with no game plan. I can teach two stay-at-home moms how to use their really complicated and not great quality embroidery machine that I’ve never laid eyes on. This is what I do.
Kind & Loving – And of course the most important skill of all is to show your students kindness and love in all your interactions. Whether you are teaching kids or adults, they’re coming to you because they want to have a fun learning experience. You are going to come across all kinds of learning styles, all different personalities and so many different attitudes. But at the end of day, all anyone wants is to be treated kindly. Those kids that are most frustrating in your classes are probably the ones that need your love the most. Maybe they’re not getting the attention they need at home or at school? Try to be there to give them the love they so crave. Or maybe you get an adult student who walks into your student at class time and immediately drains all the energy out of the room. Their stress level is at 10 and their attitude is zero. But they are signed up for your class because they want to change that. Try to help them shed a little bit of the weight of the world off their shoulders. Your love of sewing can show them how to begin to do this.
It’s hard to believe that another summer of camp is just around the corner. The school year has just about ended in our neck of the woods and we’re putting on the finishing touches of our jam-packed summer camp season here at the Hoboken studio. Today I want to share with you one of the most important things about what has worked and what hasn’t in our 9 years of sewing summer camp.
We have 11 sewing camp themes with 5 new projects in each theme (one for each day of camp)! Some of the new themes we’re really excited about include “A Day at the Spa” where each day we’ll sew something we can use to pamper ourselves & “Sewing Tech Stuff” which will be about sewing things that can help us in our technologically driven world. Who even knew you could make things that fall into these categories! Ha! Yes, you can. We’re going to show these kids how! Having themes each way for camp is our way of categorizing the projects. Kids like to try different themes from year to year, and for us it’s a fun challenge to come up with new projects that fall within our given themes.
Here in Hoboken, the sewing camp season starts extra early this year. Our first day of camp is on Monday June 20th! Hard to fathom that is just a few days away! This summer we’ll have 16 new kids each week eager to learn how to sew. In our camp program we get to spend at least 3 hours a day together, each day of the entire week! This is REALLy different from the classes we teach during the school year. During the school year our classes are weekly and 1 hour at a time. This usually means most of the projects we work on will take 3-4 classes/weeks to complete.
I recall when we first starting doing our summer camps, we only had 1/2 day programs. You sign up for the morning OR you sign up for the afternoon. I just kinda figured 3 hours of sewing was all a child could really do in a day. But working parents needed more than this! They wanted to be able to drop their kids off in the morning on their way to work and pick them up on their way home. Makes total sense. So as with most decisions/improvements we have made in our business over the years, we listened to our customer. That next summer we created a full day program where kids could stay for both the morning & afternoon session, and bring a lunch to be eaten in the middle of the day. Whew – SIX Hours of sewing a day! I know. It seems like a lot of sewing, right? I was a little nervous.
When planning for that summer I spent a lot of time trying to figure out other things the kids could do besides sew. I had this feeling that 6 hours would be just too much for the full day students. But what else could we do?
I got creative and I had movement activities planned. I had other crafts planned. I had tons of games planned. But wouldn’t you know it? The kids signed up for the full day just wanted to do more sewing. Seriously. They were addicts. They couldn’t get enough. We had to pull them off the sewing machines at lunch time.
And I’m not talking about some of the kids wanted to do more sewing and some wanted to do other things. It was across the board that each kid was like: When can we do more sewing? When can we make another project? Can we sew at lunch? I was just blown away! I knew that kids love sewing, that was becoming increasingly more clear as we taught more kids classes at our studio. But the way they just didn’t get bored with it. I guess I have to say I was a little surprised.
So since then, we’ve planned our classes in the summer, at least for the younger kids classes, with one project in the morning and one project in the afternoon. If we finish, great. If don’t, no biggie, we can spend some time the next day to finish up. We find this formula works pretty well!
