Tackling the Sewing Machine – Literally

IMG_2034After my confidence boosting experience involving hand-stitching last week, this week I decided to tackle the basics of the sewing machine.  After perusing the web for some starting points, I decided it would be best to find the actual manual, which I did.  I also found an ancient step-by-step for threading the machine.  Although it probably would have been helpful for someone who understood the terminology of the sewing world, I found it much less helpful.  I’m sure if I had had enough patience, I could have figured out how to do it with this diagram but as I am one of those millennials that have zero patience, I moved on to Youtube where I found an incredibly helpful video with what I deem “normal” language, a step-by-step demonstration and instructions, as well as it was in colour!

I watched the video twice, taking care to check out the similarities and differences of the machines.  I watched it a third time and paused often to complete the steps myself.  Step one was this foreign thing called “winding a bobbin.”  I confess I did not know what a bobbin was before this week.  Continuing to watch the video, I wound the bobbin successfully and here is the evidence.  I thought the process was cool so I decided to take a video of it.

After being mesmerized by the winding, I moved on to step two: threading the machine.  I continued to watch this video and pause when it got to far ahead, backtracking to re-watch certain steps.  I successfully did it!  As it was Thanksgiving, I had the assistance of my mother again.  I was quite proud of getting this far without her aid, and upon inspection she told me that I forgot to thread the actual needle in the machine.  Bummer.  So I sheepishly did that with only a little foul language and then with all her great knowledge, she said I was ready to practice some stitching.  As I began under her instructions of what to do, we found to her dismay the “tension” of the machine was off.  So I got to learn something new again!  This time, with my mother’s assistance.

I checked out some videos and a wikihow on adjusting tension and found out that it is essentially making sure the the thread is being pulled through the material evenly on both sides (meaning the needle and the bobbin).  If this doesn’t happen it looks uneven or like this:

aid192048-v4-900px-Adjust-the-Tension-on-a-Sewing-Machine-Step-4-Version-3
Image Via Wikihow

Together, I practiced stitching while we simultaneously adjusted several setting on the machine until the stitching looked the same on both sides.  This process involved rewinding the bobbin, re-threading the machine and then trying again.  I now understand why some people really don’t care for this tedious task.  This was a much more difficult process than I anticipated as there is no video or help online to find the “perfect tension.”  It is trial and error for your specific machine and material of choice because every machine is different, and each type of material needs a different tension.

giphy

However, once we did re-thread the machine with some newer thread, the product was much better!  I also got more practice at the dreaded threading of the machine so all was not lost.  The next steps are going to be selecting my t-shirts for my blanket, the material, sizing and layout.  I’m a perfectionist at heart so I am anticipating this will be more difficult than I think!

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5 thoughts on “Tackling the Sewing Machine – Literally

  1. Looks like you’re off to a great start Shelby! I would love to learn how to sew but I don’t have a sewing machine yet. I might have to revisit your posts and how to videos one day!
    Good luck with your project!

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  2. Oh do I ever know a lot about threading a sewing machine. I just got a new one two years ago and it was very new compared to the one my mom bought when she was pregnant with me and then the one I later inherited from an old Home Ec program. So being that no one I knew had the kind of machine I had, I turned to the internet for a lot of help with threading, who knew there could be so many error codes? Now I can usually thread it pretty smoothly, but my major project involves reading a sewing pattern…I can tell already that I will need a lot of help with it. Good luck with tackling your machine!

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  3. Looks like you are well on your way. I received a sewing machine for Christmas from my mother a few years ago, and am relying on my high school sewing class skills (which was many, many moons ago) to sew. Funny how I still haven’t forgotten what I learned over 20 years ago. A great skill…you will never forget it!! Good luck. 🙂

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