Maybe you got tired of mending clothes the old school way using your ordinary needle and thread and you therefore recently acquired your first sewing machine. Or maybe you have simply just begun developing a budding interest in tailoring and you need to learn how to use a sewing machine but do not have the slightest clue on where to begin. Whatever the case may be, here are some of the best tips that will assist you as you begin.
Get All the Tools You Need
There are some basic essentials that you will require before you begin to sew, for example, pins, cutting tools, marking pens or marking chalk, tape measures and so on. Make sure you have everything you need before you begin.
Know the Parts of Your Machine
Get to know the various parts of your machine so that instructions will not appear to be Greek to you. Even understanding this particular post may be a challenge if you are not familiar with the basic parts of a sewing machine. Just read on and gauge yourself.
Master How to Thread
You begin by putting your spool of thread on the spindle and securing it with the spool holder. You then run the thread through all the required nooks and crannies on your machine (and you can refer to your manual for help), all the way to the needle. You will also need to thread your bobbin. Take an empty bobbin cartridge and thread it with your desired colour and then insert it into the machine. Before you begin to sew and before you thread, always remember to wind your bobbin. Always thread your machine when the presser foot is up. Practice threading over and over and over again until you have mastered the art and can even do it blindfolded.
Leave the Thread Guide Up
The thread guide is found right above the needle. It should be set in its higher position otherwise the needle will unthread as you begin to sew. Form a habit of checking it every single time you stop sewing to ensure that it is in the up position.
Understand Thread Weights
It is important to use the same thread type in both the bobbin and the spool. For example, if you have a polyester thread in the bobbin, you should have the same polyester thread in the spool and not mix it with cotton thread. This, however, is not relevant when you are doing embroidery work like sewing embroidery patches because embroidery patches is put only in the spool.
Start the first two or so stitches by turning the hand wheel anticlockwise. The hand wheel causes the needle to go up and down. This helps in a number of ways. First, you will be able to place the first stitch accurately. You will also be able to determine whether the needle will go smoothly through the fabric when you begin to stitch. You will be able to see if your fabric is too thick and it will also help you to avoid thread jams.
Always Keep the Needle in The Fabric
When you stop or pause sewing and you need to either move the fabric a little bit or when you are sewing a corner or pulling out a seam, make sure that the needle is down and right in the fabric.
When the machine starts misbehaving, for example, when it begins to skip stitches, rethread everything.
Choose the Appropriate Needle for the Job
Do not rely on a universal needle for all your work. Different fabric thicknesses will require different needle sizes. When your machine starts skipping stitches, it is usually an indicator that you need to change the needle.
Always Use a Sharp Needle
Always use a sharp needle and it is always preferable if it is a new one. Bent or over-used needles are hazardous to use. For one, they can cause needle jams and suck the fabric inside your needle throat. They could also snap and fly straight towards you. No one wants that to happen.
Do Not Watch Your Needle As You Sew
As you sew, keep your eyes off the needle. This will help you to sew in a straight line. Set a guide for the material and watch it instead, as you ensure that your fabric is lining up with it.
When you cut up fabrics, do not throw away the scrap material. Scraps are useful for practicing and for pre-trial sewing runs before you actually engage with the actual fabric. Test your stitch length, width and tension during these pre-trial runs.
Always Check How Much Thread You Have Left
Before you begin sewing, check the bobbin to see if there is enough thread to avoid running out of it in the middle of stitching.
‘Slowly but surely’ is a well-known adage and this is good advice as you begin to sew. Do not forcefully press down on the foot pedal. The foot pedal is just like the gas pedal in a vehicle. The more you press on it, the faster you will go. To help you have more control on the pedal, it will be better if you used it without shoes i.e., either barefoot or with socks on.
Regularly Clean Your Sewing Machine
The main thing to watch out for here is lint. Lint is a by-product of sewing and can sit into your machine. The more you sew, the more lint is produced and hence the need to regularly clean your sewing machine. Accumulation of dust and thread bits also affect the running of the machine. Read more about cleaning your sewing machine. When you do so, it will last longer and perform better. It will also save you some major repairs.
With these tips, you should easily be able to solve any teething problems you may encounter as you begin to sew. Keep the user’s manual that came with the machine handy. It may prove to be pretty useful as well because every sewing machine is unique. Happy, hitch-free sewing!