We finally got a sewing machine with a few gizmos.
Once I decided to get a sewing machine, I started my research with the goal of finding a good quality machine with some automated features, basic stitches, one the kids and I could learn on together.
- Input from several folks including quilters Amy and Opal (of Here2There).
- Via Average Jane Crafter I found recommendations at the Austin-based Stitch Lab.
- Perused sewing machine reviews on Pattern Review and Amazon.
- Great info at Craftster, including So You Want to Learn How to Sew on a Machine.
We purchased a cute little Janome Magnolia 7330 and could not be happier!
Next, the kids and I went to Michael's for "good quality" thread (a misnomer; the thread selection was bare) but I found a cool new display of Sharpie paint pens so all was not lost.
I sewed without thread on watercolor paper, playing with the stitches, the presser foot,etc. Then the kids explored without thread. Here are their creations...
The instructions are better than the those of my 20 yr old machine - an authentic English translation of the original Japanese text from Dutch developed by a guy fluent in Yiddish with no sense of direction. So when I say the instructions are better... it's not much of a stretch.
It took me a decade to brave a sewing machine again. Finally my desire to sew stuff, and especially add stitching to my journal pages, outweighed my fear of the darned machine. My old machine used to make pretty little thread nests in the bobbin area. I do not understand how they work but I think it is some sort of magic.
I have a background in process documentation, so here are my wishes for sewing machine instructions. Write them with the non-sewist as the audience. Make the instructions a value-added component of buying that particular machine. Show a diagram not with simple arrows describe what each part does. Include a list of parts that fit the machine, what they do, with part numbers. Recommended threads that won't lintify your machine. Describe how to use the machine. What might cause needle breakage/damage? What is a bobbin, what does it do, do you need the same type of thread in the top thread as the bobbin? What's the difference between a feed dog and a presser foot? What will break a needle? What types of needles you should have on hand? Ad infinitim.
On the plus side, I found website after website with incredibly detailed array of sewing knowledge. It's amazing how many people have taken the time and energy to make this information available. Wow!