Thursday, December 13, 2018

Do you sew fast?

I know, I know you think I mean do you finish garments quickly!  But nope not talking about that.


I'm asking, "Do you run your sewing machine on the fastest setting?" See my sewing machine has a slow, medium and fast setting on it. I've set mine to sew almost as fast as my machine can go. I've sewn with it on this setting for the last 3-4 years.

Just recently I moved it back to the medium setting. I've started sewing slower to get more control over my projects as they go under the needle. I'd never thought about it before. I just wanted to sew as fast as my machine would go to get to the end of the project. However, when I was applying the lace on my Black Ponte Jacket, I had to slow down to be more accurate.

By slowing down I noticed that I gained so much more control over my project and my sewing machine. It made me wonder why was I speeding through garments before?  Didn't I realize the power of accuracy I was giving up?

So here's the "Question of the Day?" Is your machine set at it's fastest sewing speed?  If not, what setting is it set at? And if you sew really fast, are you accurate? Do you feel like you could be more accurate if you changed your sewing machine setting?

Me, I've changed the setting on my sewing machine. I've slowed down. I've gained some more control and I'm seeing better results in my finished garments.

Talk back to me...cause I'm really interested!

...as always more later!

47 comments:

  1. My machine has no settings for speed. You can either use the foot pedal or a button but both are continuously variable. I manually adjust my speed as needed. Zip down those straight, long seams like side seams. I slow way down on curves and fussy bits. I try seams before starting to see a garment on scraps. Some fabrics see better when the machine goes slower or faster so I accomoaccomthat as well.

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  2. I'm with Lynn - no set speeds, but I'm not really a racer with the pedal. I'd say that I sew the same way I run 5Ks - I'm usually somewhere dead center of the pack.

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  3. Definately a slow sewer goes with being a perfectionist. It is what I always struggled with the overlocker which is much more industrial and therefore faster. I once nearly sewed through my finger on an industrial straight stitch machine. I just couldn't make it go slow enough. The only time I run the machine fast is for free machine embroidery with the feed dogs dropped. You get a better stitch quality with fast machine and slow hands.

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  4. I'm set at medium with variable speed (so from the lowest speed up to medium speed as the maximum). There really is a LOT going on down there!

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  5. I wish my machine had a setting that would allow me to adjust how fast it sewed, other than the foot pedal. I always want to be able to sew faster than the machine runs, for most of the sewing that I do. In fact, I have entirely worn out one foot pedal and had to buy a new one, because I WORE OUT the original foot pedal by going "pedal to the metal" so much. It isn't that I sew everything fast all the time, but for long seams and plain sewing I don't need to do anything except make sure the seam is in the right place... (obviously things like plackets or collars etc need slower attention) Still, I always want it to go go go!! and it always sews slow slow slow

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  6. yes , ı sew fast. but sometimes I need to slow down .

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  7. I have it set to fast, but I should slow it down on more technical projects. Also probably on sequins. It might be safer that way...

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  8. On my sewing machine and serger, I use the medium speed for easier sewing and more control of my fabric. On my serger, I often use the slowest speed as it is easier handling the fabric for more accuracy. I find doing this lessens my chances of using the frog stitch (rip-it).

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  9. Ditto, Ditto, Ditto. Yes, my speed adjustment is usually on HIGH with additional control from my foot pedal. I do use MEDIUM for zipper insertion, top stitching and fussy fabrics.

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  10. It all depends ... On long straight boring seams I like to go as fast as possible. On "fussy" areas I go very, very slow. But then, there are some fabrics that just require slow sewing to get things perfect.

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  11. I am always adjusting my machines. It depends on the project, fabric and area I am sewing.

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  12. I'm a midway gal. I like to slow down and enjoy the process. I can sew as fast as possible but only when I'm in a hurry these days. It's all about the journey not the destination.

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  13. Only have one machine with a speed control and I use it primarily for buttonholes. I set the machine on medium to medium slow. The other machines have foot pedals and sometimes I wish I could speed up the Bernina for long seams. The machine with the speed control also has a push button Start/Stop. I never use the foot control that came with the machine. When my right foot was acting up and I had to have surgery, the Start/Stop was a godsend. With that machine, again, on medium to medium slow. I don't want to give up control.

