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Your Sewing Machine and You

Your Sewing Machine and You

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Published by: Alvilda2 on May 07, 2010
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Your Sewing Machine And You

threadcraft.blogspot.com If you are going to sew anything larger than your hand, I highly recommend that you use a sewing machine. Sewing large projects by hand is both mentally and physically (poor fingers) frustrating and takes centuries. If you cannot somehow find a sewing machine among your family, friends and neighbors, and you absolutely have to sew by hand, take a look at this page for basic hand stitching instructions: http://sewing.about.com/od/techniques/tp/handsewing.htm Now, on to the real work. Step 0: Read The Friendly Manual Disclaimer: Although I’m giving you the quick and dirty guide to sewing machines, all machines are different and I may not be the best guide. If you don’t get it, read the manual or ask the owner of the sewing machine to help you out.

Step 1: Threading the machine As you may have guessed, you need thread to sew. Take your spool of choice, and place it on the pin on top of your sewing machine (1). First, we need to wind some of your thread onto a bobbin. Bobbins that are appropriate for your machine should have

come with it when it was bought. Take the end of your thread towards the left top side of your machine where you’ll find a little knob of sorts (2) to hook the thread behind, then take the thread back to the right again. The pin for winding bobbins is usually near the pin for placing your spool (3). Place an empty bobbin on the bobbin pin, and wind a bit of the thread around it by hand, usually counter clockwise (check the manual of the machine to be sure). When the end is secure, you need to ‘click’ the bobbin and its pin into place. How this works is different on all machines, on mine you just move it to the right a bit.

Now we’re going to set the sewing machine to winding, rather than sewing. Find the large wheel on the right hand side of your machine (4). This wheel is used to manually move the machine (rather than the usual operation by pedal), and you should be able to rotate some part of the wheel while holding the outside. This is a little difficult to explain, but it should have an inner knob or a switch to set it from winding mode to sewing mode and back. Once you’ve found this, you’re ready to wind the bobbin. Simply push your foot down on the pedal, and the bobbin will wind. Once there’s a decent amount of thread on the bobbin, release the pedal, switch the wheel back to sewing mode, ‘unclick’ the bobbin, remove it from the pin, and cut the thread. Now it’s time to actually thread the machine. Take the thread from your main spool on top of your machine, lead it around the knob you used for making the bobbin, but instead of taking the thread back to the right side again, it goes down, into the machine. Before you continue, turn the ‘manual operation’ wheel on the right hand side of the machine. You should see a metal lever moving up and down near the knob (5). Make sure it is at its peak before threading the machine. Most machines have arrows on them indicating how to thread them. If you have these arrows, follow them, if you don’t, consult your manual. Most likely, you will have to go down, back up and around the lever I just mentioned, and back down again. Then, a little above the needle you’ll find a tiny hook or eye to pull your thread behind. Once you’ve found that, you can stick the end of the thread through the eye of the needle.

The next step is to put in the bobbin. You’ll find the door to this on the front of your machine, under the needle and foot. You may need to move a part of your machine aside to reach it (6). Take out the shiny looking round part by pulling the little flap on it. Now you can put in the bobbin, and lead the thread through the gap on the side, and make sure there are a few cm/inches of thread hanging out. Put it back into the machine the way you got it out, leaving the loose end of the thread on the outside.

To finish threading you need to pull the bobbin thread up through the machine. To do this, hold the end of your main thread (the one that is now in the needle) loosely, and slowly turn the wheel on the side of the machine. You will see the thread go around the bobbin holder and back up. Pull it slightly and keep turning until you discover that you’ve pulled up the bottom thread with the top thread. Pull the end out with your fingers, and you are all set. You can close the door to the bobbin case and you are ready to start sewing. Step 2: Picking a Stitch With any luck, your sewing machine looks somewhat like mine and you’ll find the most important button in the top right corner. Most sewing machines have one or more wheels here with pictures of stitches on them (7). You simply turn it to the stitch you want to use. Other machines use push-buttons (and possibly a display). The most common one you’ll be using is the straightforward lock stitch. This is indicated on your machine by a dashed line ---, and it may have different settings for different stitch lengths. On the pictured machine these are stitches 6, 7, and 8. You use this stitch for joining pieces of fabric together. The other basic stitch is the zigzag one, which should be easy to locate because it’s, well, a zigzag line /\/\/\/\/\. On the pictured machine these are 9, 10 and 11. Use this stitch on stretchy fabrics or to finish the edges of your fabric to keep them from fraying. Most machines also have settings specifically to finish edges or sew stretch, but this is the most basic way of doing it.

Step 3: Sewing Take a piece of scrap fabric to test your sewing on. Place it under the foot of the machine, and select the stitch you want to try. Now you need to lower the foot of the machine, it holds the fabric in place and helps to transport your work under the needle. You’ll find a handle on the back of the machine right behind the foot and needle to lower the foot down on the fabric. Press down the pedal with your foot and the machine will start sewing that stitch. Guide the fabric by gently pulling and pushing. That’s it, you are now sewing. A few more pointers: It’s important that your handiwork doesn’t come undone, so the first thing to do is to make sure that the end of the thread is securely anchored to the fabric. To do this, sew a few stitches forward, then a few backward, and then forward again. To sew backwards, find the reverse-button on your machine. On some machines it’s a switch, that as long as it is held down makes the machine sew in reverse (8). It could also be a button near the needle. Do this at the start and end of a length of stitching. When you are done sewing, make sure the needle is up, lift the foot, pull the fabric towards the back of the machine from under the needle, and cut the threads. Always leave a small length of thread hanging from the machine, this prevents the ends from being pulled into the machine and getting all tangled and stuck on the first stitch.

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