If you’re looking for a feast of altering, up-cycling, and making, then look no further than the surprise BBC 2 hit The Great British Sewing Bee, currently in the middle of series 4 for 2016.
Men and women from all walks of life have been presented with challenges from skirts and dress alterations, to lingerie and saris. Have the ideas and creativity in this series inspired you to revisit an unfinished sewing project, dig out the sewing machine from a pile of dust, or perhaps thread a needle for the first time?
If you put your feet on the pedal and don’t feel in control, are not sure which features to use for your project, or you are comfortable with a machine and just want to work your way towards some of the ideas you see on TV, then a sewing course is ideal.
Subjects covered vary, from instruction aimed at specific makes of sewing machine to help you become more familiar with features, to courses based on skills such as over locking and hemming.
If you want to understand how to read a pattern, cut fabric, start dressmaking, or make a cushion, then these are all options available. Whichever skill you want to learn and improve upon, there’s something for all ability levels, some courses are even flexible so you can take in your own designs and fabrics, and just benefit from the expert knowledge of a tutor.
Sewing Machine Tips
Craft shops and workshop spaces are often a great place to start if you want to practice your sewing skills, either through taking a course or perhaps making use of drop in sessions/demonstrations if they are on offer. If you’re serious about your sewing and inspired to practice and make at home, then it’s time to buy a machine.
It can seem like a bit of a minefield, with so many different types of machines available, from mechanical and electronic to fully computerised models, basic machines to embroidery models. Which to choose? Buying guides suggests going for the middle ground – not buying something too basic you’ll grow out of, and not going to the other extreme either. A few other things to bear in mind:
- Weight – If you want to take your machine to a class, craft fair, or maybe even on holiday consider choosing lighter models, and source a case (if it doesn’t come with one) that will help with easy storage and transportation.
- What will you use your sewing machine for? Think about the type of projects you’d like to make, and what type of machine you’ll need. Some machines have special feet for making button holes, zips, and fancy stitching, others will have digital embroidery files, and a lot of different types of stitches available. In general, the more complex you go, the more it will cost.
- Pick the Best Brand – it’s best to have a budget in mind and spend wisely – research different brands, compare features, and look at how the machines are made, the tools and accessories they come with, and the quality. Well-known names include Singer, Janome and Brother.
- Find Knowledgeable sales staff – people who really know the features of a machine inside out and if the shop set up allows, give you a demo, will go a long way to helping you buy the right machine for your needs.
However you’ve been inspired by The Great British Sewing Bee, it’s never been easier to get started, and there are plenty of resources and equipment available to help you on your way.
About The Author
Nathan Franklin works for the Franklins Group, which is Europe’s biggest specialist needlecraft store and the largest sewing machine dealer in the UK.