BUT – This can sometimes be a bit of a catch 22 when teaching a kids sewing class. Heck – this is even difficult teaching a class of adults. In a sewing class that meets for a few hours at a time there almost seems like there is this prize at the end of a sewing class. The prize of finishing. The prize of getting your thing completed and ready to take home with you. We find unfortunately sometimes students are racing to get to this prize. It’s unfortunate that you can get so caught up in the frenzy of finishing up your project, you forget about all the wonderful things that can be learned by going through the process of creating. We try really hard to make our classes not only about finishing the project, but enjoying and learning from the process along the way.
Sometimes this is easier said than done.
But all in all, having our students for longer periods of time in the summer is truly why we LOVE camp SEW much! They pretty much learn the ropes of using the sewing machine in the first hour or so at the studio on Monday morning. THEN we have them in our class for the next week. The possibilities of what they can learn are then just endless!
At our sewing studio, you can start taking sewing classes and attending camp after you have completed kindergarten. This may seem a little young. Especially since We tend to focus more on sewing on the machine. But since every kid is very different, some second graders really need supervised sewing time on a sewing machine and you could have a young first grader sewing independently after their first class. This age works for us.
But because they get this immediate introduction to using the sewing machine, it can be challenging to interest kids in hand sewing.
In our experience, once you introduce them to the sewing machine, they’re completely hooked from minute 1. They love the speed of it. They love the beeps and sounds the machine makes. They love that it has a pedal to make it go. They love that once they have the hang of using it, they’re sewing independently & making really cool projects at the speed of light. Or so they think.
Once they’re allowed to use this awesome piece of machinery, why would they want to hand sew?
That is a really good question! But I firmly believe spending some time teaching the fundamentals of hand sewing is amazingly beneficial.
And here are some reasons why:
Number 1. It’s great for when you’re teaching a packed sewing class of kids. You’re bound to have the students who speed ahead with their project on the sewing machine. Having the ability to hand sew gives these kids a much needed & constructive “something to do” while you’re helping the slower paced kids finish up their main projects.
Number 2. It allows you’re students to slow down, take a step back, & really see what this sewing thing is all about.
Sure you show them how the sewing machine works. You teach them the steps to make the machine go. Line up the fabric, put the presser foot down, lower the needle with the flywheel. etc. And they totally get it. But with hand sewing the act of creating each stitch one by one really allows younger sewing students to focus on what they’re actually doing. It teaches them the concept of sewing vs. the step-by-step memorized acts of what needs to be done to operate a sewing machine.
So when introducing hand sewing in classes lately, I have a method that I find works pretty well.
I’ll admit, before a class of hand sewing, I never think hand sewing is going to go over as well as it does.
But it’s because of the way we teach it.
Do’s & Dont’s for Teaching Kids Hand Sewing
Use an embroidery hoop. This keeps the fabric taught and makes it so much easier to get the concept of sewing in a particular place, or sewing on something that you’ve drawn.
Use large eyed needles, with a sharp point. The conundrum is that you want a large eye to make it easier for your students to thread, but you don’t want a needle shaft so big it leaves a gaping hole in the fabric. I like size 18 chenille needles when I teach.
Use fabric with a looser weave. Choose a natural muslin cotton fabric & make sure it’s one that you can see the threads on both grains. This way you’re less likely to have a snag when pulling the needle in and out.
Use expensive embroidery floss. The multi-packs of floss you can purchase at Micheal’s that are meant for friendship bracelets are perfect for teaching new stitchers. It allows you to get a ton of different colors for little money.
Let your embroidery floss collection get out of control. It’s any easy thing to do. Before you know it, your little container of floss looks like this.
It can be helpful to wind all your little skeins (the little bundles they come in from the store) onto small pieces of card board. I just use old business cards that I have lying around. I can get three different colors onto one skein. But you can totally get fancy and create cute little holders, like these shaped like little dress forms.
Get to fancy. So much can be done to create a design using the running stitch alone. They LOVE to stitch their initials and then personalize it with a little design of there own. I had a little boy add a potato to his initials the other day. I’m so wishing I had taken a photo of this one!
