This past spring, my parents had made the big move into my grandparent’s house. It was sad watching my parents transport 30 some odd years of memories with them. Some things only made it as far as the garbage can.
You’d be surprised at how much junk you collect in 30 years. My mom hoarded everything from my kindergarten art to the first cast my brother had worn. And then there were the sewing machines.
Three of them.
My mom is a wizard when it comes to sewing. You want your pants hemmed? She can do it. You want a custom made dress? She can do it. You want a brand new car? She will sew you one in your favourite colour and will include heated seats. She is that good.
I never learned how to sew, because, well, my mommy did it.
A few days before they moved, my mom came over to my house with one of her sewing machines. It wasn’t very old but worked like a gem. “But what do I do with it?” I asked her. “You sew silly,” she said sarcastically.
A couple of weeks ago, I found a pin on Pinterest showing me how to make flare jeans into skinny jeans. It looked easy enough. I dusted off the old machine, plugged that bad boy in, flipped on the switch, and just about died.
“What are all these buttons? Do I need a license to use this pedal? What does this zig zag thing do? I have to stick the thread in that little hole? I want my mommy!”
I had no clue.
If you’re like me, you will love the following helpful information:
Sewing Basics: How To Use A Sewing Machine
Learning the basics of sewing machine operation is not as difficult as sometimes people make out – even if you vary your stitches. Any automatic stitching feature you select will usually be one that all the manufacturers have as an option with their machines. The commonest ones tend to be basting, straight, zig zag and three-step zig zag. The essentials of machine sewing are similar regardless of what model you have bought but for the first time using a machine that is new to you, it is always advisable to have a few practice runs on scrap material. This will help you get the feel for the machine. All sewing machines have their own feel when they are in operation, usually due to the different feed mechanisms they have.
Although sewing takes good hand eye coordination and foot control the process will soon become second nature. Nonetheless, don’t start on a complex sewing project but try something simple until you gain confidence. The first step with using your sewing machine is to position it within easy reach. Ideally, prop it up on a stable surface so that the bobbin is near to your natural eye level. You don’t want to stoop too far to get a good view – essential for close control and fiddly turns with your stitching. Take care whilst sewing to avoid injuring your fingers. Go slowly at first by only applying light pressure on the foot controller. As you gain experience you will able to work more quickly. Another good safety tip is to remove loose clothing, especially sleeves, which might get caught up in the fabric you working on.
Assuming you have cottoned on to the bobbin correctly it is time to begin stitching. Raise the bobbin manually with the hand wheel, which on most sewing machines is located high up on the side that is opposite the main sewing area. Lever the presser foot up and place you fabric under it. Now lower the presser foot and you are ready to begin sewing. Apply pressure with your foot and the machine will begin to stitch for you. Treat the foot pedal like the accelerator of a car. The more you push, the faster the machine will go.
For beginners, chalking a guide line on to your fabric to follow can be a good idea until you become more capable of working by eye alone. Keep hold of either side of the fabric so that it is guided to the machine at the correct angle. When you have finished sewing, raise the bobbin with the hand wheel once more so that you can remove the fabric without ripping it.
So go forth my sewing challenged mates and start sewing. I will have you know that I did in fact, make skinny jeans.
*Disclaimer: I was compensated to publish the article. My sewing adventure was true. And yes those jeans are a product of my sewing skills.