Thursday, September 1, 2011

Talk Back Thursday

Thank you so much to Shannon, Judidarling, Webfrau, Clarie, Shannon Hillinger, Dressed2atee, Katherine, Debbie, Mary, Patsijean, CarlaF, Mamafitz, Linda T, Becky and Summerset for talking back to my confession last week! The topic was sewing machine speed settings – what controls people have and how they use them.

First, with regards to what controls people have on their machines, here is the breakdown from least common to most common:

Two (2) people have machines with 3 speed levels – throwing in a “medium” setting.

Four (4) people reported that they regularly use a machine that, like mine, has 2 settings – one slower and one faster (although different machines label them differently).

Five (5) people have machines with a slider control – so that you can make small adjustments to the machine’s top speed when the pedal is “to the metal”. ;)

What caught me by surprise was the most frequently called out answer – SIX (6) people regularly sew on machines that only provide the foot pedal to control the speed – no additional button, switch or slider to modify the impact of pressing on that pedal.

Now, how do people use this option?

Well, amongst those that can change the speed setting, the most typical strategy – reported by 9 people – is to use the fastest setting as a default, and slow things down under special circumstances. Here is a list of the examples of times when people prefer to use the slow setting:

When working with inexperienced sewers (including children & students) – 4 mentions

Any time you need to increase control and/or precision – 3 mentions

Free motion quilting – 3 mentions

Top- or edge- stitching – 2 mentions

Tricky bits like curves and corners – 2 mentions

Attaching rows and rows of sequins without breaking the needle! - 1 mention

Of course, not everyone is comfortable with the highest speed setting. Three people like to keep their machine around medium speed normally, and three people reported that they rarely (or even never) use the fastest setting. Machine embroidery and long, straight seams were called out as special circumstances that do justify the fastest setting.

I also picked up a tidbit of information that is new to me. Shannon mentioned that her machine has a start/stop button and she doesn’t even need to use her foot pedal if she doesn’t want to. Does anyone have this, use it and like it? That seems really weird to me – I can’t imagine sewing without the foot pedal. Of course, I drive manual transmission too… ;)

And Katherine had a suggestion regarding topics for my Friday Confessions – that I make sure that everyone realizes that I would be delighted to hear your suggestions for topics that you would like to see addressed! So, please, if you ever find yourself wondering what other people think about something sewing-related, shoot me an email ( or leave a comment on one of my posts, and I’ll write it up one Friday – giving you credit, of course! :)

Thanks again to everyone who left a comment! You guys rock! :)

Photo credit: Joanne at Today We Made


Alison said...

I have a start/stop button too but only use it for winding bobbins. Unplug the foot control, turn the speed dial down a bit, hit the button & go! It winds itself. Love that function!!

debbie said...

I have the stop/start button and don't use it at all! I'm too use to the foot pedal.

Anonymous said...

I have a start/stop button but really only use it for buttonholes, when it is better to let the machine do the to speak. I also prefer the foot control.

Linda T