Quick & Dirty Sewing: Machine Crash Course | Miranda Harper | Skillshare

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Quick & Dirty Sewing: Machine Crash Course

teacher avatar Miranda Harper, Seamstress/Cosplayer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Welcome to Machine Crash Course


    • 2.

      Machine Tour


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Basic Stitches


    • 5.

      BONUS- Blind hem


    • 6.

      Class Project


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About This Class

Are you mystified by your sewing machine? Bad at bobbins? A numbskull about needles? Do you fear the presser foot? Swear at stitches?

Well fear no more! This class is designed especially for those who have never used a sewing machine! Or maybe you have once or twice but got frustrated and relegated your precious machine to a hidden closet somewhere.

This class takes you through a guided tour of a standard sewing machine. Every machine's basic functions are the same. No matter what kind of machine you have, you'll be able to use this information. You'll learn all the parts of the machine plus basic stitches to get you started sewing your heart out.

Materials Needed:

-Sewing machine

-Remnant of medium weight woven fabric, preferably 12x12 (could be a piece of old bed sheet or pillow case, but no tshirts)

-Thread (does not have to match fabric)

Skills covered:

-Threading the machine and winding a bobbin

-Using stitch settings

-Sewing a straight stitch and basic seam

-Sewing a zig zag seam finish

-Sewing a buttonhole

-Sewing a basting and gathering stitch

-Bonus: Sewing a blind hem

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Miranda Harper



Well hey there! My name is Miranda and I teach sewing classes here on Skillshare. I've been sewing for almost 20 years, have degrees in Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising and been a freelance seamstress/designer/tailor for almost 10 years making everything from prom dresses to swim wear to cowboy vests. I also have a day job as a graphic designer and I love to paint, cook, watch comic book TV shows and hang out with my dog.

I think sewing is an incredible skill that everyone should have, even if all you do is replace buttons and hem pants. Those things are important. When you take my classes, you'll learn basic skills to transfer to other sewing projects and I'll throw in a few industry tips to make your sewing life easier. Enjoy! 

