Patterns and Equipment: Sewing Machines

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Sewing machines Sewing machines have become very sophisticated today with the advancement of the computer age. With the introduction of new fabrics, new needles and presser feet have been designed to meet the demands of the fashion sewer. When buying a new machine, it is important for you to analyze what type of sewing you currently do and what you would like to do in the future.

Even the most basic model sewing machines offer a broad range of built-in stitches to select from--from utilitarian to decorative--for your use. And with the increase in technology, your sewing machine can even be hooked up to your personal computer for unlimited stitching capabilities. Many machines also accept “cards” or “disks” to increase their stitch selection.

All sewing machines share one important feature, no matter the number of stitches they offer--the thread tension. The strength of your seams depends on the correct thread tension. Before stitching on any garment, you should test the tension on a scrap of fabric on both the lengthwise and crosswise grains. Before adjusting your tension, check your thread choice and needle size for the fabric you sewing on. For normal sewing, you should be stitching with the same type thread through your needle and on your bobbin. A too large or too small needle will affect your stitch quality also.

As a general rule, you should only adjust your upper tension. In most cases, the bobbin tension has been factory set. The upper tension controls the thread that passes through the needle, If it is too loose, the needle thread will pull through to the underside of your fabric (1). If the bobbin thread shows through on the top and the needle thread lies flat on the surface; your upper tension is too tight (2). For a balanced tension, both threads are drawn equally into the fabric (3).

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If you continue to experience tension problems with your machine, have it checked by the authorized sewing machine dealer for your brand. They have been trained to adjust your make of machine. Remember that sewing should be a pleasurable experience -- so don’t fight with your machine to achieve the results you desire! Proper care of your machine will provide you with years of sewing enjoyment.

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This page was last modified on: Sunday, 2008-08-24 17:29 PST