Friday, December 2, 2011

Top Sewing Machine Questions

The Top Eight Sewing Machine Questions
by David Trumble

Q1: What makes a sewing machine?

Since the first sewing machine was patented in 1846, it has essentially been a mechanical appliance used to connect materials together using needle and thread. Today, we think of the sewing machine largely as an appliance to join fabrics.

Question 2: Are there different types of sewing machines?

While many people think of sewing machines only in terms of their standard home sewing machine, there are hundreds of sewing machines designed for specific applications at home and in factories. Since sewing machine are either used in a home or factory setting we might say there are two broad kinds: Home and Commercial or Home and Industrial. At home you will find the typical home sewing machine, a serger, an embroidery machine, an embellishing machine, quilting machines, a blind hemming machine, and sometimes a light industrial straight stitch or zig zag machine. In industry, you will find much more rugged and faster sewing specialty machines often used for a single application. Here you can find walking foot machines, blind stitch machines, upholstery machines, leather machines, button machines, machines to make shoes, saddles, sails, and more.

Q3: What are the typical kinds of home sewing machines today?

All home sewing machines look about the same, but the insides have big differences. We can group them into three categories: mechanical, electronic, and computerized. Inside a mechanical machine you discover an AC motor, gears, levers, and shafts. In electronic machines, you see electronic devices controlling power distribution and stitch selection. Computerized sewing machines incorporate advanced technologies to provide power control, stitch formation, stitch information, and numerous convenience features. Mechanicals are the most limited in features, stitches, and capabilities, while computerized machines offer the most features, stitches, and capabilities.

Question Four: Why do sewing machines range so much in price?

Sewing machines sell for between $100 and $12,000 dollars. The price clearly reflects a combination of considerations: dependability, durability, features, convenience, and capabilities. The more you pay the less frustration you get. The less you pay the less capability and performance you have. Over $1,000 you find super quality sewing machines some with hundreds of stitches and even embroidery capabilities. Around $500, you find a good solid machine with a limited stitch set. Under $100, you get junk hardly worth taking home.

Why do we need a sewing machine?

The sewing machine is an amazingly versatile device that unleashes almost unlimited creative potential. You can use a sewing machine for garment construction, wearable art, embellishment, embroidery, endless home decorating projects, heirloom creations, quilting, crafting, and so much more. When you add all the specialty machine applications common in industry, sewing machines are vital for so many different tasks.

Q6: How do you choose the best sewing machine for me?

You best sewing machine or the right one for me will do two essential things: Empower me to create and reduce your frustrations in the process. You can find your machine by making sure it has the capabilities and features you want and need. If you buy value instead of just price, you benefit every time you sew.

Question Seven: What is the difference between a regular sewing machine, a serger, and an embroidery machine?

At the center of every home sewing center is the home sewing machine. This is the versatile machine used for so many different applications involving seams. Still, if you enjoy sewing, you will treasure the benefits of the home serger. It actually seams, overcasts, and trims all in one high speed step saving time and energy. You may also enjoy the embroidery machine which is a single purpose machine designed to sew beautiful preprogrammed designs.

Question 8: Where can I get a new sewing machine?

While you can buy sewing machines over the internet and in department stores, these merchants offer no support, instruction, or service. You may not need these with a simple microwave oven, but to get the most from your sewing machine, you need all three: support, instruction, and service. Better quality sewing machines are only sold through authorized sewing machine dealers. When you purchase a machine from one of these dealers, you receive much more than a machine in a box. You get expert advice and assistance. You get professional repair and maintenance service. And you get very helpful sewing machine instruction. To get the most from your sewing machine investment, find your trusted local sewing machine dealer.

Get more about sewing machine repair with Dr. David Trumble's complete Sewing Machine Repair Manuals. Check out his free beginner's course. Also check out his other sewing resources learn to sew, how to sew, and other sewing sights including,,, and

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fix Sticky Serger Stitches

What Do You Do With Skipped And Sticky Serger Stitches?

When you push on the foot control, you expect your serger to zip along serging a perfect stitch in an endless seam. When the stitch fails to form or skips hear and there, it causes horrific frustration. The sheer number of threads make serging a challenge. It sews so fast, up to 1500 stitches per minute, that serging can be a bit unnerving.

Consistent stitching, proper thread placement, and fine balanced tensions form quality stitches. Puckers, irregularities, and loops are noticeably absent.

Failure to form a stitch and skipped stitches are two of the more frustrating challenges serger users experience. These problems require a concerted effort to identify the causes and find solutions.

The most common causes of skipped stitches and unformed stitches include needle problems, threading problems , thread issues, faulty tensions, fabric issues, snagging, and misalignment of either looper timing or needle bar height or both. Check each possible cause and eliminate one of the at a time.

Start by replacing the needle or needles involved. Needle burrs, flaws, and bends are common causes of skipped stitches. Make sure the needles are fully seated in their holders.

Serger needle positioning is critical. Some sergers use ordinary sewing needles that have flat back tops, but many use special needles with rounded tops. On the front of the needle is a groove for the thread to ride in while the needle goes down. On the back and just above the eye is a cut out space known as the scarf. The scarf must be at ninety degrees to the lower looper. Make sure the needle is straight forward and properly seated in its holder. Use the right needle for the application you are doing.

The needle bar height must be properly aligned in order for stitches to form. It can be dislodged by the needle striking hard surfaces, needle breakage, or by sewing through very heavy materials.

Threading is also a very common source of difficulties. To fix this problem, rethread properly. Be alert to anything that might snag the thread.

Not all threads are equal. Some thread work better, some worse. Rethread with separate color threads or easier tracking. Make sure tensions are right.

Generally, sergers work on all fabrics, however, certain challenges can emerge with super thin, slippery, or thicker fabrics require accommodations.

Failure to form stitches usually results from the same causes as skipped stitches, but the issues are more pronounced. It is a matter of degree. If a serger issue causes skipped stitches, it is only a matter of time before stitches fail to form at all.

Apply the same approaches to seek solutions. One additional tip, however, is to clear the stitch finger and draw the theads under and behind the presser foot prior to starting to serger.

Generally, when the stitch quality is less than acceptable there are some basic things to check every time. These include needles, thread and threading, tensions, loopers, snag causes, settings, and balance. Replacing needles properly, rethreading properly, and adjusting tension balance are the three basic approaches to solve stitch problems. Get help from our professional sewing machine technician if you continue seeing problems.
If you decide to consider buying a new serger, besure to check out the resources at They offer great reviews and resources to help you find the best serger or sewing machine.

Learn information about how to repair a sewing machine from Dr. David Trumbles excellent courses and sewing machine repair book. Download a copy of his free beginner's course.