Welcome to the second course in Sewing 101! In the first course, you learned about all the essential supplies to sew everything you need. Now we’re going to do a little exploration of your sewing machine. It may seem complicated at first, but remember two things: Practice makes perfect, and YouTube holds all the answers.
2. Handwheel– This wheel controls your needle manually, and you can make it sew either forward or in reverse. You’ll use this when starting out or finishing a line of stitches to lift the needle up.
3. Spool Pin – Your spool of thread goes here. Mine is upright, but it’s also horizontal on many machines.
4. Bobbin– Surprise! You actually need two spools of thread to sew. This one, called the bobbin, is much smaller and goes underneath the plate.
6. Needle– Your top thread goes through the eye of this needle after a series of semi-complicated maneuvers (discussed below). The needle, of course, is the most important part of the whole thing. It leads the thread through the fabric to create the stitch.
8. Feed dogs – Besides having the coolest name of a part of a machine ever, these guys help lead the fabric underneath the foot and through the needle.
10. Stitch Selection – My machine is electronic, but many other machines have dials with the different types of stitches. Be sure to identify a regular straight stitch and a zigzag stitch – these will be your most important. Also nearby will be another dial with numbers on it indicating stitch length – 1 is the shortest, and 4, 5, or 6 (depending on how far your machine goes) will be the longest.
11. Thread Tension – A dial somewhere at the top of your machine will also have numbers on it, indicating the thread tension. Depending on the type of fabric and thread you are using, you may need to make this tighter or looser.
12. Pedal – Your pedal controls the speed of your needle according to the pressure of your foot – your actual, physical, human foot, not the sewing machine foot. :D
Wind your bobbin. Using your spool of thread, you will lead the thread through a special hook on the top of your machine and then over to the bobbin winder. Put the thread through the hole on your bobbin, wind it a couple of times with your hand, then place it on the winder and click it over. When your bobbin winder is in place, your pedal will control the speed with which the bobbin winds. Once your bobbin is wound, it goes in place below the presser foot.
Oil your machine. This is NOT all-purpose oil or WD40 – only oil specified for sewing machines! Again, look at your machine’s manual for instructions on which spots should be oiled, and how often (probably every 10-15 hours of sewing).
Unplug your machine when you’re finished using it. This not only saves energy and prevents your light from burning out, but it also prevents tripping!