Help! My kid was gifted a new sewing machine. Now what?

Here are 10 easy steps:

Step 1. Breathe. Do not be afraid of the machine. It doesn’t bite and rarely talks back.

Step 2: Unbox the machine. Take everything out. Remove all the styrofoam, bubble wrap, packing paper and tape. You should have a sewing machine, a power cord and a foot pedal. Any accessories may be in a pouch taped somewhere in the box or in the removable tray on the front of the machine. Your machine may have come with an extension table and a hard cover (lucky you!). You may/may not find a printed operator’s manual in the box as many sewing machine manufacturers have now gone to online only manuals, but you should still have a printed quick start guide in the box. Find it. Open it.

Step 3: Set up your machine as indicated in the Quick Start Guide. If you need a video tutorial, go to the manufacturer’s website and/or look for videos on YouTube. If you received a Baby Lock [manufacturer] Jubilant [model name], search for Baby Lock Jubilant + “set-up” to return more precise results.

Step 4: Turn on the machine. The switch is usually located on the right side of the machine near where you inserted the power supply and foot pedal connections.

Step 5: Now would be a good time to review the parts of your sewing machine. There should be a diagram in your manual.

Step 6: Find the presser foot lifter – it’s a small lever behind the needle assembly that raises/lowers the presser foot.

Step 7: Practice stitching without fabric and thread. Send your kid to fetch a piece of lined notebook paper.

Step 8: Place notebook paper under the presser foot so that one of the lines on the notebook paper is centered underneath the presser foot. Lower the presser foot.

Step 9: Let your kid sew on the notebook paper, following the blue line. The goal is to have the machine stitch as close as possible to or directly on the blue line. When you reach the end of that line, reposition on the next line and keep practicing your straight lines. If you want some fancier practice pages (still free), visit here and print out a set.

Step 10: If you purchased the machine from a sewing machine dealer, call the shop to schedule your machine orientation lesson. If you didn’t or can’t get to the dealer, reach out to a sewing friend or contact me to schedule a one-on-one lesson with your new stitcher. A parent/guardian is also welcome to attend this introductory lesson.