Last week, I wrote about what happens to your machine when you hit a pin with your needle. I think we all agree that it’s not good! Zede and I put together some tips for helping you avoid pins.
Hold your fabric with this special “grip”. It puts a tiny bit of resistance on the bottom fabric, which is the layer in contact with the feed-dogs. This layer always gets pulled slightly faster, so this hand position helps with even feeding.
Remember, don’t push or pull your fabric through the machine! Simply use a “pincher grip” with your right hand to hold your two layers of fabric and then rotate your thumb upwards. Use your left hand to guide the fabric from the front of the machine toward the needle, as the fabric is fed through. Your left hand will move back and forth from the front of the machine to the needle over and over, you shouldn’t pull fabric that is behind your needle.
- Note– the technique mentioned above only works when paired with accurate, well-executed cutting. If your two pieces of fabric are different sizes when they shouldn’t be, you won’t be able to get an even, smooth seam. There are times when we sew that we want our two pieces of fabric to be different sizes, and then we ease them together (see next tip!).
- Trust yourself a little more. Don’t pin every inch! This distorts your fabric and obstructs it from stretching as you feed it through the sewing machine or serger- not to mention it wastes precious time. Pin at certain landmarks, such as pattern notches or quarter markings, and check to make sure your fabric is feeding evenly by making sure that the two layers are laying smoothly together as you sew, or that your layers are easing together properly.
Use a walking foot if you’re quilting or sewing with velvet or minky fabric. Baby Lock’s special “Digital Dual Feed Foot” is a fancy, adjustable walking foot that helps with this issue too- use it if you have it.
Use something like Wonder-Tape or Wonder Clips, if you’re having difficulties keeping your fabric together. Wonder-Tape is water soluble, and will go away with your first washing. Wonder Clips are a better answer to hair clips and binder clips. They are flat on one side, so they glide along the machine bed smoothly. You also can’t sew over them, because they have to be taken away before going under the presser foot (of course, I say that- I’m sure someone can prove me wrong!).
If you must use pins (and sometimes we must!), take them out before they reach the needle. If it’s possible, pin parallel to the edge of your fabric and outside of your seam allowance, so that you absolutely won’t hit them. This parallel pinning technique is a great option on the serger
Would you like a video demonstrating some of these techniques? Let us know!