So the time has finally come and you’re ready to really get to grips with your new hobby. You’ve been sewing by hand for a little while and think you’ve gotten the hang of it, so you’ve finally splashed the cash and come home with a brand new sewing machine.
Exciting times! However, before you start using it there are a few things that you need to know about your new toy if you are going to make the best use of it. Here we present a beginner’s guide to sewing machines for those who have never used one before. Of course, just bear in mind that every machine is going to be a little different, so we are going to look at the things that are generally standardised across all of them.
Power and footpedal
Your footpedal is going to be your best friend when you are using the machine, as it will be used to control the rate you’re sewing at. Unsurprisingly, you will need to have power running to the machine to get the pedal to work.
Place the pedal on the floor and within easy reach of your foot when you are sitting down. Now plug the machine in and locate the power switch. In most cases it will be at the back of the machine, so flip it on and you’re ready to go.
Stitch length and type
Have a look at the front of your machine and you will likely be able to see a couple of knobs. One of these determines your stitch length, so be sure that this is always set to the length that you want it to be set at when you are sewing. If it isn’t then you are going to end up ruining your project before you ever get started.
A second knob will usually determine the type of stitch that you will be using for the project, which is just as important as the length. Most machines come with a handy key to let you know what each symbol means.
The hand wheel
Have a look at the side of the sewing machine and you will see a wheel that you can rotate both clockwise and anti-clockwise. Have you noticed what it is doing yet?
Pay special attention to the sewing machine’s needle when you are rotating the wheel and you will notice that it is actually moving up and down with each turn, which is useful for when you need manual control of the needle.
The reverse stitch lever
Remember those knobs at the front of the machine that control the stitch type and length? You should also notice a small level located somewhere near them which you can flick on and off.
This is the reverse stitch level and is important for when you want to go backwards with your sewing. Make sure you remember what this is and don’t accidentally flip it while sewing.
So that’s part one of our guide to sewing machines for beginners. Hopefully you understand what a few of the parts of your machine now do. Look for a post in a couple of weeks when we will be looking at the rest of the machine.