Sunday, March 2, 2014

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: Your Machine and You-- Part 1

As with all things in the pursuit of sewing knowledge, we first want to begin with knowing which way is up and down on our machines.
It can be a very daunting task having to acquaint yourself with your machine-- especially if it's a recent addition. Most will advise you to read your manual thoroughly as soon as you unbox.

But picking up the manual and reading it page for page, is probably the worst thing for the psyche of a beginner.
I say this because manuals often portray your machine to be this overly complicated piece of NASA equipment, which it obviously isn't.

These days manuals can be the size of a fat magazine-- there is such a thing as too much information, and this is a good example of that.

In order to prevent the overwhelming sensation from being confronted with so much information, it's best to locate and read the very basic stuff:
  1. Threading & tension
  2. What button/dial does what, machine anatomy.
  3. Care & maintenance
Pretty much in that order, when you start out.

What I mean by #2 on that list, is finding out what a dial/button changes-- you don't necessarily need to know right away when you would actually use it. For example, the side dials on my overlock are responsible for adjusting the differential feed levels (we'll get to this later), but I haven't even needed to adjust them until I started working with intermediate fabrics, such as jersey or canvas.
Tip: Quilting cottons, and fabrics of similar type usually don't need any other setting but the basic factory setting, so you may not even need to worry about tension settings unless you're working with a specialty fabric.

One is 20 years old, the other is only 2. 

The sections mentioned above are comparatively shorter than all the rest, except if your machine is 20+ years old-- but then again, they didn't have the excess of information like we do today, so the manuals look(ed) thinner, despite containing more relevant information on the machinations. You can see in the photo above the difference in the size of the two manuals-- the oldest one, the juki (roughly 20 years old), was written in 3 languages, and I've never felt the need to supplement with additional information; it contains everything basic I need to know. The youngest is the brother manual (about 2 years), and it's only in English. The machine comes with another one in Spanish; that's a lot of paper!

The rest of the information can be used as needed, so if you encounter a problem in your sewing one day, it's always a good idea to check your manual however unlikely it may seem that it has a solution-- you might be surprised.

Use sticky tabs to label the appropriate section, so you are be able to find it quickly in the future. It's also a good idea to add a label to the cover with the serial number of the machine it goes to, should you ever need it when contacting dealerships or going to get your sewing machine maintained.

If your machine came with discs, it's likely they came inside a paper sleeve. To ensure the longevity of the data, it's best to transfer that disc into a hard case, such as those you get in the mail from H&R block during tax time...

There's always a way to recycle cases.
Use the cover sleeve of the case as a template to create a neat cover to identify the disc inside.
I do this with any and all discs that come with any machine or book I purchase. I just so happen to still have the paper sleeve my disc came in, so I could show you how it originally came-- along with an unused case I got in the mail again, eheh.

Safer, and a littler prettier.

I know this post was kind of short and sweet, and contains nothing really new...
For that I am sorry, but for the sake of starting at the very beginning, I will be writing these not only to introduce lesser known concepts and ideas, but to reiterate the well known ones too.
I am splitting this section into parts, and discussing the shorter topics first-- so you'll have to bare with some redundancies at first.

The further we get, the more in depth it will all become...

1 comment:

  1. Love it! Thanks for this. I'm very excited! I've been sewing for years but just by winging it. It will be great to know what I'm doing!


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