So now we’ve covered materials needed, lets move on to prepping your machine.
First up: Maintanace.
Extremely important! I have to admit, I am terrible for postponing this until I really have too, mainly because my machine has been on 6+ hours a day for the last year and I just keep putting it off. But I soon know about it when my beloved friend starts making all sorts of wierd noises! Maintanace is actually fairly simple, you’ll need three things. (Screwdriver, small soft bristled brush & machine oil)
You can follow these steps to clean your machine as regularly as you want. After every project, once a week, once a month, there isn’t really such a thing as cleaning it too much.
First use your screwdriver to take off your needle plate, take out your bobbin & the case fitted inside your machine. *Note, if you aren’t completely certain on how to put it back together again, or you dont have your machine manual to hand which will tell you how to put it together again DO NOT DO THIS! Instead pop into your nearest fabric/sewing machine shop & enquire about proffessional machine cleaning – It would be cheaper to learn how to do it yourself though, its not hard.. just remember where things have to be put back.
Next, use the brush to budge dust & fibres, whatever you do DO NOT blow these fibres, they can get wedged between mechanacism & ultimately damage your machine. Its best to use a small brush – I got mine with my overlocker, its perfect for brushing everything out & getting into tiny corners, any other soft brush will do.
And lastly, oil. You only need the tinyest bit, mainly around the bobbin area (your machine manual will let you know if there are any other place you should put it) After oiling and putting all your parts back in, you need to run quite a lot of thread (I like to use white) through on scrap fabric to soak up any excess, once your thread sews clean you are then ready to get back to work.
Thats it! Maintance done, easy as that! *Note if your machine is new & hardly used, you dont need to do this just yet!*
Next up, machine needles.
Sewing machine needles. when was the last time you changed yours? I’ve heard many different things about machine needles, some say change every project, some say change every 8 hours worth of work. I tend to change either when needed, i.e my stitches arent right, but its threaded completely as it should. Or once every few days if i’m powering through work.
So purchasing machine needles, they make it a lot more complicated than it needs to be! The sizes are made up of two numbers (the first being European metric size, the second being the American number system for them- or so I’ve read) and you choose the needle size you need by the fabric you’ll be using it on – why they cant just name them Lightweight, medium, heavy i’ll never know!
Anyway for most of my tutorials you’ll be using the medium 90/14 size, these are perfect for cottons, linens, pollycottons ect. (If/when we start working with a more lightweight/heavy materials I will let you know in advanced what size needles you’ll be needing).
*VERY IMPORTANT!! When ordering/buying your machine needles you need to specify its Domestic machine needles you need, Industrial needles are a different shape & wont fit into your domestic sewing machine.
To change your needle, you simply loosen the screw holding your existing needle in place, pop the old one out & put the new one in, tighten & your done! I mentioned about the difference in domestic and industrial needles. When putting in a domestic machine needle, you position the flat part (top back of the needle) facing to the back of the machine, on an industrial the flat part is positioned to the side. (The needles are still very different so dont try squeezing an industrial needle into you’re domestic machine or you’ll damage it & yes, I say this from experience!)
And thats it. Another lesson in the basics.
I’m still working hard on the ‘Threading your machine’ tutorial, I tried taking pictures, step by step, but there are just so many & I dont see that actually helping you. So my next plan is to do a video tutorial, I tried yesterday *Biggest failure* 90% of the footage was blocked by my arm, I also have a cold, so you couldnt understand what I was saying & then the kids kept jumping on me. So I’m going to try again this evening. Hopefully i’ll I’ve have an easy, clear video tutorial for you to work with tommorow/friday.
Another step closer to having you on that machine & making pretty things up!
The little woman pretends.
P.S. I know this isn’t the most exciting of stuff, but once we’ve worked through, the fun can really begin!