Did you receive a sewing machine for the holidays? Or has the sewing bug bitten you? You’re in luck! Whether you are looking to make clothes, sew for your family members, or want to get hands-on, you are about to venture into a very fulfilling yet frustrating journey. However, before you start, you need information on how to sew.
If you hit the search engines, you’ll quickly be overwhelmed by the vast amounts of information out there on sewing. Don’t get discouraged by this. You can still manage to take a jab at it.
Before you start, there are some things to keep in mind. You have to understand that sewing is a skill that could take years to master. It is fun and will reward you if you are patient. If you are not and your first trials are disappointing, you might get frustrated and give up. Don’t take this road. To avoid it, here are some step-to-step basics you need to follow:
How to Use a Sewing Machine
The first step to nailing sewing is learning how to use your sewing machine. Sewing machines come in all shapes and sizes and have different whistles and bells. You might be excited to start but then realize that there are many controls and buttons that you don’t know how to use.
To be able to ace this, here are some items you’ll need:
- Sewing machine
- Manual for the sewing machine
- Several pieces of fabric
- Sewing machine needles
- Several spools of threads in different sizes and colors
- An iron
- Sewing machine accessories
Get the Manual and Read It
In most cases, people result in the manual when all is lost. However, starting with it will make you a capable and confident user who will be able to exploit the sewing machine fully.
If you are using an old sewing machine, you might have a hard time locating the manual. You can look online for the brand and model, and it will probably surface on eBay.
Additionally, things might get quite technical when dealing with some manuals. They may be hard to follow and may drown necessary information in a collection of safety warnings.
Manuals will vary with each brand of the sewing machine as they have their unique design and specifications. You will get all the details on your sewing machine from the manual.
Understand The Parts To The Sewing Machine
If you are to become competent, or even a virtuoso, you’ll need to understand the specific parts. You also have to learn various sewing terms. The point is to develop good sewing habits as early as possible. Also, if you learn how a sewing machine works, you’ll know how to carry out your troubleshooting when you encounter trouble.
There may be hundreds of models and brands out there, but their basic functions are pretty much the same. They all connect pieces of fabric using an automated stitching mechanism. They all have a needle that is fed by a continuous thread originating from a spool pin. This thread is connected to another thread from the bobbin.
The bobbin is a small circular spool of thread found in a shuttle just below the needle. The needle is held by a screw to the needle bar, which is controlled by the motor. The fabric, which is on a metal needle plate just below the needle, is secured by a presser foot, which is also held by a presser bar. All machines make a straight stitch, which is a simple stitch that holds pieces of fabric with a straight seam.
Practice on a Piece of Tissue
The goal here is to get your stitches to be straight and not crooked or distorted. Start by sewing on paper with just the needle without any thread. When you can manage even lines on paper, it will be easier for you to deal with the fabric.
Take wrap tissue, fold it, and then draw on it some straight lines using a marker. Place the tissue under a presser foot of your sewing machine and begin sewing along the lines you’ve drawn.
When you become good, try altering the stitch length using the stitch length adjusting button. Also, try controlling the sewing speed on the machine. After continued practice on paper, your needle will become blunt. This feeds into the next step.
Learn to Change The Needle
Your manual will guide you on this. However, it is quite simple. You’ll need to loosen the screw that fastens the needle and take it out. When you are inserting a new needle, ensure that the flat side goes to the rear. Also, tighten the needle screw.
Thread Your Machine
The principle of threading a machine is the same in all machines- the thread goes through the eyelets and a tension disk before it gets to the needle. Do not ignore the sequence of draws as you can end up with a broken needle, broken thread, or the whole machine.
After you learn how to wind the bobbin, the next step is to learn how to wind the bobbin. Draw the thread from the spool and then pass it through the bobbin winder tension disk. Pass the thread through the hole that is in the bobbin. Insert the bobbin into the bobbin winder pin and lock it with the latch.
Once you have all this figured out, start by sewing straight stitches on fabric. Next, learn to adjust the machine settings for the straight stitch. Once you are proficient with this, it’s time you embarked on some simple projects.
Easy Sewing Projects for Beginners
With the skills you’ve learned so far, you should be able to make the following items:
- Make a pillow- Pillows are easy to make as they don’t need a pattern. You’ll get to learn how to cut and sew using seam allowances. Plus, you are not limited to the type of fabric you can use
- Sorbetto top- It only has two pattern pieces, and you’ll learn how to use bias tape. You won’t encounter zippers or closures
- Laurel- In making this, you’ll apply the bias tape skills you’ve acquired and also install a zipper
- Ginger- In this, you use an aline skirt to put a zipper and install a waistband.
- Macaron- In this, you will try to install pockets, facings, and topstitching
Sewing, just like most skills, is acquired gradually. It might take a few years before you can produce something you can admire, but don’t throw in the towel. When you set the right foundation, you will set yourself up for success. Follow the above steps and transform your designs into dazzling outfits.