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Level: Beginner

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1. Welcome to Machine Crash Course: Hello. Welcome to Quicken Dirty sewing. This is machine crash course. Today we're gonna learn all about your sewing machine. We're gonna take a tour from top to bottom. We're going to learn how to thread the machine, how to wind a bobbin on how to do basic stitches that you use all the time. I'll be using my machine, which is a Geno Me. It is quite old, but nor machines work basically the same way. So you'll be able to use this information no matter what kind of machine you have. Even if you have a fancy computerized one, we'll still be able to use this information. So let's get started. 2. Machine Tour: All right, So we're gonna take a tour of this machine. My machine is a Geno Me Excel pro 51 24 if almost 20 years old. But you can still do the same. Makes basic functions on any machine. So you should be able to use the information no matter what kind of machine you have. So here will start at the top who opened up the top cover. You'll see all these parts here. This is the thread spool. You put the front on there. Obviously, there is a cap on the end. You put that on there, and that will keep threat in place. When you thread the machine, there's a little black knob there that the threat goes around. We'll cover that a little bit more later in the video on threading. This is another part of the threating process called the Threat arm. And when we get to the threading video will look a little bit more at this. This is the tension. Dial it, adjust the looseness or tightness of your stitches. I have always left mine at four and I've never found a reason to change it. You can experiment with yours if you like, but I never found it necessary to adjust balm and wind. Er so this is the path that the thread takes to wind the Bob in which we will talk more about in the threatening video. But here it is, so you can see it. The's air where all the presser feet are stored. I have a section on presser feed at the end of this video so you can see there are several there and we will talk about the ones you'll use. The most stitch settings guide is very handy. You just flip up the top there and you'll see all the settings to use for a lot of different stitches. Well, some of the ordinary ones were up there. They're really handy. Just take a minute to look at that on your machine. So here is a menu of all the stitches that you can use. I use 3 to 4 of these, and I have used all of them in the past. But some of them I just use because I wanted to know what they did and then decided that I didn't really need to use them. So we're gonna cover the four or five that you'll use the most on you can experiment with whatever is on your machine. Some of the embroidery ones are kind of fun, but we're not going to use them here. You're straight sticks. You will use 90% of the time. It is the most basic construction stitch and zigzag stitch is used for lots of different things. I Onley really use it for seem finishes and when I need to so stretch fabrics Because that zigzag allows for more stretch Buttonhole is kind of self explanatory. That is for when you do buttonholes which we will do in this class. A blind M is kind of a bonus that we're gonna go over. It's pretty fun. It's used on suiting and formals a lot and you can't see the stitches from the outside. Okay, lets go over these stitch settings real quick. You'll see those on the right side of your machine. Someone speed. If you move that lever all the way to the left, it'll go really slow. If you leave it all going to the right will go really fast. The only time I move it all the way to the right is what I'm winding a bobbin. Otherwise, I keep it to the left. Your stitch length determines the length of your stitches. Obviously, for basic construction, I keep on three because that is, stand your standard manufacturing practice. Some home slime patterns will say to put it at 2.5. I find that unnecessary for, ah, four length is a basting and gathering stitch, which we will do in this class. The needle position will move your needle to the left or the right. I find this handy when I'm working with zippers, and it will also adjust the width of your zigzag stitch. The hand wheel moves the needle up and down by hand, which is good if you're turning corners or threatening your machine stitch selector Wheel will select stitches in the menu. When you turn it, you'll see well on my machine. There's a little red mark that goes Teoh, each stitch one. Then it shows that selected it. And that's how I select the stitches. And there's probably something similar on your machine. If you hold down this back such lever the machine will start sewing backwards. This is for whatever you start a line of stitching and end a line of stitching, and that will secure threats. And you just have to hold it down for maybe like a second or two. All right, let's continue moving downward. Here is the needle. We're gonna talk about all the stuff around this needle threat guide, which we will look at more when we do the threading video. Presser Foot keeps the fabric in place and guides it, and it is absolutely necessary. Do not so without presser foot. Whenever you need to change your presser foot, you'll push this little black knob called the Presser Foot release and now pop off that foot, and then you can pop a new one back on. They just snap into place the bombing cases under here, this whole bobbin and keeps the thread flowing through that part of the machine. To open the bobbin case, you'll slide that little release button to the right. Here are the seam guides. These air a little measurements so that when you're sewing, you'll run the edge of your fabric up against one of these, and that will determine the width of your seems or of your seam allowance. I have my seam allowance at half of an inch. Because that is Mormon industry standard, 3/8 of an inch is even better. Most home selling patterns will tell you 5/8 of an inch, but I find that to be too much. So 1/2 inch