Today I am going to let you in on the secret (not a very well kept one) that I tell all of my customers, a tool that is invaluable when tackling a sewing machine, whether you are new to sewing or an old hand. The best news is that you may already have one.....
Your instruction book.
Yes, Seriously, your instruction book. Now don't panic, if you have not a clue where yours is you can usually download the one for your model on the manufacturer's website. Take a note of your make and model and google away, for instance I have a Janome 525s so I would google 'janome 525s instruction manual' and you should be able to get a hold of it that way. Usually as a PDF so you can print it off if you like too.
Now that you have your instructions at hand you can use them to find out most any thing you need to know. Most instructions don't just have set-up directions but usually they will talk you through all of the techniques that your machine can handle; including zips button holes and decorative stitching. It will tell you what presser feet you have and what they are used for and what settings you need to use for which fabrics. Mine even has a handy trouble shooting guide in the back.
I know that all the information in the manual can be a little overwhelming at first, but learning to drive a car is complicated until you learn how. Here are my top tips to get started:
- Take some time out to get to know your machine and the techniques it is capable of.
- Use fabric scraps to practice stitches so you don't mess up your projects.
- Don't rush, push, force, hurry or pull. No one likes that!
- Always use the best needles and thread you can afford, your machine will thank you for it.
- Change you needle regularly.
- Make sure you buy the right bobbins needles and feet. Take one that came with the machine along to your haberdashers with you to double check.
- Make a note of your make and model to keep in your purse when shopping for machine parts.
- Take good care of your machine. Find the name of a local sewing machine engineer and have your machine serviced after your guarantee ends. Then every two years after, regardless of how much you use it (even more important if it has not been used)
- Set aside some time before you start a project to practice the steps you will need, practice makes perfect.
I hope that has encouraged you to get your machine out from where it is hiding. Trust me, it could be the start of a beautiful friendship. Why not have a try this weekend? Do let us know how you get on.
Is there anything you want to know about starting to sew with a machine? Ask your question in the comments and we can see if we can help.
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