Training sewing machine operators pt 3
After the operators have done each of the previous six exercises (part two) for 45 minutes apiece with a discussion in between as rest stops, you’ve killed a day when you recall you started that morning with an orientation (part one). The second training session (assuming these are day long), you do another instructional lecture going into more detail about needles and thread. Using fabric samples, you show them proper seam formation, how to identify defects, whether the bobbin or top thread needs adjusting and how to do it. There are several pages of this stuff, all useful but too detailed to post it here.
After the above, the practical sewing exercises begin of which there are three more at the intermediate level (7-9) and four more at an advanced level (10-13) making for a total of thirteen exercises. None of these last exercises are illustrated, written instructions only. Today I’ll brief you the intermediate lessons. The last entry in the series will detail the advanced lessons.
Exercise 7, Sewing Hems:
Using 1/4″ checked fabric (or what is described as “lined pattern fabric” but I don’t know what that means), the objectives are to fold and sew hems of 3/4″. Oddly, the text mentions this measure is equivalent to being the width of one’s right toe (mine is 1.25″). I do not understand the instructions so I’ll transcribe them directly.
The trainee picks up the piece at left hand side, makes a 1/4″ fold, then another 1/4″ fold and postions to needle. She then sews an edge stitch, the complete length of the cloth.
This doesn’t form a 3/4″ hem so I remain confused. The instruction continues:
The purpose of having the checked cloth is to determine the squareness of the fold, which will be easily seen by how the cloth pattern line falls in relation to the folded edge and the sewing line. Also between the seam and the edge of the fold, any distortions due to excessive machine pressure, or too great a tension put on the cloth by the operator, will show by the pattern lines being slightly angled rather than falling squarely on themselves.
Give the operator ten to twelve pieces, measuring 3″ X 6″. The book says to save materials by having the operator notch the piece at the sewing line and tear away the finished hem, using the same piece to sew another hem (repeat two or three times). I think the efficacy of that strategy would be limited to fabrics that don’t distort on a torn edge otherwise, sewing the subsequent hem would be made inordinately difficult. In total, they’d be sewing 20-36 hems. The book then says to time the operator on six pieces and mark it on her record.
Exercise 8, Long Double Fold Hemming:
This exercise introduces handling larger parts. Using the same fabric as before, supply work pieces measuring 14″ X 6″. Repeat the exercises as explained above.
Exercise 9, Bias Cut Hemming:
The term bias is used to describe fabric cut off-grain, not literal bias (45 degree angle). Again, as I don’t understand the instructions in their entirety, I transcribe directly. Using 6″ X 6″ off-grain pieces
…have the trainee make an irregular first fold which will cause the first folded edge to fall perfectly on pattern line, and then make another fold which would be a true 1/4″ fold. Although this is a fairly difficult technique, the attempt here is at familiarization of the trainee with more difficult situations and an introduction of the concept of variables in measurements that must come out perfect.It should be pointed out to the trainee that there is an additional problem here as to whether the part has been cut slightly larger or smaller than standard and whether she is to make her first fold based on the longer end or the shorter end. If it is based on the shorter measurement it will mean double folding the longer side to finish squarely.
After these intermediate lessons have been mastered, training proceeds with advanced methods more typical of garment construction problems.
Training sewing machine operators pt 1
Training sewing machine operators pt 2
Training sewing machine operators pt 3
Training the green sewing operator
Comments from the sewing trainee
Training new sewing operator pt.3