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Buying a sewing machine - what to keep in mind


Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored by any sewing machine manufacturers. It may sound like I am talking down one brand and praising the other. That is not the case. The only one I am talking down, is me. 


Buying your very first sewing machine can be exciting but also difficult. It is so easy to get confused with seemingly endless choices of models and makers on the market. 
Finding the perfect machine for you depends a lot on what are you planning to use it for. Sewing clothes? Mending or upcycling clothes? Or quilting? Or maybe all of the above?

Most of the brands out there try to cater for all the sewists. 
Before you hit the stores, do some research on different brands and features the machines have.

Basics

The spring came abnormally early this year for us. I guess it was expected after such a shitty winter we had - almost no snow, too warm and etc.
Days are already longer! There's actual daylight outside when I get back from work!!!

Anyways, as you know I had some trouble with my eyes. I am happy to report that I finally got my new specs and things are looking so much better! For reals! Ok, to sewing!

What: two T-shirts
Pattern used: have no idea, but I think it's from an older Burda magazine
Fabric used: all three fabrics are 98% cotton, 2% elastane


If you've read the blog(as little as I do write) you most likely know that I am terrified of prints. But I am trying to "self medicate" with buying more printed fabrics AND sewing them into actual garments I then force myself to wear. (I am a terrible person).


5/8 of a problem

As an European, I use Metric system. 1m = 100cm, 1cm = 10mm, 1,5cm = 1cm and 5mm and so on. Everything divides nicely, don't you think? It’s the metric power of ten!
Now in Imperial system how ever 1 inch divides simply into fractions: binary, quarter, eighth, and so on.

It is almost impossible to convert inches into centimeters precisely. The most common seam allowance on commercial patterns for home sewers produced in the U.S is ⅝ inches. When converted into millimeters, it’s 15,8750. In centimeters it’s 1,5875cm. And rounded to even it’s 1,6cm, not 1,5cm! but 1,6cm. By rounding it to even I’ve added 1,25 mm to the seam allowance. See what I mean?
My finished garment will be 5mm (thats slightly more than 3/16 of an inch) smaller in width. Or when not to be so anal and precise about decimal places, I could simply use a 1,5cm seam allowance and end up with a bigger finished garment.

I also think using a 1,5cm seam allowance almost everywhere is a waste, because you almost always trim the seam allowances down when the seam is sewn. Maybe it’s the years spent working in RTW industry speaking, where 1cm is like the “holy grail” of seam allowances, but there are seams where you just don't need that much allowance.
I usually spend hours grading the ⅝ inch seam allowance on patterns to 1cm on all the waistbands, collars, neck seams etc. Basically all of the somewhat horizontal seam allowances get trimmed to 1cm.
I have never ever tried to set in a sleeve or attach a collar (not to mention assembling the collar) with a 1,5cm seam allowance. 

How do you sew a curve precisely with the ⅝ inch seam allowance people???!!!

However, I have learned to almost love ⅝ inch seam allowance on side seams, center back or front seams, any vertical seams. There is something great in knowing that even though I do not muslin most of the garments; I will still have room to let out seams, if the clothing item will somehow end up being wee bit too small for me.

Now most of you lovely internet people do a muslin before cutting into your fashion fabric. You fit it properly, mark all the changes to the paper pattern etc.

I challenge you to try and set in a sleeve on a jacket with a 1cm seam allowance, or attach a collar!
Sew something with a 1cm seam allowance if you already havent!
Image from http://www.aonghascrowe.com
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