is good. All right, let's go over the pressure feet we will use in this class. All purpose foot will be used 90% of the time for everything zipper foot you will obviously use using zipper. I also like to use it when I'm sitting close to the edge of something, like for a pillow or a flat fell seam on jeans. What whole foot is for buttonholes and a blind him foot is for sewing blind hems, obviously. So that is a quick run down of all the parts of the machine and what their functions are. And in this next video, we will learn how to threaten machine and wind above it. 3. Threading: All right, This is the video on threading. So let's start doing that. We have are threatened, and we're gonna put it on the red school, followed by the school cap. Oh, do you take your threat and you're gonna put it around this little silver knob and I trying to do this so that I keep my fingers out of the way and you can see, um, it's not working out so well here. There we go. Bring the threat over to the right. Right now, grab your bombing and we're gonna put the thread through this little tiny hole. It's in the top of Bob, and I hope you can see it there a little bit blurry. But you just put it through there from the bottom up. Always go from the bottom up you and then put that right on there and slide it to the right and make sure you're stitching. Speed is to the fastest setting, which is all the way to the right on my much machine being a clip the thread right here, close to the bottle in, and then finish winding it up when you want it as full as you want you will remove it by pushing it back over to the left and popping it right out of there in quipping that thread to disconnect way. Go. Uh, now you have a wound. Bobbin, Ray. Now we'll thread the needle portion of machine. Just bring your head back over to the left. We're gonna loop it around this little black knob here and go down this little slot. You see there, two discs and they're called Ken King dials the frejus sits right in there between them. You can't really see him there kind of hidden in there. But just trust me that they're there. So then you go down, up around and you'll catch it through the spread arm. I'm gonna show you a different angle of that. A little slot on that arm, the old kind of cold Fred through. Here's the other angle. So we're going up around the little black knob down over the tension dial up again. And then through that red arm there is back down and that will finish up. We'll bring that threat down through this little threat guide. You see that little bar? They're above the needle? Burnett through with your threat. Actual eye of a needle. I want to get it in there now. Your needle is threatened. This is the presser, Foot lever. Just want to show you that really quick. It lowers and raises pressure foot bone. Now we're gonna load up the bobbin. I have a top loading bob in front, one in bobbins. Different. Make sure your credit's hanging off to the left. There, place it in and then they're too little catches in the case, and you're going to put the threat through those. Then you'll take your needles thread to hold onto it. Lower the needle with a hand. He'll be It pulls up that Bob Fred right up through the top there. And grab that friend. Pull it off to the side. And then whenever you're sewing, you want to make sure that bob current actually underneath the foot and not over it like that. Well, I just pull it up. You will cover it with faceplates. And now you're ready to 4. Basic Stitches: we finally come to the actual. So in part of the class we will learn basic stitches, so you'll need to pieces of 12 by 12 scrap fabric or really any size of scrap fabric. It's I have to be 12 by 12 and grab those and let's start sewing first we're gonna do with Zigzag Stitch, and I'm gonna show you how what I use is exact sits for which is an edge finish, and you'll see the settings there. I have zigzag selected, and I have the the little bars on the right side set to where they're supposed to be set. Okay, so you're gonna grab one piece of your fabric and lay it down here, and there's a little groove in the foot right there were pointing that I'm lining up the edge of my fabric with, and this is going to make sure that those stitches get as close to the edge of the fabric as possible. What an engine finished does is keep the fabric from braying past stitch line. So when you wash your garment or whatever you're making, you won't have tons of reds coming out from that seem to keep that room clean, kind of nice looking. So from all the way down, don't forget to back City end. First annual back sits lover for just a little bit and clip your threads. And now let's go on to the next one. All right. Now we'll move on to Straight Stitch, which is the one that you'll use the most often, and I have my straight sich selected in the menu on the left and then all my settings in the slider bars on the right. Now you will take both pieces of your fabric and put them together so the edges are are touching that, and I will make sure that everyone fabric. It's the half inch guide on the face plate so that I have 1/2 inch seam allowance and I will start sewing and be sure you back such a little bit at the top to secure your friends . Watch out. Keep your keep your edges so you're seem saving. Exit to the end. Read again, and now you have a joining Seem. There's two pieces of fabric joined together, right? Right now we're moving on to button holes. These get a little bit tricky if you don't if you've never done that before, So I have my buttonhole such selected on the left and all my sliders set on the right. Okay, remember this. This is your buttonholes foot and on here it has little slider this adjust to hold the button that determines the size of the hole. So I'm going to use my empty bob in here, and I'm going sliding around and adjust it until it sits in there really well. And it fell out and that, um, so slight in there till it's kind of nice and secured, and then I will attach it to the machine. Now I'm going to pop off my foot here so I could touch the button hole. Put that away. There's