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Author Topic: Learning to use a sewing machine??  (Read 2733 times)


  • Joined Jul 2012
  • South Shropshire
  • A country lass who loves it all!
Learning to use a sewing machine??
« on: December 22, 2012, 10:21:46 am »
Hi all I just wondered if anyone has any tips or knows of any courses offered to learn how to use a sewing machine as I would love to but have never had the time or any family members who are good at it & whats the best sort of price expected to pay for a basic model? x


  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Learning to use a sewing machine??
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2012, 09:04:34 pm »
Check if there arre any FE/evening classes through the local council/college on offer. I did one ages ago, and it was helpful to get back into sing patterns. But I also learned the basics on an old-fashioned Singer treadle machine in school...
If yu arre planning to buy a secondhad machine, check your local haberdashery shop - they a) may have adverts for machines for sale and/or b) if you bought one of ebay they should know of someone who can check it over for you/does repairs etc.
If you are buying new maybe look for a basic one, but NOT a cheap "Made in People's Republic of China" one, like they often have in the special offers section at Lidl, Aldi etc etc. Go to a bespoke shop, John Lewis for example do have some good quality makes for sale.
Mine is a basic (8 diff stitches I think :thinking: ) Singer, bought in the late 1990's from an actual Singer shop/outlet. Not sure if these are still around. It does all it needs to do for me, very easy to thread up and I love it! Make sure that any you buy has a "backwards" stitching function, really, really useful.
Have fun!


  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Learning to use a sewing machine??
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2012, 11:21:44 pm »
Hi Shropshirelass,

When I needed a sewing machine a few years ago, I put a free wanted ad in the local paper and had half a dozen responses. The pick of the bunch was a really old singer. When I took it for a service a bit later, the chap said "Hang onto this one whatever you do. All the insides are metal and will last forever, unlike the modern machines".  So do think about a wanted ad - you never know!

As for learing to use it, it's really not that tricky. The key things are threading it correctly and getting the tension right (once you've done this, there's not much need to fiddle after that). If you have any problems, you need to remember that the top thread tension controls what happens on the bottom of the fabric, and the bobbin tension (bottom) controls the top of the fabric. You want to have both threads meeting right in the middle of the piece, and with no puckering of the fabric. Oh, and be aware that if you run right off the edge of the fabric, contrary to what you might think, nothing much really happens and the world doesn't end.

Anyhow, I'd suggest that you try to pick up a decent  (cheap) second hand machine and take it from there. If you have any bother, I'll do my best to help of course!  :thumbsup:
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett


  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Learning to use a sewing machine??
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2012, 07:18:40 am »
Shropshirelass, I second what womble has said. I have seen sewing machines on freecycle. Try putting a wanted add on there yourself.
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits


  • Joined Nov 2012
  • Ooop North
Re: Learning to use a sewing machine??
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2012, 01:04:54 pm »
Old Singers are brilliant ...real metal parts beat the plastic cogs and inner workings of many a cheaper new machine. Experience is often the best teacher so getting old scraps of fabric and just giving it a go never hurts. 99/100 problem sewing is down to the threading of a machine. number one tip....if it is acting up start the threading all over again, and always remember to thread your machine with the foot raised...

Once you know your machine there's a wealth of tutorials online for dress making and quilting.


  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
Re: Learning to use a sewing machine??
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2012, 01:20:07 pm »
I'd be tempted to ask around amongst folk you know who sew - I know my mum, for example, has given away old, perfectly working, machines, when she's upgraded. Or I'd ask at your local fabric shop. You could strike lucky on eBay or whatever, but if you get one with problems, how will you know if it's you or the machine?

Your local fabric shop may well run beginning sewing courses. If not, they probably will know who does - your local adult ed. offer might include one - courses often begin again in the new year.

That said, you can learn loads by just trying it out, as others have said - plus the ever-useful YouTube  :thumbsup:


  • Joined Feb 2010
Re: Learning to use a sewing machine??
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2012, 01:34:36 pm »
I got a machine from our charity shop, it does electricals and at the time had about six machines in! Mine uses cams and has about thirty different ones and loads of accessories. It came with full instructions so Iwas lucky but I got a book on machines of that age from the charity shop as well so lots of tips in there. Some new computerised ones look fantastic but it all depends what you actually need one for . I paid 20.00 for mine.

Lesley Silvester

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
Re: Learning to use a sewing machine??
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2012, 10:47:51 pm »
I bought a hardly used one from a friend as I'd always used a very old Frister and Rossman machine before.  I paid 50 for it and then several came up on Freecycle.  I think people buy them thinking they;ll make loads of things, then get bored or don't have time and eventually get sick of it cluttering the house.


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