I'm going to suggest that you want to start here, since you're 1 month out of surgery: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbmQ2riM7Yo and then read this: http://www.iapa.ca/pdf/ergonomics_handbook.pdf The reason these ergonomic considerations are especially important for you is that you are still healing, and probably much more prone to inflammation than most people, and you don't need to be further hurt. It is *very* important to have your sewing machine (and your computer) set up so that you don't have to bend your elbows beyond about 85 degrees. Further, sitting (at a sewing machine or serger) puts a fair amount of pressure on the lower back; you may wish to stand to sew -- this is often done in factories where the "pod" or "mod" system of manufacturing is used, and people move through a line of specialized machines to complete an item. You actually stand up to sew, and the machine is raised so the bed is about at elbow height. Sounds strange, but is actually fairly comfortable, and something I do when quilting. Yes, I know this has nothing to do with learning to operate the sewing machine you're getting, but it does have a lot to do with how much stress you're putting on your body and how much damage you might be doing to the healing process. Please, please, talk to your physical or occupational therapist or to your doctor before you sew much. Make sure you're not doing yourself an injury while learning.
The next step on your sewing journey is to learn the names of basic parts of the sewing machine, which you can do with your sewing machine manual. If you do not get a manual with a diagram, look here: http://mdg.ext.msstate.edu/sewing/sewingmachine.html -- this is part of a basic sewing/clothing manual intended for your age group. The whole thing is here: http://mdg.ext.msstate.edu/sewing/ Now you're going to work through the manual for your machine and learn to thread, operate, and maintain your machine.
When you're ready to learn to actually sew projects, here's one of my old answers:
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20111222050941AAzzJfu (I don't have room to include it here, sorry.) I mentioned Connie Crawford's Studio Sewing Skills dvd -- here's a piece of it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZBdcY1H9aA and I also mention Margaret Islander's video series. Here's a bit of the basic pinless sewing skills she teaches -- these are factory methods adapted to home sewing machines: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zyTaEfo-J0
If you want to learn to sew clothes, I usually start beginners with a basic tote bag (your pillowcase, with handles and a little extra width created by two extra seams. See: http://www.mckennalinn.com/Tote.pdf
Then we go on to basic shorts or pj pants made from a stable woven fabric like broadcloth or flannel, a nightgown or pj top made of a stable woven, and a kimono robe or beach jacket like: http://butterick.mccall.com/b6837-products-3808.php?page_id=870 By that time, you're usually ready to start making clothes you can proudly wear out of the house.
Here are some more helps for you:
The last bit of advice I'll give you is to get yourself a kitchen timer (or find a countdown timer app) and set it for 15 minutes. When the bell rings, stop sewing, stand up and do something else for a couple of minutes, then go back for another 15 minutes of sewing. These break periods are good times to press your seams, or read the next steps in the guide sheet for the pattern, or do the exercises you've probably been prescribed -- or just a good stretch! Then get back to sewing again after a couple of minutes. Taking a break reduces frustration, gives your mind and body a chance to re-synch, and then sewing becomes much more fun, and much, much easier on the body.
50 years of sewing; pattern drafting and draping; old biologist with a bad back who takes breaks, practices ergonomic techniques and teaches local kids to sew.
· 5 years ago