Okay I’m a little obsessed with vintage sewing stuff! I just love old sewing machines, I’m always on the lookout for vintage fabric, I have a rather large collection of vintage thread spools and I have been sewing with retro sewing patterns for as long as I have been sewing.
And that’s a long, dang, time.
There are some important things I’ve learned through my experiences sewing using vintage patterns. My hope is to encourage other people to get out the old collection of sewing patterns and have a go at making something groovy from days past. Here are some imporant tips for utilizing vintage sewing patterns to make garments.
1. Vintage pattern pieces are VERY fragile. In order to make them a little safer to copy and cut your fabric from them, before each class I would reinforce them. Usually this meant using packaging tape to tape the actual paper patterns onto interfacing and reinforce in the spots that needed it. I suppose if you have a fancy laminating machine that would work too. But I don’t have one of those, so the tape worked for me. And actually by sewing it to a light weight interfacing, it made it sturdy, but also malleable enough to make it easy to cut the smaller sizes by folding the edges under.
2. Sizing can be tough! Vintage dress patterns came in only one size and the sizing is completeley different from today’s sizing standards depending on when the pattern came out. I found that it was easiest to make a version of the dress we were doing that week in the size that was stated on the package and then determine (based on today’s sizing standards) what size it is in today’s sizing. Or if you wanted to get a bit more technical about it, determine how big the waist, hip & bust measurements are for the size of the pattern and scale out (or in for the skinny minnies) based on how much bigger you need it to be. Or as we found in the class, when in doubt, make it too big and size it down to fit your measurements by adding darts and pleats.
3. Yardage Recommendations on the package of the pattern are different for older patterns. One the envelop you will find yardage recommendations that may be confusing. The reason is that back in day, fabric came in narrower widths then they are today. It was commonplace to find fabric widths measuring 36″ & 39″. Now most fabric widths are 45, 55 or 60″ wide
I hope this helps! I know it helped us in the class a ton.
You’ll see that most pattern companies that are still around today have re-issued patterns based on their vintage styles from years ago. This will have taken care of many of the above issues. But isn’t it more fun to not be afraid to tackle the genuine vintage patterns that you find at your neighbors garage sale, or that your grandmother has had in her attic since you were a baby! Happy Sewing!
I have been teaching people of all ages to sew for the last 10 years or so. Everything from the basics of how to operate the sewing machine, to helping adult students create their very own cherished wedding gowns. I’ve helped so many people make their very own gorgeous sewing projects from a pile of fabric and some thread.
I find that I am extremely lucky to be able to help people design and create something beautiful they’ll cherish forever. It’s fall, so our kids after school sewing classes for the semester are getting busier and busier. This has gotten me thinking a lot about why teaching kids to sew is one of my absolute favorite things to do!
Reason 1. Arts in School is Becoming a Thing of the Past
More and more, sewing, art classes, music classes or anything to have to do with the arts in general is not taught in our schools anymore. There is such a focus on academics and test scores that the arts are getting pushed aside at alarming rates.
When I teach kids how to sew, I feel very lucky that I am helping to give kids a taste of creative art even if it’s after the normal school day. In a sewing class, I can teach children to use their hands to create an adorable stuffed animal, a beautiful piece of clothing or a handmade birthday gift for their parent that I know will be cherished for years and years after they took the class with me. This feels very special!
Reason 2. Adults are So Hard on Themselves
One of the major differences between teaching kids how to sew vs. teaching adults how to sew is how critical adults can be on themselves. In a sewing class full of grownups, often I hear students putting down their work or downgrading their accomplishments. Its hard to hear them playing down their hard work or tearing apart something they just made with love in my class. But with kids it’s the complete opposite and I love that! When a child is done with their sewing project they cannot wait to take it home and show everyone they know just how proud of themselves they are for making it.
