Frequently Asked Questions

No matter whether your sewing machines costs $200 or $1,000, most of us have questions that require answering, therefore let’s look at a few commonly asked questions:

Q: Why does my machine grab my fabric from underneath, leaving trails of thread?

A: Unfortunately this is probably your fault. The fabric may have slipped out of the guide. If you thread your sewing machine with the foot down, this can easily happen. To correct this simply start from scratch and re-thread your sewing machine.

Q: Which pressure foot should I use?

A: Each sewing machine is different and the foot varieties are snap-on, screw-on, or clip-on. The zig-zag foot is generally the more common one to use. This foot is often labeled as “A” or “0.” The zig-zag Foot is the one that has a flat surface which keeps the fabric flat and straight after each stitch. A pressure foot helps to feed your fabric evenly. Other Foot pedals, include the following:

>> Zipper – lets you stitch close to the zipper coils.

>> Buttonhole – creates uniform buttonholes on your garments.

>> Blind Hem – provides a nearly invisible hem.

>> Overlock – results in a professionally looking seam edge.

Q: How long does a sewing machine needle last?

A: Another popular question is how long a needle lasts. This depends on how often you use it of course but most needles should be replaced every five hours.

Q: Can I use a generic bobbin?

A: No, no, no. Each sewing machine has specially designed parts and a bobbin is one of them. Only use bobbins that accompany your sewing machine.

Q: How do I clean and lubricate my sewing machine?

A: It’s best to have a look at your manual first and follow its directions. With any sewing machine, you will clean out tiny thread fibers and fabric dust. Your generic cleaning and oiling tools will include a stiff brush, machine oil, a soft lint-free cloth and perhaps a pair of tweezers. For generic sewing machines, meaning a machine without a lot of bells and whistles, you will likely clean and oil areas of the sewing machine that includes the plates, bobbin cases and the presser feet,.

Q: Can I use metallic thread?

A: Yes, you can use metallic thread in your sewing machine, but a few tips are required, such as using a thinner metallic thread spool, use a metallic thread needle, and lower the tension on your machine to give your metallic thread more leeway.

Q: Is my sewing machine a “Top Loading” or “Front Loading” model?

A: If the bobbin is inserted horizontally above, then you have a Top Loading sewing machine. If your bobbin is to be inserted vertically from the front, then your sewing machine is a Front Loading model.

Q: What can you tell me about the different types of sewing machine needles?

A: This completely depends on the type of fabric you are using.

>> Regular : best used for cotton, linen, synthetic suede, and other fine fabrics. Those needles are thin and available in varying sizes starting from size 9 for delicate fabrics to size 18 for heavier fabrics.

>> Universal : this type has a slightly rounded point and is more commonly used. This type of needle is generally the needle that comes with your sewing machine. It is available in many different sizes and the more common sizes are 14/90 and an 11/75.

>> Ball Point : the Ball Point is best used on interlocking, coarse and stretchy style fabrics. They have a rounded point. The needles are available in the sizes 9 to 16.

>> Embroidery : the sewing machine embroidery needles are easily recognizable with their large eyes which is an indication that they are used for thicker fabrics.

>> Quilting : quilting needles are also called “Betweens.” They have a defined tapered point which helps you stitch through layers of fabrics. The quilting needles are small in size and have a small eye, but they are very sturdy and are available in the sizes 9, 10, 11, and 12.

>> Topstitching : topstitching needles are used when your thread is thicker, thus it has a larger eye and deeper groove.

>> Wedge Point : wedge point needles are purposely used for leather and vinyl stitching. The needles have a wedge shape design. They are available in different sizes from 11 to 18, depending on the softness and pliability of your leather and vinyl fabrics.

Q: What do I do when the thread breaks?

A: If you can see the thread, just pull it out from the needle. However, if you can’t see the thread, you must remove the service cover and pull the remnant thread out carefully using tweezers. Remember to refer to your “troubleshooting” section of your user manual.

Q: How do I adjust the thread tension?

A. Whew! Adjusting your thread tension is going to be a challenge. Locate the tension gauge on your sewing machine. The gauge in your manual may be referred to as a knob or a button. Most generic sewing machines have a “lockstitch,” which means that you have an upper and a lower thread that fit together. If these thread joints don’t fit together correctly, the tension will be lessened. When these joints are not properly aligned on the bottom or the top of your sewing surface, then it is time to adjust your tension.