I believe that sewing machines have ➀ a soul, ➁ are moody and ➂ they don’t work well, when they are stressed! So be really carefull that you treat your sewing machine nicely, otherwise you have to anticipate the worst!
How often did it happen… I was quasi on the way to a party, almost ready to run out of the door, when I just needed to fix the zipper of my dress… quickly… and then the trouble started: my sewing machine decided to rebel: either the seam had crazy loops at the underside or I hit a zipper hook with the needle, which made it break and get stuck in the fabric (completely tangled up with the threads and impossible to be taken out) or the bobbin was magically empty!
Keep these 10 Golden Rules in mind and you can avoid the roller-coaster.
The Golden Rule No. 1:
Relax, when you decide to sew. If you are too hectic, nothing will work.
The Golden Rule No. 2:
Always cover the machine.
All machines come with a cover. Sometimes hard plastic, sometimes a softshell. If you don’t use the machine (which shouldn’t happen too often -ha!), please leave it covered in your shelf. There is too much dust around, which will otherwise sneak into the inside and will block the sewing mechanism.
The Golden Rule No. 3:
Put a small piece of fabric on the needle plate.
I never thought that this has any importance, but it really has. The needleplate is the plate under the foot and needle. Under the needle plate is the bobbincase and the cogwheel that is moving the fabric forward. Also these parts are extremely sensitive to dust. If you cover the needleplate with a small piece of fabric, no dust can sneak in and your machine will be greatful! Another point is: thinking of the humid Japanese Summer, you can immagine that a metal foot on a metal needleplate is the perfect platform for rust. This can also be avoided with the fabric inbetween.
The Golden Rule No. 4:
Let the yarnrole spin easier.
Using my hyper modern Brother machine, the yarnrole didn’t spin constantly when I was sewing. It sometimes stopped and then jumped almost, turned around too quickly and didn’t stay in nice tension. Then I looked at my Singer from 1963 and noticed that there is a fabric piece impaled on the yarnrole pin. Is that the reason, why my Singer always keeps the yarnrole in nice move? YES! From the moment that I put a little cotton under the role it always stood in nice tension. Please try it yourself!
The Golden Rule No. 5:
The bobbin has to move anti clockwise. In case you have strange loops on the underneath of your seams: most of the times ther is a threading problem. Check the bobbin first. If it doesn’t move anti clockwise, the machine can’t work properly. Turn the bobbin around and try again.
The Golden Rule No. 6:
Don’t turn the needle wheel away from you.
The needlewheel is the wheel on the right side of your machine that moved the needle up an down. Similar to the bobbin this wheel is moving anti clockwise. If you turn the needlewheel to move the needle or to pull the bobbin thread onto the needleplate by mistake clockwise, you’ll unfortunately have strange loops on the underneath of your seam as well… Please remember to always turn it anti clockwise = towards yourself.
The Golden Rule No. 7:
Controle the tension
The tension wheel should usually be between 3 and 5 (which is 4). But please controle if this is ok for all the fabrics that you are sewing. Sometimes you need to adjust the tension a little bit due to fine or heavy textiles.
The Golden Rule No. 8:
Make sure that your bobbin has the right size
Depending of the machine and the maker, the bobbin sizes are different. Usually there is a discription, which kind of bobbin should be used. If the maker recommends a plastic bobbin, don’t use a metal one. If your bobbin clicks and clacks in the bobbin case, it’s too small and you won’t have the correct tension from the bottom thread…
The Golden Rule No. 9:
If your machine makes a strange sound or howls loudly when pushing the foot controller: stop sewing immediately. Most of the time you have lost the upper thread somehow. Check the thread take-up lever, often your’ll find the reason for the trouble there.
The Golden Rule No. 10:
Change the needle, when it’s bent. A needle that is not straight won’t sew any accurate seams and will sooner or later break. If you don’t wear safety googles while sewing: change it better before the crash will happen.
When you screw the new needle in, make sure that the flat side of the shank is on the back. Otherwise the needle won’t sew at all.
Good luck and much enjoyment with every stitch***