Sewing is an art that continued as long as two parts of something had to be combined to create a sheet. No matter what people wear, some stitching has definitely been included in its formation even today. The term “sew” denotes something tightly bound or joined. Before some time, when there were limited resources available, people used to do sewing with their hands.
Since the technology has developed a lot, these days different types of sewing machines and tools are available for sewing and stitching. It doesn’t matter what type of fabric you have and what project you are thinking of, you can always use a sewing machine to do that.
Here in this post, we are going to tell you everything that a beginner needs to know about sewing. Sewing and stitching is not only a hobby or profession, but every person must know about the basics of sewing and stitching. We have searched a lot for it and then created this post which includes all the necessary things that a beginner needs to know about.
Remember that we are not talking about hand sewing in this post but about the sewing and stitching using sewing machines. There are many fabrics and projects that require hand sewing but as of now, we are focusing on sewing with sewing machines. So, let’s get started.
What Is A Sewing Machine?
A sewing machine is basically a machine that is used to sew or stitch two fabrics together with a thread. Back in old times, when the sewing machine was invented, they used to be slow and need to be operated with a foot pedal or hand. These days, different types of sewing machines are available for different work.
According to your project and needs, you can buy a sewing machine for yourself. Companies and big organizations are using custom-built sewing machines that can process hundreds and thousands of fabrics in a day. If you are new to sewing, then the first thing you need to know about is the sewing machine itself.
Types of Sewing Machines & Their Uses
1) Mechanical Sewing Machine
These sewing machines are commonly used sewing machines around the world. Also, modern mechanical sewing machines are just advanced versions of the machines that were being used in the past. These machines come either with hand operation or with a foot pedal. One good thing about these machines is they can be used without electricity.
There are countless mechanical sewing machines available out there but we will not recommend these machines to a beginner. Operating them is pretty complex and you may need to pay attention to multiple things at once while using them. If you are a complete beginner or with zero sewing machine knowledge then you must avoid them.
2) Electronic Sewing Machine
Electronic sewing machines are currently the most popular sewing machines. These machines come with all the necessary features that a user might ask for. Almost every sewing machine brand is making these machines because you can use these machines to make stitches of different lengths and that too in different designs.
These machines are available in the different price range with different features so everyone can get one from themselves. These machines are neither too heavy nor too small in size which makes it perfect for both personal and professional use. If you are a beginner then you can find some good electronic mechanical sewing machines for practicing.
3) Portable Sewing Machine
These machines need no introduction as the name says everything about it. These sewing machines are made for those who don’t like working at the same place every time. Portable sewing machines are very small in size as compared to other sewing machines but you will find all basic sewing and stitching features in them.
Since these machines are small and have less advanced features, they are generally cheaper. These machines are perfect for basic home usage and these are not suitable for projects that involve quilting and thick fabrics. So if you are a beginner then you can consider buying this machine to learn the basics of sewing and stitching.
4) Computerized Sewing Machine
Computerized sewing machines are used for extensive and advanced stitching designs. Some of these machines come with an in-built memory function that can be used to store designs and sewing patterns. These machines are definitely a good choice for intermediate to expert sewers but not for beginners who don’t know much about sewing.
Depending on the price, these machines come with various features like an LCD display screen to review machine and stitch settings, automatic buttonhole features, thread tension adjustment, built-in stitch patterns, and many more. If you are a beginner then you must not buy them as they won’t serve the purpose of learning.
5) Embroidery Sewing Machine
Even though these machines are called embroidery sewing machines but they can be used for other sewing and stitching work too. The main purpose of these machines is to allow users to sew embroidery on different types of fabrics. Most of the time you will get an LCD display screen to check the embroidery design before sewing.
There are many embroidery sewing machines available out there that come with a USB port so you can import and use embroidery designs from your USB drives. Considering the features, these sewing machines are generally priced higher and may cost thousands of dollars. So they are definitely not a good choice for beginners to start with.
