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#1 The majority of sewing problems come from unbalanced tension…either your tension is too tight or too loose…If you see the needle thread on the bottom of your fabric-you tension is too loose. If you see your bobbin thread on the top of your fabric then the tension is too tight. The easiest way to check this is to use 2 different color threads that don’t match your material. When you adjust your machine do so in SMALL increments and test sew between each adjustment. On most machines you should leave bobbin tension adjustments to a professional!
Some other things to check:
-Is your needle tightened?
-Is your machine on the correct settings?
-Is your thread tangled? Either with the bobbin thread or around the spool?
-Make sure your presser foot is DOWN when sewing! (I won’t admit how often I do this!)
#2 CHANGE YOUR NEEDLE!! Sewing needles go dull very quickly and should be changed every few projects. Make sure you are using the proper needle for the project!! There are heavy duty needles for sewing on heavy fabric (corduroy, denim etc.) and light weight needles for sewing on light weight fabric (silk, chiffon etc.) Make sure the needle is tightened!
#3 Buy quality thread! Dust can cause all kinds of problems with your machine and nothing makes more dust than cheap thread! I use Coats & Clark which you can find even at Walmart.
#4 Buy a can of compressed air. (You can find it in the computer section at Walmart) Use it to keep your machine dust free…especially in the bobbin casing.
#5 When you are sewing fuzzy material such as warm and natural, use a tear away stabilizer over the top and bottom…this prevents your needle and presser foot from snagging and also prevents fuzzies getting into the bobbin case!
#6 Make sure you keep your machine well oiled! Check your owners manual to find out where to oil and how often and what type of oil to use!
Now for some tips:
-Make sure you reverse stitch at the beginning and end of a line of sewing-this will keep your thread from unraveling
-Start and end your stitching on a straight line-don’t start or stop in a curve.
-Nothing worse than sewing and noticing when you’re all done that the bobbin thread ran out halfway through. Before I wind my bobbin I take a piece of dark colored chalk and color about 8-10″ of thread-as my bobbin thread comes to an end I can clearly see it!
-When sewing corners, sew a few stitches and with the needle in the down position-lift the pressure foot and turn the fabric. Don’t try to manipulate the fabric into turning as you can break the needle, cause your material to pucker or create jagged lines instead of a nice smooth curve!
-When I am sewing multiple items on one piece of fabric (for instance a doll body, arms and legs) there is no need to cut the threads in between each piece. I gather a bit of slack in the thread and move on to the next part without cutting the thread. This saves a lot of time!
-I have a piece of masking tape along the edge of my sewing desk. I have used a marker to mark the lines of a yardstick on it. Beats having to hunt down my measuring tape!
Some of the tools that I recommend for sewing:
-Seam ripper (I have a couple of these!) You won’t find anything better for ripping out small seams.
– Pin Cushion-I have one that is velcroed right to my machine! And LOTS of straight pins!
-A GOOD pair of scissors! And by good I mean ones that are SHARP & used ONLY for cutting material!
-A sewing box-one that has multiple compartments to hold threads, needles and all your “little” things!
Hope that helps some of you out a bit!
Megan of American Prim