Sewing for beginners

Category Archives: Sewing for beginners

New product focus – is this the ideal sewing machine for beginners?

“The best budget sewing machine in the UK?”

The Jaguar DQS401 sewing machine has just arrived for the first time in the UK – and it’s exciting news for potential first time sewist, or one of those who are looking to upgrade from a tired old mechanical unit.

Although it’s classed as an entry level machine, the Jaguar DQS401 packs some very exciting and innovative features into its unassuming framework. These include:-

  • A top loading jam proof bobbin
  • 13 variable needle positions
  • A direct stitch selection
  • An easy to use speed slider control
  • A start / stop function
  • Needle up / down

Jaguar DQS 401 sewing machine

Our backroom staff have been very impressed by this new arrival.

“This is the perfect computerised sewing machine for hassle free sewing.”

“The Jaguar contains all of the essential features needed by new sewists and experienced sewists who are looking for a good quality product at a keen price – in our opinion, this is the best budget sewing machine in the UK market.”

A significant improvement on older mechanical models

If you are tired of using the same stitches on your mechanical sewing machine or are not happy with the quality of your stitching or frustrated with your current selection of decorative stitches – the Jaguar DQS401 could well become your new best friend!

This entry-level computerised sewing machine is packed full of useful features – it includes: 40 stitches, a needle threader, different needle positions and a drop-in bobbin. Jaguar DQS401 has good and varied selection of stitches including stretch stitches, decorative stitches, satin stitches as well plus 4 fully automated buttonholes.

Check out the Jaguar DQS401 for yourself! »

The Jaguar sewing range – making all your sewing projects more enjoyable!

Jaguar sewing machines »

The unique DQS (Digital Quick-threading System) has now been introduced to the UK. All current models come with a three year parts and labour guarantee and the 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Jaguar overlocker machines »

Exclusive to Jaguar overlocker sewing machines – the unique cutting system opens up 180 degrees giving easy access to the looper thread guides.

Jaguar sewing machine accessories »

Everything you’ll need for you Jaguar overlocker and sewing machines. The range includes foot control units, sewing feet, overlocker feet and overlocker spares.

Sewing tips for beginners

Even experienced sewers had to start somewhere…

The great thing about sewing (along with the 157,001 other reasons) is that it’s fun. And importantly you don’t have to be a Rembrandt with the needle and thread to get enjoyment from it.

The key when you’re starting out is to pick up as many tips and tricks as you can to help you to progress as quickly as possible. And of course, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to hint at a Jaguar sewing machine that might be absolutely perfect for a beginner.

More of that anon – in the meantime, lets get underway with this magical tip fest with…

Don’t overlook the obvious…

We thought we’d start this article off with a whole fifteen interesting ideas. Serger Pepper posted 15 Top Beginner’s Sewing Tips… because Sewing is Fun – and we really agree with that point of view of course!

A huge amount of common sense on this wonderful article – which just goes to show that you can’t afford to ignore the obvious. Take sewing tip #11 – check the amount of thread on the bobbin.

“…this may sound silly to you but, basing on Murphy’s Laws, if you have to guess exactly when your bobbin’s thread will finish, you can be sure that it will happen right in the middle of a princess seam (or any other complicated stitching), and you’ll notice it only after 30 cm of unlocked stitching…”

15 tips not enough? Here’s 23!

We love the Threads website – and here’s an excellent reason to love it even more – Sewing for Beginners: 23 Tips and Techniques You Should Know.

This slideshow throws you in at the deep end (in the nicest possible way) with a video “How to serge seam allowances”.

Other highlights include “How to sew inseams” and “How to master the backstitch”.

Have you considered the pins?

We’re fans of the wonderful Leslie on The Seasoned Homemaker website – and her article Sewing tips for beginners has some really informative content, such as understanding all about fabric grain.

A really good piece is “Sewing pins are essential”.

“When it comes to sewing pins, I prefer the It Takes a Village approach.

“No, I don’t have a weird pin-fixation.  All of these pins have a purpose in sewing. Use the wrong pin and you could ruin your project.”

Make something easy

Of course, it’s all very well being taught all these wonderful techniques, but you also want to actually get shifting and make something – don’t you?

So here’s a lovely project to kick off with – and easy fashion scarf project, courtesy of those lovely people at the Better Homes and Gardens How to Sew website.

It’s a great project for the inexperienced sewist – step-by-step instructions and diagrams: and we particularly love the video at the end of the article showing the “magic invisible closure”. Well worth getting out of bed for!

And the best sewing machine for the beginner?

Well you couldn’t really expect us to be impartial with this could you?
The Jaguar Novum Life 157 machine is very popular with children and adults who are looking for their first sewing machine.

It is also ideal as a second machine for those who need a lightweight compact machine to take to classes.

Have a look at all our wonderful Jaguar sewing machines »

The Jaguar Novum Life 157 sewing machine is ideal for first timers
The Jaguar Novum Life 157 sewing machine is ideal for first timers


New to sewing? Here are some ideas to get you started

Simple sewing suggestions and tips for beginners

Sewing is an enjoyable past time for many across the world. In many cases, what starts off as a hobby can go on to become a serious business.

