Ask the Sewing Expert Rolly Cowan

Ask the Sewing Expert – Rolly Cowan

Many of you have sewing skills, imagination, and determination, and yet you’ve been frustrated with your sewing results and you blame yourself or your machine. You might be one of the many who have forgotten to check one little detail that can make all the difference in your results-Your sewing machine needle. This is the most important part of your machine, but it is also the most overlooked.

Many sewing enthusiasts believe that their needle will last until eternity as long as they don’t hit something to bend it and break it. This is totally false. Your needle works hard because the thread passes quickly back and forth through it 40 to 60 times for every stitch that it makes. Many of the threads of today are composed of synthetics which give beautiful, strong finishes, but they wear a sharp groove on the eye of the needle which leads to thread breakage. You should change your needle frequently with a quality brand. Don’t “ cheap out “ and get a bargain brand because you’ll regret it.

When your Grandmother ran her treadle machine, the only difference in the fabric was the thickness and density, so she only changed the size when she was sewing something heavy, BUT, times have changed! You are sewing everything; cotton, lingerie, denim, fleece, ultrasuede, burlap, leather (real and imitation) velvet, velour, minky, and many other fabrics that I can’t even pronounce. Many of them look beautiful when sewn, but they need specialized needles to get the desired results. Using the wrong needle can totally ruin your project and your day. You’ll end up with skipped stitches, broken threads, puckering, poor tension, unstable seams, etc. Now there are needles designed to fit every application of sewing and give you a perfect finish-everytime. Visit your local sewing or fabric store to find someone knowledgeable to point you in the right direction.

While we’re talking about finishing, we would be remiss if we didn’t discuss thread. All threads are not created equal!!! You purchase beautiful fabrics and spend many hours creating heirlooms and creations to be the envy of your friends, and you sew it together with “bargain” threads that cause skipped stitches, poor tension, breakage, puckering, and poor finishing. Your project is only as good as it’s weakest link, and, for many of you, that is your thread. Take the time and spend a little bit extra to finish your work with beautiful, good quality thread. There are many different varieties and compositions, and you’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel about the finished product and how much better it will look.

The proper needles, proper thread, and proper attitude all combine to make IT SEW EASY!!!