Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Read The Manual

While I was visiting last weekend in Illinois, I asked my sister, Mindy, if she would bring along the sewing machine that she was having trouble with since we were going to be together.  Her answer of "Which one?" stopped me in my tracks: which one? How many aren't working? "All of them" was her answer. Since I gave her one in November I asked her to bring that one since I was familiar with it, a White 1899. In a previous series of texts she said the same thing keeps happening to all of her sewing machines: the thread underneath is always big globs of loops and a real mess. I asked her to think about that for a minute: all were doing the same thing, new, old, computerized, manual? Yes. I couldn't help but ask if it was possible she was making the same mistake over and over again and she said sure, it was probably user error.
White 1899 (not my photo)

We sat down together with her White 1899, a manual sewing machine that was easy to use and pretty nice, actually. Loops on the bottom generally means a machine was threaded wrong so I followed the thread path to find it had missed the take up lever. It was one of those open loop types of lever, not one where you only have a hole and it cannot jump out of place. I asked if she had the print manual and she did so I suggested she needed to go back and read it to see how it should be threaded. Oh. Well, there was a reason, actually, because she got the machine with the walking foot attached and it just never worked and she thought it best to leave it alone. That is a good reason so you don't mess anything up. I checked things over, we both sewed on it to see how nice it could work, tried out two different walking feet and found one that worked much better. While we were at it, I checked out all of the different feet that came with the machine and told her what they were for and how she could use them. It was a mini-lesson like the one I've given the quilt group up north and have been asked to give again in September (yea!). She was fascinated with what could be done but I had to stop and remind her: all of this is in the print manual. Read the manual. We are all guilty of not using the resources right in front of us, myself included. When I told her about the chart I made up of the 32 different presser feet and how to use them with video clips she was interested in the chart and asked if it could be printed off. Well, no, because the strength was in the video clips and somehow those don't print off. But that has given me an idea of printing off the names of the feet and a brief how-to in only a photo or two. Until then, I have the chart that I will share with you again in case you haven't seen it yet.

Presser Feet Chart

While I was at it I checked to see if I could use the dropped feet dogs and try out a little free motion sewing. There was no darning presser foot so it was "bare needle" sewing and I am happy to report that it worked! Practice does make perfect, or at least better. It probably never was the sewing machine or the presser foot but my own lack of skill. Yup, I'm becoming a free motion fool:

Not the best of handwriting but it is legible!
It's never too late to teach an old dog new tricks.

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

I have a Singer 293B (made in France). It's a straight stitch machine. You don't hear much about them. They aren't anything special but I really like it. I had to read the manual because it threads from right to left. I'd love to attend one of your lessons for the quilting group. I'm sure it would be fun! Keep posting!