I had this fantasy in my head of being able to pull out my new sewing machine, turn it on, and immediately start stitching pieces of fabric together. Realistically I knew that it wouldn’t be that simple, but I’m a quick study and I thought I would be able to figure everything out fairly quickly. It has not been quick.

I am a fan of instruction manuals. I’ve never understood the need that some people have to prove they can figure things out without so much as glancing at the directions. I like having a map to follow and saving myself time and unnecessary frustration. I pulled out my trusty instruction manual but it wasn’t as simple to read as I’d hoped it would be.
The first thing right after the table of contents is a list of parts for the machine. There are 42 of them. FORTY-TWO! And that doesn’t even include the 21 accessories that come with the machine.

My head was spinning as I tried to navigate the parts but it didn’t make sense. Why was there a start/stop button AND an on/off switch AND a foot control. Not to mention the needle up/down button.

What the heck is a feed dog an and a setscrew?

Thankfully, my trusty machine also came with a DVD manual which has been much easier to understand. For example, I read in the manual that the LCD display shows which stitch number you’re using, which foot to use, the width of the stitch, and the length of the stitch. What does that mean? The width of a stich? I’m sure all you sewers out there are chuckling at how clueless I am, but it didn’t make sense. The DVD, however, gave examples of one stitch with multiple different widths. I could see how changing the width would effect the appearance of the stitch. It makes complete sense now.

I also now understand the use of a bobbin. Now it doesn’t seem like magic that a needle can jab in and out of fabric and somehow loop all the way through.

This whole process has taught me I am a visual learner. I’m not sure how this is going to help me moving forward, as there won’t be a DVD for every aspect I’ll be tackling, but I will at least have more patience with myself.
For now, I’m going to finish familiarizing myself with my machine so I can finally turn it on. That is the goal.

I plan on posting every Friday my experience from the previous week. This upcoming week I will finally be using my machine to practice with the different stitches and tensions. (I know what tension is referring to now. Knowledge is a powerful thing.)

What terms do you wish you had known and understood when you first started sewing? There are so many I know I’ll only be able to tackle learning them as they become relevant, but it would be nice to have a few under my belt as I start.