Jump to content

Menu

How to further use a panic bought sewing machine after making masks


Recommended Posts

As the topic suggests, I panic bought a sewing machine thinking it "must be useful". Had no clue why. Along came the masks and I was able to make masks for family and give others. Felt very useful and thrilled for a while. Now, the sewing machine sits. My hand sewing skills are limited to hemming, button hole and a bit of embroidery. 

I assume I must learn to sew other things to not turn the machine into a giant paper weight. But where to begin ? What will I sew ? What do you sew ? Help please. 

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I took a sewing class about 5 years ago. One of the first projects we made was tote bags. Next came pajama pants. At one point I made simple drawstring gift bags to be used in place of paper gift wrap.  Once we are done with masks for a while, I think we will make some nice patchwork aprons with the extra fabric.  Back in March I used the machine to make some "family cloth" in case we ran out of toilet paper, but we have not needed those yet, thankfully!

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, slackermom said:

I took a sewing class about 5 years ago. One of the first projects we made was tote bags. Next came pajama pants. At one point I made simple drawstring gift bags to be used in place of paper gift wrap.  Once we are done with masks for a while, I think we will make some nice patchwork aprons with the extra fabric.  Back in March I used the machine to make some "family cloth" in case we ran out of toilet paper, but we have not needed those yet, thankfully!

Thank you. Do you recommend classes ? I was able to learn to make a mask fairly easily after lot of trial and error.

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, slackermom said:

I took a sewing class about 5 years ago. One of the first projects we made was tote bags. Next came pajama pants. At one point I made simple drawstring gift bags to be used in place of paper gift wrap.  Once we are done with masks for a while, I think we will make some nice patchwork aprons with the extra fabric.  Back in March I used the machine to make some "family cloth" in case we ran out of toilet paper, but we have not needed those yet, thankfully!

In return for your kind advice, may I suggest something for the toilet paper crisis. 

A bidet. You can install it yourself.  An automatic one as in it sprays to clean (non electric)

https://www.amazon.com/Tibbers-Self-Cleaning-Retractable-Non-Electric-Mechanical/dp/B07VRQHMJF/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=bidet&qid=1588457249&sr=8-6

A hand held one for a beginner especially kids.

https://www.amazon.com/PERZCARE-Handheld-Stainless-Bathroom-Attachment/dp/B0821BZLPV/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=bidet&qid=1588457249&sr=8-2-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyR0w1OVUyM0FDQ0wxJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNzI4MDYyVzFGODNZUEI4RVIwJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTAwOTI4NDcxUEhJMDE4UkFPVzEmd2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9hdGYmYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want to sew with your kids, you could try the projects in this book https://www.amazon.com/Sewing-School-Lessons-Machine-Projects/dp/1612120490/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1KD496T8YMLM&dchild=1&keywords=sewing+school+2&qid=1588457196&sprefix=sewing+school%2Caps%2C160&sr=8-1

I have this in my cart just because I thought the projects looked cute. https://www.amazon.com/Home-Sweet-Sewing-Helen-Philipps/dp/6057834089/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=home+sweet+home+sewing&qid=1588457294&s=books&sr=1-1

A Nancy Zieman book for techniques is always good https://www.amazon.com/Nancy-Ziemans-Confident-Sewing-Collection/dp/1440241570/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2UZWPM3BVL0H0&dchild=1&keywords=nancy+zieman+sewing+books&qid=1588457334&s=books&sprefix=nancy+zie%2Cstripbooks%2C157&sr=1-1

Our Walmart is wiped out for fabric, so you might like a book of projects you could make with one yard https://www.amazon.com/One-Yard-Wonders-Sewing-Projects-Fabric/dp/1603424490/ref=sr_1_1?crid=UM2CHRWM6PUV&dchild=1&keywords=one-yard+sewing+projects&qid=1588457432&s=books&sprefix=one+yard+sewing%2Cstripbooks%2C174&sr=1-1 

I like Slacker's suggestion of a really traditional sewing sequence too. It's ok to learn as you go, especially if you get a basic book to answer your questions. So I would just look for projects you want to do, what actually interests you.

