Once in a while I see a conversation on one of my groups focused around sitdown longarms or high-end sewing machines where there are advanced or sitdown longarm machine owners saying they have not really used them much since they bought them because they don’t really know how to use them confidently or are afraid they will break them. Knowing as I do that these machines can add so much fun and ability to accomplish really fine products, these conversations make me a little sad and frustrated.
True, they do require learning, practice, and a determination to move forward and learn to use them. But they can help accomplish amazing sewing and quilting projects.
It’s important to use them correctly though. That is not as difficult as it may seem. Even if there is not a dealer nearby or one who offers good classes, there are some very helpful books, youtube videos, zoom classes and blogs to help.
One thing I have found that makes things work more easily is to get the feet that do those special things, add the attachments that enlarge the use of the machines, buy a handful of rulers.templates, get a nice selection of needles and pay attention to what you are using, and then play and practice! Test, test, test. Practice. Practice. Practice. Play, play, play. And then step forward and do a sewing or quilting project you really want to do. If the results aren’t terrific, do another project and don’t be too self critical. Give your machine a name and pet it. The last thing to do is sell your machine or leave it sitting there getting all lonesome.
I love my Bernina Q20 sitdown longarm. It is great not only for quilting, but also for free motion embroidery. I have had it for five years now and have had almost no problems. I do keep a notebook nearby to keep notes.
I also keep a notebook near my other sewing machines so I can write down things I learn along the way. I always learn something in the process of making a new item.
Sew what can you make that won’t be distressing if it doesn’t come out quite right, but might be really fun if it does? I have some suggestions:
Dog quilts, baby quilts for charity, wheelchair size quilts for charity, table toppers for your home, lap quilts for you and yours to cuddle under on tv night, simple tote bags with embroidery or applique, or just well made, zipped project bags, panel quilts with borders.
Aprons, simple skirts, easy tops not particularly fitted in style, some of those fun small projects you can find on sewing machine blogs, small zipped pouches for kids and travel, pajamas or nighties, robes for yourself and family
Decorative pillows using pre-made pillow forms, table cloths and napkins, kitted projects with instructions and all the pieces like from Kimberbell
THEN, you can move up to some more advanced decorative wall quilts, or a foot warmer quilt for your bed, make yourself a lovely outfit using a good pattern, put together your own kits and follow my patterns and video classes.
After that, you will be able to make anything! Just take your time and assemble the parts, test all the parts, and fly with me.
Sew happy everyone! Have fun in your studio!