View Full Version : I got a Singer Simple

03-25-2010, 23:18
I went and bought a sewing machine tonight. A Singer Simple. I gotta say, I went against what most everyone told me about getting one, I bought a new one instead of getting an older more reliable one. I figure if I catch on I can make this one work, or I can upgrade (sounds just like my backpack gear experiences).

I wanted something to do since I am going to be stuck in the house for the next few weeks. I figured maybe I could learn how to sew a little. Practice some stuff sacks, maybe Ill get the hang of it and can move on to bigger things. What are some suggestions for some easy things to learn?

This is the first time I have ever messed with one. Actually I've always been afraid of them, that little needle moving lightening fast, wanting to eat my fingers up......

So far I have threaded it, and actually ran a few stitches. I bought some clearance fabric out of the Walmart bin. Actually they had some that looks like 1.1 oz ripstop. I bought all 11 yards of it. That will make some nice little stuff sacks, if I know how to hold onto that slippery stuff!

I am confused about the whole thing though. I am sitting here thinking, ok, the thread is threaded, and I have actually sewn together a large stuff sack for my sleeping bag storage (since mine didn't come with one). Now what? What are the different types of stitching for?

Anyone got any good beginner tips or sights to check out? I still don't understand how one machine can work better on some materials (such as a silnylon) or why certain needles are better than others for certain things.....What do the different foots do, and how do you use the button hole foot? Whats a Darning Plate?

I guess right now I am going to try to get sewing in a straight line down....anyone know how long the thread on the bobbin underneath lasts?

03-25-2010, 23:46
If you haven't already read, or own, Ray Jardines book "Beyond Backpacking", go to your library and get it. There are several projects to start with. Soon, you'll be making all of your gear.

Have fun with the new toy. :sun

03-26-2010, 00:05
Congratulations Stick!

One tip I can give you is: do not use cheap thread, even on practice scraps of fabric. Cheap thread will cause frustration to no end. It will break, tangle. I use Gutterman on my quilts, packs, tarps. It has no cotton in it and is suitable for silnylon and most synthetic fabric. I buy large spools of Gutterman at Joanne's, usually on sale.

An easy project I just finished is a pair of over mittens made from silnylon. I wanted something sturdier than bread bags to protect my gloved hands from wind and sleet.

And good luck and have fun while you recuperate.

03-26-2010, 08:28
Golly, here's a whole lot of "basic sewing machine" video's on YouTube. You could spend hours watching them and picking up tips.

03-26-2010, 09:23
You could make rain chaps.

My memory is hazy from way back in the 70s when I knew a little bit how to sew as a kid (my mom sewed all my clothes, oh the horror!)

I think you need a zipper foot if you are going to sew in a zipper. The foot is different because when you sew in a zipper, one side is running on fabric and the other is running against the zipper. The might have other foots for helping with slippery stuff like silnylon.

I think zig-zag was the only way to handle stretchy fabric before you could buy a consumer-grade overlock machine.

Good luck with sewing. It's a great skill. Too bad I got a D in sewing in high school, but I did sew a pretty awesome little backpack in Jr. high.

03-26-2010, 09:38
If you have ANY interest in that direction, make a hammock

120 inches x 60 inches of 1.9 oz ripstop. sew a rolled hem all the way aroune and you're done sewing. the rest is folding and tying.

A few more stitches and you can make a hennessy top loader.

Piece of cake, Trust me!!

Farr Away
03-26-2010, 09:58
I second not using cheap (or old) thread. Exercise in frustration.

Depending on the pattern, a quilt could be straight seams. Even if it required some curves, it should still be straightforward stitching. My first silnylon project was a case for my camera (velcro closure). The second was snakeskins for my hammock, and the third was a food cozy (freezer bag cooking).

Although your machine may have a lot of built-in stitches, straight and zigzag will do for most projects. I've been using a machine for 30+ years, and have only ever played with the fancy stitches.

As far as how long the bobbin lasts, that depends on how much thread you wind on it. Watch your finished seam. You'll see when the bobbin thread runs out.

03-26-2010, 10:15
I have sewn a storage sack for my sleeping bag. I boxed the corners and added a drawstring. It's not the prettiest, but hey it works.

A hammock huh? I'll have to look into that. Ill have to get a zipper foot too. I need to pick up another color thread so that I can make the bobbin one color and the top another. This way I can see how it is going together. Right now I have black on top and bottom and I can't really tell....

So, for sewing in the ripstop (I have some probably 1.1 that I got at Walmart) what kind of needle? How about on a no-see-um mesh?

03-26-2010, 11:31
A new tent here you come! Enjoy the machine.

03-26-2010, 13:27
I use polyester upholstery thread (the spool says 40 oz.) and an 80/20 needle for everything.

You don't need zippers for a hammock. No bugs til June. No seeum is ghastly to sew. Save that for later. Much later. I'm still saving. tried once and didn't like it. <G>

03-26-2010, 14:19
To sew on no-seemum or other materials like that, you may be able to use a water soluble foundation, found at Jo'anns or other fabric stores, after using, just wet the foundation and it dissolves away.

Needles, depends on what you are sewing, what thread, etc.


try this article.
Hope this helps.
Enjoy your machine.

03-26-2010, 15:13
Here you go: http://www.specialtyoutdoors.com/tips/project.asp