Workshop: Introduction to Machine Sewing

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(This workshop is not currently offered. Check the Lab calendar for up-to-date availability!)

A sewing machine is any machine with a mechanically driven needle that joins two pieces of fabric together. In order to complete this certification, two items must be completed, the Introduction to Fabric Design Workshop, and creating the requisite parts for a tote bag. In order to create these parts, users must come in during open hours, and work with one of the CaTS. The first four steps from the Fabric Design Workshop should be used in order to create the parts for the bag. This certification will focus on the specifics of machine sewing.

Parts of the Sewing Machine to Note

Picture of the front of the Sewing Machine

1: Thread Take-Up Lever

2: Thread Tension Dial

3: Face Plate

4: Thread Cutter

5: Foot

6: Footbed

7: Removable Extension Table

8: Thread Guide

9: Bobbin Winder Stop

10: Pattern Selector Dial

11: Reverse Lever

Picture of the back of the Sewing Machine

13: Bobbin Winder Spindle

14: Spool Pins

15: Hand wheel

16: Power

18: Bobbin Thread Guide

19: Presser Foot Lifter Down

20: Pedal

Setting Up the Thread

  1. Put the spool of thread onto the Spool Pin (14)
  2. Take thread and put through Thread Guide hook (8)
  3. Bring thread through Bobbin Thread Guide [through hook only] (18) *Need to Thread a Bobbin* STOP HERE
    1. In Step 3, bring thread through (18) [around counterclockwise & through hook]
    2. Put Empty Bobbin on Bobbin Winder Spindle and slide right (13)
    3. Bring Thread through one of the holes of the bobbin from the inside
    4. Hold thread at top as you press the pedal for about 5 spins
    5. Release and press the pedal to load bobbin
    6. Take Out Bobbin slide left
    7. Go to Insert the Loaded Bobbin section before proceeding
    8. If not, you may proceed
  4. Take thread down first long slit and back up through the slit directly to the left of the initial (2 into 1)
  5. This is where the thread will hook (1)
  6. Bring thread down into needle and thread through loop
  7. Hold thread backwards
  8. Keep Presser Foot Lifter Up (19)
  9. Turn Hand Wheel forward to put tension onto Footbed with needle (15)
  10. As needle goes down, the bobbin should rotate allowing second thread to come up

Sew Material

  1. Pull threads backwards
  2. Put material between Foot & Footbed
  3. Press Pedal and gently pull material as it threads
    1. weight on pedal correlates with speed of needle

Inserting the Loaded Bobbin

  1. Remove the Removable Extension Table
  2. Gently pull out the bobbin holder (has a hook on it)
  3. Insert bobbin into holder
  4. Insert bobbin and metal holder back in by pulling clip forward
    1. make sure the tail of metal holder fits in the dent at top of circle
    2. make sure enough thread is left out to be grabbed above

Ending a stitch

To start and end stitches, it is recommended to do a reverse stitch so the threads while have enough tension to stay together.

  1. Finish where you want to end the stitch
  2. Hold down the reverse lever
  3. Hold down the lever, press the pedal, and do 1 or 2 reverse stitches in the same path you just sewed
  4. Lift up the foot (5, 19), and gently pull the material off the bed
  5. Cut your excess string.
  6. The end of your stitches should stay together without being tied

Workshop checklist

Learning Objectives

By the end of this Workshop, you should:

  1. know the basic elements of a sewing machine.
  2. understand how the machine creates a stitch.

Measurable Outcomes

By the end of this Workshop, you should be able to:

  1. thread and unload/load a bobbin.
  2. manually move the needle with the hand wheel.
  3. thread the machine and the needle.
  4. Load material into the machine.
  5. create a stitch with the help of the hand wheel and with the foot pedal.
  6. end your stitch.