How to Wind a Bobbin


When it comes to winding a bobbin most sewing machines are very similar. I’ll be demonstrating this on my Janome DC4030 to give you some idea, but don’t forget to check your manual to see if there are any slight differences. Watch the video below to see how it’s done.

Or watch it here on YouTube



I’ve Made the Jump and Signed Up to Creativebug


So I’m the type of person who hardly buys new clothes because I’m so fussy with how things fit, how much they cost and what they look like. With and ever expanding belly at 19 weeks pregnant and living in an area with a lack of maternity clothes in the stores, I had decided to turn to making my own maternity clothes. I’d bought a pattern to make some maternity pants (you know the stretchy ones that go right over your belly! Yeah!), but I had been really struggling to find patterns for maternity tops in my fussy style, or lack of….(I’m really daggy), comfortable is my style. Anyway, the Creativebug website had been catching my eye for quite a while but nothing was tipping me over the edge to sign up. Until I came across this 4 week Pattern Drafting Course with Cal Patch. Hmmm…could I just make my own patterns? It could be an option. This course tipped me over the edge to sign up and try out what Creativebug had to offer. I’ll keep you updated with how I’m going with the course.

A little tip for a free trial subscription: I noticed that when I tried to sign up through the pattern drafting link there wasn’t an offer for a free 14 day trial, but I remembered seeing the free trial somewhere.


Click on this photo to go to the Lazy Days Skirt workshop on Creativebug

When you go to any other sewing project that can be purchased separately, there is an option button to get the project for FREE with a 14 day trial membership. Bargain! So be sure to find one of these buttons to sign up through (or just click on the photo of the skirt project above).

What is Creativebug? I hear you ask


Creativebug is a relatively new site that provides video tutorials for all types of crafty projects, including sewing, paper, yarn quilting, jewellery, crafts and kiddy crafts. The idea that I love about Creativebug is that you have a monthly subscription of $9.95 and you have access to all of the tutorials on the site! Or you have the option of not subscribing and purchasing the tutorials on an individual basis, like you do on Craftsy.

So check out Creativebug here* and see what you think for yourself!

I’ll keep you updated with how I’m going working though the pattern drafting course with my ever expanding belly.

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you choose to click and purchase through one of my links, and I truly thank you for that.

An Introduction to a Mechanical Sewing Machine


This video is for you if you have just bought a mechanical sewing machine or you have one sitting in the cupboard that you have never touched (mainly because the idea of using it is scary!)

or watch this video on YouTube

The following information is what you will find in the video. Just incase you want to read instead.

Introduction to a mechanical sewing machine Plug It In and Turn It On!

On the side of your machine you should see the plug or plug holes for the foot pedal and the power cords. Plug it in and turn it on! Go on!

The Hand Wheel

You will find the hand wheel on the right side of the machine at the top. The hand wheel lets you manually make the needle go up and down. handy for starting your sewing with the needle in the down position and also great for doing that extra stitch. You always need to remember to turn the hand wheel towards you. If you turn it away from you it will make the mechanics in the machine go backwards and that’s not good for the mechanics of the sewing machine.

The Spool Pin and the Thread Guides

The spool pin is where you put your spool of thread and the thread guides are where you need to place your thread on the machine to help with tension and successfully sewing a great stitches. It is really important to make sure your thread is going through the hole at the front of the take up lever. If it isn’t, this can lead to all kinds of problems with your sewing machine, which will make you feel like locking your machine away and never ever using it again!

Tension Discs and Tension Dial

The tension discs help form even stitches by applying a certain amount of pressure to the thread while you are sewing. The tension dial allows you to adjust this pressure depending on what type of sewing you are doing. Usually, you turn the tension dial to a higher number to bring the tension discs together and apply more pressure to the thread or you turn the dial to a lower number to decrease the amount of pressure applied to the thread. Proper tension relies on you threading the sewing machine the right way as well as every thread guide helps with forming that perfect stitch. You can read more about tension discs here.

Needle Bar

The needle bar holds your needle in place and takes the needle up and down when sewing. There is a screw on the needle bar that you can loosen, which allows you to change your needle over.

Presser Foot

The presser foot is the part of the machine that you can lower down to hold your fabric in place while you are sewing. There is a lever on the back of your sewing machine that lets you lower and lift your presser foot easily. The presser foot also has interchangeable feet depending on the type of stitch you are doing and the type of fabric you are using. There is a whole range of feet to use on your machine. But we’ll go into that in more depth in a later lesson.

Feed Dogs

The feed dogs help pull your fabric through the sewing machine at a nice even rate. They are kind of like little teeth sticking out from the plate of the sewing machine and they grip the fabric nicely. Depending on your project, you may use a walking foot which also had feed dogs built into the foot.

