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Learning To Sew: Sewing On Paper Part One No Thread

Are you interested in learning how to sew? This article will teach a great method of learning to use your sewing machine by sewing paper!


This is part one for sewing paper, part one will be sewing on paper without thread and part two will sewing on paper with thread. 

This article is the first in the learning to sew series, and is going to be about sewing on paper! Read more about what this series is going to be about and the articles coming up here!

If you haven’t gotten a sewing machine or the supplies you need to sew yet, check out this article and then come back here when you have a sewing machine and the supplies you need!

You might be thinking, “why would I sew on paper?!”


And here’s the answer, sewing on paper is one of the best ways to learn about your sewing machine and how to use it, to learn how to pivot the presser foot, sew on curves, learn how the feed dogs work and even learn how to sew in a straight line!


Presser foot: this is the attachment used on your sewing machine that is underneath the needle. It holds down the fabric as you sew to keep it secure. There are many different types of presser feet for different functions. The presser feet are often labelled with letters.


Feed dogs: these are the teeth-like ridges underneath the presser foot that guide the fabric through the machine. When embroidering or free-motion quilting the feed dogs are lowered and not used. 


Free motion quilting: by using a quilting presser foot and lowering the feet dogs, you can move the quilt freely. This enables you to make beautiful designs on quilts. 


Onto sewing the paper! Here’s what you’ll need:


   - Sewing machine 

   - Lined paper 

   - Pen

   - Sewing needle (doesn't have to be new, we are just sewing paper!)

   - Presser foot “J” (should be the presser foot that was on your machine when you first got it!)


   1. First, to start out we are just going to sew on the paper without thread. (Sewing the paper with thread will be in part 2!) Attach your presser foot, place the needle in the machine and tighten. Adjust the speed to where you would like it, starting out with the slowest speed is helpful.



Placing the needle in the machine: to do this you'll want to have the flat part of the needle facing the back and push it up into where the needles go which is just behind sewing guide number 6. You can tighten it using the little screwdriver that came with your machine.


Sewing guide number 6: the sixth step for threading your machine, is a tension disk just above the needle and has the number 6 on it. Known as the needle bar thread guide.


   2. Place the paper under the presser foot (place it so once you sew you can sew along one of the lines, if you’re not ready to do a straight line yet, no worries!) and lower the presser foot. To do this, bring the presser foot lever down. 



Presser foot lever: the lever near the presser foot either to the back of the machine or to the side. Raises and lowers the presser foot. 


   3. To start your needle in the correct place turn the handwheel. Turn it towards you, never the other way, until the needle is in the paper. Either depress the foot controller with your foot or click the start/stop button to start. 


Handwheel: the wheel on the right side of your machine that controls the needle. Turn the handwheel towards you (counterclockwise) to raise and lower the needle to sew a stitch.


Foot controller: foot pedal that controls the speed of the sewing machine based on the pressure you give with your foot. Depress the foot controller to start sewing and release to stop the machine. Where the speed dial is set on your sewing machine will be the foot controllers max speed. 


Start/stop button: by clicking the button the machine will either start sewing or stop sewing. The button is above the needle and beside the upper thread path. Will only work if the foot controller is not attached. 


   4. Your machine might say "check and rethread the upper thread" on the screen, if this is the case click "OK" and ignore it!! The feed dogs will help to keep the paper moving through the machine, and you will use your hand to guide the lined paper. This is so that you are sewing on one of the lines but not pulling it. You’ll want to have your left hand to the left of the presser foot just guiding the paper lightly by hand, keeping the machine sewing straight where you want it to (without pulling, tugging or moving harshly). As you learn to sew hand placement will start to become natural!


   5. Take the paper out of the machine and look at how you did. How’d you do?! If you tried to make your line straight, how straight is it?! Are you happy with this and ready to move on to the next step?



   6. Sewing straight lines. Using presser foot “J” and straight stitch(left), place the lined paper under the presser foot so that the gap on the presser foot that shows you where the stitching is gonna go (check the photo to understand) is lined up with the line on the paper you are going to sew down. Using the handwheel to move the needle down to where you want it, sew down this line. Continuing to keep the fabric in line with your hand as you go (don’t pull the fabric though). When your done sewing the stitch, press the needle position button and lift the presser foot.



Straight stitch(left): straight stitch with the needle in the left position. this stitch will most likely be the default stitch for your sewing machine! 



Needle position button: This is the button beside the speed dial on your machine, if you press it it will raise or lower the needle. Pressing the button twice will sew a stitch.


   7. Learning to pivot. When sewing, pivoting is known as when you lift up the presser foot while the needle is down in the fabric, move the fabric so that you will be starting your sewing from the same spot but going down a new line. 


An example is when you are on a corner, you sew down to the end, lift the presser foot, move the fabric by 90 degrees and sew down that side. 


A good thing to note is that you must have your sewing needle down when pivoting, you can put the sewing needle down by pressing the needle position button. 


Please note that when you pivot the fabric you are sewing it does not have to be 90 degrees it could even just be the slightest move of direction! (this is an example of how when you sew curves you have to pivot)



   8. Sewing a staircase, using your pen draw a staircase on the paper, make sure that the lines are long enough to sew along. Now using this new knowledge of pivoting while sewing, you are going to sew along until you get to a corner, raise the presser foot, move the paper 90 degrees, sew down the line and so on. Continue to practice sewing along staircases until you’ve mastered the skill! (zig-zags are also a great way to learn to pivot while sewing!)



   9. Sewing curves, using your pen draw a curve on a piece of paper. Make sure that the lines are long enough to sew along. Sew along the line guiding the paper lightly with your hand, pivoting is a huge part of curves so don't forget to pivot! Curves are a difficult skill so keep on practicing them!



   10. The whole SHEBANG!! Now we are going to put them all together! Sewing straight, staircases and curves. Take your pen and on a piece of paper draw a mixture of staircases, curves and straight stitches, making sure that the lines are long enough to sew along. Sew along all of these lines while using the tips from before! This is the most difficult step so take your time and sew on the lines!



Continue to practice the last step until you’ve mastered it! Next week is learning how to get your machine ready to sew! For example, learning to thread your machine, wind the bobbin, insert the bobbin and insert the needle! Find out more info on the article series, including a table of contents here!


Wow! That was a lot to learn in one article!! Congrats! Now that you have learned a lot more about your sewing machine, make sure that you take a break after all that good and fun hard work! 


Be sure to like and leave a comment and let me know what you think and let me know what type of articles you would like to see more of in the future! Don't forget to subscribe to get notified of our next blog post!

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