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Author Topic: Sewing machine for beginners?  (Read 10237 times)
HeartShadow - Cutethulhu
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« Reply #15: January 25, 2011, 01:13:42 pm »

Yeah. I can do it OK for cross-stitch, but that's because I can hold the needle the way I need it held. Something fixed could cause me real trouble.

You could thread it THEN screw the needle in - they do come out.  Or use a needle-threader, though really I find those things a pain in the butt.

My sewing machine, you can pop the needle out, thread the entire thing, then put the needle back in.  the REST of the threading is easy.
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« Reply #16: January 25, 2011, 01:47:01 pm »

You could thread it THEN screw the needle in - they do come out.  Or use a needle-threader, though really I find those things a pain in the butt.

My sewing machine, you can pop the needle out, thread the entire thing, then put the needle back in.  the REST of the threading is easy.

My machine (and all Pfaff's I think) has a automatic threader where you just put the thread under a hook and then push a lever to pull the hook and thread through the needle. 
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« Reply #17: January 25, 2011, 02:08:00 pm »

My machine (and all Pfaff's I think) has a automatic threader where you just put the thread under a hook and then push a lever to pull the hook and thread through the needle. 

I think every model that we've taken a good look at has an automatic threader. I'm not sure what else "automatic" I would need, though.
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« Reply #18: January 26, 2011, 10:25:23 am »

I think every model that we've taken a good look at has an automatic threader. I'm not sure what else "automatic" I would need, though.

Only buttonholes if  you will be making them - and in reality I have done it both ways and didn't find 'manual' buttonholes to be that bad.  Just one more thing to do. 

Some tips for using sewing machines:

Always have a sharp needle.  The way a sewing machine works, if the needle is dull it will begin to mess up because the timing with the shuttle will be off.  It's best to put in a fresh needle of the appropriate size and type for each project.  Obviously a little mending or heming is not a full project, but you get the drift. 

Keep the machine thread pathways clean and oil as required by the manual.  Most importantly keep the shuttle area clean - canned air is your friend.  Learn how to take areas that are supposed to come apart for cleaning apart.

Whenever the machine is messing up, clean it, re-thread it, and if that doesn't work then try a new needle.  I am not joking. 

Pay attention to your thread.  If you have a bunch of rather old thread, think twice about using it in the machine.  Some of the older ones do not meet today's machine specs.

Take a deep breath and relax - it really isn't that hard.  You can do it.  Keep Calm and Carry On.
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« Reply #19: January 26, 2011, 10:32:02 am »

Only buttonholes if  you will be making them - and in reality I have done it both ways and didn't find 'manual' buttonholes to be that bad.  Just one more thing to do. 

I honest to god can't figure out why I'd ever be making a button hole. I have zip desire to make clothes. LOL

Quote
Some tips for using sewing machines:

Always have a sharp needle.  The way a sewing machine works, if the needle is dull it will begin to mess up because the timing with the shuttle will be off.  It's best to put in a fresh needle of the appropriate size and type for each project.  Obviously a little mending or heming is not a full project, but you get the drift. 

Keep the machine thread pathways clean and oil as required by the manual.  Most importantly keep the shuttle area clean - canned air is your friend.  Learn how to take areas that are supposed to come apart for cleaning apart.

Whenever the machine is messing up, clean it, re-thread it, and if that doesn't work then try a new needle.  I am not joking. 

I've read that a lot. 

Quote
Pay attention to your thread.  If you have a bunch of rather old thread, think twice about using it in the machine.  Some of the older ones do not meet today's machine specs.

Something tells me that if we do this, a whole bunch of new thread is in our future. Probably more than I need because I love thread. Smiley
Quote
Take a deep breath and relax - it really isn't that hard.  You can do it.  Keep Calm and Carry On.

I think Randall's planning on doing the hard stuff...hemming jeans. My shit should be simple...stitching two pieces of cloth together. I don't have big dreams here. Really. lol
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« Reply #20: January 26, 2011, 10:34:33 am »

I honest to god can't figure out why I'd ever be making a button hole. I have zip desire to make clothes. LOL

I've read that a lot. 

Something tells me that if we do this, a whole bunch of new thread is in our future. Probably more than I need because I love thread. Smiley
I think Randall's planning on doing the hard stuff...hemming jeans. My shit should be simple...stitching two pieces of cloth together. I don't have big dreams here. Really. lol

I've run into too many people who get all nervous about using a sewing machine.  It's easier than driving a car - you can just stop and reassess anytime!
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« Reply #21: January 26, 2011, 12:30:35 pm »

I've run into too many people who get all nervous about using a sewing machine.  It's easier than driving a car - you can just stop and reassess anytime!

