New - Trying to learn!

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Last seen: 6 years 11 months ago
Joined: 01/11/07
Posts: 6
New - Trying to learn!


I was thinking about buying a sewing machine this month. I have a lot of free time on my hands and would like to make a few blankets and nice things for baby. Not to mention the mountain of projects I have envisioned (beginning with bedroom curtains!). Smile

There is a fabric store nearby. After I pick a sewing machine (and figure out how to use it) I guess I should pick something simple like a blanket for my first project?

I wonder if a class would be helpful, or if I should just try and follow a store-bought pattern.

Any suggestions for a beginner's sewing kit or items that are nice to have on hand for projects?


Last seen: 8 years 11 months ago
Joined: 04/18/07
Posts: 2

Hi Ashley,

maybe you would like to try Patchwork/ Quilting ? You can easily get started with basic patterns (check your library or a bookstore (also magazines)) and for a start you will only need a few fat quarters of cotton fabric....the results are amazing.
Get some advise at your fabric store, maybe they even have classes or get togethers which are fun.
I have learned quilting through books only a few years back, no problem with a little confidence !

Good luck !

Illiana's picture
Last seen: 3 years 1 week ago
Joined: 09/29/05
Posts: 338

if you use store bought patterns I'd stick with Simplicity. McCalls can be really confusing to someone new on a machine.

if you want to start with something really simple I'd suggest a baby blanket. Get however big you want it.. usually are 16x16 or 18x18 and cut it square. Get some baby blanket bias tape and sew it around the edges.

I second finding a local sewing group. It's alot of fun to get together and sew with others and they can offer you advice and help when you need it. (learning to sew can be very frustrating.)

Last seen: 5 years 2 months ago
Joined: 01/14/07
Posts: 14

Hello! I'm new at sewing too...Once you get started your hooked! For my first quilt, I made a 9 patch baby quilt (I had help) out of scraps. It was pretty simple & turned out great! I would love to go to quilting classes (none are offered close) so I would probably suggest going to one of those. Good Luck!

Bonita's picture
Last seen: 2 years 8 months ago
Joined: 02/11/02
Posts: 1066

I would make sure your sewing machine has a 1/4 inch foot, or is easily marked for 1/4 inch seam. That will make it a lot easier when you do start quilting (mine doesn't have it).

As for what brand or type to buy, I don't have any idea, because I haven't researched them. You would need to think about how much you want to spend. I know Elna's are really good machines, but are very expensive. If I was going to buy one now I'd also buy one that is light-weight and easily transportable, so you could take it with you to classes. Lots of times machines are not provided at classes, and you need to transport yours with you.

Is your fabric store one of the national chains? Joanne's or Hancocks, for example, both have flyers, with coupons on them, often 1.99 patterns, and an item at 40 or 50% off with coupon in the flyer. You can also sign up for those online too.

I would ask at the store for a beginner class either at the fabric store or also check around for a quilt shop. Often you can go there and bring in your machine and sew for a while, and they will help you out.

One easy blanket that someone made for Nicholas was just squares on one side and then a piece of flanel on the back. They finished it by tying it.

Another fun beginner quilt is a rag quilt- let me see if I can find directions and post it. You buy flannel, don't prewash it. Then cut it into large squares, stitch the layers together by making a big X across each square, then stitch them together. The seams become part of the pattern of the quilt (they are left exposed on one side). Then you wash it and it all frays up. The hardest thing is cutting all the edges so they will fray up. The one I have cut out uses a square of printed flannel on the top and bottom, and a smaller square of plain (white) flannel inbetween as batting. They make nice warm sofa throws, or fun baby throws.

this page has really easy directions on how to make it (but no picture)

here's a neat picture- but ignore the applique flowers on some of the squares

picture of rag quilt

I also like this tip: Hint: To avoid clogging drains when fringing quilt, use commercial laundry facilities unless you have a lint trap on your home washer. Check dryer lint trap frequently and remove lint build-up.

Bonita's picture
Last seen: 2 years 8 months ago
Joined: 02/11/02
Posts: 1066

an even easier block to start with is the 4 patch. This shows just one block, but if you pick a print and a solid, or a little calico size print and a contrast print, you can get the basketweave look with using the 2 colors.

4 patch basketweave pattern

Last seen: 8 years 10 months ago
Joined: 08/31/07
Posts: 34


Where are you located? Where I am you can go to this one store and buy a used sewing machine cheap. they give you free lesson on the machine you purchased. They help you understand your machine an how it works. That is the kind of class you need.

As for sewing machines.. My first one that I bought was a Singer machien from Sears for $85. That one has since broke, I have a babylock sewing machine that I bought used from the store I was telling you about. They gave me a class on the machine since I never had one with the bells and whistles.

You can do a search online for FREE BABY QUILT PATTERNS. You will get a lot of hits. I have been sewing for over 20 years. I started when I was 10 on my mom's machine. I do have ot agree with the other ladies if you go for a store bought pattern, Simplicity or Butterick are easy to work with. They also have patterns for dummies, like Computers for dummies. They might be of help also.

If you need any help or advice please email me or ask here.