I learned how to use some nifty functions on my sewing machine!

Okay, so I got gifted a sewing machine (a middle of the road Singer model) two years ago as a Christmas present, and I just now have gotten around to using it for a serious project. In the past, I’ve had problems with other people’s sewing machines. Bobbin issues, tension issues, issues of the machines not wanting me near it, and me having to coax it into submission in order to get a small project done. This time, however, I was able to successfully use my own sewing machine to start a project that was originally deemed to be a little daunting: making an outer dress for my garb to wear to the local renaissance festival. The toughest part of it is almost done, as the bodice part of the dress is constructed (without a bought pattern-- I used the duct tape method to create pattern pieces for the bodice), and all I have to do is sew together the straps and create reinforced holes for lacing up the back.

Never having had much success with other people’s sewing machines, I was daunted by the prospect of making buttonholes, and my mom’s trouble with making them had me worried that I’d have to deal with the Grommet Tool of Doom[sup]TM[/sup] that just doesn’t work well at all, and tends to shred around the holes because of the grommet size. :eek: Tonight, however, I was feeling confident, as the manual that came with the sewing machine was easy to understand had had great graphics to follow along. (This appears to be a novelty when it comes to sewing machine instructions, as I have not seen a manual that was neither difficult to read nor lacking in illustrations.) On my second try of making buttonholes in my entire life, I made a perfect buttonhole. :smiley:

Yes, I am proud of myself for doing something that’s pretty simple, but it has solved many of my issues with this dress for the forseeable future… and it means that I will be one step closer to making funky and fun clothes on my own. With enough confidence, I’ll actually get around to rehemming my cropped pants into a more flattering (i.e. shorter) length, adding embellishment to this dress when I’m done, and constructing some durable dog toys for my sweet and playful, but terribly spoiled dog.

Good for you! I have yet to make a buttonhole, and the costuming I’ve done has been of the less-than-exact fit kind. When my machine is not growling at me, warning me out of its presence, I have used a few of the fancy stitches. But I am not particularly coordinated with it.

Buttonholes and Zippers, the final frontier!

Oddly enough, as usual, I’m learning the more “difficult” processes first, and will probably end up learning the medium level ones (fancy stitches like the blind hem stitch) afterward. At least I know the straight stitch, zig zag, and buttonhole functions! And I can use a store bought pattern as well, as long as I read the instructions thoroughly with a sewing reference in case I get lost.

Exciting! I got mine a few years ago and started learning how to work from patterns (I made a super cute pair of sushi print pants), then I ended up moving a bunch and it was in storage. I got it out a few weeks ago and yesterday I sewed a bunch of patches onto my husband’s favorite blanket. It was going great until the bobbin ran off and I had no idea how to fill it again.

I didn’t panic, though- I found good enough instructions online and got it wound and was on my way again! So fun!

Mine is a Singer also- you’re right, the guide is fantastic. Oh, how I wish I’d kept it in the case with the machine. I know I have it but can’t put my hands on it.

I’m jealous of your buttonhole skills! I haven’t tried that yet.
It’s funny that you say you had trouble with other machines; I did as well, but so far mine has been very cooperative.

Congratulations! Being able to make a good buttonhole will widen your available sewing patterns. Isn’t it fun to master a new skill?

The one complaint I have about my Bernette (made by Bernina, just doesn’t have the picture embroidery capabilities) is that the manual is unclear, in both text and pictures. It tries to cover every model of Bernette, and some features just aren’t the same.

What is the duct tape method of creating pattern pieces?

I only know of a duct tape method for creating fitted bodices and corsets. Here’s one website that details it. It requires two people, including the person being fitted, but it works well as long as the person wielding the duct tape has an idea of what they’re doing or follows instructions well.

Thanks. I don’t know if I’d want a garment that closely fitted, but I was quite curious about it.

Yeah. It isn’t the most practical of patternmaking methods out there, but it’s a lot better than having to do the math and hoping the drawings you come up with are accurate when making closely fitted stuff. I generally try to follow a pattern with other stuff, but there aren’t really any good patterns out there for renaissance garb that you can get for reasonably cheap. (The t-shirt and duct tape cost me a lot less than $10, as the t-shirt was free and the duct tape was pretty cheap.)