Monday, February 14, 2011

Sewing Simply: Get To Know Your Machine


Today we kick off my Sewing Simply Series! If you’re just now joining me and aren’t sure what it’s all about, take a quick trip over here and here. This series is designed to help people who don’t know how to sew or need a refresher on what they learned in 7th grade Home Ec. If you’re an experienced seamstress, and would like to contribute to this ongoing series, send me a note at nolanandjill {at} gmail {dot} com and let me know what basic, simple, sewing skills you’d like to share!

The most common comment on any sewing post is from people wishing they knew how to use their sewing machines. So before we get to sewing, we’re going to take a little time to get to know the technical terms related to sewing machines.

All sewing machines are a little different while being made up of the same concepts. I highly recommend getting to know your machine’s manual. And if you don’t have it, do a Google search! I have referred back to my manual so many times when sewing with a new fabric, playing with special stitches, or when trying to fix a MAJOR jam while trying to finish a project for Crafting with the Stars (Ack! Horrible memory, but my husband came to the rescue!). Wishing you had a sewing machine? Check out Craigslist! I’ve seen so many listed by people who inherited them and have no idea how valuable their machine really is, so they list it for a great, low price!

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty-not-so-exciting-but-oh-so-necessary information to know.

-Spool Pin—Holds the spool of thread (I like it when the name makes sense!)

spool pin 1spool pin 2

-Bobbin Winder—winds the thread onto the bobbin. The bobbin thread is the lower stitching (what you’ll see on the underside of your fabric after running it through your machine).

bobbin winder 2

-Upper Tension-control dial—Controls the tension of the upper thread. This is important to making tight, even stitches. It is also good to become acquainted with this to make ruffles!

stitch selector 1

-Thread guide—what you wind the thread around when winding your bobbin and then threading the machine.

thread_guide 1thread_guide 2

-Thread take up lever—moves along with the needle while you’re sewing. The thread feeds through this.

-Hand wheel—Used to manually raise and lower the needle.

-Presser Foot—Applies pressure consistently on the fabric as the sewing takes place. Different feet have different purposes.


-Presser foot lever—Used to raise and lower the presser foot.

presser foot lever 1presser foot lever 2

-Feed dogs—feed the fabric in the sewing direction (the grooved pieces that your fabric covers).

-Bobbin cover/bobbin case—depending on your machine, you will either just drop your bobbin in or you will have to set it up in the metal case.

-Foot Pedal—how you control your sewing.

-Reverse control/back stitch control—on some machines it’s a lever, on others it’s a switch, on my current machine it’s a button. This allows you to backstitch, which is like tying a knot with your machine.

-Stitch selector—Allows you to choose between straight, zig zag, button hole, specialty stitches, etc. My old machine had a dial for this, my current machine is digital. Straight stitch will be your most commonly used stitch.

stitch selector 3

-Stitch length selector—Allows you to choose how long your stitches are. When you’re just sewing a basting stitch (something you’ll learn about later this week), or just sewing to hold something in place and then will later rip them out, use a longer stitch length. When sewing for good, use a shorter stitch length. This will also control the width of your zig zags.

Feel like you understand your machine a little better? Once again, I HIGHLY recommend finding your machine’s manual, or for one like it online. Read through it, get to know the different parts of your machine, and refer back to it as you need to.

If you aren’t sure how to thread your machine, wind your bobbin, or even turn the thing on, You Tube can become your best friend!

Can’t remember what comes next in this series?

Tuesday—Let’s make a pillow! Learn basic machine skills by making something simple and cute.
Wednesday—Sew along! We’ll make a cute bag together! I picked up my pattern on the display rack at Joann’s by all the pattern books. We’ll start on Wednesday with reading the pattern instructions and cutting the fabric.
Thursday—Sew along! We’ll sew our bags and finish them up, following along with the instructions.
Friday—The inspiration process. I’ll take you through how I browse through expensive clothes and then make my knock-offs. Want a sneak peak at what I’ll show you how to make?
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1 comment:

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