For all the newbie’s in the field of sewing, a normal or for that matter, a very basic and a convenient sewing machine that is very easy to use is a basic necessity. The sewing machine specially made for beginners should not be very expensive and also need not have many special features. If you are planning to take a used sewing machine, you must make a note of it being well maintained, with proper repairs and all parts working in good condition. If in case you are planning to buy a new one, it should be able to sew perfectly straight stitches along with it being easy to thread and operate.
Sewing machines for beginners are available from numerous or to be more generic all manufacturers in this industry. It is a challenging task for a beginner to identify the right kind of sewing machine which will prove to be a boon in present as well as in future. So, in order to make a best purchase and to get value for your money, you must make an extensive search on all the models of sewing machine available and then go forth for purchasing the one that suits your budget and requirement.
Basic Types of Sewing Machines
There are mainly three types of sewing machines available. The major difference in all the three types is in the way they operate though they almost stitch in the same way. The main three types of sewing machines available are as follows:
- Manual or Mechanical sewing machine: It is the most common machine out of the three types and is also a bit expensive. In this machine, the changing of the various types of stitches, their length as well as their width, all is done manually by the turning of the machine dials. In this type of sewing machine, the needle positioning is also done manually.
- Electronic sewing machine: As the name suggests, this machine operates on electricity and has push buttons present on it. This push button helps in the selection of the stitches, their length as well as their width. The needle also positions itself accordingly and when you stop stitching, it automatically stops. So, there is no manual labor involved positioning the needle up and down. The built in memory function is not available in many of the electronic sewing machines, so you will always need to set the stitch size and type as and when you operate it.
- Computerized sewing machine: This machine has a built in memory function unlike the electronic sewing machine and so, you will not need to reset the stitch size and type every time you operate it. It will automatically begin from where you had stopped stitching. The memory stick exclusively present in this type of sewing machine will help you to choose the designs from computer as well as through internet and load them into your sewing machine for a wider selection of pattern. It is usually the most expensive out of the three types of sewing machines available.
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Essential Controls of a Basic Sewing Machine
All the varied types of basic sewing machines are almost designed in the same way to facilitate the first hands on experience of a newbie in stitching or sewing. These basic sewing machines have the features that are easy to use for a newbie. The main features or controls of a sewing machine are as follows:
- Pedal Control
- Thread tension
- Stitch type selector
- Speed monitor
- Bobbin winder
The pedal control is attached to the main sewing machine via a thick wire or cord. This pedal control touches the floor and its main use if to start and stop the machine when the user presses the pedal. This control works just like the accelerator of an automobile. This control forms an essential part of the sewing machine as it allows the user’s hands to be free for adjusting the fabric while sewing. It is good to purchase a sewing machine which has a pressure activated pedal control and does not need any special settings for the same.
Tension of Thread or Thread Tension
The dial that adjusts the tension in thread is generally located on the top or front side of a beginner sewing machine. This adjuster has numeric markings on it which signify the various degrees to which the thread tension can be adjusted. It is composed of some small discs that adjust the tension to loose or tight. This control is highly essential if you want a perfect stitch and not a loose or ineffective one. If the thread is held too tightly, it will break very often and hence it will take a lot of time to stitch as you will have to again and again rethread the machine. You must buy a sewing machine in which the thread tension can easily be adjusted. It should also not have a lot of numeric settings as it will become cumbersome to use it then.
Stitch Type Selector
This control is located on the front side of almost all the types of sewing machines. This control or adjuster has the diagrams of all the different types of stitches that are available and the user has to adjust a particular stitch according to his need. The basic sewing machine has just the three types of stitches available namely straight, zigzag and reverse stitch. There is another dial near this dial that facilitates the user in selecting the length of the stitch. In the case of a straight stitch pattern, this selector helps the user to choose from a short locking to a longer one. For zigzag stitch, the user can choose the closeness of zigzag pattern with the help of this selector or adjuster. Closer zigzag pattern is good for using as a button hole but wide zigzag pattern is helpful in controlling the raveling. Stitch control is an essential part of a sewing machine as it helps to do hemming and seaming easily. You should always look out for a sewing machine that has the controls which are easy to locate, convenient to use and designed for beginners in order to avoid dealing with any complexities later.