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  14. Strait seams are a green light for fast UNLESS it's something tricky, then I'll slow or med speed depending on fabric & item needing stitching. I don't like to unpick seams so slower is better. I'd rather turtle along for a moment than have to take stitches out & redo.
    Some fabrics really need a slower more thoughtful sewing.
    It makes the whole experience more enjoyable & that's one of the reasons I sew I enjoy every aspect of it.

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  15. I change the speed settings depending on the type of project that I am working on. Long straight seams are at the fast setting but sleeve seams are often at a very slow setting. Some fabrics require slower settings as well. I have discovered that the whole experience is more enjoyable when I have more control over the machine and the project.

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  16. I was doing stretch stitches last night on the side seams of a knit shirt and realized that I was going just as far no matter my speed, so I slowed down for accuracy. I only have speed control via the foot pedal though.

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  17. I have learned to slow down and enjoy my sewing time. It certainly has made for a better finished project as well.

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  18. I have a sliding setting that goes from super slow to super fast. I adjust all the time depending on what I am working on. If I have a longer straight seam, I will jack it up to super fast but if I am working on more intricate stuff, I slow it down.

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  19. Great food for thought today! No speed setting on my machine but I sew straight lines faster, everything else about medium and I back-stitch slow.

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  20. I am not, and have never really been, a "high-speed" sewer. I much prefer the control I get when I go more slowly. I tend to hand sew "with intention/attention" as well. I began my sewing life as an apparel sewer at 9 but fell under the spell of quilting many years ago. When I returned to the apparel sewing clan some years ago I began to take great pleasure in doing things well and sewing more slowly for better results....it's the little details that make me happy now.

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  21. I sew long side seems as fast as the machine will go, then slow it down for the other parts that are shorter and curved for the control. I do the same on the serger with long sides or pieces( especially strips for quilts)

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  22. I am what I call a "slow sewer". My top speed is usually mid-range on my machine. Even when doing machine embroidery. Slower stitching does mean more accurate stitching, more precise stitch formation, a better looking seam. It also means time to enjoy the sewing process, a period for thoughtful contemplation, even a kind of meditation as I tune my heart and mind to the steady and repetitive processes of stitching a seam. Sewing slowly gives me a chance to be totally serene, calm, and absorbed, taking me away from the world for a brief and lovely bit of time.

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  23. I don't have a speed setting on my machine. But I have actually noticed that I sew slower than I used to when I was younger for the same reason you mentioned - better control, increased attention to detail, no longer in such a rush. Also lack of desire to put my fingers under a speeding machine to pull pins.... I have lost that skill with age. I'm not that old - only 47 - but I think for me partly all of the above is to do with getting older and seeing the value in a good job more than I did say 20 years ago.

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  24. Unfortunately I sew and do everything else at one speed "fast". I try to slow down but I tend to make more mistakes that way. Having been like this for the past 67 years I don't think I can alter the fact that I live my life at one speed only. Too much to do and so little time to do it.

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  25. Wow to all the responses!

    I am about in the middle for my machine too (I know, shocking!) and tend to go a little slower. Exception is sewing long/straight-ish seams on sturdy fabric. Then I run it! LOL!

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  26. I always sew at a medium speed. Every now and then I bump it up to the fastest setting, but that is mostly when sewing long straight lines, like the seam from waist to hem in a longer dress. I believe I am pretty accurate overall.

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  27. This is something I never thought about until I got my new, fancy machine that actually had speed levels. My vintage machines just go and don't really have a difference in speed between stomp-on-the-pedal and lightly-press-on-the-pedal. That was what I was used to so I didn't realize, until my new machine, how much it might matter. With my new machine, I can C-R-E-E-P around a corner or slow down and make sure that I'm getting the right SA on a difficult fabric. For me, it has made a HUGE difference!! I mostly sew fast, but when I need to, it's amazing to be able to sew slowly!

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  28. I didn't realize I had a choice beyond the foot pedal (mostly only Bernina/Elna machines). I do know that industrial machines start off too fast for me, and my Janome coverstitch lurches to a start in a way I don't care for. That said, I like that I can muscle my way through a long seam. I also like that my Bernina (a older one) has a reverse gear I can stay in. And in that setting, I go very very slow.

    I am loving the answers here. I am curious: free arm or flatbed? I'm Team "Get Me The Skinniest Free Arm You Have". Love to hear what and why from others.

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    1. SJ - good question! Mind if I "borrow" it for a future Question of the Day blogpost?

