Thursday, 1 November 2012

Tilly vs. the Industrial Sewing Machine


If you ever thought threading a sewing machine for the first time was complicated, try threading an industrial model! I'm currently taking a course in Professional Sewing Techniques at the London College of Fashion and these are the machines we are using. The threading route appears to have been engineered by a frustrated labyrinth designer. Up, down, through that, round the back and through again, down-up-down-up-down, through there, ooh don't forget that bit, round there and down the hatch... I could go on... Just when you think you've got it, you realise you've missed out three steps. Seriously. I've threaded it quite a few times now and still manage to miss out at least three holes or hooks each time.

Learning to thread an industrial machine reminded me what it's like learning to thread a domestic sewing machine. Which if you don't yet know or can't remember how, I promise isn't nearly as tricky! I've written a step-by-step guide to threading a sewing machine here. I'm sure I'll soon get the hang of the industrial model and it'll become second nature. Not that I'm planning to use one much after this course, you understand.

I'll report back fully on the course at the end of term for anyone who is interested. Most of the stuff on the curriculum I already know, but there are enough new techniques there to keep me stimulated. It's also proving a great opportunity to consolidate and reinforce my self-taught knowledge and to pick up tips from a seasoned professional. The course isn't cheap and I'm determined to get as much value from it as I can - I've already firmly secured my reputation as the Annoying Question Person! There's always one...

Have you taken any good sewing courses recently?

[Soundtrack: 'Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer' by Bessie Smith]

PS. Sending lots of positive vibes to those of you affected by Hurricane Sandy, hoping you're okay.

31 comments:

  1. I studied for a fashion degree years ago and those industrial machines scared the life out of me. I hope you enjoyed your sewing course.

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    1. I did shriek quite a lot during the first couple of classes! The pedal is quite hard to get the hang of, especially as I can't drive. I'm getting the hang of it now though, phew.

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  2. It's incredible how learning something new makes you realize the beginning is not so easy. Keep going... By the end you will master it. The course sounds very interesting

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    1. Exactly! It's fun to do something challenging like that every so often.

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  3. Would love to hear about this course, I was planning on doing it for the full week one in December. Mainly just to see if there are any little tricks that I am over looking & sometimes people show you something in a new way that makes it 10 times easier than the way round you were doing it.
    Hope you get the hang of the machine soon, I'd love to have one of these old industrial machines! (maybe not so much now)

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    1. There are quite a few tricks I'm learning, and it's also reassuring me that I know a lot already - so it's definitely confidence-building. If you have any particular queries about what's covered/not covered, drop me an email.

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  4. Ooh I did this week-long course last September. The course itself was fine, I didn't learn masses but it improved my confidence.

    What was brilliant was the teacher though - I was totally the annoying question girl! I feel like I absolutely got my moneysworth from all the hints and tips she gave me. x

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    1. Glad I'm not the only one! I missed one class and the next week another lady said, "It was so quiet last week without your questions!"

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  5. Not taken a sewing course before. All 'self taught' with a lot fo trial and error.
    I sympathise with the machine threading. But then I have never got on with any sewing machine I've tried...I think I'm just a hand sew kinda person.

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  6. That is one impressive machine! Your class does sound quite interesting. Also, would you recommend home sewers' investing in heavy duty or industrial strength machines?

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    1. Not personally!! Unless you plan to sew all day every day and need something that sturdy. Home machines are so much more pleasant in my opinion :)

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  7. I never thought it was hard to thread a regular sewing machine, there were pictures. My brain loves pictures. However, I was shown once how to thread an industrial and my brain just exploded.
    I am currently taking a pattern-making class and trouser class.

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  8. I'm going back to college again now to get a degree in fashion design and know exactly how you feel about the industrials. It took me a while to get the threading down, but now that I know it I can get it threaded in no time. You will get it, no worries!

    The thing I have trouble with most is getting the pressure right on the pedal. It seems like even if I barely push down the thing speeds my fabric through. I think I'm finally getting the hang though...now that 11 wks have already passed. lol

    Good luck with your course!!

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    1. Hahaha I had the same problem! The teacher told me it was like driving, but I don't drive so that wasn't much help. Last week I changed machines though and found it much easier... maybe it was a slightly slower model.

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  9. I have my mum's industrial sewing machine. I can't remember for the life of me how to thread it. But it needs some serious servicing before I do. Coursewise... I have just had the pleasure of meeting a very established tailor. He is going to take me through step by step tailoring of trousers. I really didn't expect such generosity. I will keep you posted. I am a bit speechless right now! :-O

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    1. Wow that's amazing! Looking forward to hearing all about it xx

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  10. I am a little way into a pattern cutting course....i had read a few blogs where people said it was a worthwhile course to do and I'm enjoying it and finding it interesting and we too use industrial machines. The threading and knee pedal are taking some getting used to :o)

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  11. I am ALWAYS the annoying question person. It's the best way to learn :-)

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    1. Me, too! But I have had people come up to me after classes & say, "I'm so glad you ask all those questions--I'm too shy to do it, so I'm glad there's someone like you around who does!"

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    2. Good to know - I'll keep asking annoying questions then!

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  12. Can't wait to hear what you have to say about this course! In fact, you inspired my to look into taking a sewing course in Seattle. BTW love your blog and for some reason when I read it, the voice in my head has a British accent. =)

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    1. Haha one of these days I'll post a video and you can find out how accurate the accent you give me is...

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  13. Woah that does look complicated to thread!! The course sounds fun, looking forward to your thoughts on it :) Jessie, xo

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  14. Go Tilly! I know you're bigger than that machine! Well, not physically, but I have faith in your ability to conquer all. Enjoy your class--sounds like a blast.

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    1. Thanks Karen! Yeah it is actually bigger than me. But I shall not fear! xx

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  15. Just think, you'll be able to thread this machine in your sleep by the end of the course!

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  16. I learnt to sew last year on an industrial machine (Brother) and once the course finished and I had time to sew on my little domestic (Janome) I almost wept at how slow it was! I love the speed and clean finish of the industrials, but their disadvantages is they only do straight stitch. Oh, and make sure you keep the needle guard in place - you don't want any trips to the hospital..!

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  17. I loved my old singer, and miss it, but this looks almost as good.

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  18. Really it is tough to threading a sewing machine for the first time but I know it very well and I also know how to sewing clothes but I am not that much expert.But I do not know about how to oil a sewing machine

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  19. The trick for easy threading is to NOT unthread the machine. Snip off the thread above the first guide point and simply tie your new thread to the old and pull it through from down by the needle. I like using a weavers knot. I have a bunch of OLD industrials it works like a champ.

    It is especially good for the odd ball machines that thread front to back or right to left.

    Lee

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