a little tiny bar on this buttonhole foot that is going to be attached to this little my lower the foot down until I hear it click. There it is. This back lover comes down and that tells the machine when to turn the stitching of the buttonhole to alongside short guys now going to pull the bobbin Fred, um, over to the left side, if I can. Here we go. Um, okay. And now I take Neal, Fred and I pull it through this little about through this little opening, Um, in the foot. I put it down through there and pull it to the left as well. This is really important because the threads needs to be properly aligned in order to do this buttonhole correctly. It's just the thing that it needs to happen. It's really particular, Yeah, pulling the threads over using messengers because I can't get my fingers underneath there. And now my threat to the left where they should be now going. Teoh, lower this back down. Grab my piece of fabric. I just So together I'm gonna go through a double layer and do you can do that anywhere. It doesn't matter. Just lower down the foot and start going. Just hold down the foot the whole time. The machine will guide through everything. You don't even have to move the fabric. Just keep going. The ones that hit once that white lever that's down hits one of those posts on the buttonhole foot, you'll get they'll start doing a little bar at the top and then it will start coming back down and then we'll do a little bar. Bottom name will finish itself off. You don't even have to do anything That'll do it all automatically. E finished. I turned the hand wheel to reset the stitch, and I pull up the foot, pull out my fabric. And now I have this nice, beautiful button hole. So pretty. Now I'm going to show you a basting slash gathering stitch What we're gonna I'm gonna actually show you a gathering stitch, which is what you would use if you wanted to make a ruffle or something like that. A basting stitch is a temporary straight stitch that is made with law along situation so you can take it out really easily and that's it. You needed to test the fit of a garment or something. Sometimes quilters use it to. So grab your piece of fabric again on. I'm gonna use a single layer now and I'm gonna line it up the first edge right to the edge of my foot or just a little bit past it. I'm gonna make two rows of stitching and these use a really long stitch and you'll see why . Just go away down. Do not back. Sit on this and leave a long length of bread of the end. Now I'm gonna go back and do a second line running the stitching line I just made along the edge of my foot so that the two rows of stitching are equal distance apart. Gonna run it all the way down and also do not back. Sit here and leave long length of bread. Now I have these two rows of stitching and their long stitches, and I'm going to grab the bob inside of these two rows of stitches and coal and I'm trying really hard to get them. Um, we all can't see is like I'm holding a camera on the tripod underneath my arm so I could feel this and this kind of making it awkward. But I am going to get these. I think I got them. Oh, now I got Okay, So what you do to make a gather is pull on those bobble stitches and just move the fabric down, and then once you get all the way to the end, right around with your fingers until it's even. And then if you were to then make a ruffle or say a gathered skirt, you would then attach this to a piece of flat fabric and then take these long basting stitches out. I'm not going to show you that right now. I'm just going to show you this beautiful rubble and we're gonna move on. 5. BONUS- Blind hem: It's time for our bonus section, which is a blind him. You'll find blind Thames on suits and fancy or dresses men's pants. It's kind of complicated, so go really slow. Here are my blind him settings. Blind hem stitch is a special selection on the machine and you'll see I have all my setting set on the right there. I've already attached my blind him foot and turned down some ham on the sample that I did this zigzag edge finish with. Now I'm gonna pull this so that the little bit of the edge is facing away from the fold. I'm gonna do it real slow so you can see it kind of layered there. And I'm going to run his little like, white part of the foot. It's a straight edge. I'm gonna run that along the fold. I just made I'm gonna zoom and really close so you guys can see this as well as you can. There's a little white edge on that foot there, and I'm going to run that along the full good edge. Now what is happening is every birds ditch a longer zigzag coming down and catching just the edge of that folded apart. So this is a zigzag stage. Every first stage one is longer, so it just catches the edge there. And you have to really be careful and make sure that that old stays right along that white part of the foot. Otherwise, you could miss some stitches. Normally, I would go over the him twice with this to make sure I didn't miss anything. And I will back such a little bit and then you'll see how it looks from the inside. And then how it looks from the outside. I actually missed a little bit on the outside there, so I'm gonna go back over it again. Now, if I was using a matching friend, you would not see those little green tiny dots. I'm just using a contrast ing threats. You can see a little better. But if I wasn't, I was making a real him. You wouldn't see that 6. Class Project: Now we've come to the end of our class, and your final project is a sewing sample with all stitches that we have learned today. We'll see here on my sample that I haven't edge with exact finished with a blind him. I have a basic seen joining two pieces of fabric together. I have a buttonhole. It's super random. That's okay. And I have some gathers at the top, and I know this looks really weird, but you have now learned all the basics stitches that you'll need to complete pretty much anything. I hope you enjoy this class. I hope you learned a lot. And if you did, please leave the thumbs up at the end. Thanks for watching and be on the lookout for my other quick and dirty sewing classes.