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  29. I'm a middle-speed sewer for the most part. I will up the speed on along, straight seams. My machine has a variable speed setting and I can also vary my speed setting with the pressure I apply to the foot pedal, so I kind of let my seam & fabric tell me how fast or slow I can go.

    @SJ Kurtz: I like a flatbed 99% of the time, but appreciate that I can slip the guard (is it a "guard"?) off to have a thin free arm when needed

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  30. Currently, sewing on a 60 year old boring machine-so speed control is tap the pedal or floor it
    (I floor it)
    Whenever I get MY machine back from the "doctor's"...
    I generally leave it set on the highest setting unless I am doing something that requires control and I don't want to rely on a gentle touch on the pedal or

    But the best use of the "slow setting"-Teaching my daughter

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  31. I usually sew at a medium setting. For very tight curves or other spots where accuracy is difficult, I set the machine at the slowest speed. I probably only use the fast setting for filling bobbins.

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  32. It depends what I am sewing. If I am topstitching, I slow way down, otherwise I mostly sew fast.

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  33. Sloow sewing is what I do. Anytime I have pressed the pedal hard or used the pedal free at even a little aboth medium I can feel myself losing control. Going slow means you can be sure your edges are not slipping apart or a small movement does not become a 2 inch SA rather than a half inch seam allowance. Mind you if I manage a garment a month I am lucky.

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  34. The slower setting most of the time, for the very reasons you mention. And I've been sewing for as long as you have!

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  35. The past few years I've slowed down because I've started to do more challenging projects with high quality fabric.

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  36. I usually use a medium speed setting. I feel I need the control over the project. Like others I'll go faster on long, straight seams, and slower for more difficult tasks.

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  37. Fast and my new Bernina is faster than my last machine. Except when I am topstitching or other more precise sewing. Then I turn it down. I don't always sew at top speed, but the foot pedal is pretty good at sewing slower without turning down the speed. I also slow down at curves.

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  38. With my machine, if I chose to not sew using the pedal but sew pressing the button, I can set that to slow, medium or fast. I have probably used that feature a couple times and set it to medium but that seemed fast and I felt I had no control. I sew pretty slow around curves, applying neckbands with knit fabric and topstitching. Those long straight seams I go pretty fast with it. When I top stitch I have to tell myself to slow down so that the stitching looks nice. I also slow down when I am sewing a very expensive piece of fabric. All in all I am probably a medium speed sewist.

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  39. I serge like I am at the Indie 500, no problems there. With my regular garment sewing, I have learned to go much slower, that by choice. My machine has only one setting: Bunny. I proceed more slowly now than I did ten years ago because I am paying more attention and want to get it right the first time. I am fussier about the details more these days and speed doesn't work with that style of sewing.

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  40. I'm a slow coach unless it's something like the seams of the lining where no real thought is required. I've got a Husqvarna Mega Quilter (not for quilting) and that goes like a rocket but mostly used for more heavy weight fabrics. Mostly I use my Pfaff Expression, which is probably only 900 spm.

    Mind you my sewing teacher donkey's years ago said it wasn't how fast you could go but how slow. I like bare foot sewing as well, I never wear a shoe, I can 'feel' better.

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    1. I never wear a shoe either! For the same reason you said...I need to feel the pedal.

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  41. I sew fast most of the time but I will put my machine on the slow speed when it's something tricky. I worked at a company that made a lot of different things for store displays. One of the things we made were red piped tablecloths. We made miles of piping and sewed it to huge rounds of fabric, using industrial machines. I got used to how fast those machines went so coming home and sewing, it seemed like my machine was on the slowest possible speed. I never got over that!

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  42. If I'm sewing something big with straight seams, like a duvet cover for instance, I usually do speed it up, but most of the time I'm at medium or slow even. As you mentioned, the control is optimal at lower speeds. For detail work where I'm going to need to clip, I like to shorten my stitch length and go fairly slow also-particularly on collar points. I will admit that 20-30 years ago, yes, I went for speed at all times! LOL! I've gotten more into the process, I suppose!

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  43. Medium - slower if necessary - never faster

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  44. I'm definitely in the slower sewing camp. It seems every time I go fast, mayhem happens, even on a nice straight seam. I run out of bobbin thread and not notice for longer, something happens to snarl the stitches, the top thread shreds, I run over a pin, I wobble the seams, on the serger I slice what shouldn't be, etc. It just seems like my machines & I get along better at a slower steadier pace.

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  45. Probably moderate to slow speed depending on difficulty and accuracy needed.

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