Tips for Sewing, Embroidery, Machine Maintenance and More!

Sewing machines, overlockers, embroidery modules . . . oh my!

September is National Sewing Month. A great occasion to share some of our favorite tips and tricks from WeAllSew.

Plus. we have a giveaway at the bottom of the post full of great items waiting to find a  home in one of our lucky reader’s sewing room! Make sure you get your entry in.

Sewing Machine Tips

Let’s take it back to basics with some simple sewing machine tips.

BERNINA Free Hand System


The easiest way to improve your sewing, both in precision and speed, is to use the BERNINA Free Hand System. If you haven’t yet used your FHS check out these BERNINA Free Hand System tips! And before you say the FHS bar isn’t easy to reach with your knee, know that it is adjustable, and your local BERNINA store can help you by making sure it is adjusted properly to fit your sewing style.

Tips for Sewing Straight Seams

Tips for sewing straight seams

Your BERNINA is equipped with a super handy tool that makes sewing a straight seam incredibly easy. This Tips for Sewing Straight Seams post will have you digging through your sewing box to give this simple tool a try!

Needle and Stitch Plate Security


Some sewing machines are smart enough to warn you about what tools you have on your sewing machine before you break a needle! Find out about the BERNINA Needle and Stitch Plate Security Function and how to use it here.

For more basic sewing machine tips, plus information on basic must-have tools and must-know techniques, check out our National Sewing Month: Back to Basics blog post.

Overlocker Tips

Check out some of our top serger tips, techniques and tutorials to help sharpen your skills.

Overlocker for Beginners Series


Welcome to the world of overlockers! Maybe you have never worked with a serger before, or it could be that you just haven’t tried one in a long time. Either way, we are starting from square one and slowly walk through all the cool techniques your overlocker can do. With our Overlocker for Beginners series, you’ll be serging with confidence!

How to Thread an Overlocker

Do you dread to thread? Overlockers or sergers of all kinds have a reputation of being impossible to thread, but overcoming this dread of threading is key to your successful experience with these machines. Learn how to thread your machine today.

How to Use Three Threads Three Ways with the BERNINA Overlocker


As the old School House Rock song teaches us, 3 is a Magic Number, and this is a great way to think about the basic stitches on an overlocker machine. The three basic stitches are: overlock, flatlock, and rolled edge. Using three threads, we can easily adjust settings to achieve these three different stitches. Learn how it’s done on our Three Threads, Three Ways with a BERNINA Overlocker blog post. Then you can get creative with a whole bunch of different ways you can use them!

Machine Maintenance Tips

Overlocker Care and Cleaning Tips

Overlocker Care Cleaning - overview

Showing your machines a little TLC is key to maintaining a trouble-free relationship. Just like your sewing machines, your overlocker needs some regular cleaning and oiling. Unlike your sewing machine, knowing when to do this varies more from person to person. You will learn quickly that an overlocker/serger creates much more lint than a sewing machine because with every stitch it is also cutting the fabric. Hello dust bunnies!

Your Interactive Maintenance and Service Program in Your Sewing Machine

Machine Maintenance Program Overview

Being a BERNINA sewing machine owner, did you know that your machine has lots of Machine information, Maintenance and Service programs build in? Learn about the programs that help you keep your machine on track.

How to Clean and Oil Sewing Machines with a CB Hook

How to Clean and Oil Sewing Machines with a CB Hook - Hook Cleaning - remove the needle - remove the stitch plate - release bobbin case - bobbin case removed - dust out your machine - cleaning with a soft cloth

The CB hook system earned BERNINA the reputation for having excellent stitch quality. It’s the system on many of our legacy machines as current models including the BERNINA 3 Series and the B 215. It is a beloved system known for its precision and excellent stitch quality. The key to helping these machines last and have a long lifespan is taking care of them properly. Your machine should be taken in to see a tech for a full cleaning and tune-up once a year but it’s important to do some basic maintenance between those visits.

If you have questions regarding cleaning and oiling your machine, take a look at some of our frequently asked questions, answered by the BERNINA of America Director of Technical Education and Support, Hans Herzog.

