Twice this week I was asked about giving sewing machines as gifts for the holidays. My advice is always the same. First, don’t give them a toy. Get a real machine that works. Go to a sewing machine shop where you know that if they have an issue they can get someone to help them out. Second, don’t get them more machine than they can
handle. A beginner will be intimidated by 159 decorative stitches and a complicated and sensitive computer interface. A simple machine that does a good reliable stitch is a much better investment. Save the bells and whistles, including the self threaders that often break, for the trade in and upgrade when they fall in love with sewing. The basic, beginner machine I have in the shoppe is a Janome and I have worked it hard for at least 5 years now. It is rare that I need more than this machine offers. ( I have no affiliation ) It is simple to thread and wind bobbins – just follow the numbers and little pictures right on the machine. I have handed it to students from age 5 to 85 if they need to use it during class for some reason and nobody have ever had trouble with it.
Of course once they have the machine they will need some fabric and notions. Once again, it is much better to give them quality over quantity. Good threads, fabrics that behave themselves, pins needles and scissors that are sharp, and of course some instruction. We have several how to books in the shoppe that are geared to younger sewers, and we run beginner classes that we would be happy to write a gift certificate for. Make friends with your sewing Machine is the ideal workshop to go with a new machine, and we can do it with any age student. The resulting project is a bed size pillowcase and everyone needs those. See the Skill builders page for details and more options.
Sharing the love of sewing and fabric is excellent, but it is easy to forget what it was like to be a true beginner. Keep it simple, use quality equipment and materials and you may just introduce your loved one to a lifetime hobby.