My sewing machine came in the mail today! I thought I’d update y’all periodically on my progress with it since I’m a total beginner. I figure others here might be interested in seeing how a total novice gets along. Also tips are totally welcome! I love learning. Sewing seems to be a discipline where you can always learn more.
So I ended up getting a Singer Simple 3116. This is my new slightly persnickety baby:
She’s already given me a bit of trouble but purely because of user error. I managed to create a snarl of thread so bad that it stopped the needle altogether. This was actually a blessing in disguise because it forced me to take apart the whole bobbin area which helped me understand how that whole bobbin situation works down there.
But aside from that, it’s been going well! I grabbed an old sheet and cut out some small pieces to practice stitches on.
Stuff I’ve learned in about 2 hours of using the machine:
- Winding bobbins is kinda hard at first. Now I know why you can buy thread on bobbins already. I failed miserably on a first attempt and created this hot mess:
- I watched a video about how to wind one and did better but it winds mostly on the bottom, not evenly, so the bobbin looks like a cone of thread. It seems to sew ok that way but as I do more bobbin winding I’ll experiment with how to get it to wind evenly.
- Changing the thread is a bit of an ordeal so now I understand why people on Project Runway* would get annoyed if someone changed the thread on a machine they were using. I’m sure they can do it really quickly but its still an extra step that would have wasted a bit of time.
- Tension is insanely important. It makes the difference between weird loopy crap on the back of the fabric and a good stitch. This was my progress after changing the tension (that middle one was me changing it to a zig zag stitch just to see what it looked like):
- This is the one where I finally got the tension right:
- Tension isn’t universal! It depends on the thread, the fabric and the machine. Now that I think about it it makes perfect sense but I wouldn’t have really tested a fabric with the thread before I started on a project so I’m glad the Singer instructions were basically like: test yo fabric/thread/tension situation because it might not go the way you want.
- The pedal makes the sewing machine go reaaaally fast. Like, alarmingly fast. Faster than I assumed it would. Now I see how people accidentally sew through a finger. I haven’t yet (KNOCK ON WOOD).
- The machine is quieter than I expected and I really like the sound.
- Start with the needle and the foot down. I wasn’t paying close enough attention the second time I tried a stitch and that’s how I created the snarly mess which led to me taking apart the bobbin situation.
- The automatic needle threader is harder than just threading it by hand, for me anyway. I can use the auto threader but...I’ve been hand sewing so long that getting the thread through the hole isn’t that big of a deal.
That’s it for now! At the point where I’m writing this I’ve been futzing around with the machine for like 4 hours. Sewing is a time suck. But in the best possible way.