4 March 2020

Five Shortcut Features on Your Sewing Machine

Five Shortcut Features on Your Sewing Machine that You Might Not Know About - Tilly and the Buttons

You read your sewing machine manual from cover to cover, right? Me neither. But it is worth taking another look as it may be hiding some time-saving buttons or attachments that you don’t know about…

Automatic thread cutter

1) Automatic thread cutter

Is there a little scissors button on your sewing machine? This is likely to be for the automatic thread cutter which, when pressed, will snip both spool and bobbin threads close to the fabric when you come to the end of a line of stitching.

Sure, it only saves a few seconds after each seam, but it all adds up, and makes the sewing process seem smoother once you get into the swing of using it. I resisted using this button on my machine for ages because it felt like cheating, but it changed my life once I’d surrendered to its charms.

Thread-cutting blade

2) Thread-cutting blade

If your machine doesn’t have an automatic thread cutter, the next best thing, which it most likely does have, is a thread-cutting blade. Hidden on the left side of the machine, it allows you to pull out the project and snip the threads to release it from the machine in one swift move.

Automatic needle threader

3) Automatic needle threader

If you struggle to thread the needle, check to see if your sewing machine has one of these. Pull down the lever to the left of the needle, and a tool will magically descend. Check the little wire hook has gone through the eye of the needle from behind. Draw the thread under the threader guide and hook, then let go of the lever and you should see a loop of thread pulled through the eye of the needle. Pull on the loop from behind to finish threading.

Knee lifter on sewing machine

4) Knee lifter

For years I had no idea what that bent metal prong was that came with my sewing machine. Turns out it’s a knee lifter – stick it in the hole at the front of your machine and it’ll let you raise the presser foot with your knee, without moving your hands away from the project. This is often used by quilters, and, if you’re sewing something like a pocket with multiple corners, it can make the process a little faster and smoother.

Overcast or overedge foot

5) Overedge or overcast foot

If you’re finishing seams with a zigzag stitch on your regular sewing machine, using an overedge or overcast foot will make your life easier. You may already have one included with your machine accessories.

Align the raw edge of the fabric flush against the guide and it’ll help you to land the zigzag in the right place. Use the handwheel for the first few stitches to check the zigzag is wide enough not to hit the foot.

Janome Airthread 2000 overlocker serger

One more thing…

If you dread changing your overlocker (serger) thread, did you know there’s a higher-end model that uses air to blow the thread through the loopers? It’s not cheap, but it’s so quick – and so satisfying!

This is an extract from Tilly and the Buttons: Make It Simple published by Quadrille
Author: Tilly Walnes
Photos: © Jane Looker and Ellie Smith
Sewing machine: Janome DKS100 - gifted product (this is an affiliate link)
Overlocker: Janome AirThread 2000D - gifted product (this is an affiliate link)

Make It Simple sewing book