The Bobbin

Depending on your machine, you may have a top loading bobbin or a front loading bobbin. Once you have wound your bobbin with thread, you then put it into the sewing machine to form the stitches on the underside of your fabric. All the steps for loading the bobbin with thread and inserting into your sewing machine will all be covered soon in this learn to sew series.

Stitch Guide

Mechanical sewing machines are all slightly different when it comes to the stitch guide. Some machines have a wider selection of stitches to choose from whereas your basic mechanical sewing machines may only have a dial to adjust the stitch selection.

Reverse Stitch Lever

The reverse stitch lever is a lever you will find on your sewing machine to help you stitch backwards. This is really useful for securing your seams in place and stopping them from coming undone at the beginning and the ends of you seams. You can usually identify this lever by looking for a curve symbol with an arrow on one end.

Stitch Length Dial

You may have a dial on the front of your sewing machine that allows you to adjust the length of your stitches. A 2-3 stitch length is usually the most common stitch length used for general sewing. Smaller stitches can be used when sewing softies and you may use a longer stitch length when wasting to do a basting stitch. This dial can usually be recognised by a dashed type line.

Stitch Width Dial

You may also have a dial on your sewing machine that allows you to change the width of your zigzag stitch. This is usually recognisable by a zigzag symbol somewhere on your sewing machine.

You may have other dials or features on your sewing machine, but these are the basics that you meed to know to get you on your way to understanding the basic features of a mechanical sewing machine. Hopefully I have reduced the fear factor with getting the sewing machine out and getting to know it a bit better. A few more lessons in the learn to sew series and you’ll be a sewing pro in no time! So go on. Get that sewing machine out and introduce yourselves. Making friends with your sewing machine is the first step to getting past that beginning sewer stage.

An Introduction to a Computerized Sewing Machine


This video is for you if you have just bought a computerized sewing machine or if you have one sitting in the cupboard because you plain just don’t know where to start with using it!

or watch it here on Youtube

I’ve written out the information that’s in the video so you can get a snapshot of what to expect in the video.

Introduction to a computerized sewing machinePlug It In and Turn That Sewing Machine On!

Sometimes taking that first step is the hardest. Face your fears, plug that sewing machine in and get to know it a little bit. Why not give it a name?

The Hand Wheel

You will find the hand wheel on the right hand side of your machine. The hand wheel allows you to manually move the needle up and down. It’s very handy for starting your sewing with the needle in the down position, but most good quality computerized machines will probably have a button that does this for you.

Spool Pin and Thread Guides

The spool pin at the top of your machine in there to hold your spool of thread in place. The thread guides are all there to provide tension for a great result when sewing. It’s important to put your thread through all of the appropriate thread guides, especially the take up lever, as a mis-threaded machine can cause havoc for you. Maybe even enough trouble to make you put that machine back away in the cupboard where it came from and we don’t want that now.

Tension Discs and Tension Dial

The tension discs are an important part of your sewing machine as they apply a certain amount of pressure to the thread while you are sewing to give you good results. The tension dial can be used to adjust the pressure of the tension discs depending on your sewing project. Usually, adjusting the dial to a higher number will increase the tension and turning the dial to a lower number will decrease the tension. If you have an ‘Auto’ function on your machine, it’s probably best to leave it on that for now until you are more comfortable with your machine. If you don’t have an ‘Auto’ function then there may be a neutral position that you could leave it in. You can read a bit more about tension discs here.

The Needle Bar

The needle bar is the part of your sewing machine that holds the needle in place and it moves up and down while the machine is sewing. The needle bar has a screw on the side that you can loosen when changing over needles.

Automatic Needle Threader

This is my best friend on the sewing machine. This helps me to put the thread through the eye of the needle first time every time. Most modern computerized sewing machines will have one. Have a look. You may just be surprised to find one on your machine.

Presser Foot

The pressor foot can be lowered and lifted back up again and it’s main purpose is to hold the fabric in place while you are sewing. The attachments, or feet, on the presser foot can be changed depending on what your project is. There’s a whole world of sewing feet out there!

Feed Dogs

The feed dogs are just below the presser foot and they are there to help pull the fabric through the sewing machine at an even rate. I also like to use a walking foot with most of my sewing as it has built in feed dogs in the top of the walking foot. This helps pull the top layer of fabric through at the same rate as the bottom layer.

The Bobbin

As far as I know, most computerized sewing machines have a top loading bobbin. Top loading bobbins are easy to put in as they are pretty much a matter of dropping them into the machine, the right way, of course. The bobbin provides the thread for the bottom of your sewn seam line.

Bobbin Spindle

The bobbin spindle is what you use to put your thread onto your bobbin with before you do any other sewing.

