54 Responses

  1. Vintage Living Magazine
    Vintage Living Magazine at · Reply

    This is wonderful! We all have to start somewhere. Having that Ikea sewing machine probably means even more thrift shopping, since now you can repair any less-than-perfect finds. All the best in your future sewing adventures! 🙂

  2. Leah
    Leah at · Reply

    Alex, this is a fantastic post! I feel like I can relate wholeheartedly. I do not have ANY experience using a sewing machine but randomly decided I should learn how to use one. My mom gave me her ancient sewing machine that hasn’t been used in decades and I tried to teach myself. After a few hours (& Google videos!) of accomplishing absolutely nothing except getting beyond frustrated, I gave up and haven’t tried again. Your post totally inspires me to give it another shot… or at least put it on my 2013 New Year’s Resolutions! ;). So after your first experience and troubles, would you recommend the Ikea model you bought?

  3. Pillows A-La-Mode
    Pillows A-La-Mode at · Reply

    Yay!!! So proud of you!!! The sky is the limit now! 🙂

  4. Ingrid
    Ingrid at · Reply

    Wow! Its good that you bought this! I love IKEA, A couple of weeks ago, I was going to buy it, but my mom stopped me & gave me her old one! I just started doing my own pillows with my moms help! (I will be posting my so not fun experience soon! )

  5. Cheryl
    Cheryl at · Reply

    Oh Alex… this had me in tears, it was so funny and completely cathartic as I remember the time I tried to sew on my step-mom’s machine.

    But You GO Girl!!

    First hurdle completed! You got it out of the box AND stitched some lines!! Challenge won!

    Love it Love it Love it!

    We’re going to have have to set up some sort of challenge between us to keep the sewing going… but of course it must include wine methinks!!

  6. Hannahchristiane
    Hannahchristiane at · Reply

    Oh god don’t remind me… I bought a sewing machine in a fit of craftiness and like yours did, it gathers dust. I’m actually a little afraid of it! I sewed all kinds of stuff as a kid but I think my years of higher education bumped that knowledge right out of my head. It is now an emblem of shame, sitting all alone in my craft room. Maybe if I had a scrummy cupcake like yours I’d have more motivation, lol:P

  7. the home tome
    the home tome at · Reply

    Ha ha! I laughed out loud at that pic of the tangly-jumbled first sewing attempt! That is a familiar sight to me. I learned how to sew in 7th grade home-economics class, then did a bit of sewing with my mom (pillows etc) with my mom as a teenager, but I have lost the knack. And don’t have my own machine…but I do remember that threading the machine as being akin to rocket science.

    I do have sewing fantasies now – I think they sell these hand-held things that are supposed to be okay for easy jobs, but I’d probably botch that up!

    Sewing machine at IKEA?! – they really DO have it all!

  8. edwina
    edwina at · Reply

    out loud and proud! go for it- sewing stuff combined with Ikea….marriage made in northstory heaven! totally looking forward to your creative output, the subject of future posts.

  9. Victoria Elizabeth
    Victoria Elizabeth at · Reply

    My sewing skills are limited to hemming curtains. Maybe a pair of pants, if I needed them immediately, and couldn’t take them to the dry cleaner in town… and that Rorschach-blot of thread? Gave me post-traumatic flashbacks.

    My machine is pretty old, and it works fine. MOSTLY. When it doesn’t, it’s always the bobbin/thread/jam/mass of thread. My mother has tried to discuss bobbin tension with me, and I’m just like, you don’t understand… it goes along fine! Mostly. And then it just explodes. For no reason.

  10. Ingrid
    Ingrid at · Reply

    Ok! I will explain you about zippers! but BELIEVE me, I’m not good at this, my poor mom had to explain me everything a hundred times 🙂

  11. Gilit
    Gilit at · Reply

    LOVE this post! I laughed. Like a lot. But in a good-natured-good-for-you-I-would-do-all-the-same-things way.
    I’ve been wanting to start sewing forEVER and I feel a little evil because part of me is grateful that you did it first so 1- I know what to expect and 2- when I inevitably make the same mistakes I will feel better
    In any case I’m always impressed by someone trying something so totally new and you are no exception – so CONGRATS!

  12. Autumn@fallfordesign.com
    Autumn@fallfordesign.com at · Reply

    Oh my goodness! I’ve been asking for a sewing machine from Santa the past 6 YEARS. I guess I’ve been a bad girl. My husband is the expert sewer since I don’t know how to operate one.

    I’m sorry it took 3 hours, but it looks pretty good now that you got it started! The second line is my favorite look. 🙂

  13. Deb Weyrich-Cody
    Deb Weyrich-Cody at · Reply

    Okay, so now that I’ve wiped the tears away…
    Threading that Ikea bobbin is like trying to drink water lying down; you could do it but why would you? (Gravity is your friend; ) PLEASE take it back. Why be frustrated with your machine, when there’s so much you can learn about sewing? Besides, lots of machines are portable: even the really expensive ones that do everything except tie your shoes. Here’s a drool-worthy site…
    Could you take some lessons, or do you know anyone who could give you a hand? Too bad they don’t teach this at high school anymore. If you want, send me an email and we can talk…

  14. thethinkingcloset
    thethinkingcloset at · Reply

    This was amazing…thank you for taking us along with you on this journey! I, too, had an lol moment when I saw your first stitch attempt. At least you have a sense of humor through this all! I’m a beginner sewist, too, and am slowly but surely working my way through Raechel Myers’s Sewing 101 course online. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for structure to follow as you manage these uncharted waters. Happy sewing!

