Thursday, March 17, 2011

EBTKS Link Party & Its SEW Basic Series Part 2

Hello everyone! Time for another Everything but the Kitchen Sink link party (located at the bottom of the post) and Part 2 of our Sew Basic Series with Tina from Twinkle Toes. She is doing such a wonderful job and putting so much work into these awesome tutorials. I'm so thrilled she agreed to do this with me!
Twinkle Toes The Blog

REMEMBER: Next week is the final part in our series and then the week after that, March 31, we'll have a link where everyone who participated and made a pillow case can link up their projects. From there, we'll choose 3 WINNERS to receive one of the following:

Take it away, Tina!

Hi, class.  It's Tina from Twinkle Toes here.  I'm so excited to be hosting this little sewing series with Meg.   I hope you’ve done your homework from last week and are ready to go.  If you are just joining us, you can catch up here.  This week, we’re going to get your sewing machine threaded and start constructing our pillow cases.

Aaaand away we go!

While all sewing machines are different, most are threaded in the same way. Since I am a visual learner, I thought that the best way to show this is with pictures.  (Now is a great time to bust out your machine’s manual.  If you don’t have a manual, often times you can find one simply by doing a search of your brand and model on ye old internet.)

Let’s start with winding your bobbin.  This is the little do-dad that creates the bottom portion of your stitch. 

Slide out the extension table.

Then open the cover.

Pull out the bobbin case with the bobbin (mine is clear) inside.  It looks like this.  Remove the bobbin from the case.

Guide your thread through the thread guide.

Place the bobbin on the bobbin spindle, pull thread through the hole and press the pedal to wind it up! It will automatically stop when it is full. 

Then put the bobbin back into the case, guiding the thread along the slot and through the opening.  Pull about 4 inches of thread and return it to its home and close the cover. 

Now we’ll thread the top part of the machine. Start by placing your spool onto the spool pin, and pulling the thread through the upper needle thread guide.  Then follow the arrows and guide your thread down, catching it on the little hook at the bottom, and back up to the thread take up.  From there, pull your thread down to the needle and thread it from front to back.

Since we’re looking at my sewing machine, you’ll see that it is neither expensive, fancy or high end.  You don’t need top of the line to make beautiful things.  Mine cost about $120 over ten years ago and still works perfectly.
You’ll notice that I pointed out three features above: Stitch Selector: Most machines have a variety of stitches available, such as a straight, overcasting, smocking and zigzag.  For this project, we are going to use a simple straight stitch.  When changing your stitch, make sure that your needle is in the “up” position so that it doesn’t catch on your fabric and snag it.

Stitch Length: The shorter the stitch, the stronger it will be.  For sewing medium weight fabrics, a 2 or 3 is a good stitch length.  Next week, we’re going to make a ruffle, so we’ll increase our stitch length for that.

Reverse Stitch Lever: This little lever will cause your machine to go into reverse.  It is often used at the start and finish of a line of sewing to “lock” stitches into place so that they don’t pull apart. 

Are you still with me?  Good.  Let’s finish getting the machine ready to go. We’re almost there. Turn the knob on the right side of the machine to raise and lower the needle.  This will catch your bobbin thread and pull it up.  Pull both threads to the back, like a little tail. 

Ok, now that your machine is set up, take some time and practice.  Get out some scrap fabric and go to town.  If you don’t have scraps, you can use paper! Seriously!  When I was a kid, my grandma used to let me sew on her machine with a piece of notebook paper, following the lines so that I learned to sew a straight line. 

Practice until you are comfortable and find the right pressure to apply to your foot pedal.

Remember, this isn’t the Indy 500. Slow down, sister. Take your time. Experiment with the various stitch lengths and if your machine has a variety of decorative stitches, check those out, too! When you’re good and ready, place your two large pieces of fabric right sides together.  Pin all the way around.  As you get more comfortable with sewing, you may not need to pin as often.  But I recommend it.

Lift your presser foot and slide your fabric under.  Return the presser foot to the “down” position and line the edge of the fabric up with the 3/8 seam guide on the needle plate.

Are you ready?  Take a deep breath and gently press the foot pedal.  Sew about 4 stitches and then press the reverse stitch lever and then continue sewing.  The reverse stitch is going to hold the thread in place so that it doesn’t come out.  Some people call this “backstitching.”

Let the machine do the work for you.  Don’t push or pull on your fabric.  Your job is to gently guide it.

Take your pins out as you sew.  Some people sew right over them, but I always take them out as I go.  It’s not worth risking a broken needle.  I sew right up to the needle then I remove it.

Keep on going until you get the the end of your length of fabric.  When you are about 1/2 inch from the bottom, stop sewing.  Keeping the needle in the fabric, lift the presser foot and pivot your fabric to line up with the 3/8 inch seam guide.  Lower the presser foot and continue sewing.  Do this again when you reach the next corner.

Sew all the way around 3 sides of your pillow case.  When you reach the end, do another backstitch.  I like to clip my corners (but don’t cut into your stitching!) so that when turned right side out, they are nice and pointy.

Open the seams and give them a good press with a steamy iron.  This will make it look much more professional
when you turn it right side out.  

That’s it!  You did it! Next week we are going to make a cute little ruffle and learn how to topstitch to keep our seams nice and crisp!


Thanks, Meg, for hosting again!  It’s been “sew” much fun!

Ok, I hope you guys are sewing like mad right now! It's now time for EBTKS! Link up below!

Rules: NO RULES! Have fun!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing the tutorial on threading a sewing machine. I have had one for a long time and am ashamed to admit that I've never used it because I can't figure out how to thread it. It's embarrassing. This post has been a huge help!!! Thanks! Heather @

  2. I am following you (suelee1998) from the blog hop, you have a great site. Would you please follow me back?
    thank you :)

  3. Thank you!! Can't wait to make my pillowcases! :)

  4. Thanks a bunch for hosting!!!

  5. So sorry about the double entry - #62 & 63. Slow computer.

  6. I wish I could sew! Seems like such a useful talent. Great tutorial pics! Have a great Friday!

  7. Thanks so much for hosting. I just love seeing what everybody has been up to while sipping a nice hot cup of tea (it's raining on my little corner of the world).

  8. Thanks for hosting! I've read your blog for a while, but only recently got into the blogging game myself. From one Meg to another, consider yourself followed!:)

  9. thanks for stopping by and leaving your blog on the lovely blogs list! glad to find you :)

  10. Can't wait to check everybody out! I linked up again this week.


I would love to hear from you!