Monday, December 2, 2013

Getting to know my sewing machine

Yes, I finally found the time and the nerve to start learning how to use my embroidery sewing machine.  Look at the mess!  

Brother SE400 Combination Computerized Sewing and 4x4 Embroidery Machine With 67 Built-in Stitches, 70 Built-in Designs, 5 Lettering Fonts

I figured out how to thread the bobbin, and the needle - since the last sewing machine I bought, about 18 years ago, they have figured out an easier way to get the thread through the eye of the needle, very useful for aging eyes and clumsy fingers.

Next I spent some time getting the hang of the built in computer - with its touch screen.  I went though the settings and finally managed to turn off the annoying beep every time I touched the screen.  I already had some embroidery designs I had downloaded, in the correct format for my machine, so my next trick was to connect the machine to my computer via the USB cable supplied, the computer instantly recognized it as a 'removable disk' and I was able to copy a pattern from the computer to the sewing machine and, once on the machine, I scrolled through each section of the design, gathering the threads in the color each section displayed.

I spent some time reading through the manual, found an old t-shirt and some stabilizing material, following the instructions carefully, I loaded up the embroidery hoop and connected it to the machine.

Before going any further, I found a video on You Tube showing an embroidery sewing machine at work, quite amazing!  Then the moment of truth!  I pushed the start button and my machine started working away at a cactus - the first stage of my loaded design.  According to the instructions, I needed to stop after about 5 stitches and trim the end of thread at the start of the pattern - this I did and after that it all went awry.  The needle kept on its course as it was programmed to do, but it lost its thread, so it was totally wasting its time. Then the stabilizer, which was a paper like material split and was less than useful, meanwhile the soft t-shirt fabric, without the stabilizer between it and the bobbin, was being pummeled into the bobbin compartment.

I pushed the stop button, carefully extracted the hoop and examined the result, I had 5 beautiful green stitches in a small arc and two large holes on the t-shirt, a totally shredded sheet of stabilizer and a threadless needle.

Turning back to my computer I went directly to Amazon and ordered iron on stabilizer - hopefully that will not separate and shred, pre-threaded bobbins (what a great idea!) and a rack to neatly store my embroider threads on.

I had not expected to produce any embroidery, and don't expect I will for a while yet, but I was well satisfied with my first experience with the machine.  I had made a start, learnt the basics and I am looking forward to my next lesson.  I knew this was going to be a slow process but already I am enjoying it.

Watch for the next exciting episode!