• Singer Perfect Plus

    Sew a Mix-and-Match Wardrobe for Plus and Petite-Plus Sizes


    Kathleen Cheetham presents 4 enclosed patterns, step-by-step construction, and fitting instruction. Readers can create a wardrobe of versatile and stylish garments--which can be adapted for office wear, casual wear, or evening wear, just by varying the colors, fabrics, and finishing details. Never have to say you have nothing to wear again!

  • The Pocket Stylist

    Behind-the-Scenes Expertise from a Fashion Pro on Creating Your Own Unique Look

    Professional fashion advice for all body shapes and sizes!

  • Pants for Real People: Fitting Techniques

    Any sewer will benefit from the fitting techniques featured in this informative DVD, a companion to Pants for Real People: Sewing Techniques . 

    Sewers will learn how to buy the right-size pattern, fine-tune it before cutting, and then tissue-fit it. 

  • Pants for Real People: Sewing Techniques

    This informative guide illustrates how to sew great pants that flatter any fit. 

    The tips and techniques within this useful reference include how to prepare and cut fabric, mark darts, sew zippers, pin-fit the fabric, press seams, and attach different styles of waistbands. 

    This DVD is a must-have to follow up the fitting DVD.

  • Big List of Sewing Blogs

    Big list of Sewing blogs - I'm in, are you?

5 Tips on Buying a Used Sewing Machine

I firmly believe that the best sewing machine for a beginner is an older or vintage sewing machine. Of course, these machines are used. They can often be found advertised in your local paper, on e-bay, on kijiji, at garage and yard sales, auction sales, or at your local sewing machine supply store. Expect to pay anywhere from nothing to $50 for a machine. Look for one that is capable of doing zig zag stitches.


  1. make sure the machine runs and stitches in forward and reverse – if it’s a zig zag machine, make sure it backstitches in zig zag as well, not just straight backstitching
  2. make sure the power and pedal cords are not frayed
  3. make every attempt to get the manual or order one online
  4. make sure there is a bobbin included (so you know what kind it takes)
  5. ask for all feet, tools, and accessories that came with the machine

If you did not purchase from a sewing machine supply store, find a repair store and take the machine in for a complete cleaning and tune-up. This could cost $50 and up but is essential to make sure the machine is running properly. There’s nothing worse than being frustrated with the machine operation when you’re trying to learn!

Before you leave the sewing machine store be sure to ask:

  1. how to thread the machine (have them leave it threaded so you can draw a diagram or take pictures when you get home)
  2. if the bobbin is the correct type for the machine AND if any other types of bobbins (some machines will work with several types) will work as well
  3. how to fill the bobbin with thread
  4. how to insert the bobbin
  5. for a new light bulb (pay attention to what type they give you – threaded, “pins” or other so you know what to buy to replace when needed)
  6. for permanent markings (nailpolish or sharpie pen) at the top and bottom oiling points (if any) and what type of oil to use (“sewing machine” oil isn’t always universal)

If you can’t find a manual and still don’t know how to thread your sewing machine, send me a picture and I will try to help you.

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