Hitting the Books

We Carry
by Sara Snuggerud in Archives

Reading a sewing machine manual can be *B*O*R*I*N*G*!…especially if you just want to sit down at your new machine and sew. With most appliance manuals you may skim the first couple pages, or go right to the “Quick Start” section.  You might not ever return to the meat and potatoes of how to work your new machine. I know, I did this when I got a new cell phone. 

I equate a sewing machine manual with a manual for a stove. The stove manual does not make me a better cook; it only guides me through the proper use of the stove and oven. Likewise, sewing machine manuals are meant to tell you how to operate the machine, the stitches, functions, and features. 

Are you the type who likes to figure things out for yourself? After the newness wears off your new machine, and you have stumbled through its basic functions by pushing every button, you should promise yourself to return to the instruction manual and begin to peruse those helpful pages you passed over. 

Do you like to be shown how to use something before you touch anything? Are you afraid you might break it by doing something wrong? Make sure to sign up for your Mastery Classes. I heard last week in my Serger Mastery class that “the manual just didn’t make any sense.” It was probably like a foreign language to this serger-newbie. After the class this same person said, “I think I will understand the manual now that I understand how a serger works.”

It’s time to re-explore what came with your new sewing machine, embroidery machine, or serger as a fantastic refresher course! Now that you understand the basic operation of your machine and some of the functions and buttons, reading the manual will help you use them better as you learn more about the features. 

Additionally, it is probably time to be reminded to clean your new (or older) sewing machine.  Browse through the maintenance section to be sure you clean and oil the machine properly and in the right places.

Do you have an odd looking accessory that came with the machine for which you have no clue as to its use?  Scan through the accessory list to find out what that mystery item can do for you!

Look over the trouble shooting section to see if you have encountered any of the listed problems. There might be a better solution than turning off the machine and calling it ugly names.

Some people look to their manuals to learn how to sew and feel let down. They think the information they are searching for, like inserting a zipper, sewing a quilt, or embellishing with piping, should be in the manual. Just as I need to refer to a cook book to learn how to successfully create a recipe, you, too, will need to look further than the sewing machine manual to become a better sewer. Look for specialty books and classes to teach you the many arts of sewing.

Sewing machine manufacturers, especially, want you to be passionate about your new machine. That is why they load the boxes with lots of extra helpful information. Look for specialty workbooks to create samples of various techniques, high-tech DVD’s that can be played on both a TV or computer, and inspirational booklets full of wonderful accessory information! And if that is not enough, visit the company’s website for your brand of machine for updates, projects, and new techniques. For that matter, explore other brands’ websites, too. 

So, for starters, let’s “hit those instruction books”. Find something about operating your machine that you learned, and post your findings with this tip. Who knows, maybe someone will read your post and you will help make their day!

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