I’m not going to lie I haven’t really done anything with making blankets or even learning new things about them this week. I know I’m even posting this later than I should be, but I have had a beyond crazy week. But last week end I had started to make one of those knit tie blankets, but it actually ended up being a pillow. Which I’m not sure how it went from me planning on making a blanket to it slowly looking like a pillow. I can’t put a picture of it from my home computer but you’re not missing out on anything because it looks very bad.
I was hoping in the next few days to start learning things about a sewing machine. I don’t have to buy one because apparently my mom already had one in one of our spare rooms. I’m sure learning how to sew a blanket or just about anything will take a lot of time and practice. Since I will be spending these next few weeks at home hopefully I can learn plenty of things on how to use a sewing machine. I looked online a bit just to find some tips about using the sewing machine and this is what I found:
Sewing Tip #1. Say: “Cheese!”
Snap some shoot to existing threading, just to be sure you’ll be able to re-thread when you’ll need to (and you’ll need it soon, promise!)
Sewing Tip #2. Leave the thread guide up
This is an important tip! When you start sewing, the thread guide right above the needle have to be in its higher position.
Sewing Tip #3. Start by Hand
To be sure everything is perfect while you start, always do the first 1-2 stitches turning your hand wheel anticlockwise, so you can check if the needle is getting smoothly in the fabric, see if your fabric’s thickness is a problem (think hemming your jeans!), and avoid thread jams, plus, you’ll accurately define the first stitch placement.
Sewing Tip #4. Keep it down!
Never stop with your needle up, out of the fabric,while sewing a corner or when you need to slightly move the fabric (such as in a curved seam) or to pull out a pin.
Leaving the needle down and pivoting in the fabric, will help you to achieve a perfectly aligned seam.
Sewing Tip #5. When things goes bad, rethread
This is a rule, whenever you find in your seam a thread too tight or too loose, or your machine is skipping stitches, try rethreading everything, spool and bobbin (also if you think it’s all perfect!) – 99% of the times you’ll solve your problems!
- To help yourself, keep the pics you took in Tip 1 on your phone or tablet, ready to check!
While you’re repositioning the bobbin, check for lint/bird’s nest right below the needle plate… this is often what causes thread wonkyness or missing stitches!
Sewing Tip #6. Check needle type and conditions
While an Universal needle can be perfect for starting (a n° 90-14 will be the right choice), with special kinds of fabric you’ll better choose the proper needle:
- lightweight fabrics (like sheers or thin cottons) want a smaller needle (n° 60-8 or 70-9)
- with thicker fabrics like denim, better use a bigger needle (like 100 or 110!)
- to hem with a coverlock look (if you don’t know what it is, simply look at your double row t-shirt hem!), a twin needle will be your best friend
- The most important kind of needles, for me, is the knit/stretch/jersey one: we call them ballpoint needles because they have a rounded tip that goes between knitted threads, separating them; if you use a Universal needle, chances are that you’ll end with unwanted holes in no-time… believe me or not!
Sewing Tip #7. Check thread type
A rule of thumb is to use the same thread type in both bobbin and spool (unless you need to use embroidery thread, that will go only in your spool).
There’s no problem using different colors in your upper and lower thread (and it’s nice when you are topstitching a lined dress, to match both outer and inner fabric’s color with thread), but choose them from the same family (no polyester spool and cotton in the bobbin…) to avoid thread jams or breakages.
Sewing Tip #8. Clean her!
This sewing tip is a rule for your sewing machine health and longevity: try using an air duster or, better, a compressor to blow out any tiny thread or lint, hidden inside your sewing machine.
Check your sewing machine’s manual to see if you can unscrew something to clean your machine more in-depth and if you have to oil it and where.
Sewing Tip #9. How to sew a straight line
The trick is: never look at your needle! Being steadily in movement, can’t be a focal point for your eyes, it would be confusing!
Measure your seam allowances distance from the needle and (if your needle plate is missing those tiny parallel etched straight lines) mark the one you need on the needle plate somehow (an elastic band, Washi tape, painter’s mask tape, sticky notes are all perfect candidates!), creating a repositionable seam guide.
Try now to keep your fabric’s edge aligned to your improvised seam guide, then admire your straight seam!
Sewing Tip #10. Try on scraps first
When you cut out your pattern pieces, never throw away your fabric’s scraps, but keep them for practicing (and calibrating) your stitchings!
From left to right you can see I’ve adjusted stitch length and width to have a perfect decorative stitch!
Here’s the website I used to get my tips from, hopefully they help me out some!