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Frequently Asked Questions

Sewing Machines

What kind of sewing machine should I buy? How about for kids?
The two most important pieces of advice are 1) get the best machine that your budget allows and 2) buy from a local sewing machine dealer (instead of a discount house).  A dealer will help you with questions or issues that come up with the machine and also service the warranty work locally instead of having to ship the machine.

For kids and new sewers, a good strategy would be to buy a lower priced machine to see if they stay with their sewing long enough to wear out the machine, then later get a nicer one according to their skills and sewing interests.

What brand of sewing machine do you recommend?
The brand and model of sewing machine that is right for you depends on your long-term sewing goals and budget.  However, here are some facts about the two main categories of home sewing machines:

1) High-end European-made machines like Bernina, Pfaff, Viking, Elna and Janome (Japanese) in the $500-$9000 price range for computerized machines (non-computerized versions are available and a lot cheaper).  These machines last a very long time and the accessories are extensive which make the machine more versatile and suitable for many kinds of sewing tasks.  We teach our classes using the Swiss-made Berninas. These models are their most basic computerized machines.

2) Economy machines made in Asian factories like Singer, Kenmore, White, Brother, etc.  The higher priced models of these brands are quite good and have lots of features, but they may have less durability than a European brand.  A mid-range machine will cost between $250-500 and should be able to handle most home-sewing tasks.

What features should be included in my new sewing machine?
We consider the following to be must-have features on a home sewing machine:

Free arm
Speed control
Needle stopping up/down
Needle position adjustments
One-step (automatic) buttonholes
Minimum 8-12 construction stitches
Speed regulator in the pedal
Basic accessories should include a set of presser feet (buttonhole foot, zipper foot, blind hem foot)

Take this list with you while shopping for your new machine.  A dealer will be able to tell you which machines have these features.

CLICK HERE to get a printable version of these shopping tips

Sewing School & Studio

Can I visit your studio?
Of course!  You are welcome to come by and check out the sewing school or visit the studio anytime during our business hours (Monday-Saturday) or in the evenings during our kids' after-school classes or adult classes.

We sell notions, threads, patterns, books and a handpicked selection of quilting cottons (Moda, Alexander Henry, In the Beginning, etc.), imported Japanese fabrics and Shannon Cuddle fabrics.  We also have fat quarter and half-yard precuts available.

Feel free to come by and check out a class in progress before signing up for one.  We'd be happy to answer any questions, and you could get a feel for how our self-paced classes operate.

Do you teach anything beyond basic sewing?
Since our classes are self-paced, they are also open ended. For kids this means that once you complete the three starter projects in one of our kids' classes or camps, you may begin picking projects that build more and more complex sewing skills.  For adults, after completing the Sewing Basics I class, you can enroll in our Sewing Basics II class as many times as you wish to continue building more technical sewing skills for as long as you feel the need for more guidance . . . or for as long as you want to join us just to be sharing your experience and learning from your fellow students!

We have plans to offer special techniques classes on weekends in the near future.  Some of these classes will be for practical construction techniques such as how to make simple pattern changes or how to make bias tape; and some will be on creative ways to use the sewing machine, such as applique work or bobbin stitching. If you have any requests or suggestions for classes you'd like for us to offer, please let us know!

What are your class policies?
Click here for a full list of our class policies for kids and adult classes.

Can I bring my own sewing machine to one of your classes?
We would prefer that for your first set of basic sewing classes you use the machines provided in the studio; it makes the class progress more smoothly.

Return students may discuss the option of bringing their own machine with the instructor, if you are already familiar with the basic functions and threading of the machine.  If you are not familiar with your machine, you must take the Personal Machine Orientation prior to bringing your machine to class.

Can I get fabric samples from your store?
We do not sell/give fabric swatches at this time, but you may purchase as small as an eighth (1/8) of a yard of any fabric, and if you return to buy more yardage of that same fabric we will credit you the price of the eighth you previously purchased.

You are also free to take pictures of our fabrics.

What forms of payment do you accept?
We can accept Visa, Mastercard and Discover, personal checks, cash or gift cards in our studio.

(We can also process American Express and PayPal on our website only.)

Do you sell/accept gift cards?
We do!  Gift cards can be purchased in the studio or online and can be used to pay for classes, fabrics, notions, etc. 

We can also mail gift cards anywhere in the US for free.  So if you know someone that would like to take classes in our Houston (TX) store or an online shopper that would love our fabrics, a gift card would be the perfect, hassle-free gift.

Thimble Fingers Gift Cards are accepted in both our studio and online store.

Online Store

What are your shipping policies?
We currently ship domestic orders via USPS Priority Mail (includes tracking and insurance) with 2- to 3-day estimated delivery.  For international orders, please contact us to determine shipping rates.

Domestic Shipping Rates
Orders <$50 Orders $50-$100
Orders >$100
Flat rate $8.95 Flat rate $15.95 Free

*Gift cards can be mailed in a standard envelope as first-class mail for no charge.

What is your return policy?
You can return any merchandise purchased online (excluding fabric) for a full refund (minus the cost of postage).

If you registered for a class, you may cancel for a full refund if you have not attended the first class. (Click here for our full list of Class Policies)

Fabric returns will be handled on a case-by-case basis.  Contact us directly if you have any questions or concerns about your fabric order.

Refunds will be credited back to the form of payment used for your online purchase.

What forms of payment do you accept?
You can complete your online purchase with Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express credit cards, Thimble Fingers Gift Cards and your PayPal account.