Speed monitor or speed control is an important part of a sewing machine not only for a person who is learning to sew but also for sewing professionals. If the speed of a machine is slow, it will be easy for you to sew a straight seam and also for you to guide the fabric accordingly. The pedal control for applying the appropriate amount of pressure is an important talent that a person gains with experience. The speed control helps you to run the machine at a level where you can easily control it and stitch the way you like. Speed control is essential for sewing all types of clothes, be it light fabric or a guff one. You must look out for a sewing machine which has at least three speed settings. More the speed settings, better it will be for you to manage the machine and sew a perfect stitch. The speed control which works on a dial is always an easy to use and provides the user with more control over the machine.
This control in a sewing machine helps to refill the bobbin when it runs out of thread. Bobbin winder is made of a small metallic metal or plastic coil which helps in holding the thread and also facilitates the proper locking of stitches in a perfect place. It is necessary to unwind it and rewind it multiple times as it holds the lesser amount of thread in comparison to the reel that is located on the top side of the sewing machine.
This winder is very essential for using a sewing machine. These bobbin winders are mainly of two types. The first type in this bobbin winder is located on the top of the machine and requires the removing of bobbin for winding the thread back whereas the second type in bobbin winders is designed in such a way that it winds the reel inside the machine. You must always look for a sewing machine that had the bobbin winder which is easily accessible for you to operate.
Comparison of Various Features
|Machine Control||Where is it Located||Function||Things to Consider While Buying|
|Pedal control||Located at back or side of machine||Starts or stop the functioning of a machine||Basic feature|
|Thread tension||On the top or at the front side of machine||Helps to tighten or loosen the thread||Easy to use and less settings|
|Stitch type selector||On the front side of machine||Helps to select the type of stitch to be used for sewing||Easy to use and mainly should have option for straight and zigzag stitch type. The diagrams of the stitch types should also be clear|
|Speed monitor||It is present either on the front or on sides of the machine||Helps in controlling the speed of the sewing machine||Convenient to use and should have multiple speed settings|
|Bobbin winder||It is located either on the top of the machine or inside the machine||For re filling the thread when required||Convenience is the key
Extra Built in Features in a Sewing Machine
- Extra stitch patterns: Many latest models of the sewing machines which are designed to be used by beginners come in a variety of stitch options in addition to the three basic types of stitches. These also include some decorative stitch patterns. These patterns are fun to use and they give a wide range of experience to the beginner. You should always choose the machine that has the stitch patterns, be it the decorative patterns, which you feel you will be able to use multiple times without much of hassle.
- Built in button holes: Most of the sewing machines for beginners now have a built in buttonhole present. This makes the refining of the clothes with buttons very easy. In order to make an informed purchase, you can compare the buttonholes of the machines and buy which has the most uncomplicated and user friendly buttonhole.
If by any means, you feel you lack the expertise to check the sewing machine, take a friend along with you who knows about all this and has been using a sewing machine since a long time or check for the online reviews of that sewing machine.
Accessories Meant for a Sewing Machine for Beginners
Many new models of sewing machines have accessories galore to facilitate the user in sewing. The basic models of sewing machines, meant for beginners, have a few attachments but they too are of a great use for the new user. The accessories mainly include multiple bobbin winders, sewing machine oil for lubrication and also some machine cleaning equipments. Two main accessories, which in my opinion you must look out for are zipper foot and walking foot.
Zipper foot: Another standard accessory that is a zipper foot is a must to be included as an accessory in almost every machine whether meant for a professional or a newbie. This helps in putting the pressure to one side of the seam line.
Walking foot: This is an accessory that makes the work of sewing a thick fabric like the ones present in the quilts, blankets and denims easier. It stitches such types of fabric evenly. Therefore, you must check the usage of the machine first to make the best choice for yourself.
How to Use a Sewing Machine
For a newbie, a sewing machine might look as very complicated equipment especially to those who are totally unaware about what it is and how easy it is to use a sewing machine. You should not keep yourself away from turning an experienced one in sewing by creating some beautiful projects that would be of a great use for you and your family. Below are mentioned some very easy steps for using a sewing machine. These steps will be of great advantage especially for a newbie.
- Power switch: It is important to first get to know about the power switch to turn a sewing machine on. Normally, a power switch is located on the right corner of the sewing machine.
- Locating spooling pin: Search and find out the small metallic or plastic part that holds the thread. This part is known as the spool.
