But do you know how a sewing machine actually works? I found this great video (from The Science Channel, of all places!) that explains the basics.
Pretty cool, huh? Here's a link to an animated graphic that really shows how the needle and the hook work together.
There are three things I'd like to emphasize with this video.
- With a mechanism moving 14 times per second, it's imperative that you keep the bobbin case/race area clean of lint. Severe lint buildup will interfere with the needle/hook interchange and prevent you from getting a nice, clean stitch.
- If you break a needle, make sure you check/clean your bobbin case carefully to remove any broken needle bits. You don't want them to fall into your bobbin assembly.
- If you run over a pin at a fast enough speed, you can actually push the metal of the pin into the hook mechanism with the needle and knock it out of "time". The needle will no longer be perfectly synchronized with the hook and you won't be able to pick up any stitches. You're dead in the water. Don't ask me how I know this. And don't ask me how many times I've needed to learn this lesson. The remedy for this is a visit to the sewing machine hospital and around $100. The only upside to knocking your machine out of time is it forces you to go ahead and get that professional tune-up that you should be doing once a year.