If your reaction to the words “Computerized Sewing Machine” is something more like what you’d expect if I just yelled “Plague!!!!” …then this article is meant for you. What you need to do is calm yourself, open your mind, take a deep breath and be prepared to learn something new! Computerised sewing machines are here to stay and chances are you’ll be seeing more and more of them, so before the times completely run away with you…let’s get to grips with them.
It’s not as daunting as you might expect and trust me, computerized sewing machines are around for a reason. Some of the nifty little things you can do are definitely worth the time time it takes for you to learn the ropes. Besides, the computerizing is, in essence, a time saving function so you will benefit in the long run!
So why bother with a computerized sewing machine?
Because, just like your MacBook allows you to create a professional looking printed portfolio with pictures, colorful headings and beautiful fonts…your computerized sewing machine will allow you to program a host of incredible decorative and utility stitches, as well as complex embroidery motifs which you never dreamed you’d be able to achieve.
Just like your iPad saves you massive amounts of time, allowing you to get more done and progress faster, so a computerized sewing machine will help you to make the most of your work time…provided you know how it works and also, depending heavily on the quality of your machine buy. Let’s cover the pros:
The majority of computerized sewing machines provide you with a wider range of stitches compared to non-computerized types. Furthermore, they might allow you to have multi-directional or multi-motion stitching, which means that the machine in fact sews not only forwards but also sideways and backwards to help sew wide, elaborate designs.
With a decent machine you will be able to load hundreds of motifs or more, look at them in 3D and modify colors, sizing and stitches with just a touch. Your designs can be nicely stored in collections (we all love organizing our filing systems!), you can see how long it will take the machine to embroider a design, you can see how many stitches you’ve sewn and how many must still be done. The embroidery function is opening up a whole new vista of choice, personalization, fun, detail and creativity in your sewing that just wasn’t possible before!
Sensors are invaluable…to say the least. How many times might you faff around for a half hour quite unaware that you’re busy doing something that’s quite detrimental to your project or your machine. If you are running out of bobbin thread or top thread, a computerized sewing machine will send you an alert message visually on the touchscreen and/or an audible message to help remind you to remedy the condition right before you run out, seriously handy.
The machine might also alert you in case you have an incompatibility between the presser foot and the stitch you've chosen. For instance, you can't use a straight stitch foot with a zigzag stitch or you'll crack the needle. Also, it might inform you when the embroidery design you've picked isn't going to fit in the hoop you've got installed on the machine.
What an awesome feature…mirror imaging left/right and up/down means that you needn’t worry about a design or stitch which is the wrong way around, the machine will sort this all out for you with the mirror imaging function. This is useful when creating large design pieces and repeating motifs.
For quilters, this is a super handy feature. High end machines offer a computer operated stitch regulator so that all of your stitches will likely be a similar size, even as you move the material around the machine bed and regardless of the speed or direction. No tiny and huge stitches mixed up within the same quilting style.
Needle positioning/Needle stop:
A computerized sewing machine will likely enable you to adjust the needle position from the middle to the left or the right, typically in very tiny increments. This enables ever-so-slight changes in seam allowance width or topstitching areas. The computer also enables you to set whether or not the needle stops up or down (or neither) whenever you stop stitching. This attribute is handy for pivoting at corners, modifying the fabric spot, or chain piecing.
The majority of computerized sewing machines possess automatic tension adjustment, based on the kind of fabric along with the thickness. On-board ‘advisors' show proper needle sizing, thread type and any special presser feet required for the selected fabric/stitch, together with adjusting the tension or perhaps the presser foot pressure.
Many computerized sewing machines interface with your house computer and the Internet to enable you to download new stitches or up-to-date programs from the manufacturer; some connect straight via a USB port, others make use of a jump drive, CD or card reader for this specific purpose. You can even download embroidery models in the proper format to enable the machine to read it. Some sewing machines have their personal mouse, just like the PC, so that you can navigate the screen. It's recommended that you keep your machine close to your computer or Internet access to take advantage of these features.
Display Screen or Monitor:
Think of the display screen like your PC monitor. The screen should have a look you're comfortable with and be bright enough to see clearly in daylight. Don't worry, you'll get used to the smaller size. On quite a few models, you can also adjust the image dimensions for better viewing, as well as the display brightness and contrast. Numerous things are shown on the LCD display screen, which range from full-size decorative and utility stitches to vibrant embroidery motifs and precise stitch adjustments.
The monitor might function as a touch enabled screen which will let you make changes to the settings using your fingertips or with a stylus. On interactive displays, you will often move stitches around to various other areas by dragging them across the screen and letting go… i.e.: drag and drop. There could be several menus available on your touchscreen display, so that you can find the stitch function you would like, i.e. appliqué or scallop, after that look for the perfect stitch.
You may be able to access the entire manual of the sewing machine via the embedded touch screen. This makes it easy to look into settings you are not sure of, or to answer function and feature queries. Several displays even provide a display screen saver.
Several machines incorporate a clock so that you can monitor the amount of hours you have been sewing, or just how long a specific task takes to complete.
The computer memory enables you to save your personal stitches for easy recall, it also allows you to save customized stitches. For instance, it's possible to create a mixture of built-in stitches that you want, save them to the memory space and stitch all of them out whenever you want, in the exact way these were saved. Unless you delete them, they will always be there for you to retrieve and use again.
Due to the complexity of computerized sewing machines, it's critical to have them maintained by brand-authorized technicians. These service representatives undergo extensive technical training on both the mechanical and computer parts of the machine. These technicians will have access to the latest software and upgrades that will keep your machine running well. Of course, always be sure to check the credentials of the technician before you leave your beloved new machine in the hands of an ‘expert'. They should have a training certificate issued by the brand.
If you already have a computerized sewing machine, please share your thoughts about it with everyone in the comments below and happy computing…I mean sewing..!
You can learn more about general tips on buying a sewing machine by clicking HERE.