Adjustable Speed

If you’re lucky, you may have gotten a machine with adjustable speed. This feature is so handy because you can turn the speed down if you are a beginner or you may just like to sew on a slower speed without having to adjust the speed with the foot pedal. I love it because I’m a slow sewer and I get distracted easily. Best to sew at a slower speed.

Convenience Buttons

You might have one or all of these on your machine. You’ll see in the video of my computerized machine that I have a few of these special buttons. My sewing machine has a needle up/down button, which allows you to start sewing with the needle in the down position. It also has a locking stitch button that you can use instead of reverse stitch. Some machines may also have an automatic thread cutter built into the machine. Unfortunately, I bought my machine when this technology was just coming in so I have to snip my threads the old school way.

Reverse Stitch

You may have a lever or button of some sort on your sewing machine that does a reverse stitch. This is especially good for finishing off the beginning and end of your seams. you will usually see a symbol with a curve and an arrow on one end where your reverse stitch is.

Stitch Guide

Computerized sewing machines can come with a mega amount of stitches to choose from. Most of the time they are just variations of the main stitches. To select your stitch, you may be about to do it at the press of a button (like my machine in the video) or you may need to key in the number of you stitch using the digital display.

Digital Display

The digital display can be used to chose your desired stitch, but it also allows you to adjust the width or length of your stitches at the press of a button, on most machines.

Your machine may have some other features that aren’t mentioned here, but these are the basic features to get you on your way to building a good relationship with your computerized sewing machine. Hopefully you feel a bit more comfortable with your machine now and you are ready for the task of putting thread onto your sewing machine.


[VIDEO] An Overview of the Elna Mini and Janome Sew Mini


This little machine is actually pretty cute and it can sew. Crazy! Below is a video giving you an overview of the features you will find on the Elna Mini (in Australia), which is also known as the Janome Sew Mini (in the US).

Or watch it on YouTube here

The Features of the Elna Mini and Janome Sew Mini


Stitch Selection Dial

  • Stitch Selection Dial – There are 12 stitches to choose from on this machine ranging from various straight stitch lengths to a few different width choices for a zigzag stitch. This is great for a child or a beginning sewer in general, as it can be very overwhelming to be using a machine with a huge range of stitches to choose from.

Tension Dial

  • Tension Dial – The tension dial can be adjusted depending on the type of fabric you are using or if your top thread needs to be loosened or tightened. The neutral sewing position for this machine is 4. So if the machine has been threaded properly and you are using a normal cotton type fabric, this is what you would have the tension dial on.

Hand Wheel

  • Hand Wheel – This wheel enables you to manually make the needle go up or down. You always turn the hand wheel towards yourself. If the hand wheel is turned in the opposite direction it could affect the mechanism inside the machine as you would be making it work backwards (which is different to using the reverse stitch lever on the machine).
  • Spool Pin and Thread Guides – These are all handy to know about as it’s important to capture every thread guide to get the best results for tension of your sewing. I’ve create videos for how to thread the machine and put thread onto the bobbin and load it into the sewing machine to help you make sure it is done correctly. There are a few little tricks and tips with this machine that you may find helpful.
  • Needle – This machine comes with a needle already in the machine and one spare one and these are a 14(90) universal needle. This is the largest needle that you would want to use with this machine, as it wouldn’t handle bigger needles for thicker fabrics. You can definitely put smaller needles in this machine for finer and thinner fabrics.

Needle and Presser Foot

  • Presser Foot – The presser foot is the standard Janome ‘A’ foot and it can not be changed on this machine. It is clear so it’s easy to see what you are sewing. Also, the presser foot needs to be lowered down (with a lever towards the back and behind the needle bar) when sewing to get a good stitch result.

Top Loading Bobbin

  • Top Loading Bobbin – A top loading bobbin is easier to load than a front loading bobbin and it is very easy to check how much thread is left on the bobbin. Definitely a great feature for a beginning sewer.

Reverse Lever

  • Reverse Lever - The reverse lever enables the sewing machine to sew backwards. Especially helpful for securing your stitches at the beginning and end of your sewing to stop it from unravelling.

Foot Pedal

  • Foot Pedal – This machine comes with a tiny foot pedal and this is placed on the floor so you can operate your machine with your foot. The foot pedal is also the on/off for the machine as well. There is no other switch to turn it on so once it’s plugged into the wall and switched on it’s good to go.
  • Power Pack – It’s good to know that this machine is not operated by batteries. This definitely makes the machine a good choice over other battery operated toy sewing machines.

You also get an instruction manual and some extra accessories with this machine, which include a couple of extra bobbins and a needle threader. You will need to have your own flat head screw driver to change the needle when you come to that bit. Overall this machine does all the things a more expensive sewing machine can do. It probably won’t be as durable and long lasting as more expensive machines, but it will get your child to the stage of realising if they actually like sewing or not.

If you missed it, here is my previous post recommending this machine as a great starter sewing machine for kids.