Is your sewing machine still in its box? Are you fearful or totally intimidated by the dials or buttons and all of those built-in stitch designs? Well, help is here! It’s time to tame the fear of your sewing machine!
Having worked with many beginning, or re-entry, sewing students who are fearful and intimidated of their new (or old) sewing machine, I have found that once we unpack it, set it up and I show the student how everything works, it becomes their friend.
(Did you know our sewing machines are power tools?)
By the end of the lesson, students always feel much more comfortable about their sewing machine. By taking them through the most important pages of the owner’s manual, pointing out where to start and explaining each item as we go along, I can see the student’s fear begin melt away.
As I guide my student to match the part on the sewing machine to the corresponding name in the drawing or photo in the owner’s manual, the student gains a better understanding and becomes more comfortable.
You can tame your fear and intimidation of taking your sewing machine out of its box and learning how to use it if you follow this method.
No matter which sewing machine you have, no matter if it’s new or old, you can learn to sew with it. I promise!
Now, let’s take a closer look at your sewing machine and what the basic functions and operations are that make the machine work so you can crush your fear and be more comfortable with it.
1. First, open the box carefully, if your machine is brand new and still in its box. Take out each item and place it on your sewing table. Make sure the owner’s manual is included!
2. Secondly, find the page in your owner’s manual that shows a drawing of the sewing machine. You’ll see parts of the machine numbered and labeled with corresponding names of all the parts. It’ll be worth your time to study this page and follow along with your own sewing machine as you do the match-up.
3. Locate the sewing machine’s accessory compartment, or bag. It might be accessed by pulling open a compartment that can be lifted off, or by sliding the compartment off the machine’s bed, or there may be a separate bag that contains the accessories. Your user’s manual will show how the accessories are contained.
4. Next, find the page in your owner’s manual (it may be on the next page) that shows a drawing, or chart, of each of the accessories that came with your machine and do a corresponding match-up. Dump the accessories out on the table and learn their names as you pick up each one and examine it.
Some manuals have pages that show how each accessory is used in more detail than others, so read through those pages to familiarize yourself with each of the accessories. You’ll be glad you took the time to do this!
5. Now, go through each of the pages in your owner’s manual that describes each function on your sewing machine. You’ll see information on the basic set-up of your machine, including how to…
A. insert the needle into the machine;
B. thread the upper path that leads to the needle and how to thread the needle;
C. make sure the upper thread is lodged in between the tension disks properly by raising the presser foot (If this isn’t done, your stitches will be loopy!);
D. set the upper thread’s tension according to the user’s manual instructions, and learn how to change it when necessary;
E. locate the bobbin-winding mechanism, how to wind the bobbin correctly and insert it into the bobbin case under the throat plate;
F. thread the bobbin so it comes up through the hole in the needle plate (If this isn’t done correctly, you won’t get a proper stitch.);
G. set the stitch dial or setting for a straight stitch;
H. get familiar with how to set the stitch length and stitch width for a zig-zag stitch and built-in decorative stitches, if your machine has them.
6. Read the descriptions about each of your sewing machine’s functions. This will help you learn how each function operates. It will help you even more if you go back over the instructions two-three times, to get a better understanding.
7. Your owner’s manual becomes one of the most valuable tools in your sewing tool kit and will help you learn so much about your machine, so keep it in a place where you can refer to it often. Be assured, you will be referring to it over and over during your sewing journey!
The owner’s manual is especially important if you didn’t purchase your machine from a sewing machine dealership. If you purchased it online, from a “big box” store, from another owner, or it was given to you, the owner’s manual becomes even more valuable.
If the owner’s manual was not included with your machine, you may be able to find one on the manufacturer’s website as a download. Don’t be surprised if the download has a price; I think that ensures that you’ll get an authentic sewing machine manual for your particular model and it will definitely be worth the price!
8. Find a suitable area for your sewing space, if you have the room. A convenient sewing space could be in your bedroom or a spare bedroom, but a corner in your living area will also work. A dedicated sewing space is ideal, where you can leave your sewing machine and supplies set up at all times and they won’t be disturbed.
Also, having some storage space for your supplies will be important, so you can stay organized. Being able to spread out as you work on projects gives you greater incentive to get started, and to finish your projects.
Make sure you have adequate lighting, either strong overhead lighting or a table lamp, or desk lamp, with a daylight or bright, white bulb. Both types of bulb will help you see detail more easily.
So, the obvious first step is to get that sewing machine out of its box, or the closet, set it up and learn to use it. By subscribing to receive my exclusive newsletter, you’ll also receive my FREE “Tame Your Sewing Machine Fear! Your Checklist for Success” (see the signup box below).
Whether you just want to repair your family’s clothing, to sew garments, to sew household items, or to make gifts for others, you’ll be able to get a lot of satisfaction from sewing and you can actually save some money along the way.
You could even consider starting your own sewing/crafts business selling items you make at craft shows or on online.
My husband says that learning to sew is like “learning to ride a bicycle.” Once you know the basics, you have it for the rest of your life!
So, now take charge – get it out and tame the fear of your sewing machine! Taking action really does tame the fear.
Just know that sewing can be a very satisfying, fun and creative hobby! After all, that’s why you got your sewing machine in the first place, isn’t it?
If you don’t have a sewing machine yet, please check out my post, “9 Tips For Finding Your Ideal Sewing Machine” where you’ll learn about the three major types of home sewing machines, their features, and their functions. You’ll become more comfortable and informed about choosing the ideal sewing machine, for you.