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I feel like I can never get my stitches to line up on both pieces when I sew on my machine.
My pins were about 3/4" apart. Any tips on how to keep this from happening?
Could you describe the problem a bit more? (In the photo, I see what looks like a tangle of thread and stitches. Is that it?)
Oh yes, that tangle is where the stitches went, the tangle is an unrelated problem I get when I reverse the direction of my stitching.
Hummm are you sewing felt? or some fabric with a slight stretch in it? Either way it may have something to do with your feed dogs (that is the 'teethy bits that are on the bottom plate of your machine that moves the fabric along as you sew) These types of fabric can some times grip the fuzzy surface of the material and not flow as smoothly it happens a lot when you turn the direction of sewing ie when going in reverse and turning round shapes. Try altering the pressure of the foot to see if that helps or sewing with a layer of tissue paper underneath (between the bottom plate of the machine and the underneath of piece you are sewing) that you just tear away after you have finished sewing. I am no expert but hope this might help
Those are good ideas, Michelle. It does look like fleece or some kind of fuzzy and/or stretchy fabric.
There are numerous variables to play with, including the pressure on the foot. The tangle is a clue that you might be using the wrong thread, or the tension (top and/or bottom) may need to be adjusted.
I also notice that the part that slipped isn't pinned (in the first pic? the back of a leg?) I'd use smaller pins, a smaller seam allowance, and make sure that the part you're working on is secured. If the fabric is slipping, you could even place some pins in the middle of the piece to prevent some of the movement.
Let us know how it goes!
It's cruddy craft felt, I don't have any muslin to do pattern tests on right now. The final piece will be velvet. I'll definitely try the tissue paper thing next time I sew on fleece though.
I didn't know I could change the presser foot pressure! I'll look up how to do that in the manual.
I never get the tangles as I sew in a straight line, it's only when I back up over my stitches at the beginning/end of a seam. I assumed it was caused when the tails of the thread got caught up in the seam.
What's top/bottom tension? I assume I can figure out how to fix that in the manual?
I take the pins out as I'm sewing because I thought you could break a needle if you left them in. Am I wrong about that? Should I leave them in? I've got smaller pins I can switch to, but I feel like they aren't as sharp so I don't use em much. Putting pins in the middle is a good idea.
On a machine, you're sewing with two lengths of thread, and you can change the tension of the thread coming from the spool on top as well as the thread coming from the bobbin. Your manual or a search online can help you with the tension adjustment. (I think the tangle is probably due to tension or thread type.) And I agree -- you'll usually remove each pin right before the needle gets to it, but with care, there may also be times you want to leave in place. Just do that very slowly if at all.
I always have the pin points sticking out like a hedgehog and then it's perfectly ok to machine over the points as that end is much thinner.
I tack mine now though..I find it's much better as it holds the edges together...and what I lose in time by tacking I gain by getting the stitching right first time on the machine. Occasionally on very big bears I just pin and machine but mainly I tack now.
You do only need half that seam allowance though and go slow. I remember someone once told me "no matter how slowly you machine it will always be faster than you hand sew , so take your time,"
Thanks for the help, I had no idea seam allowance size could impact this! I'm glad to know its ok to sew over pins. I hit up the fabric store today and got some smaller pins that are sharper than my old, dull ones. I also got some muslin, that'll be much easier to make pattern tests with.
Try tacking the edges together first before machine sewing. I found that even with pinning edges very closely together, sometimes only a quarter inch between pins that somehow one edge slipped out of place as I sewed over the pins carefully.
That's a good idea, Figartteddy. The plushie I'm working on right now is too small for the machine, but I'll definitely have to try that for the next larger one.