Once you purchase a sewing machine, you will get to a point that you realize that there is so much more to it! As with many gadgets and items, the accessories that you receive whilst purchasing a machine are just the start to all the amazing capability that your machine has.
But, to discover this capability, let me guide you through a sewing machine and accessories, which will open a new world of sewing to you!
A foot is not just a foot
The choice of sewing machine feet available is enormous! Your new sewing machine probably is equipped with a standard foot, which to be honest, is capable of a huge variety of jobs that you set for it.
The standard foot can be made out of other materials than metal, for example PTFE of plastic. The PTFE version is great to use with materials that might be a bit sticky, for example PVC fabric or oilcloth. This type of foot will glide and make sewing so easy.
The plastic foot is made out of see-through material, meaning that you can see exactly what you are doing, rather than having your sewing covered by the traditional metal version. Both of these types are definitely worth exploring.
Then there are feet designed for specific jobs. You certainly will find a zipper foot very handy, especially if you are planning to sew in zips. In this case it is a must have. It allows to sew a zipper in, without applying too much pressure on the teeth. This means that the zipper will move easily, rather than being stuck and caught in the dog feeds.
Another foot worth mentioning is a walking foot. This item is brilliant for use with bulky projects – think handbags, items with significant amounts of wadding, etc. The reason for this is that the foot will help to feed your layers between the teeth of the dog feeds. This foot avoids the clumping of your project and having it stuck whilst using a traditional foot.
A common type of sewing, especially in a few starter projects, is quilting. For this, there are specific quilting feet, which sometimes even have a gauge attached to them. This allows for ensuring even distances between your sewing lines, and therefore give a perfect finish of your quilted items!
With time, you will discover new techniques that you may want to use on your machine. For me, one of these techniques was freestyle embroidery. For this style of sewing, I had to purchase a free motion foot. Mine has an open front to make it easier to see what I am doing.
Believe me, this is just an introduction to types of sewing machine feet available! As you discover the options of sewing, you will also discover the options of machine feet.
The world of sewing machine needles
Similarly as for feet, there is a huge variety of needles available out there. With the standard accessories that you receive at the purchase of your sewing machine, you may get a needle and a spare for ‘general’ sewing, with a standard thickness.
However, what does ‘general’ sewing mean? In my opinion this might just about cover woven cotton fabrics, if that! Therefore, you probably will need to invest in a few other sewing machine needles, just so that you are not limited into what you can do.
To start off with, I would suggest a few needle thicknesses – thinner ones for fine fabrics and thicker ones for heavy fabric. There are also needles specific for jeans, leather and other materials. Knitted fabrics will work best with ball point needles.
For garments you may want to use a double (or even triple!) needle. This allows for a lovely, professional finish on your machine.
As cute as a button
Did you know that most likely your sewing machine is capable of sewing buttons and buttonholes? For this you will need two specific feet – one for the buttonhole, the second for the button itself.
Once all is sewn, the next step is to cut a hole in between stitching. Out of the whole process, this is the one that you need to be most careful about – you do not want to cut through the threads that you have just sewn!
And that is it! Simply with these two attachments alone on the sewing machine, you will be able to sew your very own buttonholes and attach buttons to all garments requiring them. No more hand sewing of buttons!
Wind the bobbin up
Your sewing machine probably came with a few bobbins to start off with. I think mine included three, which I very quickly realized was waaaaay not enough. However, if you are in a similar situation, this is totally not an issue. Every sewing machine manufacturers sells spares of these. I believe I have already 28 bobbins. It is very impressive how quickly this number grows.
Speaking about bobbins, these generally are made out of metal or plastic. Not always do you have a choice as to the material of which the bobbin for a specific machine is made.
The one important point to remember is that bobbins are very specific to both make and model. Therefore, always make sure that what you are about to purchase, actually will be suitable for your machine.
The second part to winding your bobbin up is the thread itself. Have you ever looked at the thread stand at a craft store? If so, I am sure you will agree with me that the range of thread colours is literally impressive.
My top tips for thread purchase would be to go with trusted brands and avoid cheaper thread alternatives.
One step at a time
With such a variety of sewing machine accessories available, my recommendation would be to introduce them into your kit one step at a time. First of all you can spend a fortune on all of them, should you be purchasing a large quantity at one point, but secondly, you do want to give yourself some time to explore the accessories’ capability.
From my own experience, a few of these accessories have certainly become a well established element of my sewing. I honestly don’t know how I was sewing without them!
What are your experiences with sewing machine accessories? Have you got any favorites? Share below, I would love to hear from you!