Friday, August 24, 2012

Sewing Tutorial: Using the Adjustable Needle Position on your sewing machine

OK, so, you all got treated to some of my family's mini-vacation photos.  Which I'm sure is only a small step away (up or down?) from being forced to watch someone's vacation videos.

Well, I knew I was going to take a lot of photos, going to Washington DC and all, and I thought, hey!  What better place to look like a full-blown tourist than our nation's capitol?  I shall wear my camera around my neck proudly In my mind, it beats a fanny pack any day.  But of course I wanted to look somewhat cute while looking tourist-y.  So I made a camera strap in 30 collective minutes (had I not been interrupted by about 1,257,302 things during that 4-hour time period).

Anywho, the strap itself: there is no "camera strap tutorial void" that needs to be filled out there.  Seriously.  There are about 500 camera strap tutorials all over blog land.  I loosely followed this one.  Basic, customizable, easy.

BUT...I wanted to use this little project to point out one of the most useful features of my sewing machine - I don't know if yours has this or not, but if it does and you have never used should give it a try!  Your whole LIFE is about to get a little bit easier.  :)

It sounds a little intimidating, maybe?  I don't know.  That's where a room full of people would be really helpful right now.  I have no idea if this is something that everyone knows, or something that no one knows.  Since most of my real-life friends give me the song and dance about how they're scared of sewing machines (as if they're about to be attacked by one?), I'm going to go ahead and assume that the adjustable needle feature is not one that is commonly used.  If I'm mistaken, and you're a pro at it, and you're finding this whole post just really inane and patronizing, then by all means skip it and go read one of the funny ones.  Like my Oven Mitts Story.  That's a good one. 

So anyway, the needle of the sewing machine.  Did you know that it can move to the right or left?  It doesn't have to stay in the middle? Here is why that is helpful:
When you are trying to stitch really close to the edge of fabric, but still want to have a clear guideline to follow when you are feeding your fabric through, you can move the needle over, closer to the edge.  Allow me to demonstrate with some pics :)

This is what it looks like on my machine. Do you have one of these?
In this first picture, the fabric gets guided along the right side of the presser foot.  But you can change the needle position (move it over to the right), making it possible to stitch closer to the edge, without having to lose your "guide."  Such a simple thing, but so handy.  

And if you wanna get fancy...

(Just kidding, it's not all that fancy.)  But look: in the first picture, the needle is in the middle.  I am using that little line in the middle of the presser foot as my guide for the fabric to follow.  If I kept the needle in the center position, it wouldn't really work.  It would just stitch along the edge of the fabric and do no good.  But if I move the needle to the left, then I can still use the line as my guide for the fabric, while still being able to stitch close to the edge.  Does that make sense?  Don't move the fabric; just move the needle over!  

So, if you were wondering why you would ever need to mess with the needle position on your machine, now you know.  :)  After having this feature, I would never buy another machine that didn't have it.  

Was that helpful at all?  What other sewing how-to's would you would like to see here?  

*Linking to*


  1. Hi! I'm not really anonymous-it's Mom....

    I think I've been sewing for about 35 years and never thought of this ! Thanks ! (My child is brilliant! Brilliant,I tell ya!)

    1. Thanks Mom! Wow, I can't believe there was a sewing thing that you didn't know. I didn't think that was possible!

  2. That is a fantastic idea! Not sure why I never thought of it, it makes so much sense. You just made some of my upcoming American Girl doll sewing easier...thank you!

  3. Hi Rachel - Great tip! I am still getting comfortable changing settings on my sewing machine - this is a nice tutorial.

  4. Thanks for the tips....
    Sew well done!

  5. i learned something new!- Cara

  6. Nice tutorial, being able to adjust the needle is a great feature and I like it very much, couldn't be without it now!