No list of Frequently Asked Questions can ever be exhaustive.
We have collected here, though, as many of the common queries as we possibly can without straying into irrelevance.
The aim is to give short but informative answers and to solve any problems you may have.
If the answers below do not resolve your issue then please feel free to contact us and we will do our best to help.
How Often Should I Change My Needle?
- Changing the needle is one of the simplest things you can do to prevent problems from happening and to make your stitches perfect.
- One useful benchmark is to use a fresh needle for each project. They are not expensive so why spend good money on fabric and use an old needle?
- Needles get bent and damaged, worn out in general. If you use one in bad condition you can suffer skipped stitches, seams which are uneven and ugly, thread fraying and breaking and damaged fabrics. In the worst scenario you can even experience issues with your machine.
Which Type Of Thread Should I Use?
- Thread is not particularly expensive so buy the best you can afford.
- Mettler, Coats, Guettermann and Superior all offer high quality thread.
- One of the main problems with cheap thread is the fibers they are made of. They tend to be both weak and short. They can easily break off. As they build up inside your machine this can lead to serious snags. Since they stretch so much, cheap threads are also responsible for tension which is uneven.
- Think sensibly about investing in high quality thread. It performs well, looks great and saves your machine. Buying cheap thread really is false economy in the long-run.
Should I Use Lubricant On My Machine?
- There is no definitive answer here.
- You will find that a lot of more advanced machines are now self-lubricating. They have bearing coated with lubricants. Some are partially enabled while others are not at all. The key here is to check the manual to determine which kind of machine you have.
- For any sewing machine which is not self-lubricated, take care of this task after approximately eight hours of operation.
- With the self-lubricating variants, it really is best to leave the job of lubricant replenishment to a skilled and qualified technician. There are too many variables to get wrong unless you are absolutely confident in what you are doing.
Do I Need My Machine Tuning Up?
- Tuning up refers to a deep clean, lubrication, adjusting the tension and a thorough, overall examination.
- Factors that can influence the frequency of this servicing include how often you use your machine, the kind of thread and fabrics, general attention to cleanliness and the experience level of the user.
- In general terms, if you are a regular sewer then once or perhaps twice a year should suffice. If you use your machine more moderately then an annual tune-up is adequate. You can even have it done every couple of years if you seldom use it.
What Is Automatic Threading?
Many modern machines have this feature. As the name suggests, the needle is threaded by the machine automatically. This saves you a very fiddly job. Also, if you do a great deal of sewing it's an excellent time-saving device.
Why Are The Stitches Uneven?
- Firstly, examine the needle condition. This is a prime cause of uneven stitching.
- Ensure, also, that it is the right type of needle for the fabric in question.
- Make small adjustments to the pressure of the presser foot. This is essential to get right so that the material gets evenly fed through.
- Check that the height of the feed dog is correct.
Why Is It That My Thread Always Breaks?
- Usually this can be attributed to poor quality thread or needles.
- Other things to bear in mind are the insertion of the needle, how the machine is threaded and any parts which are either misaligned or damaged
What Are Presser Feet?
- These are made from either plastic or metal. See below for the various different types on offer.
- The prime function is to hold down the material on the feed dogs.
- With presser feet costing up to $50 a time, do your research thoroughly and make absolutely certain that you will have the requisite feet supplied with your machine.
What Presser Feet Are The Best?
There is no clear-cut response. Everyone has different needs and undertakes different projects.
The default option which comes with pretty much all machines allows you to straight stitch and also to zigzag. This is generally called a Plain foot.
Most sewers also appreciate a Zipper foot. They come in many varieties.
With these two feet you're well placed to get going. The following options perform tasks that can be done without the feet but are a lot easier if you have the tool for the job...
- Automatic Buttonhole: Place your button on the foot's clip. This determines the buttonhole's length. The machine comes equipped with a special sensor to help in this undertaking.
- Binder: Binding will be fed where it needs to go on the edge of the material. It will also be appropriately folded.
- Button: These come in many guises. As well as helping with buttons they can be extremely useful for assorted fasteners and snaps.
- Flat Fell: Helps with seaming of the flat fell type. The use of this foot is questionable. Be sure that you really want it before paying good money for something that might be unnecessary.
- Gathering: Assists with the gathering up of material. Again, check if you really need this.
- Plain: All-purpose for general stitching
- Rolled Hem: Using this automated method of hemming is tough to master but well worth the results. Learn how to perform it with this special foot and produce hems swiftly and neatly.
- Ruffler: Uses pleats to automatically ruffle the fabric.
- Walking: This works like multiple feed dogs. If you are working with more than one layer then it helps to stop puckering or bunching.
- Zipper: As well as its obvious job, a Zipper foot is also fantastic for topstitching close to the fabric's edge.
