Setting Up Your Machine

In the previous post, I mentioned that if your machine came pre-threaded and with the needle inserted into the machine it would be a good idea to to remove the needle and thread so you can learn how your particular machine needs to work through your thread guide. In this post I’ll cover what my grandma always called her rules for sewing. Then we’ll get into how to change your needle, then how to wind a bobbin and finally how to thread your machine.

There are 2 “hard rules” I was raised with when I was learning to sew. I was genuinely shocked to find this advice is not given to people today the way it was constantly reminded over my sewing learning. I think this may be a generational thing because I follow lots of sewists and I’m not sure I have seen these points mentioned a small handful of times.

  1. DO NOT EVER TURN YOUR HAND WHEEL IN A CLOCKWISE DIRECTION, your hand wheel should always be turned toward you (in an anti-clockwise position.) You can ruin the motor of your machine if you turn the hand wheel in the wrong direction too many times.
  2. DO NOT PULL YOUR THREAD BACKWARD OUT OF THE MACHINE. Always cut the thread above/behind the take up lever and pull through the machine if you need to retread the machine. If you pull the thread out through the top of the machine it can cause lint to lodge into the machine and eventually cause problems later.

This is one of the best images I could find for showing you all the parts of your sewing machine. ⁹

This image taken from: https://sewhere.com/podcast/sewing-out-loud/parts-sewing-machine/

***Make sure your machine is turned off when working on the machine such as changing needles, threading and cleaning your machine.

Let’s start with inserting the needle. Your machine most likely comes with a universal needle, which will work fine while you are getting started on projects. You may even have a few extra needles thrown in there. When you go shopping for needles, it can be very confusing the first time (I’ll cover the different types of needles and projects they should be used for in the future) but if your machine came with several needles, they are usually adequate for working with a variety of different types of fabrics.

******The general rule of thumb is to change your needle every 2-3 bobbin changes OR after every project that can quickly dull a needle (thick items; like fleeces, leathers and faux leathers, all dull needles very quickly.)*****

When changing your needle you may want to remove the presser foot so it gives you more room to work with the needle placement. I usually put the presser foot down. Most machines come with a small screwdriver, you may need to use it to help loosen the needle screw the first time you work with this area. You’ll loosen the needle screw (turning the screw toward you loosens the screw and away to tighten) then insert your needle.

Image of the parts of the sewing needle fromSailright Sewing

When inserting the needle into the machine, you’ll put the needle’s flat side of the shank to the back of the machine. Slide it up then tighten the needle screw, replace your presser foot if you removed it, and now we are ready to move on to threading and bobbin winding.

Next, we are going to load the bobbin. I have included a video link, if you’re a visual learner, it does cover both threading the machine and winding the bobbin. I like to thread my bobbin first and would have done a video using my actual machine but I found a very clear video so I’m happy to use it instead of creating my own.

You’ll put your thread through the bobbin guide, threading through the hole in the bobbin. Place the bobbin on the bobbin pin, pull your handwheel out to the right and push your bobbin (with your empty bobbin) to the right. Holding the end of your thread up you’ll press down on the presser foot until the bobbin is full, machines stop once they are fully loaded. Clip your threads, remove bobbin and make sure to push your bobbin pin and handcrank back into the sewing position. Pop your bobbin into the bobbin casing, make sure to follow the thread path indicated on the machine.

Now we are ready to thread the machine. Most machines come with a thread guide/path on the actual machine for you to follow. You will follow that path in order to correctly thread the machine, again this video clearly shows the threading of my machine, your own machine might vary slightly.

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