Whatever your justification for wanting to take up sewing, we’ve come up with a few suggestions that may well help you get up and running just that little bit more quickly, bearing in mind that the internet can be a wonderful information source!

1) Keep it simple!

Don’t stretch yourself too much too soon. Build up your basic techniques and capabilities by producing something that’s straightforward, but will still provide you with a tangible and pleasing end result.

We thought we’d start off with something suitably seasonal, so for our first example we’re heading off to the How To Sew website, on which they’ve provided a delightful tutorial on how to make winter coasters.

The simple step-by-step guide we’ll get you up and running in no time, enabling you to produce a decorative addition to your festive dining centrepiece.

2) Build your sewing skills

Sarai Mitnick has written a series of articles that we just adore! One of our absolute favourites The Art and Science of Skill Building is a powerful and well written piece.

Sarai has every sympathy for the newby.

“I know how disheartening it is to be a beginner at something. Often when you’re learning something new, your imagination and taste greatly outpace your actual skills.

“You know when something looks wrong, but you aren’t at the point where you can fix it. Not yet. This can be highly motivating, but it can also be incredibly frustrating.”

Of her most valuable pieces of advice is to learn at least one new skill within each project undertaken.

The highlight of her article is called “A true beginner sequence” – a six project springboard that will help you to achieve a great deal in a short space of time.

3) Look at the bigger picture

Steps to start your sewing hobby by Allie will enable you to take a step back and plan a series of actions and activities.

Ali lists seven categories that’s when considered will really make a difference to the newby sewer.

  1. “Take an introductory sewing class
  2. Start with simple sewing projects
  3. Get a working sewing machine. Or get your sewing machine working
  4. Practice. A lot
  5. Get the right tools
  6. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
  7. Find your community.”

4) And when you’re ready for a new sewing machine?

OK, we must admit to being a little biased here, but we think the wonderful range of Jaguar sewing machines can provide everything that the beginner needs – but with the capabilities that will enable you to progress efficiently and easily to far more complex and imaginative projects in the future.

The Novum Life 157 for example, has 14 built in stitches, adjustable stitch length, a built in needle threader, a top loading bobbin, a stitch selector dial and a 3 year warranty – yet retails at only £149!

Jaguar Novum Life 157 sewing machine
The Jaguar Novum Life 157 sewing machine – it’s a little beauty isn’t it?

See the full range of Jaguar sewing machines »

Overlocker / serger sewing tips

Sewing: overlockers are sometimes known as sergers

Some overlocker / serger sewing beginners aren’t aware of the difference between an overlocker and a standard sewing machine. So to get the ball rolling, we thought we’d tell you what an overlocker is…

Wendy Ward provides an excellent definition on her website where she also points out that the machines are also known as “sergers”. Get in touch if you know how this term came into use by the way – we’d love to know!

“…it’s a separate machine that sews with 3, 4 or 5 threads to join seams, neaten edges and cut off the excess fabric all in one go. It’s the neat professional looking finish you find inside ready made clothing.”

Adding a neckline

A useful tip for overlocker serger sewing beginners from the Makers website. After sewing side seams the next step is something that you definitely need to get to grips with: adding a neckline – and this also applies to hems and cuffs. There are some great step by step photos on this article.

Finishing your seams

The Scruffy Badger Time website is compiled by Winnie from Bath in the UK – and we love it!

In her article Overlocking / serger tips: finishing your seams she suggests three practical ways of obtaining a tidy finish on a project. It’s worth paying close attention to her third tip – the most complicated but long term we think the best – which involves getting to know your overlocker’s “stitch fingers”. It’s tricky but worth persevering with – and again the photos are a real help.

Also worth checking out is Winnie’s excellent article Overlocker tips: unpicking seams.

Matching up fabrics

The What Katy Sews website has a really interesting focus – “…matching up all my stashed-away fabrics to appropriate patterns and getting them sewn up”.

The article mixes knits and an overlocker – a really useful combination.

Threading an overlocker / serger

An excellent video by Denise Wild shows how to thread a serger, which will be particularly useful if you’re new to overlockers, your serger keeps unthreading – or you just keep forgetting how to do it.

And now the bit we REALLY love…

We’re trying very hard not to look smug here, but if you’re fortunate enough to own a Jaguar overlocker – it self threads!

The Jaguar Supa Lock 486 overlocker for example, is an excellent choice if you are looking for features and performance. Surprisingly easy to use … this is probably the reason why it is Jaguar’s number one overlocker.

Super easy threading

Exclusive to Jaguar overlocker sewing machines  – the unique cutting system opens up 180 degrees giving easy access to the looper thread guides. Threading is quick and easy with no need for tweezers or specialist tools.

It’s as quick and as simple as that!

Jaguar 486 overlocker serger sewing machines

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