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The TexT ile ArT isT 's sTudio hAndbook
Machine sewing is denitely faster than hand
sewing and a quality sewing machine is a good invest-
ment and relatively inexpensive. With the invention of
the sewing machine during the Industrial Revolution,
the garment and textile industry changed dramati-
cally, allowing for the mass production of clothing and
other goods. Sewing machines also became a staple
in many households. The first sewing machine pat-
ent was issued to Thomas Saint in 1790, but it is not
known whether a prototype was ever created. Many
other patents were awarded, but nothing was truly
successful until Isaac Singers lockstitch machine.
Although Singer is the name associated with the in-
vention of the sewing machine, Walter Hunt was the
first inventor of the lockstitch machine, but he never
patented the idea because he believed the machine
would lead to unemployment! Elias Howe was the
first to patent the machine, and he later got into “pat-
ent wars” with Isaac Singer. Howe earned several
million dollars from patent royalties after winning his
case against Singer. Today there are many types of
sewing machines, including computerized models
that stitch beautiful embroidery and several novelty
construction stitches.
Again, sewing is worthy of its own book, but in
this chapter, you’ll learn basic hand stitches and how
to sew a seam on a sewing machine. From there, gar-
ment construction, quilt work, and appliqué are only
a step away.
Equipping Your Studio
Whether you sew now and again to finish other forms
of textile media or it is your main process, we recom-
mend equipping your studio with the following items:
Home Sewing Machine
Machine, sewing, and embroidery needles
in different sizes
Iron and ironing board
Variety of sewing thread
Dressmaker straight pins (lots of them!)
Pin Cushion
Fabric scissors (that you use for fabric ONLY)
Seam ripper
Tape measure
Tailor’s chalk or fabric marking pens
For Quilting:
Rotary cutter
Clear rulers
Cutting mat
Optional, but nice to have:
Thread stand or other good thread storage
Dress form (for garment construction)
Quilting frame
If you plan to quilt or construct clothing, you will need
ample table space, preferably with a padded surface
(see project page 26). Whether you use commercial
sewing patterns or a dress form to drape and create
your own patterns, you’ll need room! Sewing is really
the transformation of two-dimensional fabric into a
three-dimensional garment, toy, drapery, or just about
anything made from textiles.
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