Saturday, 30 January 2010

Step by step sewing. Part the first.

This is an absolute beginner's guide to sewing, with a sewing machine. Very step by step, very simple. Everybody needs to start somewhere, and once you are confident the world is your - er - sewing oyster. Sewing was my first love, I ruined my mums hoover with the amount of pins it had to pick up from the (cold) dining room where I used to have her old sewing machine set up. My nan sewed, my mum sewed - my aunty and my sister - and my daughter - zero interest!

OK, so you have a machine. It does NOT have to be a super flash thing that does everything except wear the damned clothes - my current one is cheap and cheerful and absolutely super. Price-wise - this cost me about £140 about 4 years ago, they are available cheaper and simple ones like this also sell second hand. Ask around, you might be surprised who has one sitting unwanted and unloved upstairs - borrow one or two, and see what you like. Is it quiet enough? Smooth enough? Easy to thread? Does it seem strong enough for your needs - this little machine wouldn't be too happy about sewing a lot of thick heavy denim for example. Find a decent sewing machine shop and don't be afraid to ask! Do not be led into the expensive side - machines can cost thousands.

This (above) is the side of my machine - the little switch is the on / off (I warned you this was going to be literally step by step! don't be offended!),the light on this one comes on automatically when I flick the switch, on some models there is a separate switch near the light- the black connector leads to the plug, and one wire leads to the foot pedal which is under the table. The wheel pulls in and out - more of that to come.

Don't worry about the round dials on the front just yet - let's have a look at this bottom part. This is the footplate (the silver metal plate) and the feed dog (thats the grooved, rippled silver metal where the needle will go in and out of). Lots of little bits to help you in the area, but again, we don't need it right this minute, We have more important things to do.
The front of this machine just unclips - most will have a similar section that does this, to allow you to thread the machine. Bit tricky to sew otherwise .... see the little white door under where the needle is? Open that ...
...and this is what's inside. This is where the spool lives - this is the part that catches onto the sewing machine needle and its thread, to form the loops of thread that hopefully will hold your work securely together! This is an important part of your machine - keep it clean (more later - and yes, my machine is dusty and needs cleaning).

With me so far? We have looked at the overall layout of your machine - the part that plugs in, the bits that whizz round and have opened secret compartments to find the bit that holds the spool. Now we are going to be extra brave, and tease open the spool case - that's the silver case that holds your little spool (the spool is hidden at the moment, try to contain your excitement).
More to come soon! Part two will show you how to successfully thread your machine, and look at a couple of other important parts on it. I don't know if anyone will ever read this, or find it useful - I hope so. I have some nice easy projects in mind, ones that should actually be useful and not too naff! Please come back very soon, thank you for reading!

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