Article: Taming The Sewing Machine
To eliminate referring to the manual each time, number adhesive dots and place them on the machine near the guides (see diagram on right). This will prevent you from missing a thread guide or using it out of order. Somewhere near the bobbin case, draw the bobbin on an adhesive dot and mark thread direction as it goes into the bobbin case.
Stitches are formed by interlocking the top thread and the bottom thread, wound on a bobbin. Consult the manual for bobbin winding. After the bobbin is filled with thread from the spool, the bobbin is inserted in the bobbin case located in the bed of the machine. In your manual, carefully note the direction the thread comes off the bobbin as it is inserted into the bobbin case. Inserting the bobbin into the case incorrectly results in knots on the underside of the fabric. Incorrect top threading results in frequent top thread breakage or inability to form stitches
Before the machine is capable of sewing, the bobbin thread must be brought to the surface of the machine bed. To accomplish this, hold onto the end of the top thread and turn the fly wheel one full turn toward you. The needle and top thread will go down into the bobbin case and pull up the bobbin thread.
Before sewing, pull the top thread as it comes out through the needle through the toes of the presser foot toward the back of the machine. Pull the bobbin thread toward the back as well.
If you are unfamiliar with the term presser foot, consult the picture of the machine in the manual for presser foot location (3). To insert fabric for sewing or remove fabric from sewing, the presser foot must be in the up position. After the fabric is inserted, lower the presser foot to keep the fabric in place.
Draw a few curves and angular lines on a piece of fabric (4). You can learn how to control the machine and manipulate the fabric by sewing over the lines. Lift the presser foot to insert fabric. Lower the presser foot to hold fabric in place.
Begin sewing, experimenting with speed, guiding the fabric as you sew, attempting to stay on the line you drew. To turn a corner, turn the needle into the fabric by turning the fly wheel (on the side of the machine) by hand.
Leave the needle in the fabric, lift up the presser foot and pivot the fabric.
A magnetic seam guide purchased in a notions department or masking tape on your machine can help considerably in sewing a consistent 5/8” seam. Raw edges of seam are pushed against the guide resulting in consistent seam allowance (5). Don’t rely on your “eye”; it will usually be about 1/8” off. This inaccuracy results in pieces that do not fit together.
Position your seam guide or a piece of masking tape 5/8” to the right of the needle. Seam allowances are always 5/8” unless pattern indicates otherwise. Place two pieces of fabric together, matching raw edges. Sew a 5/8” seam. Experiment with machine speed, fabric control and stitch length. The longest stitch is used for basting, tile medium stitch for seams and the shortest stitch for reinforcement. Once you master fabric control, speed and seam width, you are able to start on your first project.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
- Enrolling in the Power Sewing Web-TV Show where she teaches all aspects of garment sewing.
- Referring to the Fear of Sewing eBook or Paperback copy.
- Adding, More Fabric Savvy and Fast Fit to your sewing library.
- Sandra’s patterns can be purchased from Vogue Patterns.com or wherever vogue patterns are sold.