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I found the classes helpful. The classes were at my branch library, which has a dozen machines. It was good to have an experienced seamstress to help guide me. I also took sewing classes as a young teen, but that was very long ago, and I wanted a refresher. 

I am not sure live classes can be a thing right now, but there is a lot of info online for making projects.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, Dreamergal said:

What will I sew ?

Given how hard fabric is to find right now, you might also think in terms of projects you can make with salvaged materials. Denim, recycled jeans, whatever you have lying around.

Have you ever thought about quilting? You can do quilted table runners and they are a useful, small scale project that can use up scraps. I have a book of these and enjoy looking at it. Sometimes I've picked a design and done it X3 or X5 to give as gifts.

Here's an example just to get you started https://www.amazon.com/Seasonal-Table-Toppers-Quick-Stitch/dp/1596358025/ref=sr_1_2?crid=4VSOBZSLJE0A&dchild=1&keywords=table+runner+patterns&qid=1588457955&s=books&sprefix=table+runn%2Cstripbooks%2C172&sr=1-2  But they come in all kinds. These more free form, machine applique could be nice for a beginner because they're going to look fine no matter what and not require special rulers.

Edited by PeterPan
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, slackermom said:

I found the classes helpful. The classes were at my branch library, which has a dozen machines. It was good to have an experienced seamstress to help guide me. I also took sewing classes as a young teen, but that was very long ago, and I wanted a refresher. 

I am not sure live classes can be a thing right now, but there is a lot of info online for making projects.

I've looked at a few videos. But where to start and what to do is what I wanted direction in. I do not want to start an ambitious project and be stuck. You pointed me in the right direction. I'll look at drawstring bags. Will pillow cases be good for a beginner ?

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I just thought of another simple sewing project on our agenda, which we had planned to do over the winter. Door and window snakes. They block the draft, are easy to sew, and we are using old jeans for the fabric.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Given how hard fabric is to find right now, you might also think in terms of projects you can make with salvaged materials. Denim, recycled jeans, whatever you have lying around.

Have you ever thought about quilting? You can do quilted table runners and they are a useful, small scale project that can use up scraps. I have a book of these and enjoy looking at it. Sometimes I've picked a design and done it X3 or X5 to give as gifts.

Here's an example just to get you started https://www.amazon.com/Seasonal-Table-Toppers-Quick-Stitch/dp/1596358025/ref=sr_1_2?crid=4VSOBZSLJE0A&dchild=1&keywords=table+runner+patterns&qid=1588457955&s=books&sprefix=table+runn%2Cstripbooks%2C172&sr=1-2  But they come in all kinds. These more free form, machine applique could be nice for a beginner because they're going to look fine no matter what and not require special rulers.

I smiled that you can even think me capable of that. 

I've always looked longingly and at awe at quilts. But they look so complex and like heirloom type of sewing and I am a mask level panic sewer. But I will build up as you suggest. I'll buy the book. Thanks.

As for fabric, I have sarees, loads of them barely used. I can always recycle them.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Dreamergal said:

I smiled that you can even think me capable of that. 

I've always looked longingly and at awe at quilts. But they look so complex and like heirloom type of sewing and I am a mask level panic sewer. But I will build up as you suggest. I'll buy the book. Thanks.

As for fabric, I have sarees, loads of them barely used. I can always recycle them.

Quilting isn't hard.  There are scores of free instructional videos at Youtube if you search that site with "beginning quilting by machine."

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I had home ec classes in high school, so I have had some basic skills for a long time. I used to sew a lot of my own clothes, then simple clothes for my daughter.

Now I mostly sew tote bags and cloth napkins. I just started playing around with simple potholders (like very small quilts). If you have a doll person in your life, doll clothes can be fun. Pillowcases are easy and fun.

