Frequently Asked Questions 
 

Sewing FAQ  
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Q: I am a novice sewer and this is my first sewing machine. What are some things I can do to ensure my sewing success?
A:
  • First, be sure to use good quality, polyester covered thread. An old or inferior thread can cause skipped stitches and thread breakage.
  • Threading your machine correctly is the difference between success and frustration. When threading the top of your sewing machine, follow the thread path illustrated in your instruction manual. Thread the machine with the presser foot in the "up" position so that the thread falls into the tension disc. Check to be sure thread is feeding freely off the spool pin and the needle is threaded from front to back.
  • The bobbin must be loaded in the bobbin case correctly. To check this, on a front-loading bobbin, hold the bobbin case in your hand, with the bobbin facing you. Pull on the thread. The bobbin should turn clockwise. If it turns counterclockwise take it out, flip it over and reposition it in the bobbin case.
  • The bobbin case should click into place as you place it into the bobbin shuttle.
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Q: Sometimes my machine sews 4 or 5 stitches then jams. When I remove the fabric from the machine, I notice thread bunched underneath the fabric. What's the problem?
A:
  • When you notice thread bunching under the fabric or in the bobbin case area it appears to be the bobbin thread that is the culprit. It is actually excess top thread.
  • If you were to thread the top of your machine with red thread and the bobbin with blue thread, you would see lots of red thread under the fabric or in the bobbin area. This is an indication that there is not sufficient tension on the top thread. Rethread the machine with the presser foot up and make sure the thread is lodged in the tension disc. Be sure the bobbin case is in the correct position.
  • If this does not solve the problem you may need to increase the upper tension setting. Note the number that the tension dial is set on and increase it by one number and test the stitching.  Continue to increase the setting and test stitch until the problem is solved.
  • Check to be sure the top is threaded correctly and that the bobbin case is in the correct position.
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Q: Will Simplicity sewing machines sew denim and leather fabrics?
A: All Simplicity sewing machines are capable of sewing denim and leather. If you are sewing on a heavy fabric such as denim, use a 100/16 or 110/18 size needle. For leather and leather type fabrics use a leather point needle.
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Q: My stitches are inconsistent and skipping, what causes this?
A:
  • Skipped stitches may be caused by a burr or nick in the needle, a poor quality thread, or the particular type of fabric you are using may not be compatible with the needle point you are using. Change to a new needle. Be sure to insert it with the flat side to the back. Use the correct needle point for the type of fabric you are sewing on.
  • A ball point needle is best for knits and most stretch fabrics. Use a sharp needle for wovens and fine fabrics. The universal point needle works for knits as well as wovens.
  • Use good quality polyester or polyester covered cotton thread to ensure smooth even stitches.
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Q: Why are my stitches so loose?
A:
  • Loose stitching happens when there is not enough tension on the upper thread.
  • Note the number on the top tension dial located on the upper left hand of your sewing machine. Increase it by one number and test the stitching. Continue to increase the setting and test stitch until the problem is solved.
  • Check to be sure the upper thread is correctly threaded, and that the bobbin case is in the correct position.
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Q: Help! My stitching looks inconsistent.
A:
  • The upper and lower looper thread should interlock right over the cut edge of the fabric. The needle threads should form a straight row of stitches on the topside and be barely visible on the backside.
  • If fabric is puckering or the threads appear to be pulling, that is an indication that tension settings are too tight. Loosen the tension dials, one at a time, by turning to a lower number.
  • If the thread is too loose and hanging off the edge of the fabric you may need to tighten the looper settings. However, it is normal for the threads to hang off the edge slightly when using a narrower stitch width setting. When your stitch width is at its widest the threads will interlock right over the edge of the fabric.
  • If your seam looks as if it were about to come apart, this is a symptom of loose needle tension. The needle tension/s will need to be adjusted. If using two needles, gradually tighten your left needle tension (orange). The right needle tension should be set 1 or 2 numbers lower than the left needle tension.
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Q: Is there a fabric width conversion chart I can use?
A: Yes. You can download this conversion chart [PDF file], courtesy of Simplicity.com.

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Q: Tips: Sewing Sheer Fabrics
A: Click here to view sewing sheer fabrics tips.
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Q: Tips: Favorite Fabrics - Tips & Tricks for Handling Fleece
A: Click here to view tips & tricks for handling fleece.
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Q: Tips: Working With Satin Fabrics
A: Click here to view tips for working with satin fabrics.
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Q: Tips: Interfacing
A: Click here to view tips for interfacing.
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Q: Fusing Hints - Part 1
A: Click here to view hints and tips for fusing.
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Q: Fusing Hints - Part 2
A: Click here to view more hints for fusing.
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Q: Pressing Tips
A: Click here to view pressing tips.
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Q: Garment Details: Stitching + Applique Tips
A: Click here to view garment details: stitching and applique.
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Q: Tips: Fleece For Pets
A: Click here to view fleece for pets tips.
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Q: Garment Details: Weaving Workshop Tips
A: Click here to view garment details: weaving workshop.
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Q: Tips: Decorative Edges
A: Click here to view decorative edges tips.
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Q: Tips: Fleece As Trim
A: Click here to view fleece as trim tips.
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Q: Tips: Finer Sewing - Presser Feet Instructions
A: Click here to view presser feet instructions and tips.
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Q: Tips: Attention to Detail
A: Click here to view attention to detail tips.
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Q: Garment Details - Creating the Broomstick Look Tips
A: Click here to view creating the broomstick look tips.
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Q: Tips: Machine Hems
A: Click here to view machine hems tips.
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Q: Tips: Handling Bias Seams
A: Click here to view handling bias seams tips.
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Q: Tips: Making a Bound Buttonhole
A: Click here to view creating the broomstick look tips.
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Q: What are darts?
A: Click here to view answers to many questions about darts.
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Q: What are Seam Allowances?
A: Click here to view answers to many seam allowance questions.
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Q: What is Staystitching?
A: Click here to view answers to many questions about staystitching.
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Q: Tips: Sewing Pleats
A: Click here to view sewing pleats tips.
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Q: Garment Details: Zipper Tips
A: Click here to view garment details: tips on zippers.
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Q: How do I insert an invisible zipper?
A: Click here to view tips how to insert a zipper.
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Q: Tips: Measuring for Windows
A: Click here to view tips on how to insert invisible zippers.
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Q: Tips: Bias Tape
A: Click here to view tips on bias tape.
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