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Topic: Im embarssed to say this....[new machine]  (Read 7309 times)
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living in the "before" picture...
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« Reply #30 on: July 11, 2009 04:53:46 PM »

@ penguinade, those are good points.  maybe i'm just more of a klutz...

creative criticism always appreciated!
my swaps and crafts
« Reply #31 on: July 21, 2009 02:17:57 PM »

Before you can really DO something with a machine, you need to bond with it.  This is how I got some quality bonding time with my machine. 

  • Get a cotton rag or some scrap cotton fabric that you intend to ruin. Don't choose anything slippery, stretchy, velvety, super-lightweight, or super-thick just yet because those are harder to sew.
  • Take your manual to the craft store.  Get a needle that matches your fabric weight.  Make sure the needle packet doesn't say "ballpoint" because that's for knits.  Get 2 colors of thread, both of which contrast with your scrap (the better to see).  Make sure you have a bobbin that matches your machine.  Get some sewing machine oil.  Don't be afraid to ask for help!  However, after you find the answer, make sure you can also find it in your manual.
  • Get a screw driver or screw drivers that match all the screws you can see on your machine
  • Invite over a friend who crafts (to defuse the scary & help you solve problems). Gather your supplies and your manual.
  • Open the manual and learn the names of all the parts of the sewing machine.  Name them out loud.
  • Find the section on oiling your machine.  Open the case up, and look inside (make sure you put all the screws in a safe place!).  Get a vague idea for what's inside your machine--it's not pixies who will eat you alive if you do something wrong.  It's not baby gnomes that will die if you don't feed them the blood of the virgin unicorn when the moon is in the 7th house.  Oil that baby up, everywhere the manual says.  Don't worry about over-oiling (although after you oil, always do some practice sewing on scraps to make sure no oil drips on your fabric).
  • Read the rest of the manual.  Thread the machine with one color of thread.  Wind the bobbin with another kind (that way it's easier to distinguish between the 2).  Put the bobbin in the way the machine says (make sure that it's not clockwise if the manual says counter-clockwise). Set the tension(s) to the default the manual calls for.  Then test the tension on your scrap and adjust, like the manual says.
  • Ruin that scrap of fabric. Sew all over it.  Make straight lines.  Make curves.  Make corners.  Don't stop until that scrap is sewn all over
  • Make several things that only involves straight lines, like pillows or quillows.  Man, quillows are so useful.
  • Buy a basic sewing book, like Vogue Sewing or Simplicity:Simply the Best Sewing Book.
  • For a little while, try to stick to patterns rated easy, and stay away from those tough fabrics.  After you feel like you've gotten your feet under you, though, jump in!
  • At least a couple of times a year, invite that friend back over, take the cover back off the machine, and use tweezers to pull any fluff or stray threads out.  Then re-oil.

« Last Edit: July 21, 2009 02:24:56 PM by Juniper_Ann » THIS ROCKS   Logged

Be the change you want to see in the world - -Gandhi
« Reply #32 on: July 21, 2009 02:30:12 PM »

Also, I've discovered if there's a problem with my sewing it's because either the needle is dull, the machine needs to be cleaned, it's threaded improperly, or the bobbin is in backwards.  99% of the time, it seems to be one of these problems.

On mine it's always:
1. the bobbin's in backwards (oh, I always do this!)
2. I've threaded the needle with the presser foot down.  I don't know if this is true with all machines or just old ones like mine, but if I thread my machine with the presser foot down, I get no tension.  This one drove me batty before my mom took the machine into a shop for me and the owner explained it to her. 

Be the change you want to see in the world - -Gandhi
living in the "before" picture...
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« Reply #33 on: July 21, 2009 03:25:35 PM »

before this thread i never even knew the bobbin could be in backwards.  i have to say that again because it just impressed me so much.

also... maybe it's just me, but ... there are some people who can't understand the manual until we understand the real thing.  it was always that way for me with computers, too.  i think, even ikea assembly sheets, although that has no words, so it helps. 

but if i had to do all those bonding things before learning to use my machine...?!  i would have got "stuck" and never started.  so... while those are good ideas for certain learning styles, some of us have to dive in stupid to get to not stupid.  i would like to put that more delicately but i can't just now.

creative criticism always appreciated!
my swaps and crafts
« Reply #34 on: July 24, 2009 11:42:48 AM »

No reason to be scared - it's less complicated than a computer Wink.

But just like you didn't run all the software on your computer first shot, you aren't going to be turning out all those fashions in your head right away either...  play with your machine where you don't expect anything wearable to come out of it yet.  Try out each of the needles you have on different scraps, and different threads with all of those combinations.  Try out each of the stitch lengths, widths, and styles (I find that sometimes the fancy stitches don't look much like the schematic on the machine!).  Try buttonholes.  Make abstract art.

It can be a tool, an instrument, or a source of creativity.  But don't let it be a source of fear - what's it gonna do to ya?

I just got my machine yesterday, and I think this is the single most helpful thing I've read so far on starting out Smiley

I'm off tomorrow to the thrift store for old sheets, pillowcases, and old shirts to practice on, and then to the sewing shop and Michaels for supplies.. I'm so excited!
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