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6) Quilting Sewing Machine
Just like embroidery machines, quilting sewing machines are made specially to work with big fabrics for quilting. These machines come with a large working space and sometimes with a detachable table that can be attached or removed to machine according to work. The best thing about these machines is that they are made of strong material.
These machines are made to work with thick fabrics so it doesn’t matter what type of fabric you have, you can always use this machine with it. For beginners, it can be hard to use quilting sewing machines as there are some complex and advanced features available in it. You may need to learn more about quilting before getting your hands on these machines.
Sergers are the most advanced sewing machine models that are made to work with some tough fabrics like sportswear and to sew stretch knits. The best thing about these sewing machines is you can use multiple threads at the same time in these machines. You can combine different colored fabrics and sew with them to get different designs.
These sewing machines are available in different price ranges but they are generally costlier than mechanical and computerized sewing machines. For beginners, sergers are a big no as they require special skills. You may need to spend some time in understanding the features of sergers before using it.
Important Parts and Functions of A Sewing Machine
You already know about different types of sewing machines but it is not everything that you need to know. A sewing machine is a combination of various parts that plays an essential role while working on it. Just like there are different types of sewing machines available, there are different features in the sewing machine available too.
There is no need to know about every part and function of the sewing machines but it is always recommended to know about some basic parts and features. You can also refer to the user manual that came with your sewing machine to get accurate details about the machine you are going to use for your sewing and stitching projects.
1) Sewing Needles
A sewing needle is the most important part of a sewing machine and even when you are sewing with your hands. Sewing needles of different sizes, materials, and types are available out there and you must buy one according to your needs. Since you are new to sewing, we will recommend you start with a Size 7 needle as it is suitable for all fabrics.
It also depends on the type of sewing you are doing as there are different sewing needles available for both hand and machine sewing. For best results, you must replace the sewing needles every 8-10 hours of continuous usage to keep them safe. If you are a beginner then consider buying a sewing needle pack with all sizes.
2) Foot Pedal
When you are working with big fabrics then foot pedal comes handy. You can keep the sewing machine going with your foot while using both of your hands in controlling the fabric. Some sewing machines come with a foot pedal out of the box while some may not. In that case, you can buy a food pedal separately which is compatible with your machine.
Before buying a foot pedal for your sewing machine, you must learn how to use it. There are many guides available on the internet which can be followed to know how it actually works. If you are a beginner, then you must use a foot pedal with your sewing machine as it will keep your hands free so you can use your hands to control the fabric.
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3) Presser Foot
Presser Foot is an attachment in the sewing machine which helps in holding the fabric straight while you stitch it. This is one of the most important parts of the sewing machine and without it, your fabrics may get tangled while they are under the needle and you may not get perfect stitches on it, so you must pay attention to it as well.
There are different types of presser foot available and they come pre-attached right below the needle part in the sewing machine. There are some sewing machines available out there where you can adjust the height of the presser foot according to the thickness of the fabric you are working with. So, you can consider buying such machines too.
4) Hand Wheel or Stitch Selector
Many sewing machines come with handwheel and stitch selector that allows you to select the type of stitch you want on your fabric. Instead of doing everything manually, you can just select a stitch type using the stitch selector pedal and then just start sewing the fabric and the selected stitch type will be made automatically.
If you are a complete beginner to sewing then we will recommend you not to start with an automatic stitch selector as it will not help you in understanding the basics. First, start making different types of stitches manually and once you have got to know everything about basic stitching, then you can start working with the stitch selector.
5) Thread Tension Disks
Portable and mechanical sewing machines might not come with this function because it is available only in advanced sewing machines. As the name says, these disks are responsible for thread tension adjustment and you can configure the tightness of stitches made on the fabric using this particular function on your sewing machine.
Remember that it is completely optional to use this function and you need to adjust it only when you are working with different fabrics. For basic stitching and sewing work on thin fabrics like wool and cotton, you do not need to adjust the thread tension. Still, while buying a sewing machine you can look for this function.
