News & Views

Getting to Know Your Sewing Machine

Last time, I introduced you to the two major pieces equipment in the sewing room: the sewing machine and the iron. Now let's take a closer look at the various devices on your machine that control its operation. Just like cars, sewing machines perform the same basic functions, but the means of accessing them will vary by make and model. On a sewing machine, these may take the form of knobs, dials or digital displays. Using your manual as a guideline, locate these major controls:

The utility stitches are the ones we use most. Your manual will have information on adjusting them to suit your project. Most machines offer five utility stitches:


Straight stitch


Overedge stitch

Honeycomb or elastic stitch

Buttonhole stitch

Depending on the make of your machine, the stitch length and width adjustments may be metric, decimal, or a combination of both. Try out a variety of settings and make note of them on woven cotton fabric to keep as samples. Always do your samples on two layers of fabric to duplicate a real project. We rarely stitch on one layer of fabric. Have fun experimenting, and practice as often as you can. Even fifteen minutes a day will help you increase your skills and be ready for your first project.

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