Simply Sewing with Laura, Episode One “Let’s Get Started”


Welcome to SewVeryEasy, my name is Laura. Today is the beginning of a new series called Simply Sewing with Laura, and we’re going to learn simply sewing. We’re going to start right from the beginning and get to know our machine, get to know the different feet, the different stitches, and all the different techniques and things that we need to know to sew. This is going to be a fun series for a beginner but it’s also going to be good for someone who’s been sewing for a while because we’re just going to have some fun along the way. If you have a machine, that’s great, but if not, this is an exciting time to buy a machine. There are so many beautiful great machines on the market nowadays. I would recommend that you buy a good machine to start off. That way you’re going to have it for years. We can get good sewing machines at your fabric centers, quilting stores, and a lot of times you’ll find them at repair shops or shops that sell vacuum cleaners and sewing machines. By buying local you’re going to have the support and the customer service that you need while you have that machine, because sewing machines last a long time. So it’s good to get a good one and one that you love right away. For this series I’m going to be sewing on the Simply Red machine from Bernina. It’s a number 215. It’s a good strong machine, it’s a good workhorse, so I know it’s going to last me for years to come. It has all the features that I need. The first thing we’re going to do is a “threadless drive.” We’re going to drive the sewing machine without thread. That way we can develop the skill that we need for speed and perfection. Meanwhile, we do not need to worry about the thread getting tangled. So if you have thread in your machine and the bobbin in your machine, we’re going to take it out because we are going to do some quick, fun, non-sewing sewing. If your machine already has no thread on it then you’re all ready to go if your machine is threaded, we need to unthread it. I’m going to show you both bobbins. My machine comes with a bobbin that is called a front load. It’s in the front of the machine so you’ll have a little door that needs to open. Inside you’re going to have a little case that you’re going to be able to take out. The bobbin is in this little metal case. You’ll notice a little handle. You’re going to be able to pull that handle and take out the bobbin case. So just lift up that handle and you’re going to be able to pull the whole case out. That handle also holds that bobbin in so it doesn’t come out, so you’ll need to release that handle in order to remove the bobbin. You’re going to be able to leave both of these out for now so just put them aside. Your sewing machine might have a top-load bobbin, which means it’s put in from the top of the machine, not the front of the machine. You’re going to have a little plastic cover. You’ll be able to just flip that little case up. That cover is going to come off and you’ll be able to remove that bobbin. You 𝒅𝒐 𝒏𝒐𝒕 remove the bobbin case inside; just the bobbin. When that’s out we’re going to put the cover back on. You might have some little teeth that need to go into the corner and then it’s just going to snap right on. So you have no bobbin in there at all. The next is going to be removing your thread. You might have thread on a horizontal spool or it might be on a vertical spool. Don’t just take that thread out from the top. We need to take out the thread coming from the bottom. The reason is we have tension guides inside this machine and we don’t want to cause any more lint than necessary, so the best way to take that thread out is to cut it from the top of the machine right by that thread spool. Just trim off that thread. Then you can remove your thread. From there, take the thread out of the needle just by pulling that thread out. Now take this and pull it out of the machine. If the thread is not coming out, it’s because your take-up lever is down. When your take-up lever is down, it tightens those gears so it’s harder to pull those threads out. Be sure to have your foot up. This is the take-up lever. It’s going to be in different places on different machines. You can find them in the back, you can find them along the side, you can also find them inside along this edge. That take-up lever needs to be up and you’ll know it is because your foot is going to be off the surface. Then you’re going to be able to pull your thread out. By doing it this way you’re taking the lint out of the machine, versus pulling up and putting the lint into the machine. Now we have no thread on the machine. We can now plug this in. There are two different ways you can get plugs for machines. One will have a cord to the electricity and a separate cord to your pedal. Other machines are going to have the pedal cord and the electricity cord attached, so you’re going to have the plug that goes into the machine with two wires coming out. One’s going to be the electrical and one is going to be attached to the