- Thread guide: After finding the spooling pin, you must look out for the thread guide to direct the thread from spool to bobbin winder.
- Bobbin winder: Now the next task comes to locate the bobbin winder and wind the thread on the bobbin. It is generally located on the right side of spool pin.
- Stitch adjustment: Adjust the length of the stitch and the pattern of the stitch in the sewing machine with the help of the stitch adjustment panel. This is located at different points in different machines and can easily be located as it has diagrams on it to set the stitching pattern.
- Tension dial: Now it is the time for you to lock this dial after adjusting the thread tension level. This will help the supply of continuous thread while sewing.
- Needle plate: Look out for the needle plate and adjust the thread for sewing the clothes.
- After your sewing machine is all set up, lock in the thread after feeding it in the hole.
- Now is the time for you to line up the fabric. After this is done, slowly you can start the sewing project by lowering the presser foot and applying the pressure from your foot to sew a particular pattern.
Do’s of Using a Sewing Machine
- Sew the things that you are excited about. Don’t just take up anything that someone asks you. Interest is the key to a better learning.
- Start every new sewing project with a fresh, unused sewing needle.
- Clean the sewing area with alcohol or any other cleaning agent thoroughly before sewing some light colored clothes to avoid the patches of grease on the cloth.
- Take a break between your sewing projects. It will help you refresh yourself and also aid you in getting more creative with your project with new ideas coming in.
- Keeping a spare sewing machine handy is also a good idea to avoid any long break in the project.
- Learn maintaining a sewing machine well in order to avoid lower shelf life of a sewing machine. Well maintained sewing machines last longer.
- Invest time in getting to know about the thread tension in your sewing machine. Try some sample project to get it handy.
- Reserve a separate place in your house for the sewing machine. Make sure this area has a good seating and also has ample of light.
- Once your project is successful, you can also share your ideas with others.
- It is normal to make mistakes when you are a newbie in any field. So goes for sewing too. But, you should make sure that you learn from your mistakes.
- Sit in a comfortable chair and do not swing to the sides to avoid accident when using a sewing machine.
- You must take care of your fingers when sewing. Be safe than sorry by keeping your fingers away from the needle. By doing so, you can be sure of your fingers not coming under the sewing needle.
- Do put every needle you use for sewing in the pin storing area available in the sewing machine to avoid any needle accidents.
Dont’s of Using a Sewing Machine
- Do not do the threading of a sewing machine with the machine power on. By chance if your feet go on the paddle it will push the needle down and then you will be unable to thread it. Also, by chance if your finger comes in the way, it may hurt your finger too.
- Do not walk around when you have a scissor in your hand.
- Do not place the needles on fabric when sewing as they may fall down and accidents many occur.
- Do not use a super complicated sewing machine of which the working you are not able to comprehend easily. This will make your first sewing experience a head ache rather than a pleasure.
- You can move the sewing machine anywhere in the house but make sure you do it with the power button switched off.
- Do not sew when you are very tired. The sewing projects need a lot of attention which you may not be able to devote when tired.
- Do not rush your sewing project in order to avoid getting hurt.
- Do not use a cheap interface for sewing.
- Buying a cheap sewing machine is not a good idea unless it is of a good brand. Non branded sewing machines do not usually last longer.
- Do not be impressed by the extra or additional features available in a sewing machine unless you feel that you will be able to use those or require them in the long run.
- Do not just overlook the re furbished machines. Before buying check them, if it works well then there is no need to spend money on a new sewing machine. You can save this money for something else.
- Do not stretch yourself beyond certain limit to finish up a sewing project that you are no more interested in.
- Avoid using a sewing machine with some already set standards for yourself. Make it a joyful ride rather than a professional project.
Some Important Tips
- For a good sewing and to get the best results, proper thread tension is of a great importance.
- There is no fixed rule for tension setting. This comes with experience.
- A balanced tension setting is required to make a straight stitch.
- Thread tension should be less when making a decorative stitching pattern or a zigzag one.
The first sewing machine that you purchase will be of a great importance to you and will also be very close to your heart. This will also help you to make informed purchases in the future in case you have done it as a first purchase and that too all by yourself. Just be sure that the model of a sewing machine which you purchase is user friendly and has almost all the features that are of great use to you and is within your budget.