There are lots of patterns and tutorials online but honestly for anything more complex than a tote bag, I find the big pattern companies (Simplicity, McCalls) "learn to sew" patterns to be very helpful. They are pretty expensive, especially compared to free, but I find they are more helpful to me. I'm sure some of that is the way I learn, I often have trouble doing things with my hands from written instructions.  But YouTube can help with that too.  But I am thinking mostly of garment sewing.

 

 

Edited by marbel
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, Dreamergal said:

I smiled that you can even think me capable of that. 

I've always looked longingly and at awe at quilts. But they look so complex and like heirloom type of sewing and I am a mask level panic sewer. But I will build up as you suggest. I'll buy the book. Thanks.

As for fabric, I have sarees, loads of them barely used. I can always recycle them.

Of course you could quilt!! Very simple shapes, straight line sewing. You never even back sew, lol. 

Well sarees are an interesting option! I have beautiful silk from the middle east my dad brought back during the persian gulf wars. I've never been too smart about what to *do* with it, but it's certainly beautiful. I've thought about some kind of bed covering. You could google for simple sewing projects with silk, upcycling sarees, that kind of thing and see what pops up. I'm pretty sure some of what I have is meant for sarees, because it has decorative ends, gold woven through it, etc. You could do almost anything you dreamed up. 

I'm just googling here 

https://www.pinterest.com/mamamiashelly/reuse-sari-fabric/

https://www.threadsmagazine.com/2013/02/20/what-to-do-with-a-sari

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, Dreamergal said:

I've looked at a few videos. But where to start and what to do is what I wanted direction in. I do not want to start an ambitious project and be stuck. You pointed me in the right direction. I'll look at drawstring bags. Will pillow cases be good for a beginner ?

Pillowcases are an excellent beginner project.  They can be dressed up with ribbon or lace sewn along the hem stitching at the open end.  You can also use a separate piece of coordinating fabric for the deep hem at the open end, for a different look.  And then there is seasonal fabric - my Pokemon Christmas pillowcase is one of my favorites.

If you choose a fabric that doesn't have a directional print, a pillowcase can easily be made with a yard of fabric.  A directional print requires a bit more, about 1.25 yards.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, marbel said:

They are pretty expensive, especially compared to free, but I find they are more helpful to me.

When my dd was wanting to get more involved projects I would look on Etsy for patterns. We did a tote bag from there that had *excellent* instructions, step by step color photos, everything. Part of what makes sewing intimidating is the b&w, limited visuals of the patterns. So definitely look on Etsy for patterns as well. And that gets you reviews of how the items turn out.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, Dreamergal said:

I smiled that you can even think me capable of that. 

I've always looked longingly and at awe at quilts. But they look so complex and like heirloom type of sewing and I am a mask level panic sewer. But I will build up as you suggest. I'll buy the book. Thanks.

As for fabric, I have sarees, loads of them barely used. I can always recycle them.

You can make beautiful quilts from simple patterns. Quilting is fun- unless the project is very advanced, you’ll be sewing straight lines only.

Though I am primarily a quilter, I also enjoy other useful projects like pillowcases, cloth napkins, placemats, hot pads to put dishes on when they come out of the oven, table runners, shopping bags, etc.  

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

Quilting isn't hard.  There are scores of free instructional videos at Youtube if you search that site with "beginning quilting by machine."

Thank you. You guys are great confidence builders. I will definitely look at videos. I always wanted to buy a quilt but are expensive. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Welll...I will say this: unless you live in a tiny place with no extra storage, I would say a sewing machine’s quite handy to have, even if you don’t have an immediate need for it beyond masks. 

For myself it was practically the opposite. I have had a sewing machine since my early twenties. I used it quite a lot years ago, first for a lot of home decor, like curtains and cushions, and sometimes to make skirts or dresses to wear to work, and then later, I made dresses for my dd, special occasion clothes and costumes for my kids. But I had not sewn anything for several years until now, with the mask-making. And I’m so glad I still have a sewing machine and all the supplies to sew masks. 