  15. mimiswardrobe
    mimiswardrobe at · Reply

    You make a frustrating story sound hysterical! Maybe some people are meant to blog instead of sew? Anyway, you make me feel better! My bobbin threads ALWAYS scramble together under what I’m trying to sew. Honestly, if it wasn’t for that, I might even enjoy it instead of only doing it when I HAVE to! 🙂

  16. Poppy
    Poppy at · Reply

    My first sewing machine is a SY too!!! I love it, because, as you also said, it’s compact, and light, and not too complicated and cheap! You are great, I would have surely given up on sewing if I had been left alone with it for the first time. Luckily my Mum is very good at sewing, and she taught me how to do it. The most important thing I found out about sewing, that is 50% sewing and 50% problem solving…

  17. grtescp
    grtescp at · Reply

    Congratulations on your new sewing machine!
    I am currently teaching 3 friends to sew, and they have all bought ikea machines based on the positive reviews on the internet and they are doing fine with them. They really are a fabulous quality/price compromise. However, the instructions aren’t super clear, and one friend had real problems with the bobbin – she got it in back to front and ended up with a similar mess to yours. Once you get the bobbin in ok and play a bit with the tension it will be fine. But as I tell my friends – sewing will make you smile, laugh and proud, but will also leave you in tears and furious at times! Good luck and enjoy it 🙂

  18. Jason
    Jason at · Reply

    I’m clueless about sewing machines. But I think it would be a good skill to have because many times I’ve had seams rip on clothes and just threw them out because I didn’t know what else to do. Nice clothes, too! Also for the stupid curtains I have that are bunched up on the floor. I’d like to shorten those and not have to pay someone to do it. And the two comforters I have that are ripped on one side – the side pointed away from the bedroom door. And for less than a hundred dollars you can actually get a real sewing machine?! I think I’m going to IKEA this weekend! My only concern: Is the instruction manual easy for beginners to understand, or is it really “techie” for lack of a better word? Because I am not exaggerating when I say I’m stupid at this. Literally a know-nothing novice who doesn’t understand exactly what a bobbin is.

  19. Emma
    Emma at · Reply

    Hi!! I’ve had this idea in my head for ages of attempting to make a quilt out of the baby grows my kids have grown out of that I don’t have the heart to get rid off. It’s been nothing more than just a vague idea (i have no idea how to even start making a quilt!!!) until wandering through ikea today when I noticed their machine. I was checking out reviews on the Internet when I stumbled across this page – LOVE IT!! I think I may give it a go…… You may also have no idea …… but do you know if it would be any good to make a quilt??? (Or am I being massively over ambitious????)

  20. Nicole F.
    Nicole F. at · Reply

    I got the machine for Christmas, it’s now April and I just pulled it out of the box, have tried for about an hour tring to figure out the bobbin, your info was helpful so when I get home from work I will revisit the machine. Thanks.

  21. Kat
    Kat at · Reply

    Well, looks familiar, my husband bought me the same machine for my birthday on 12th ~April, I use to be an industrial machinest and make luggage in the 70’s, piece work and haven’t sewn since…. This is a challenge and I think for the first time you did amazing. I have yet to get it out of the box but I will I promise, got so many ideas … when I get it out of the box….

  22. Sri
    Sri at · Reply


    Can you PLEASE by some way share the manual in English? I bought one but I dont find the instructions in English 🙁

    Thanks a truckload!

    1. jiffener
      jiffener at · Reply

      Maybe this will help the people looking for the manual

      And you can find other manuals for the Sy machine (maintenance, etc) at http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60208974/

  23. Carole Cooper
    Carole Cooper at · Reply

    Hi Alex, I bought this machine a few months ago, and have got to a point where I needed some extra bobbins. When I contacted Ikea, they stated that they were unable to supply any more. I was very disappointed with this statement, as I have tried several other makes and they quickly jam up. Have you encountered this, and do you happen to know if I can get some that work in the machine? Many thanks. Carole. New Forest, UK.

  24. Lucy
    Lucy at · Reply

    My IKEA sewing machine is bunching the thread just like yours did.Suddenly yours does not anymore…. Could you please say what you did between those steps that made the machine work – which is why I read this post to begin with – and only had a few before photos and then after photos.

    1. Carole cooper
      Carole cooper at · Reply

      It is important to leave a long thread from bobbin and top thread, hold onto threads when first starting, this should cure all. Always use correct bobbin and thread on machine not on a bobbin winder.

  25. Edith
    Edith at · Reply

    A practical question… I am assuming you did not have to put oil in first time you used it… did you?

  26. rosetta
    rosetta at · Reply

    When thread holder brakes you can’t get a replacement so machine is no use any more

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