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September 2010
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Tips For Sewing Machine Needles And Bobbins

Well, we’re right in the middle of sewing a variety of zippers, and of all times we don’t need to have problems with the thread/needle and/or bobbins is while we’re trying to get the zipper installed!

Before you start any sewing project – and most especially those tedious ones like zippers and buttons/buttonholes, make sure you adhere to the following few tips!

BOBBINS – regardless of where you wind the bobbin, inside the machine, on the top of the handwheel or on the front side near thehand wheel, the basic “bobbin” rules apply.

* Always use bobbins that are specifically for your machine.  My husband had commented to me many times as he was doing customer sewing machine repair jobs, about the “variety” of bobbins the customer had – plastic bobbins, metal bobbins, old looking worn and rusty bobbins, etc.  Bobbins are one thing that need to fit the machine right in order for them to sew properly.

* Always start with an empty bobbin; never mix different colors or sizes of thread on the bobbin.  This is the easiest way to ensure that you’ll have problems in the middle of an important project!

* Most sewing machines have an automatic “shut off” when the bobbin gets full, but if yours doesn’t have this feature, be careful not to fill it too full, as it will not easily fit into the bobbin case if filled too full.

NEEDLES:

* Sometimes while trying to hurry through a project, we slip up and do the worst possible error – putting the needle in backwards!  Even if you can still thread the needle, it won’t sew properly if the needle isn’t positioned right in the machine!  Each sewing machine requires that the “flat” side of the needle be put in a specific way – facing the front, the back, etc., depending on your particular make and model.  If you have a sewing machine that takes a needle that doesn’t have a flat side, you’ll notice that each needle has a groove in it where the thread lays as it penetrates the fabric.  Depending on whether your machine shuttle system faces to the front or to the left, the groove of the needle will also face front or left.

Don’t laugh and make a joke about the previous tip — per my husband, the sewing machine repairman, probably 25% – 30% of all sewing machine repair jobs he went on the only problem was that the needle was put in backwards.  If you’ve changed out a broken or nicked needle and start having problems with skipping stitches, or if the needle won’t pick up the bottom thread, stop what you’re doing, take the needle out and check to be sure you’ve inserted it properly.

Be honest now, have you ever been in such a hurry that you stuck the needle in backwards?  Or have you grabbed the first bobbin available in your sewing drawer that had “only a little” thread on it, so you quickly filled that bobbin in order to get on with your project?  These little “time saver” things we do can actually add way more time to the project as we try to re-do and undo the things we did trying to save a little time.

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Pattern Maker, Instructor & Author

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