There are really only two things that make me nervous.

The first is "sewing" my finger.

The second is being so bad at this that any money spent on fabric is wasted. I know I'll need practice, and that's fine, but I worry that practice won't be enough.
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« Reply #22: January 26, 2011, 01:05:13 pm »

The first is "sewing" my finger.

I have yet to feel like I'm anywhere close to sewing my finger. One's finger would have to get under or on top of the presser foot before it reached the needle, and I've never felt the need to get my fingers that close to it. If you really weren't paying attention, your finger would hit the presser foot before the needle, and that should give you cue to move your hand NOW. That said, I have seen a few pictures of unlucky fingers.

I have had the needle break on me and fly up and hit me in the face. That's a shock.
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« Reply #23: January 26, 2011, 02:12:44 pm »

There are really only two things that make me nervous.

The first is "sewing" my finger.

The second is being so bad at this that any money spent on fabric is wasted. I know I'll need practice, and that's fine, but I worry that practice won't be enough.

Honestly, it's hard to seriously screw up SIMPLE sewing.

Start trying to make clothes, yeah, you can screw that up - but even then you're more likely to screw up in the cutting-out phase than the sewing-up phase.

and really - it doesn't work, you get a seamripper, pull out the seam, and do it again.  It's just fabric - it doesn't mind. Smiley
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« Reply #24: January 26, 2011, 02:16:02 pm »

There are really only two things that make me nervous.

The first is "sewing" my finger.

The second is being so bad at this that any money spent on fabric is wasted. I know I'll need practice, and that's fine, but I worry that practice won't be enough.

I sewed my finger once when I was in high school - it didn't go through, but I had a nice hole in my finger nail until it grew out.  That incident took a lot of teen age cocky to happen - I've never had a problem with it since.  Grin

If you have old sheets or but some at a thrift store or get some really cheap fabric (like muslin) they are great for practice.  It's just a matter of learning to control the fabric while the machine is running - and don't go any faster (speed of the machine) than you are comfortable with.  You can already do hand work, so you should do fine.
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« Reply #25: January 26, 2011, 02:30:26 pm »

It's just a matter of learning to control the fabric while the machine is running - and don't go any faster (speed of the machine) than you are comfortable with.

I think that's where the finger controls make things much easier than the foot pedal. You can set the speed really slow and then all you have the worry about is start/stop.
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« Reply #26: January 26, 2011, 05:03:24 pm »

The first is "sewing" my finger.

That's hard to do. Even klutzy me never did that when adjusting the tension on my mom's old Elna (a job that became mine after my father died). I've never actually sewed anything real, but I've ran the machine in scraps of fabric when it needed work and it they really aren't hard to work and it's less likely to hurt you than your kitchen knives.

For those reading this thread, my mom sewed most of her clothes (and adjusted most of the store-bought stuff the rest of the family bought). She had an old Singer from the mid-50s to the early 70s when it couldn't be fixed any more. Around 1971 or so, she got an Elna -- a fairly fancy one for the time with builtin button holes and drop-in cams you could buy for different stitches. When it died (a few years after by father did), she bought a very nice Viking ($750 on sale in 1992/3) which was push-button (early computerized) and used memory cards for additional stitches. She loved it and as far as I know still had it when she died last September, although I doubt she used it much the past few years. This, of course, is more sewing that Donna and I would ever do (and her Elna and Viking are more machine that we'd know what to do with even if we could spend that type of money on one), but at least I'm slightly familiar with sewing machines.
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« Reply #27: January 26, 2011, 05:48:44 pm »

Around 1971 or so, she got an Elna -- a fairly fancy one for the time with builtin button holes and drop-in cams you could buy for different stitches.

Sounds like the one my grandma handed down to me for my first machine, when I was about 8 or so (1993ish), after having had it forever. I remember playing with the decorative stitches on it--for about six months, all my Barbie clothes had a row of ducks stitched around the hem.
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« Reply #28: January 26, 2011, 07:27:40 pm »

I remember playing with the decorative stitches on it--for about six months, all my Barbie clothes had a row of ducks stitched around the hem.

Yes, I think mom's machine did ducks. LOL.
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« Reply #29: January 26, 2011, 11:39:52 pm »

I think that's where the finger controls make things much easier than the foot pedal. You can set the speed really slow and then all you have the worry about is start/stop.
Set the speed?  Wow, sewing machines with cruise control!  I can get behind that!

Sunflower, whose experience is pretty much all on older machines
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