To those who have the dry cleaner replace every lost button and tack every loose hem, the world of sewing can be intimidating. But a little knowledge can turn someone who doesn't sew into someone who does. With some basic sewing supplies and some simple hand stitches, you can mend a seam, hem trousers, and sew on a button. And with nothing fancier than a straight machine stitch, you can make napkins, pillows, and curtains.
A sewing machine can cost a few hundred to thousands of dollars. At the lower end are machines that do straight, reverse, and zigzag stitching, plus a few other stitches. At the top end are computerized models, which create elaborate decorative stitching. For most sewing projects, a simpler model is sufficient. Before beginning a project, it's important to familiarize yourself with your sewing machine. Then start with a simple project, like a knife-edge pillow. For some things, you don't even need a machine; basic hand stitches are surprisingly versatile.