So I would say, unless you are seriously so pressed for space, a sewing machine is dead useful to have. You never know when it may really come in handy, just as all the current basement-kept sewing machines are right now. 

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, marbel said:

I had home ec classes in high school, so I have had some basic skills for a long time. I used to sew a lot of my own clothes, then simple clothes for my daughter.

Now I mostly sew tote bags and cloth napkins. I just started playing around with simple potholders (like very small quilts). If you have a doll person in your life, doll clothes can be fun. Pillowcases are easy and fun.

There are lots of patterns and tutorials online but honestly for anything more complex than a tote bag, I find the big pattern companies (Simplicity, McCalls) "learn to sew" patterns to be very helpful. They are pretty expensive, especially compared to free, but I find they are more helpful to me. I'm sure some of that is the way I learn, I often have trouble doing things with my hands from written instructions.  But YouTube can help with that too.  But I am thinking mostly of garment sewing.

 

 

Thanks. My daughter is 4. Perfect age for learning for something for her. Loads of future presents.  I will build up to it. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Of course you could quilt!! Very simple shapes, straight line sewing. You never even back sew, lol. 

Well sarees are an interesting option! I have beautiful silk from the middle east my dad brought back during the persian gulf wars. I've never been too smart about what to *do* with it, but it's certainly beautiful. I've thought about some kind of bed covering. You could google for simple sewing projects with silk, upcycling sarees, that kind of thing and see what pops up. I'm pretty sure some of what I have is meant for sarees, because it has decorative ends, gold woven through it, etc. You could do almost anything you dreamed up. 

I'm just googling here 

https://www.pinterest.com/mamamiashelly/reuse-sari-fabric/

https://www.threadsmagazine.com/2013/02/20/what-to-do-with-a-sari

There are two kinds of Indian dresses mainly worn, one is the more famous saree which everyone knows, but not worn that often. The more casual Indian dress is actually a shalwar. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salwar

It is basically in three parts pants, a long tunic and a scarf called dupatta. There are regional differences in height of pants, cut, the length of the tunic and the way the scarf is draped. 

What I usually do is get a dupatta and cut it length wise and hand sew to prevent it from fraying to make a scarf. I get a lot of gifts out of them and use them for myself. You can do the same to a saree. The dupatta is easier to manipulate and it comes it a range of materials from silk, cotton, polyester, with embellishment, mirror work, prints, thickness. It is a good source for fabric.

https://www.amazon.com/stores/DUPATTABAZAAR/Homepage/page/826498DD-2DEC-4F96-8FD0-9F68E5242649

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re doll clothes: when my dd was around 7 or 8, my mother made her American Girl doll a “sleepover set”. It is honestly just the cutest thing ever. Look, dd’s doll is wearing it right now, even though my dd is now 23! 

 

DF5C9420-CF53-4268-A7F4-75AB6D17A100.jpeg

  • Like 8
Link to post
Share on other sites

I still have clothing my mom made for my "Tammy" doll (budget Barbie knockoff from the late 60s) though she mostly knitted them. Such fine yarn!

My daughter still has clothes I made for her American girl doll as well. And she has kept a few of the dresses I made for her when she was little.  

Elastic-waist skirts are super simple to make for a little girl! One of my "masterpieces" (lol) was a 3-tiered skirt. So twirly and pretty!  

I am enjoying sewing again though I hadn't for a few years, till I started making masks. I don't have much space for my machine, and it is old and basic, but it still works OK.  After Covid, I'm taking it in for a tune-up and hope to start making some quilts or something.  

Right now my own daughter (21) is cutting up an old shirt of hers and making scrunchies!  

Edited by marbel
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have made pajama pants and shorts for my son.  They aren't hard to make, but I do admit there is a point in the pattern where I think "This does not make sense.  This will never work!"  Somehow, it always works out!

I have also made some very, uh, "rudimentary", quilts. They were functional but were not a thing of beauty.  T shirt quilts are fun if you have a lot of outgrown kid's t shirts that you want to repurpose.