Presser Feet Tips

Let’s take a closer look at sewing machine presser feet and accessories. There are so many BERNINA specialty feet and accessories that are made to help you sew your best projects—check out some of our favorites here!

Why So Many Presser Feet

What's in your kit: presser feete

Why are there so many different presser feet? There’s more than one reason why you should consider exploring the many presser feet and accessories available to you as a BERNINA sewist, and you can learn more here.

BERNINA Patchwork Feet


There are specific applications where a precisely sewn quarter-inch seam is necessary, such as patchwork or some crafts. BERNINA offers six different patchwork quarter-inch seam feet to fit the needs of any sewist or quilter and suit your work style. Let’s walk through a brief history of BERNINA Patchwork Feet in this post!

Overlocker Presser Feet

gathering foot in action

Every BERNINA Overlocker comes with a standard presser foot that works for most everyday techniques. Overlockers do lots of practical techniques such as seaming, hemming, and seam finishes. When you add specialty presser feet to the machine, you can expand the creative possibilities it offers.

Machine Embroidery Tips

Embroidery has been around for centuries, and with machine embroidery, you can create just about any design you want!

Downloading and Transferring Embroidery Designs to a USB Stick


When you purchase an embroidery machine, most will come with built-in designs that are easy to access and ready to stitch, and that’s great! But there are so many “perfect” designs to choose from for purchase. Whether you purchase online and download, or purchase designs or design collections on media such as USB sticks or CDs, you will need to get them into the embroidery machine. Take a look at how it’s done!

Why So Many Machine Embroidery Hoops?

section of machine embroidery hoops

Every embroidery machine comes with at least one and usually more hoops. Plus there are others that you may purchase to add to your hoop collection. But do you really need multiple hoops? Let’s find out!

Ten Tips for Using Embroidery Stabilizer

stitched design

An important part of stitching beautiful machine embroidery designs is the correct use of stabilizers. There are many types of stabilizers for different embroidery situations. If you are new to machine embroidery, it may be confusing to know which one to use when. There are guidelines to help you decide which stabilizer to use but there is no one answer for every embroidery scenario. It is a matter of trial and error, testing, and experience. Try these ten stabilizer tips to help get great stitching results!

Looking for more machine embroidery tips, techniques and projects from experts? We’ve got you covered with this post from WeAllSew.

Fabric Tips and Tricks

Fear no fabric! Find tips and tricks for sewing with a variety of fabrics, including velvet, vinyl, oilcloth and more!

Sewing with Cork

Give your next craft project a little flair by using cork! Cork is perfect for making bags and wallets, great for applique and embroidery, and much more! It’s backed with a thin layer of fabric similar to faux leather. Cork comes in a variety of colors and printed patterns to suit the needs and wants of crafters alike. Learn more about cork fabric.

National Sewing Month 2021 WeAllSew Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you to all of our WeAllSew fans who entered!

Congratulations to our winner(s):

  1. soretired

Keep an eye out for the next WeAllSew giveaway!

197 thoughts on “Tips for Sewing, Embroidery, Machine Maintenance and More!

  1. This month, I am celebrating Sewing Month with delving into techniques of sewing with triangles ( a longtime angst) and using only solids in a small quilt. Learning happens when we push our boundaries and are challenged!

    1. I’m celebrating National Sewing month by working my way through several projects on deck. I ❤ my Berninas! But really for me, EVERY month is sewing month!

    2. I am working through a few quilting projects. Specifically I have a wall hanging that needs free motion quilting and once I pin baste, I will practice the free motion motif that I have chosen until I am ready and get the darn thing done. The quilt top is appliquéd and embroidered so it won’t be too detailed. It is a gift for my sister who hand quilts and I want to do my best….

    3. I am celebrating by creating, along with five of our members, a seminar to teach bag making techniques to members of our chapter of the American Sewing Guild.

    4. I’m celebrating by buying myself an early birthday present I bought the Bernina L 860 Serger❤️❤️ I bought it Tuesday. I’m also having another sewing weekend with my BFF making some bags by Annie.

    5. I am celebrating National Sewing Month by getting acquainted with my new B790SE and taking classes in free motion quilting! I love my new machine’s features!

