Saturday, September 19, 2015

My First Sewing Machine

She's here, she's here!  My first ever sewing machine, a Janome 8077 Computerized Sewing Machine.  Name is still TBD, so I'd love suggestions in the comments.

I've been waiting for YEARS to buy a sewing machine, but while we lived in apartments it just wasn't practical.  Where would I keep her?  With Halloween approaching I finally bit the bullet at the beginning of September and purchased a machine.  Why?  Well there is a particular (simple) Halloween costume I want to make Lucky and it requires the use of a sewing machine if I didn't want to torture myself with hand sewing.  So here she is!

If I was ever going to film an unboxing video, this would be my chance.  However, I don't know what have the parts are called so it would be me saying, "Here is this doodad and this thingymagig."  From the labels, it looks like this is the list of what I've got:
  • Zigzag foot A (on machine)
  • Zipper Foot E
  • Satin Stitch Foot F
  • Automatic Butonhole foot R
  • Concealed Zipper Foot
  • 1/4" Seam Foot
  • Screwdriver (flat strange piece)
  • Bobbins
  • two sets of needles (size 12 and 14)
  • Seam ripper
  • Large & Small Spool Holders
  • Spool Stand,
  • Felt
  • Additional Spool pin

Are there any other accessories that would be useful to own?  I'd love advice!

I thought that I'd put on project runway while I was setting up the machine, but I really REALLY need the manual.  I don't know how to wind a bobbin!  The first (brown) bobbin was really wonky, but I didn't realize that I needed to lower the bobbin onto the stand thing.  The black bobbin winding went much better.

When I ordered my machine I also ordered some fabric for the first few projects in the book 1, 2, 3 Sew: Build Your Skills with 33 Simple Sewing Projects by Ellen Luckett Baker (see my review).  Unfortunately the machine arrived before the fabric, so I pressed out some scraps from my no sew pillows and played around with the machine.

Since my first project is going to be Lucky's costume I figured I'd start playing with the wonky brown bobbin and thread. You can't really tell, but I did sew two (fairly) straight seems and even reversed the second one at the end a bit to secure the thread!  Woot woot!  I am sewing on the slowest setting so I can figure out some control.  Of course, working on only one piece of fabric right now I have no idea how I'd use a seam ripper to remove these stitches.

When I was playing with the zigzag stitch (playing with width and closeness) I can tell that my tension is too great for this single piece of quilting cotton.  The tension improved once I started stitch two pieces of fabric together (as one would expect.)  Lower Numbers = less tension!

I also ordered a Fiskars Fabric Cutting Set which has a wide clear ruler, a cutting mat and a rotary cutter.  I'm still waiting on my fabric scissors and seam ripper to arrive in the mail, but those should be showing up any day now.

Well look at that, I'm off and ready to continue sewing.  Now I just need to get my fabric out for my first projects.  Yowza!

Is there anything I should add to my sewing kit to get started?  I'm very new at this so I'm looking for recommendations for basically everything! 


  1. Congrats on your new sewing machine. I'm assuming you have pins and maybe a pin cushion. When sewing or testing a new stitch it is always best to use two pieces of fabric. As for other recommendations I would purchase more 12 (80/12) sewing needles when you use what you have. The 14s (90/14) are used when sewing heavier fabrics such as denim. I would also pay attention to the amount of seam allowance especially once you start sewing the Halloween costume. Most machines have lines etched which indicate metric or inch increments. You can place blue painters tape on the line you want to use which will act like a seam guide. Have fun sewing

    1. I LOVE the painters tape trick. It has really helped me out as I've gotten started. The needle size recommendation helps a ton! I would hate to have broken needles at an inopportune time.

      L's costume was pretty simple, sewing wise. Mostly creating some embellishments which I then hand sewed onto a store bought hoodie and pants. Next year I might be confident enough to start completely from scratch. I'm currently marching through my learn to sew projects and am having so much fun.

  2. I'd suggest a walking foot! I'm decent at sewing, but my fabrics don't line up all the time correctly, and getting a walking foot fixed that problem. Totally worth it. Definitely pins, pin cushion (which you can sew right??:) ), small scissors, and more needles, depending on fabric choices. Otherwise have fun!!

    1. Ooo the walking foot looks really useful! I'll add that to my list.

      I have a bunch of pins from blocking knit projects, although I think I might want some without plastic heads so I could iron things while pinned.

      I'm having so much fun right now!! It was totally worth the wait.

  3. Welcome to the world of sewing =) My best recommendation is to play with it like you're a kid who doesn't care what it looks like. People are always so impressed with my sewing but I started when I was 3 (got my first machine for my 5th birthday) so I got to get through the "ugly" phase of sewing when it didn't matter to me.

    One tip: you can rewind thread to a new bobbin of one gets wound all wonky (or if the tension is bad), simply put the wonky bobbin on the spool holder instead of a full spool of thread.

    I don't recommend pressing over pins - it makes marks in the fabric. I started using super long quilting pins a while ago and can't ever go back to the standard short dressmakers pins now. They also make them with flat flowers on them, which might be easier for beginners.

    can't wait to see what you come up with; perhaps some crossovers between your knitting and sewing =)

    1. Thank you so much for these tips!! I'm playing a lot! I'm really happy that I have a book full of projects that I "don't care" about so I can make mistakes and see how things work out. My confidence with cutting fabric is growing, so that is one of the most exciting parts of my adventure so far.

      My first project on the machine was Lucky's Halloween costume (which was mostly embellishing a store bought sweat suit) and it turned out better than I could have possibly imagined.

      Thanks for the pressing tip. I feel like my ironing skills (or lack thereof) are more apparent than ever in these early sewing projects.

    2. The wonky bobbin is sewing just fine, so I'm going with it. I won't need brown thread for a long time so it isn't a huge deal. Black on the other hand... I've gone through multiple black bobbins so far.

  4. Congratulation for your new sewing machine. I'm expecting you have pins and perhaps a pin pad this blog. While sewing or testing another fasten it is constantly best to utilize two bits of fabric.

    1. I love Janome sewing machines as they are powerful and durable. I found Janome makes the Best Sewing Machines for Quilting .

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  6. Janome is one of the Best sewing machine brands out there. I had janome HD1000 before I upgraded and got my Janome HD3000. Congratulations by the way!.

  7. Oh My first sewing machine was Brother Cs6000 and now I use Singer 9960!

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