Going through the manual, taking notes, and making samples to match are really good ways to get used to your sewing machine. If yours doesn't have one for any reason, there is probably a PDF online you can print off (recommended so you can have it on hand). It helps so much when you're just starting out, esp. since sewing machine models can be vastly different.
If your stitching gets all bogged up:
- re-thread the entire machine, including the bobbin. Sometimes things just fall out of place… not sure how tho
- check the tension. If you're a beginner using non-stretch medium weight fabrics (like cotton, very recommended), the little half-moon tension should be at 3.5, and the big tension wheel should be at 4. Different weights/fabric types need different tensions - I usually just sew on a scrap and adjust until I get it right.
- on rare occasion, you will need to pull out a screwdriver/the metal "T", unscrew the the throat plate, and clean out the fabric fluff that can get trapped down there using a brush. You only need to do this if your fabric/needle/thread are getting "dusty" as you sew.
Making samples using scrap fabric of darts, pleats, french seams, curves (both concave/convex), button holes, pivoting for sharp edges, etc. is a good way to get used to your own machine, and to learn how to do all of those things. It helps if you want to be able to make more complex garments sooner. I think this is the best beginner I-wish-I-did-this tip because you don't have to work so hard when actually sewing for enjoyment.
General tips for beginners:
- standard seam allowances are 5/8 of an inch, so you have room to let it out if you have to.
- stitch length should be 2.8 (2.5 if your machine doesn't let you put in 2.8)Post too long. Click here to view the full text.