Hot pads, placemats, cloth napkins for the table. 

There are some very cute dresses for little girls that can be made from old pillow cases and men's button down shirts. It's also easy to add a little bit of ribbon or fabric to the hems of kid's pants that are just a bit too short, but otherwise fit fine in the waist. 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Wrap skirts are easy.  When my daughter was younger, I made her and a doll matching wrap skirts.  I made one that was just below the knee on me but very long on her so she could wear it for years. I made the doll skirt first so I would waste less material figuring out how to make it.  Then, I bought a doll shirt, no way was I trying to make a shirt, and bought her a matching color and similar style shirt.  I do basic sewing and hemming only.  I don't really like it but a sewing machine is handy to have around for hemming or making masks or whipping up a quick curtain, curtains are fairly easy too. 

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/11329436543257730/

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Dreamergal said:

Thanks. My daughter is 4. Perfect age for learning for something for her. Loads of future presents.  I will build up to it. 

4-year-old daughter?  So many projects!

Bandana skirt - sew 2 bandanas together into a tube shape (side seams of skirt).  Fold over 1-2 inches of fabric around the top of the tube and sew casing (waist of skirt), Feed length of elastic (to fit around child's waist) through casing, sew ends together.  Done!  The hem is prefinished.

Slightly more ambitious: Bandana shorts

Pillowcase dress - about a million tutorials on-line.  A pillow case with a fancy edge makes a fancy hem.

Skirt from old adult t-shirt:  cut straight across under the armpits to get a tube.  Sew a casing, feed elastic through casing.  Done! 

Costumes.  My kids loved animal ears (fabric shapes stitched onto a length of elastic "headband" -  elephant, bunny, cat, dog etc ) and tails (on elastic waist band, or just tucked into waistband of pants - pig and cat and giraffe got a lot of use)

PJ bottoms are pretty easy.

crayon roll

bags and purses., pencil cases, tool belt, apron with pockets,

Toques and neck gaiters made out of polar fleece are also very easy.

 

 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve probably owned my sewing machine for 15 years and it hasn’t seen a whole lot of action. But it is a cheap one, and I did get my little bit of money’s worth, lol.

Before masks, it did hem some curtains. Before that, it primarily made cloth diapers and baby pajama pants (for my youngest two who are 13 and 9.5.). I did sew an entire set of curtains for my house before that. There was also a short period of sewing cute napkins for my filthy kids.  And that’s pretty much it in 15 years.

I’d’ love to get into some new projects, but I’ve been struggling to access fabric just for more masks. My Walmart order was supposed to be delivered Friday, but delivery date is still pending. 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Dreamergal said:

I smiled that you can even think me capable of that. 

I've always looked longingly and at awe at quilts. But they look so complex and like heirloom type of sewing and I am a mask level panic sewer. But I will build up as you suggest. I'll buy the book. Thanks.

As for fabric, I have sarees, loads of them barely used. I can always recycle them.

Look up strip quilts.  Very easy!

Here is an easy pillowcase video -

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone for the response. Reading, watching and sifting through lots of information. But I have an answer to what will I stitch and a direction in which to go. 

Repeatedly people have mentioned fabric in this thread. I really do not know what fabrics you are looking for or price points. But for masks I used the thickest thread count flat sheet in our house. I really don't know how to make a bed using flat sheets, so my plan is to use them.

The second source I plan is a sari. While there are different lengths, the standard is usually 5.5 meters (I think 6 yards). The width is around 40 inches, close to around 3.5 feet as it sits in the midriff. It comes in a variety of fabric, embroidered, embellished, with mirror work, with prints. So if you want to, it could be a good source. I would recommend an Indian store selling saris (they are generally found in big metros) close to an Indian grocery store. Else you can google Indian dress shop. Another source is what is called a Dupatta. It's length is almost half of a sari, 2.5 meters (2.7 o 2.8 yards approx) and width is around 20 inches. Hope this helps. You can get cotton saris for $10 onwards.

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...