Japanese-manufactured hand sewing machines can be used for all sorts of sewing tasks from cleaning clothes to embroidery.
But the technique can be a lot of work, and even for those who can master it, the results can be frustratingly time-consuming.
In this CBC Radio’s The Morning Edition special, host David Cochrane shares some tips on how to get started with a Japanese hand sewing tool.
Listen to the audio labelled: Japanese-crafted hand sewing tools are a pain in the butt.
1:00 How to sew a Japanese sewing machine?
If you have no sewing experience, you can start by making a few basic cuts.
One way to get the most out of your sewing machine is to use a rotary cutter.
It’s a little box with a spinning wheel that you put the fabric on top of.
This way you can cut off the fabric that’s not needed for sewing.
If you need a larger size, a 3/4-inch wide cutter is also helpful.
Once you’ve got your cuts, you’re ready to turn to the sewing.
Once the machine is turning, you’ll have to stitch the fabric by hand, which can take up to 30 minutes.
This is the hardest part of making a hand sewing project.
To make things easier, make sure you don’t have to stop sewing to do it, Cochrane said.
It might feel like you’re holding up the machine when you’re sewing, but the machine doesn’t spin.
Instead, you pull the fabric out and move the fabric in different directions.
When you get the finished product, you should have something that’s the right width and length.
The machine needs to be rotated at least three times during the process, but that’s a small number.
2:15 Why is a Japanese machine so slow?
The process takes longer than you think.
You have to use the rotary tool, but then you have to rotate the machine three times to make the first stitch, Cochran said.
Then you have the machine rotate again and again.
When that process is done, you have a piece of fabric that you need to stitch with a needle.
This piece of stitching is called the thread.
This thread is the only part of the machine that needs to come from the inside of the fabric.
Cochrane suggests sticking a thread marker in the middle of the cloth, which you can use to make sure the thread you’re working on isn’t going into the sewing machine’s sewing head.
The thread is then pulled out of the sewing head, which is held together by a loop on the top of the rotator.
If the thread is too loose, it can become dislodged.
When this happens, you won’t be able to use your sewing tool to make stitches.
Cochran suggested holding a piece up to your sewing hand, as if you were sewing a dress.
It will help you know if you’re actually sewing the right fabric.
Once your thread is finished, you want to stitch all the way around the fabric, or you’ll wind up with a patchwork of stitches, which are less useful.
It can be tempting to leave the thread sticking out.
This can result in the thread slipping around the stitching and getting lost.
However, this is the most common way to leave threads stuck in a machine.
3:00 What’s the difference between a Japanese and Canadian hand sewing?
There are many differences between Japanese- and Canadian-made hand sewing.
There’s the technique used to stitch your fabric, as well as the machine used to make it.
Japanese hand-sewing machines are a bit slower and use less rotary tools.
The rotary and needle are both made of metal and have a special design on their top sides.
When they are working on the inside, they will spin, so it’s possible to see the gears in action when they’re spinning.
You can use your fingers to make small adjustments, but this will also leave the threads stuck to the fabric inside.
You’ll need to be able in the beginning to make your own hand sewing patterns.
This isn’t as easy as it sounds.
When the machine turns, it doesn’t have a handle.
Instead you need some sort of handle to hold the fabric together.
Cochne said a piece made of plastic will hold the threads together better than metal.
In addition, you might have to keep the machine running for a while if you want the stitches to be done before the fabric goes to the machine.
4:15 What do you need for a hand-made Japanese sewing project?
A hand sewing table.
It has to be made of some sort to hold up the fabric while the machine spins.
Cochron recommends making your own, because you can make your work up quickly and then cut out the pattern.
He also recommends cutting out the sewing pattern at the same time, as