What Is The Feed Dog?
While you are sewing, the fabric is fed under the presser foot by the feed dog. They are a bit like claws made from metal. They are found under the presser foot. As the feed dog moves so the material moves forward. Stitch length is also controlled by the feed dog.
Can You Explain A Free Arm?
Essentially, this lets you take off some of the flat sewing bed for a narrower surface. It's ideal for sewing round sleeves.
Is It Possible To Embroider Vinyl?
- You certainly can. Practice first on some scrap fabric.
- Choose a design that's not overly dense. Use a new needle and a good stabilizer. Make sure that you operate your machine more slowly than usual.
- Experiment with aprons, purses, table cloths or raincoats for some striking results.
Is There A Difference Between An Electric Machine And A Computerized Machine?
- With electric machines, the needle is driven by a motor. A foot pedal controls the speed.
- Computerized machines make use of computer chips in order to adjust various settings. A touch pad or screen is used to display key information and to make any changes. Many stitches can be saved and your work stored for future reference. They can be connected to a computer and patterns downloaded with ease.
What Are Some Key Points To Think About When Buying A Computerized Machine?
- Examine the interface closely. How does it feel? Is it intuitive and user-friendly? Is it easy to navigate the menus or is the whole thing confusing? The importance of the interface cannot be overstated. If you find it confusing and difficult to operate the entire experience of sewing will be marred.
- If you plan to hook up your sewing machine to a computer then think carefully about connectivity. There is no real problem with Windows but if you use a Mac then take a look at Pfaff machines and see if they are to your taste. If not you could be buying a new PC as well as a sewing machine!
- Check out the pricing of additional embroidery cards. They vary substantially and this can be a hidden cost if you're not careful. Can you get patterns online? If so, this could be a definite saving.
- Invest in a surge protector. In the event of any problems with the electricity line then your machine will not be damaged.
- If you plan to connect your equipment to a computer then take equally good care of both.
- Study the warranty with particular regard to the electronic components. Many manufacturers offer significantly less cover for electrics than for manual parts so take this into account.
What's A Free Embroidery Sewing Machine?
- Free embroidery is simple, fun and does not require a specialized machine.
- Using a normal zigzag machine and a hoop you can enjoy free embroidery without breaking the bank.
- The prefix "free" is used because the hoop is not fixed to the machine but rather controlled by hand.
What Things Do I Need To Start Free Embroidery?
- Get a regular zigzag sewing machine. It's essential that it has drop feed control. This is to permit lowering of the feed dogs to stop them from feeding the fabric.
- Needle with an embroidery spring or a special embroidery foot. The foot will assist you in holding down the material. It also lets you clearly see what you're doing. With the needle, the spring will perform this role.
- A hoop. Older versions have two rings and are made from wood. Separating these is manual. With more modern types of hoop, handles make the job easier. If you want ease go for the newer variety, for superior tension opt for the old style.
- Stabilizer. Say goodbye to slipping and puckering.
- Fabric is obviously crucial!
- Standard all-purpose thread is fine although it can sometimes make the material weak. Treat yourself instead to rayon embroidery thread.
- For the thread in the bobbin go for soft cotton.
How Can I Prepare For Free Embroidery?
- Now you know what you are doing and you have all the equipment, let the feed dogs drop.
- Go for a stitch length of zero and put the fabric in your hoop. Make sure that the surface goes on the table and the right hand side faces up.
- Rack up your embroidery foot or needle.
- Choose a straight stitch and you're good to go.
Note: If you perform a few stitches in place then the thread will be locked and there will be no unraveling of fabric.
What Do I Need To Know About Quilting Machines?
- Definitions of quilting differ.
- For patchworking, more or less any machine will suffice.
- Look for a lightweight machine as a priority if you will be taking it to and from class.
- If you plan to stitch together several layers of material then prioritize a lengthier arm. Also look for feed dogs that you can drop.
Can My Child Safely Use A Sewing Machine?
- You know how responsible and able your children are so decide accordingly.
- Most toy sewing machines are useless so let them practice while supervised on a real version. If the machine is not plugged in and the hand wheel is used to operate it then the speed is reduced and there is very little chance of any injury.
Why Is The Bobbin Winding Unevenly?
It's highly probable that the thread is not correctly placed. Check this and if you believe it's positioned perfectly then think about winding it for a second time around the tension spring.
Why Can't I See The Take-Up Lever?
Because it's hidden! It's housed behind the machine's front panel.
How Can I Troubleshoot When My Machine Is Not Working Properly?
- Test with another needle.
- Take out all the thread and rethread it.
- Clean the lint after opening up the panels.
- If instructed to do so then oil the machine as per the manual.
- Invest in better thread.
- Check the tension of the thread.