2 Tips to Ensure Problem-Free Sewing

Later today I will be posting the sewing instructions for our Rectangle Fun Quilt-Along. Are you ready? While you wait, there are two things you can do to prepare for some fun sewing.

1. If you haven’t done so… clean your machine! I’m sure you’ve heard this countless times. And it really does make a difference. Nine out of ten times, if I’m having problems with stitches skipping, it is because of the lint that accumulates in the bobbin case. So I clean frequently: always before starting a new project, and several times more throughout it. And it is also a good idea to clean the whole path your thread follows from the spool down to the needle. It’s amazing how much lint can build up there, too!

2. Change your needle. One of the best things I did for myself this year was to make a machine needle organizer. Not only are all my packages nicely organized and labeled, but this system allows me to know at any given moment what needle I have in what machine (I use 3 different ones for different things). And I have one of the “pockets” reserved for needles I don’t want to use sewing, but that I can use to perforate paper (for making stencils or paper-piecing patterns). I tend to use a Universal 80/12 needle for piecing. For quilting, it actually depends on the machine I am using. On one of them a Quilting 80/12 works really well, whereas on my beloved old clunker, the thread tends to break, and I have found using a Topstitch 90/14 works better. Go figure.

These are two steps I take that really work for me. What about you? Is there anything else you do that helps you ensure smooth sewing and an enjoyable quilting experience? Leave your comment and share your tip with us!

This entry was posted in Sewing/Quilting, This and that |Comments closed


  1. Sharon
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 7:51 am | Permalink


    I have your site. There is a question that I am sure you have been asked before, how do you cleam the thread path on a sewing machine?



    • Posted September 18, 2010 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      Sharon, I use a thin paintbrush. And then I moisten a piece of cloth and slide it up and down to draw out whatever lint I can. That as far as my electronic sewing machine goes. And I make sure it is serviced every six months, so it gets a deep cleaning then. On my mechanical machine it is a lot easier, because I can actually open it up and reach in from the inside to clean the path.