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Quilting and Starting to Sew

using a scrap of fabric when beginning to sew

The feed dogs on your sewing machine can be your friend or your enemy.  The feed dogs are what pull your fabric along as you make your stitches.  If you don't jerk your fabric, the should glide it in a straight path.

However, sometimes getting the fabric started can be problematic.  Several factors can cause the fabric to jam in the feed dog before it gets moving.

If this is happening to you, there are several ways to stop it.

One of the easiest ways is to always use a starter scrap of fabric, like in the above photo.  Put your presser foot down in the middle of the starter fabric, and then sew off of it directly into the your patchwork.  At the end of your patchwork, sew on the the starter strip again.  You are then ready to sew onto your work again from the starter strip. 

One of the advantages of using a starter strip is that you use less thread.

Another way to handle this problem is to grab hold of the threads behind your fabric, and hold on to them as you begin to sew.  This will usually provide enough tension that the fabric will advance.

Finally, use a different presser foot.  Wide presser foots are more prone to jam fabric.  Narrow foots, with only a hole for the needle to go in, will usually glide along nicely.

Most quarter inch pressing foots are narrow, like the one pictures above.

Always avoid starting to sew on a delicate area, such as the corner of a triangle, if possible.



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