Saturday, August 15, 2015

Featherweight Skill Series - Threading the Machine

Thank you for coming to my Featherweight Skill Series! Whether you found the courses in a web search or from my Facebook group, welcome! There are thousands of us who love our little 221s but need or want a little more "know-how" on using them to their fullest potential. I hope my posts and videos will help you get more know-how and confidence in using your beautiful Featherweight. Enjoy the classes!

Class #2
Class supply list:
Your sewing machine, a filled bobbin, a spool of thread

Let's get started threading our machines!
First, we will tend to the bobbin assembly.
In our last Skill session, Winding the Bobbin, we had a nicely wound, properly filled bobbin. Let's get it in the bobbin holder.

Hold the bobbin with the thread coming over the top and towards your right hand.

Take the bobbin holder in your other hand with the opening facing upwards. You will see a small slit in the edge of the holder. Have that slit facing towards you.

Set the bobbin into the holder, thread is still coming around the front and to the right. Hold the bobbin and holder between your finger and thumb.

***The bobbin should go into the holder easily. If you have to force it at all, it is probably loaded with too much thread. Stop, take it out of the holder, and unwind some of the thread. Try loading it again. Once it loads easily, continue.***

Slowly drag the thread to the left along the top edge of the holder until it falls into that little slit in the edge of the holder. It will stop at the edge of a small metal strip.

When it's in the slit, keep some tension on the thread to keep it in its place in the slit.

In my picture, you can see the thread is in the slit just to the left of my pointer finger and then coming back towads my middle finger.  
(the thread on the left side of the bobbin holder is the thread attached to the sewing machine, not part of the bobbin or holder so don't let that confuse you)

Now gently pull the thread into the channel under that small metal strip; that strip will hold the thrad in tension.

Now test the bobbin placement: if you pull the thread coming out of the bobbin case with the open side of the case facing you, the bobbin should turn counter-clockwise. 

Many bobbin tension settings do not need adjustment. If your machine has been sewing correctly up to this point, your bobbin tension will probably be fine at this point. If it has not been sewing correctly, there are other things to check. See the lesson on Understanding Tension.

To set the bobbin case into the machine, place the center of the bobbin over the pin inside the bobbin assemly. Just gently press it in as far as it will go and until it stops.

Then pull up on the finger of the bobbin holder to let the unit set fully into the machine.
Let go of the finger when you feel it snap into place and as it moves in a little farther.

Try to turn the bobbin holder after it was set in place. It should not turn or fall out. If it does, do the prior step until it is seated into the machine.

Now that wasn't so bad, was it? Are you breathing? Just think, "We're half way done!" Let's go on to the upper threading procedure!

First, turn the wheel until your needle is all the way up.
Your spool of thread is still in place after winding the bobbin. Keep the thread in the hook and let it come down to the tension dial.

Use both hands to bring the thread into the tension discs from the right side. You will see the discs near the back of the dial assembly. Make sure the thread is inbetween the two discs.

Lead the thread under the dial and then up and around to the left side.

Gently pull the thread so it goes past the small metal pointed part on the top of the discs. This will keep the thread guided while feeding through the discs. As you pull the thread to go around the point, there's a thin, springy wire to the left of the metal point will move so you can get the thread around the point. Be sure to keep the thread underneath that wire.
See here how my thread goes down into the tension discs, comes up from the center out of tension discs, is threaded past the metal point, and then under the springy wire. That's how it should look.

***Upper tension settings are easily changed by turning the dial to a higher or lower number. Higher numbers mean the tension is tighter and lower numbers mean the tension is looser. Experimenting with the dial's settings to get the tension you need is a normal part of using this machine. You don't have to be afraid of doing this!***

There's a rod above the tension assembly. Set your thread behind that rod. Then bring it through the eye on the small head in the channel on the left side of the machine.

Bring the thread down to the thread guide next to tension assembly. It will pop in place when you pull the thread from the back and towards the front of the guide.

There is another thread guide under the side cover plate. It is a rod that can be threaded from the left side just under the cover. You will see the end of the rod and can place the thread on top of that end and then pull the thread forward for it to get into place like this.

There is one more thread guide just below the needle set screw. It looks like a flat rod with its open end on the left side of the guide. Bring the thread on top of the open end and pull in downwards and to the right to set the thread in place. This will help keep the thread on the right side of the needle to properly line up with the eye.

Your needle's eye opening sits facing right to left (not facing front to back like the modern machines). When you set the needle into the machine, the flat side of the needle goes on the left (remember that by thinking NFL = needle flat left).

When you thread the needle, you have to thread from the right side of the needle through to the left side, otherwise the bobbin hook will not catch the needle thread correctly. This is how the threaded needle should look.

OK! Let's take another breathe-break! Maybe get up and stretch a minute. You're doing great!
Only one more step to go!

Hold the thread back away and to the left when you start turning the balance wheel towards you....

after the needle starts to come up, the bobbin thread will appear under the foot. That's what we want!
When the needle is moving upwards, rotate the thread around to the front of the machine until it's being held towards the bobbin winder tension discs, and gently pull as you continue to rotate the wheel until the needle is all the way up. The bottom thread will pop right up through the foot where you can easily grab it with your fingers.

 Bring both threads to the back of the machine behind the foot. 

Now your Featherweight is ready to sew!

Practice threading your bobbin holder and upper threading pathways until you don't have to think about it so hard. Try to visualize the steps when you are away from your machine, like when you're driving or washing your hair. Eventually, this will all be second nature to you!

Join my Facebook group to post your pics and community discussion!

In the next session, we will go over some simple stitching with the regular foot. See you there!


Judy said...

I've had my machine for over 5 years and just last week I had to do this threading going through the book item by item just like you did. I look forward to your posts. Thank you.

Karen said...

great step by step instructions. I have had my featherweight for 4 years and have not used it much because I couldn't wind the bobbin. Now I can from your tutorial and I thought I better just follow all of your lessons. Thank you so much.