my machines

The following is a reprint from my blog NETTIEOLOGY originally entitled: 5 Important Sewing Tools

I am not great at sewing. I started taking sewing seriously around 1996 when my husband purchased me a sewing machine and I started driving my friend Ruth to the different sewing stores. Prior to that I had not sewn since high school (1977). That is twenty years of sewing off and on but I can sew.

Since I have determined that I need to do as much for myself as possible, sewing my own clothing came to the forefront of my to do list, that and the fact that I hated what was in the stores.

With the rebirth of my sewing activities I took a step back to discover what worked for me. As with everything else I don’t need fancy things thus what I had was what I needed. My basics are the tools that every sewer has and needs.

SCISSORS– You have to have a good pair of scissors that are ONLY to be used for cutting fabric. Don’t even cut a strip of paper one time with your sewing scissors. Dull scissors can mess up fabric.

MEASURING TAPE– You could guess at the length but then you would have poorly fitting projects. Accurate measurements are key; the reason manufactured patterns have to be adjusted is because your body is not created the same as anyone else’s.

When a sales person cuts a 9 and 1/4 yard of fabric instead of a 9 and 3/8 piece of fabric that you need that one-eighth of a yard (particularly if there is an obvious pattern) will make the world of difference in your garment.

 SEAM RIPPER – I am not perfect therefore I make mistakes. It is easy to pull seams out when you sew something by hand but the struggle is real when it comes to undoing a machine sewn stitch. The seam ripper makes a tedious activity faster and easier.

SEAM GAUGE– another measuring tools though you could do without it I find it is easier to use when measuring hems and double checking your work. The marker on the instrument serves as an indicator of where you want the seam, or hem to be exactly. It may not be a ‘must have’ but it is a ‘should get’.

PINS & NEEDLES – Both items are fabric dependent, meaning the type of pin you use to hold fabric in place and the type of needle you use to sew them together varies with different material. A sewing needle strong enough to penetrate the denim will leave holes in satin perhaps not seen by the untrained eye).

THREAD SNIPPER– Now these are not a ‘must have’ but I started using these special type of scissors in 2016 and I love them! Most sewing machines have a thread cutter however, since I purchased the thread snipper I use it. It is great for cleaning up your sewing projects, cutting those loose threads you see.

THREAD– I keep basic colors black, white, blue and brown on hand for hand sewing needs. It is always a good idea to purchase thread and other accessories when you purchase your fabric. There are various types of thread depending on what you are making, I usually purchase All-purpose thread since I have no idea of what the various nuances are of each thread type.

I don’t remember there being any other thread company but Coats & Clark when I first started sewing, in the 70’s. Though more expensive I am gradually making the transition to Gutermann brand, I have less problems when sewing with this particular brand.

With thread, size does matter. If you can afford it buy the larger spools of your basic color- black, white, and whatever is the predominant color of your household’s wardrobe.

BOBBINS– Your sewing machine should have come with a few. After you have sewn awhile you will determine how often you change colors and if you have to take thread off of a bobbin to put the color you are using on. When they go on sale get a few, they do make bobbins with thread already on it but I doubt if the color will match the color you are using.

FABRIC- My first sewing project was with a solid colored gabardine. Your first time out you do not want to work with anything stretchy or with patterns. Until you get comfortable with pattern terminology and how fabrics present themselves on your body try not to let your first project require you purchasing more than the basics in thread, pins and machine needles.

TAILORS CHALK  & TRACING PAPER-  You will need both eventually. As a beginner, if you are working with patterns the tracing paper will help with the markers you will have to transfer from the pattern to the fabric. Now that I am making my own patterns I find the tailors’ chalk is used more often.

With any of the tools remember more expensive is not always better. If you watch my video you will find that I am currently using an inexpensive pair of scissors but will upgrade to Fiskars eventually. In addition, the inexpensive sewing machine I purchased as a gift is another purchase I will get for myself, eventually.

THE SEWING MACHINE- I purchased for my friend a BROTHER 17 stitch JX2517, it sews very well. She has had it for more than six months and she loves it. Though I don’t need one I am going to purchase myself one as a traveling machine. I purchased it on sale for $70 plus tax.

PATTERNS- I am so done with patterns! When I first purchased patterns it was one size per pack now it is multiple sizes. This is actually a good thing if you know how to adjust a pattern to fit your body but, as a beginner, if you are going to cut the actual size it can become frustrating. Most patter companies have indications of the complexity of the pattern look for ‘easy’ or ‘beginner’ and do not become frustrated if the pattern says you can make it in one hour but it is taking you 4 hours or more.

Sewing for me is fun. When it stops being fun I stop sewing, I resume when I remember how blessed I am to own 3 machines and paid for none. There was a time when I had very few maxi skirts to wear and now I have plenty- because I can make my own.

You have to find your own motivation for sewing, work on projects that give you joy. I have a friend that makes and sells pillows, another that makes and sells draperies, and yet another that makes her own clothing but embroiders for others we all sew because we like it not because we have to. Just remember when you begin sewing: T.E.A.

THINK before you cut- make sure it is the right size, right direction, patterns match and the correct side of the fabric.

