A stitch library is something every sewer should make.
“I finally bought the sewing machine, now what?”
I bet this question resonates with lots of people who’ve bought a sewing machine. You’ve dreamt of the day you can fill your world with things you’ve sewn yourself. The entire new wardrobe of clothes you’ll be able to make, the curtains and cushions…lots and lots of cushions.
You’ve spent weeks, months even years choosing just the right machine; you’ve watched all the shopping channels until you know as much about the technical aspect of all their machines as the presenters.
However, now you actually have the longed for sewing machine, what do you do? Where do you start?
This scenario reminds me of the time, shortly after hubby and I got married; you know back when the world was still in black and white (as my boys thought when they were little!), when we bought our first microwave. I thought it was really exciting, hubby not so much, his mum already had one.
Anyway, we brought this cool, modern gadget home. This was going to save so much time, the gas cooker will just gather dust now, surely. Well, there it sat on the worktop and we stood and admired it, we read the manual, we read the suggested recipes. What though, should we actually cook first? No idea. We re-read the recipe suggestions. No. Nothing was jumping out.
Eventually, we heated something up, beans, I think. The point was, we were at a bit of a loss as to what we should do first. We, had been so caught up in having a microwave that we didn’t really plan beyond buying it, and that’s how many people feel when they open their first sewing machine at home.
Well, the first thing to do is take it out of the box. It’s okay to sit and admire it for a while; you can make a cuppa, take out the manual and read it.
Familiarise yourself with the basics of the set-up and following the instructions in the manual, thread your machine. Practise a few rows of straight stitching on a scrap piece of fabric to check everything is working correctly.
At this point, unless you have a definite plan of action it would be so easy to put everything away. You know how it all works, you’ve had a little sew. Well, I suggest you do this instead…
You will have noticed that in the manual and probably on the machine itself there is a library of stitches. This is a very handy reference guide for the number and type of stitches that your particular sewing machine can produce. However, as these are printed images, they can sometimes appear slightly different when you stitch them. One great way to see what the stitches on your machine look like in real life is to stitch them; create your own stitch library.
It’s much easier to see all of the stitches this way, you can alter the stitch length and width to compare to the default stitch and you’ll have this for future reference.
Cut out two pieces of fabric; I used my long ruler as a measure and I chose the full width of a piece of linen and a piece of spare lining fabric.It’s much easier to see all of the stitches this way, you can alter the stitch length and width to compare to the default stitch and you’ll have this for future reference.
It doesn’t matter if you have a basic machine with a handful of stitches or a top of the range model with hundreds, doing this exercise will enable you to create a very useful chart, get to know your machine and practise your sewing skills, all at the same time.
The main thing to remember is to have fun! Making a stitch library will boost your confidence and when it’s finished, you’ll have something pretty to look at too!
Until next time…