Being an instructor, I dutifully took the free classes offered when I bought my sewing machine years ago. Those classes didn’t even scratch the surface of what my machine could do. It came with a manual, but it didn’t really go in-depth either. I was determined to make the most of my sewing machine investment, so here’s what I did:
- Gathered my largest scraps and cut them about 5×5″.
- Backed each scrap piece with Stitch ‘n Tear so the specialty stitches wouldn’t get buried in the fabric and jam. Stitch ‘n Tear is a thick stabilizer, not a fusible, that many embroiderers use. If your quilt shop doesn’t carry it, your local sewing machine dealer probably does.
- Stitched a sample of every single stitch on my sewing machine and labeled each one.
What a process of discovery. You know what I found?
- Stitches don’t look the same on fabric as they do on that cute little icon on the machine.
- Some stitches just didn’t work. They jammed, they were ugly, why where they there?
- Some stitches were fantastic and held potential far beyond what was in the manual.
I now had a reference that held meaning for me and my machine that went far beyond what any teacher or manual could tell me.
So put on some music, get out the chocolates, and make an evening of it. Then get one of those ring clips and put all your stitch samplers on it and store them with your machine.
You might even take them to class next time. Tell them I sent you.
Next in the series: Experimenting with stitch settings and threads.