pedal. All of these ends are a little different. They’re shaped different so that you can’t make a mistake plugging them into the machine. There’s only one way this is going to go into your machine so you don’t need to worry about it. Just plug that in and turn your machine on. When you turn a machine on a lot of machines are silent so you don’t even know if they’re on or not. One way to tell is if you have a light shining here on this bed. Now we want to make sure that we are set for a straight stitch. If you know your machine just set it for any straight stitch at all. If you’ve not used your machine you can refer to your manual. If you don’t have a manual you you can often get them online. Just type in “sewing machine manual for” then type your make and model. Chances are you’re going to be able to get that and print it out, and it usually is free. It’s great to have the manual as we go along. Along the side of the machine you’re going to have a hand heel. That handwheel turns as that needle is going up and down. The faster that needle goes the faster that wheel is going to go. A lot of times you’re going to use this wheel in order to do some sewing, just to get over a bit of a hump or to start sewing. Always take this wheel and turn it towards you. That is the rotation that the machine automatically wants to go in so it’s good to maintain that direction. If you don’t have a needle in your machine, that’s fine. We don’t need it to learn how to drive the machine. If you do have a needle we want to test and make sure that the foot and the needle are going to line up so we’re going to turn this handwheel. By turning it slowly towards you, that needle is going to come down and as it comes down it should fit through the hole of this foot. That’s why it’s always nice to test it before you put the pedal to the metal and start driving your machine. So just slowly turn that wheel and make sure that that needle is going to go all the way down and all the way back up again. You don’t want it to hit on anything. By turning this first on your own we know that the coast is clear and we’re going to be able to start. Turn this wheel until that needle is all the way into the up position. From here we’re going to start sewing. We’re going to be sewing without thread. This is going to help us adjust to the sound of the machine and the speed of the machine. We need a piece of fabric. I would recommend a piece of fabric that doesn’t have a stretch to it and something that is a little bit of a heavier weight. A quilting cotton would work great for this. It’s just going to be nice and easy to use for the very first time. A nice long piece Is going to be great, and I would recommend it being pressed first. What we want to do is put that fabric in-between that foot and that needle plate. The needle plate is this piece of metal. Be sure to lower the little handle so that the foot is now touching the fabric. The fabric should be quite firm inside there. If I was to pull hard it would come out but you want it nice and firm in there. If the foot is not all the way down, the machine is not going to be able to sew because it will be sewing in air. We need to have that foot and that plate touching. Now we’re going to be able to drive it. The pedal is designed so the flatter part is going to go towards you or towards your heel. It’s more the toe that is pressing down on the pedal than the heel, but it will be a very smooth motion, just like walking. Where you put your foot on this pedal is going to be a very personal choice. This is very much like a gas pedal that you get in your car. The firmer you press on it the faster it goes. You can see this space here. As you put your foot down you’re going to be able to have a light pressure and the fabric is going to go slowly because you’re driving slowly. The harder you press down, the faster the machine is going to go. What we need to do is learn to get the proper pressure on the pedal. So put your foot on it and start to sew. If you push down fast right away, that’s fine. The machine’s just going to drive fast, but we’re not having to worry about anything because there’s no thread to worry about. If you push hard right away, it’s still fine. This is going to give you a chance to learn to adjust your foot to this pedal. Some machines have an adjustment for speed. The speed adjustment can be on the inside of a pedal or on the side of the pedal. It can also be on the machine. What it does is slow the machine down so it doesn’t matter how hard you push on this, you’re not going to be able to go really fast. I do have a little adjustment here. I’ll show you the difference. All I’ve had to do is push it once. Now if I go the machine is going to run just a little bit slower than at the full speed. This is a great chance just to get to know the speed of the machine. Practice different speeds with this pedal. Just do lots of rows going back and forth, always making sure your foot is down. Just go fast and try to slow it down, try to change the speeds with your foot. That