EVALUATE before you sew- many of my mistakes have to do with seam allowances and sewing pieces together in the wrong order. It is important to consider what you are doing and in what order.

ASSESS frequently- often the best made plans have to be adjusted. The pattern may be your size but your curves can be slightly different. As you bring various pieces together determine if the seems are aligned, the patterns are not clashing and it will fit properly.

Like driving once you done it often enough you will not have to think about how to do it. xxx Marsha L. F. Randolph

THREAD COUNT- Knowing Quality When You See It by Marsha L Randolph


I remember shopping with my mother and Aunt at a linen outlet store in one of the Carolina’s. The sisters were debating which sheets were worth purchasing one with at least 600 thread count or one with a minimum of 800 thread count. I thought they were both to expensive. This was one of the most memorable memories and many incidental lessons my mother and my aunt taught me.

Today when purchasing sheets I look at the thread count, if it is less than a 600 thread count, no matter what the cost, I will not consider purchasing it. I taught my girls about thread counts, I also passed down to them many of the lessons I learned from two very classy ladies.

I feel sorry for the young girls of today, their knowledge of what it means to be a lady is very much lacking. Consider the story of the “Princess and the Pea” the real Princess knew what it meant to sleep in a bed of quality. Young females today focus on quantity not quality.

Many people, males and females, accumulate lots of stuff they have: lots of electronic gadgets, lots of clothes and even lots of relationships. When things brake, became tattered and warn, or no longer interest the individual they are discarded and no interest are sought. No one taught them how to look for quality that would pass the test of time.

When my mother died she had a closet full of sheets that were as good as new. When my aunt moved in with her daughter and the content of her home was sold the items were in as just as good condition as the day she had bought them. Because I was taught by very intelligent women who started out in life not being able to afford the best but learned how to get the best that they could afford I know how to spot quality in not just in things but in people as well.

JUNK FOOD written by Marsha L Randolph


I just finished watching a commercial for a vitamin that taste like a mint. I thought, as I watched it: to get a vitamin taste good you have to add a lot of flavoring. The commercial confirmed my suspicion that many people, despite believing they live a healthy lifestyle, are actually filling their bodies with junk food.

BarleyLife-capsAs an Independent Distributor of nutritional supplements from THE AIM COMPANIES I do not push any particular product on my clients. I do, however, caution them to live a life of moderation and use common sense when purchasing products that are meant to keep you healthy.

I don’t eat health bars I have not read the label to determine how healthy they are. I suspect that within the product are preservatives. A person could make their own snack bar, I eat Baby Ruth candy bars- it has 4 grams of protein!

We have had over six years of individuals pushing a healthy lifestyle by taking away candy, chips and soda from school age children. Many of the people who are against junk food in school support products like pediasure, chemicals added to artificial milk.

Worst than the vitamins advertised on television are the prescription drugs promoted; the side effects can be deadly.

Despite artificial colors and flavors as well as preservatives found in many of today’s supplements and so called health bars; and despite the terrible side effects many of the prescription drugs have, people are more concerned about those who eat potato chips and drink coke. Personally I would rather eat a donut and drink a coke than to take an anti-depressant that may cause me to commit suicide.

To learn more about THE AIM COMPANIES or if you may be interested in becoming an Independent Distributor let me know. No large up front fees, No mandates to build a team, No pressure,  No quotas LOT’S OF HELP.


Many people I know, myself included, have spent 2014 being busy. As I think of those individuals I know the works they have done have been good works. Unfortunately, some of the activity I have done as well as those others have done, as purposeful and good as they may have been, were not God works.

directions sillouette                   – God will not keep your agenda so full that you neglect your health.

– God will not keep you so busy that you neglect your spouse.

– God will not have you traveling so much that you neglect your family.

– God will never call you to do something that will prevent you from spending time with Him.

A few months ago I found myself forgetting little things, neglecting some things and not feeling like doing other things, my plate was too full. I took a few days of doing nothing but spending time with Father God and made a list of all the things I do. Slowly but surely with the help of the Holy Spirit I began to see why some of my works, though good, were not things I did not need to do.
2 people and sunsetToday I still have a full schedule but it is a manageable one. I changed the agencies I work for so that I could focus on a specific market, those who need Final Expense Planning. Freeing up work hours without decreasing my income has allowed me to dedicate more time to writing and serving. The result of tweaking my schedule is free time, time to do absolutely nothing and not be worried about what was not done.
Beginning today it is important to evaluate ALL of your activities. I am sure the things you do have great value and you do it because no one else will; if God does not tell you to do it don’t do it. There are times when an opportunity to do something exciting comes up and you cancel one activity to do the other; stop! Playing catch-up is how you get overwhelmed; honor your commitments but do not commit to anything new until you give yourself that needed down time.
Finally, a lot of your activities are not God works and but good works. It is import to examine your motives. Know why you volunteered for that activity. Is it because of the recognition you will receive? Understand why you are busy from sunrise to sunset. Are you afraid to be alone? Are you lonely and want to fill the time? Are you avoiding a relational issue? Good works are bad works if they prevent you from doing God works. In 2015 dedicate yourself to stop doing good works and start doing God works.