6) Bobbin Winder
Bobbin Winder is basically a spool of thread which is usually placed under the sewing plate. The thread capacity of Bobbin Winder depends on the type of sewing machine you are using and most of the time it can hold up to 100ft of thread easily. Bobbin Winder is just another important part of a sewing machine.
This particular part is responsible to keep the thread in its place and you must take care of the sewing machine in order to make it work properly. In many countries, Bobbin Winder is also known as Thread Guide, so don’t get confused between the two. If you will not use this part with your thread then there are high chances that you thread might break in the middle of stitching, so always use Bobbin Winder.
Beginners Sewing Guide Tips and Tricks
Since this guide is prepared specially for beginners, we would like to share some important tips and tricks related to sewing. Remember that working on a sewing machine is never hard as you just need to understand the basics and functions of the machine. Once you are done with that, you can do almost anything on the sewing machine.
Experiment and practice is the key to master sewing and you can always take the help of the internet for your projects. Before doing that, you must read the tips and tricks we have curated so you can do sewing in a much better way. Below we have listed some great and useful sewing machine tips and tricks for beginners that you must read.
1) Which Fabric You Should Start With?
It is not always about the sewing machine you are using but also about the fabrics. If you are new to sewing then you must not select a hard to sew fabric for your projects as it will not help you in learning. Using easy to sew fabrics will help you in understanding the basics of sewing and stitching and then you can move to other fabrics.
Fabrics like cotton, wool, shirting, chambray, flannel are easy to sew and you can consider using them. Do not try to use fabrics like denim, velvet, etc. in the beginning because it is hard to work with them. Apart from basic stitch patterns and sewing you can also try to create quilts of these easy to use fabrics for practice.
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2) Select An Easy Stitch Type
Mechanical and electronic sewing machines might not come with built-in stitch types and designs so you may need to select one yourself. There are many stitch types available and we have already posted a guide on it to make it easy for people to understand the difference among them. If you are new to sewing then go with the easiest one.
Single and Double stitches are very easy to make as they can be done by hands too. Every sewing machine is capable of making these two types of stitches so you won’t be facing any issues with them. Once you have learned about these two, you can move on to other stitch patterns like chain stitch, satin stitch, zig-zag stitch, and many more.
3) Always Keep Sewing Tools Ready
Sewing is not all about selecting fabric and start working it on a compatible sewing machine. There are many tools and types of equipment like sewing thread box available out there that can help you with various sewing projects. Almost every sewing machine comes with some of these tools but if you want, then you can also buy a separate sewing tools kit to know about them.
We will recommend you to learn using fabric cutting shears, measuring ruler, rotary cutter, marking pencils (chalk), sewing needles, and pins (to hold fabrics). There are many more sewing tools available but for a beginner, only these tools will come handy. When you have learned about these tools, you can try your hands on other tools as well.
4) Start With Some Easy Sewing Projects
When you are new to something, you must start with the basics and the same goes for sewing too. From simple stitching to complex embroidery designs, there are numerous sewing projects available out there. Since you are a beginner, you must start with something basic that does not involve more time and tools.
A simple search on the internet will give you a list of hundreds of sewing projects for beginners and then you can start with any one of it by looking at the time, tools, and things needed. Soon, we are going to post some easy to do sewing projects for beginners on this blog, so stay tuned with us.
This is all about the sewing guide for beginners and we hope you have learned at least something useful from this post. There are many such guides like the sewing manual for beginners PDF available on the internet but you don’t need to buy them because we have included all necessary information for beginners right in this post.
We will keep updating this post with more hand-sewing basics for beginners as well as the sewing machine basics, so keep visiting Sewing Machine Portal to know about them. if you are facing any issues in using a sewing machine or you have any questions to ask about sewing, then feel free to ask us about them via the comments below.