way you’re going to get adjusted to the speed on the machine. You can do no wrong at this point; there’s no thread in it. Just give lots of testing with the different speeds of that foot pedal. When you come off the fabric you’re going to be able to lift up this little lever so that foot comes up and place the fabric back inside. It doesn’t matter where you start. You just need to remember to put that foot down. You will know if that foot’s not down because you’ll be able to move that fabric. So put the foot down and do lots of testing until you get comfortable with your pedal. Once you’ve learned the speed of the machine now we’re going to learn to drive it a little bit better. And still, no thread is going to be required. Your stitch plate will have a bunch of numbers and lines on it. All of those lines represent a different measurement. The measurement is coming from the center of that needle over. It’s not important what line we’re going to use for this project. We’re just going to follow a line. Choose any line, line up the edge of the fabric, put the foot down and start sewing. What you want to do is have that edge of the fabric follow that line all the way through that long piece. Adjust your speeds as you’re sewing and just practice. When you’ve done that mark, try another mark. One other mark to follow is the edge of the foot. Sometimes we need to follow the edge of that foot, not the markings on the plate. Just adjust your speeds and practice sewing along those markings. When you’ve finished with that, try the markings on the other side. If you’re right-handed you’ll find that it’ll be easier to follow the marks to the inside of the machine. If you’re left-handed, you might find it easier to follow the marks on the outside of the machine. It’s good that you’re going to be able to learn to maintain different speeds, but be sure to test that and put that pedal all the way down and see how fast that machine goes. You’re not going to hurt the machine; it’s designed to sew fast. Not that we’re going to need it to ever go that fast, but it will help you get adjusted to your machine. Once you’ve gotten accustomed to the speed and following the lines we’re going to do a reverse stitch. It won’t matter where you put your fabric. Lower that presser foot and we’re going to do some forward and reverse stitches. On the Bernina, reverse is this little red button. You’re going to be able to just push that. This reverse button is can be in many different places on your machine. Sometimes it’s just a button and other times it’s a little lever that you push up and down. As you are stitching forward then you’re going to push and hold, and that machine is going to go backwards. When you release it, it’s going to go forward again. You can do this even with the machine running. You’re going to hold that and the machine is going to start running in reverse. When I let it go it’s going to go forward again. This is a lot of fun to use. So while we’re testing we’re going to now do some reverse stitches. Do different speeds and do different reverses. Try that also as you’re following the edge of the foot or one of the lines until we get that comfort level. Just play with that fabric and twist it as you’re sewing. You won’t need to force it; just by moving your hands you’re going to be able to move that fabric. Try to make all different shapes, long thin lines, try to do some circles. Any shape is going to be fine. Unlike a car, we do not need to follow a speed limit. We can do whatever speed you are comfortable at. Some techniques are going to require slower speeds; others, you’re going to be able to go faster. This is a great opportunity to get to know your machine and the speed that you are comfortable with. The only thing we really need to remember out of all of this is to make sure that that foot is down, touching the feed dogs. Now if you do have them up, don’t worry; it’s not going to hurt the machine. If you had thread in, it would have tangled the thread. This is why it’s great having no thread. You could also change the fabric when you’re doing this no-sew sewing. What it’s going to do is help you get used to different fabrics. Whenever you’re sewing with a new fabric that you’ve not sewn with before, take your thread out and test the machine in this manner. You’re going to be able to see what the machine and you can do together. You’ll be able to adjust your speed, the fabric that you’re going to need, and then you’ll be able to thread it and you’ll be all set to go. It’s a great way to test without sewing. Have fun and do lots of different no-sew sewing. This is a fun way of putting the pedal to the metal and giving that machine a good test run and it’s just a lot of fun to do. I do hope you join me next time where we’re going to learn to put on a needle, put the thread in, and take care of the bobbin. That way we can actually do some 𝒔𝒆𝒘 sewing. I do hope you come back to join me again on Simply Sewing with Laura. Thank you for joining me today
and have a great day. Bye now!