Table of Contents
Now, let’s get started.
Learning the Basics
You’ll find that the features and functions on a sewing machine tend to vary from brand to brand. But most models will share the same common parts. Once you’ve become more familiar with the main areas of a sewing machine, you’ll find it much easier to get started creating your own unique projects.
The sewing machine needle moves quickly in and out of fabric without going all the way through the fabric like it does when you sew something by hand. Most models come with the needle already in place, but if a needle breaks or you need a different type, the user’s manual should provide instructions on how to replace it. For tougher jobs, such as thicker fabrics like denim, you’ll need to use a larger needle. When you’re sewing very fine fabric such as silk, you’ll want to use a thinner needle. When you purchase fabric at your local sewing supplies store, it doesn’t hurt to ask the staff what type of needle you should use for that particular fabric.
The foot is a type of metal attachment that rests directly beneath the needle and holds the fabric in place. Right by the foot, you’ll find a lever that moves it up or down. You can raise the lever to bring the foot up so you can reposition the fabric and push the lever back down when you want to secure the fabric in place. Aside from the presser foot, there is a wide variety of feet options you can purchase for different sewing projects, such as making a quilt for a baby, creating buttonholes, or attaching a zipper.
With most machines, the bobbin is hidden under the outer machine casing. The bobbin typically consists of a metal or plastic spool that rests in its own housing located under the sewing area, right below the needle and foot. If you’re not able to locate your bobbin, take a look at the user’s manual, which should have a labeled diagram of all of the parts.
The manual will also tell you how to load the bobbin. Once the bobbin is loaded the top thread and bobbin thread meet and form a stitch.
Feeding the Thread
A spool of thread rests on top of the machine. It is threaded through several loops and channels before it finallyreaches the needle. This type of system helps to avoid tangles and maintains even thread tension. A machine will have a numbered dial that can be lowered or raised in order to adjust the tension as needed based on the fabric
Most models of sewing machines, such as the Janome Memory Craft 6300, will have a tension adjustment dial. The dial allows the user to adjust how loose or tight the tension of the stitches is. The thread tension needed tends to vary based on the materials used.
The method used to change the type of stitch you’re using can also vary from machine to machine but typically comes in the form of a knob, switch, or dial. For most projects, a straight stitch or a zigzag stitch is all that’s needed. Once you’ve gained more experience you can try using more decorative stitches, depending on what the machine has to offer.
A knob or dial enables the user to adjust the length of the stitch, whether they’re zigzag, straight, or some other type of design.
For basic sewing jobs, you’ll want to aim for a length of about two inches, which is strong enough for most seams.
Stitching in Reverse
These days, many models of sewing machines come equipped with a switch or button that will allow the user to sew in reverse. This is a great technique to finish or start your sewing and does a great job of securing the threads.
Using Your New Sewing Machine
Before you begin sewing, you’ll need to do a couple of important things: thread the bobbin and the main needle and bring up the bobbin thread in order to see two threads trailing on the machine. The user’s manual should guide you through this process. Once you’ve accomplished this you’ll be ready to get started sewing.
Raise the foot, slide the fabric under it and lower the foot.
Use the foot pedal to control the speed of the sewing, feed the fabric under the foot. If the notice the fabric needs more tension for support, adjust the tension knob.
When you’re turning a corner to finish the thread be sure that the needle is down at the point where you have to turn the fabric, then raise the foot in order to rotate the fabric.
Once the stitching line is complete, finish by making a couple of stitches back and forth over the line. When the needle is in the up position, raise the foot and remove the fabric. Snip any threads at this time.