The mechanics of a sewing machine are quite simple and have not changed much since the “old days.” Yes, many sewing machines indeed have tiny computers inside now, and some have hundreds of stitches to choose from. However, the reality is that you will primarily only be using two stitches – a straight stitch and a zig-zag stitch, so if you have a machine that can do these two stitches, you are golden! No matter what sewing machine you have, there are still a few basic rules to follow to ensure success.
Sew like a pro!
You may be surprised that it is some of the simple things that will elevate your sewing to the next level. These are things many often overlook, but they are key to happy, successful sewing. Follow these 5 tips, and you will be on your way!
1. Invest in a decent sewing machine
There is no greater way to be turned off as a new sewer than to learn on a basic machine. Investing in a good sewing machine will make you fall in love and not stress. Zipper foots, serger stitches, automatic button holers, automatic threaded and bobbin threading plus much more will make the experience so much fun. Secondly, and most importantly, take the time to hand-baste. Zippers, gathering, and set-in sleeves will work beautifully if you spend the time basting first. Taking the time to baste now is worth the aggravation later.
2. Serge on scrap till rethreaded
When threading your serger with new thread, do not pull out the previous thread. Line up the new thread on the table behind the serger. Unroll the previous thread in the back, cut off the thread close to the new thread and remove the old spools. Make sure you do not pull the thread backwards through the machine. Set your new spools in place. Use a square knot to join the new thread to the previous thread. You can make a square knot by changing which thread goes over the other. If left thread goes over right first, then put the right thread over the left to create the knot. A square knot will tighten and not slip, so be sure to tighten the knots. You can gently pull the new thread through the sewing machine to the needle or just serge a piece of scrap material until all the threads are through. Some will take longer than others. The key is the square knot. So, in short, tie new to old thread at the back of the machine in a square knot and tighten the knot.
3. There is a direction to the stretch in your fabric
It does not matter what type of fabric you are working with, cotton or knit – all fabric has a ‘direction’—a grainline which you should be paying close attention to when cutting out your patterns. More often than not, one direction has more of a stretch than the other. If you cut your pattern incorrectly, it could cause for a tight pattern, or worse – one you cannot even pull over your head. Figure out the grainline and stretch of your material before cutting. Do not try to use a straight stitch when sewing as you will just end up with popped stitches.
4. Press as you go
You will need to press your fabric before cutting your pattern pieces out of it. If you do not, you may end up with irregular pattern pieces that will not fit well together. If you are looking for that clean and crisp edge in your sewing, you will need to press your seams as you go. Your pattern instructions will usually tell you when to press.
5. Steer your fabric, don’t drive it
Sewing machines are designed to move the fabric for you and to guide it straight. Often, the best trick to keeping an even seam allowance is by taking an almost ‘hands-off’ approach. Many people grab the fabric in front and back of the sewing machine, which probably does more to throw the fabric off rather than guiding it. Try to keep your hands in front of the needle, holding the fabric lightly, and guide it when necessary, such as around curves or to correct a narrowing seam allowance. Sometimes, when working on a large item, the weight of the fabric may throw off the alignment on the machine, much like driving a car whose tires are out of alignment. A slight pull in one direction or the other tends to do the trick.
Set yourself up for sewing success by following these five tips. Empisal is a leading supplier of sewing machines, ironing equipment, overlockers, and haberdashery items. At Empisal, we are not only a trusted sewing brand, but also your creative assistant. We provide top-quality and affordable sewing machines for novice and more advanced sewers. Contact us today for more information on our sewing machines and products.