Every girl knows how a needle is pushed through cloth, drawing a thread after it, in order to make the stitches used in ordinary hand sewing. She has also watched sewing machines in operation and can recognize the stitching done on a sewing machine. Yet she may not know how the stitch is made nor how to use the sewing machine. To use a sewing machine intelligently one should know something of the way in which it works.
Watch your teacher or some one who knows how to use the sewing machine and try to answer the following questions:
1. What power causes the machine to sew?
2. Does the person who is sewing have to pull the cloth to make it move? Watch closely for this.
3. How is the machine started? Is it done entirely with the feet?
4. How is the machine stopped?
5. What holds the cloth in place so that it will not slip? If you do not know the name of this part of the machine, you can find it on page 15.
6. What do you think will be most important for you to learn first in operating a sewing machine? Treadling. - The best answer to the last question is to learn how to keep the machine going smoothly or in other words to learn how to treadle. This means that you must learn how to control the movements of your feet so that the machine does not jerk. An easy way, when you practice treadling, is to have no cloth or thread on the machine and to leave the presser foot up. If you study the following directions carefully before you go to the machine you will learn to treadle more easily.
1. Move the chair close enough to the machine so that you are comfortable and sit squarely on the chair.
2 Place both feet flat on the treadle. The most comfortable position is with the left foot on the upper left hand corner of the treadle and with the right foot on the lower right hand corner of the treadle.
3. Find out whether the balance wheel (the small wheel above the table) should move forward or backward. This differs in various makes of machines.
4. Place the right hand on the balance wheel and start it in motion.
5. As the balance wheel turns the treadle will begin to move. Continue the movement of the treadle with your feet and try to get an even movement. There should be an even pressure of heels and toes giving a uniform motion back and forth.
6. To stop the machine slow down the movement of the feet and put your hand on the balance wheel to stop it exactly when desired.
7. Practice treadling until you can do it smoothly and without any jerks or letting the wheel turn in the wrong direction.
Another way to test the smoothness of your treadling is with a piece of folded paper under the presser foot in place of cloth. No thread is necessary because the holes in the paper made by the needle will show whether you can treadle smoothly without letting the wheel fly back in the wrong direction.
How to Use Your Time Wisely When There Is Not a Sewing Machine for Every Girl. - It often happens that there are not enough machines in a classroom so that each girl has one. Below are some suggestions that will help you to use your time to the best advantage.
1. It has been found best in learning to treadle not to practice too long at one time. For example, two short practices are better than one very long practice.
2. Before going to the machine to practice treadling or before threading the machine or winding a bobbin you should know exactly what you are going to do. Study the directions while you are waiting for a machine so you will be ready for your turn at practicing.
3. While waiting for a machine you can prepare your folded papers and pieces of cloth for the practice exercises. See pages 16, 17 and 18.
4. Another thing to do while waiting for a machine is to study this chapter so that you can make a perfect score on the test about the sewing machine at the end of this chapter.
5. Extra practice on the sewing machine at home will speed up your work at school.
6. Sometimes it is wise to start work on the next problem before you have finished your practice work on the sewing machine. Then while you are waiting for a machine you can use your time to advantage. There are several problems suggested on page 25 that are suitable when one is learning to sew.
7. Can you offer any other suggestions as to how to use your time to the best advantage?
Winding the Bobbin. - As soon as you can treadle correctly you can prove it by winding a bobbin. On most machines the stitch is made by using two threads, instead of one as in hand sewing. One of these threads, called a bobbin thread, must be wound on a small spool. You can see two different types of these small spools, called bobbins, in Fig. 1. All machines are provided with bobbin winders because it would be foolish to wind bobbins by hand when it can be done so quickly on the machine. The bobbin winder is always placed near the small wheel but different kinds are used on different machines. Since there are so many kinds of bobbin winders only general directions can be given here. The exact directions for using each winder are always to be found in the instruction book which comes with each machine.
1. The movement of the needle should be disconnected. This is done in different ways on different machines, generally by pulling out the handle or turning the screw found on the balance wheel. It is important to stop the movement of the needle so as to save wearing out the needle.
2. Place the bobbin on the winder.
3. Bring the belt into contact with the winder so that the belt will turn the winder.
4. Place the spool on the spool pin and attach the end of the thread to the bobbin according to the directions given for your machine.