Also, needles become dull with use. So use a new needle with every project or change your
    needle after eight hours of continuous sewing.

    To change your needle, most machines have a screw to turn, then the needle slides out. But
    consult your sewing machine manual* in case your machine is different.




















Choose a presser foot
                                                                                   

    The presser foot is the piece that sits beneath your machine needle that looks, well, like a foot.
    It’s what holds your fabric down against your needle plate as you sew.

    Your presser foot lifts up and down. Move the presser foot down onto your fabric before sewing
    a seam and back up when you’re finished.

    Presser feet are interchangeable. For most sewing jobs, a zigzag presser foot is probably fine
    (this may be the foot your machine came with). The opening in the center of this foot is wide to
    allow for the side to side motion of the needle as it makes a zigzag stitch. But this foot can also
    be used for sewing straight stitches. Other types of sewing may require different presser feet.
    For instance, you may need a special presser foot for putting in a zipper or for sewing an
    overcast stitch.



Thread Your Sewing Machine
                                                                                   

    Threading a sewing machine involves placing your spool of thread on a spindle, then weaving
    the thread through a series of guides, then into the eye of your needle. Since different sewing
    machine models need to be threaded differently, consult your owner’s manual* for how to
    thread your particular machine.

    Threading your sewing machine correctly is important. An incorrectly threaded machine can lead
    to stitch problems.




















Wind and Insert Your Bobbin
                                                                                   

    Your bobbin is a smaller spool of thread you wind yourself. The thread from your bobbin is used
    to form the underside of a stitch.

    Different machines use different types of bobbins, so consult your manual* for the type of
    bobbin your machine uses and for how to wind it. Just don’t over wind your bobbin because it
    can lead to problems.

    You may find it convenient to keep several bobbins on hand with different threads for when  
    you’re working on several projects at once.


Adjust your Thread Tension
                                                                                   

    When the tension on your sewing machine is adjusted correctly, your stitches will look neat and
    smooth. The top thread won’t show through to the underside of your fabric and the bobbin
    thread won’t show through to the topside.

    There should be a way to adjust the upper thread tension for your machine. And some
    machines allow you to adjust the bobbin thread tension. Some machines have a dial or lever for
    tension adjustment and some newer machines can automatically adjust the thread tension for
    you. Consult your owner’s manual* for how to adjust the thread tension for your machine.

    And before every project, take a square of the fabric you’ll be sewing, double it, sew a seam,
    then check to make sure the stitching looks good. Stitches that pucker the fabric or stitches
    that show little loops mean your tension is off. Adjust your tension and sew another test seam
    until the problem is resolved.












Adjust your Stitch Length and Width
                                                                                   

    Consult your sewing machine manual* for how to adjust the stitch length and width on your
    machine, which are usually adjusted with dials, levers, buttons, or touch pad controls.

    Sew several test seams on a scrap of your fabric to decide on a stitch length or width for your
    project.

    And use a stitch length appropriate for your fabric. About ten to twelve stitches per inch for
    medium weight fabrics and most general sewing. Use a shorter stitch length for sewing fine,
    delicate fabrics or for adding reinforcement to an area. And use a longer stitch for heavier
    fabrics or for basting.

    Adjust your stitch width when sewing “zigzag” or other decorative stitches.



There are so many models and types of sewing machines out there and they all work a little differently. So
consult your owner’s manual for learning the specifics of operating your particular machine. If you don’t
have the manual for your machine, try visiting your
manufacturer’s website. They often have old manuals
for download or purchase.
Learn to Sew Lesson #9:
Set Up Your Sewing Machine*
Place your sewing machine on a sturdy surface and
at a comfortable height if you don’t have a cabinet
for it. And make sure your work area is well lit.

Before beginning any sewing project, there are
several things you need to do:


Choose a needle
                                                                           

    Sewing machine needles come in different
    types and sizes. It’s important to use a
    needle appropriate for your fabric and
    thread because using the wrong needle can
    lead to stitch problems.
*
Get FREE Sewing Patterns! Click here.
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