Reason 3. The Children I teach are Making Memories
The projects that I teach kids how to make are things that kids and parents are going to keep for a long time. These items are Made with love and come straight from the heart. Parents know this and never throw away the beautiful keepsakes made in the classes I teach. I can’t tell you how many times I’m stopped by parents or students I taught years ago when they were younger. They describe the project we they made in my class and tell me how it still sits on a shelf in their house or on their bed in their room.
Reason 4. When “Mistakes” Become Design Elements
No matter how crazy it looks or how many “mistakes” they made on the project, kids will love it just the same. A student might see out of the lines or something might not turn out quite right because it was cut a little funky, but that doesn’t bother most kids! The ears will turn out too short and a kid will use their imagination and decide that it’s a dog instead of a rabbit. Or maybe the but closure ends up a little off center? Kids will decide they like it better that way because it’s uniquely theirs!
Reason 5. Nothing Beats the Look of Joy on a Child’s Face When they Finish Something They Love
There is nothing better than watching someone as they finish they’re sewing project. There is so much pride in what they have done leading up to this point. You can see the look on their face going from concentration to pure joy at completing this project. They begin showing off this project to everyone they know! They are just so proud of themselves for completing this thing that just a few short weeks ago, they had no idea how to make!
As a Sewing Studio owner, long time sewing instructor and sewing curriculum developer I am probably asked at least once a week which is the best sewing machine to buy. This can be a pretty big question as there are hundreds of sewing machine models out there and the variation on what they do and what they cost can span the globe.
Most people who ask my this important question are new to sewing. Most likely they’re looking to purchase a beginner sewing machine model that’s easy to learn on & won’t cost an arm and a leg. They’d like a machine that is high quality, easy to operate and doesn’t have more bells and whistles on it than they need.
The machine I suggest to people who ask this question has changed over the years. It usually depends on which machine we’re using in the studio at the time. These are all qualities we also look for in a sewing machine too.
Currently and for about the last year or so it’s the Simplicity Model SB700t by Brother. There are a lot of reasons this is the perfect sewing machine for people (young and old) to learn to sew on.
Quality – This machine is not the same with other Brother Sewing machines (like for instance the Brother XL2600i or the Brother CS6000i). These machines may look alike and even seem like they sew the same when stitching a couple layers of cotton. BUT The difference is the steel components inside the SB700t sewing machine. The more durable frame and metal parts inside this sewing machine make it better able to tackle sewing things like multiple layers of denim and other heavier fabrics. We acknowledge that this puts this sewing machine in a price bracket above some of the sewing machines, but this machine retails for around $200 and we feel the extra $50-$100 is SEW worth it. This difference in quality is also the reason they do not sell this machine in places like Wal*Mart, Amazon & Target and this is a very good thing in our opinion.
Mobility – Yes the machine has steel components, but it’s not a super heavy sewing machine. This cutie is only about 10 pounds which makes it really easy for us to take with us on the road. We’re always teaching classes in places around town. Schools, Libraries, Birthday parties in peoples homes. Because of this, we need a machine that doesn’t way a ton because we’re constantly schlepping it from place to place. This machine doesn’t break the bank and it doesn’t break your back! Woot!
Ease of use – This baby is so easy for beginners to start out using. One major feature (that I don’t think I could live without) is that it doesn’t sew, and even makes a beeping noise, when you don’t lower the presser foot before you start to sew. For new sewing students, this is going to be, by far, the most common mistake people (of any age) will make. They’ll forget to lower the presser foot, then the machine will get all tangled inside as a result and lastly, the machine will jam and no longer work. No fun whatsoever! But after I started using this machine this just wasn’t an issue anymore! Hallelujah!The other thing that is amazing about this sewing machine when teaching newbies how to sew is the speed control dial. The speed control option is something you’ll see a lot on machine in the higher price points. But the SB700t retails for less than $200 and it’s got it! Love, love, love this! Why? Because in a sense you can set it and forget it. Yes, just like on the informercial, set the machine on the slow speed and walk away from your student and things are going to be OKAY!