  2. I’ve just moved into a new home and finally have my sewing studio up and running again. To celebrate National Sewing Month I’ve begun two projects: a quilt along paper pieced wall hanging for Christmas and an Embroidery Sampler project to learn all the embroidery aspects of my B570 QEE. Oh, and continuing to practice ruler work with my new Q16! All sewing, all the time!

  3. I’m celebrating by going on a sewing retreat with a dozen sewing friends. And I also upgraded to a new Bernina. Can’t wait to pick it up and start stitching!

  4. I’m celebrating National Sewing Month by making quilts for two co-workers who have birthdays this month. I’ve already finished and delivered the quilts, and plan to start working on the next quilt for a co-worker whose birthday is in October. Thanks.

  5. I am super busy. Lots of quilts to finish for charity. So many pillowcases to wash and box up for Children’s Hospital. I have too many projects going on right now.

  6. I’m celebrating National Sewing month by finishing up my UFO’s quilts before I start a new project! Last week I took three quilt tops to the quilter and today working on binding another quilt.

  7. Celebrating National Sewing this September with the arrival of my new Q20 pro frame that my husband & I easily assembled. Adjusting the Q20 from table to frame was a breeze & beautifully illustrated by Bernina. The inaugural quilt on the frame is going to be the last one my Mom sewed before she passed. Lots of doodling to come up with the ruler work & freehand designs to use. So happy so many people enjoy sewing & quilting!

  8. I’m celebrating by finishing up a challenging quilt that has languished for far too long and putting in the time to really learn how to use more of my machine — I’ve pulled out the embroidery module and have actually used it!

  9. I just purchased a 790+ and am excited to learn all of its capabilities. I was particularly drawn to its embroidery functions and am looking forward to really upping my sewing gamw.

  10. Hello!!!

    I’m celebrating by purchasing my circle FMQ foot for my 790! Not only that – I’m working on three separate quilts!!!! Whatta month!! Loving it so far!

  11. I am in FQS mystery quiltalong “All the Trimmings “now, I am awaiting the finishing kit to complete The Tula Pink “Nebula” quilt.
    Thank you!!! Can’t wait,

  12. I am celebrating National Sewing Month by taking the leap from quilting to garment sewing. One goal is to sew t-shirts that actually fit properly in colors that I love. So thank you Heidi for the timely posts and suggestion for buying online. I will be ordering my fabric tomorrow and sewing up some t-shirts!

  13. I am celebrating National Sewing Month by using my Bernina 830LE to embroider towels for birthday gifts and making FSL pumpkins for my home as well as using my Bernina L460 to serge a fall sweatshirt for myself. I love to create with my Bernina machines!

  14. I am working on cutting and prepping a few projects so when I get to my sewing room I am ready to go. Plus of course I will have to do some shopping along the way.

  15. I’m celebrating by actually sewing. I haven’t made anything in almost a year and I’ve made myself a shirt, have another ready to go, and I’m working on an outfit for my daughter.

  16. I’m celebrating National Sewing Month by finishing several projects that have interrupted each other the last few months—a traditional gift quilt, a traditional-to-modern guild challenge, a couple small art quilts. When I first got my Bernina 770 three years ago, I wasn’t sure it was worth the cost (especially that needle threader 😫). After watching a lot of videos that addressed many of my frustrations, I’m now good friends with Bernie and look forward to our time together!

  17. Teaching quilting and various sewing project classes keeps me busy week in and week out! Plus making sewn items for myself and family. There is NEVER a day where I am not sewing or quilting.

  18. I’m celebrating National Sewing Month by making a list of current quilt projects at home (turned out to be 14) and making a valiant effort at completing them by the end of this month. With the extra time from a 4-day quilt retreat next week and the fact that I’m already halfway done with the list, I may just be able to get all of this done!!

  19. I’m beginning to work on a fabric collage of James VI and I King of Scotland and England as a gift to my daughter-in-law who recently received her PhD in Early Modern History where James played a huge part.

  20. I wish I could celebrate national sewing month by sewing but unfortunately I broke my right arm and cannot. I will celebrate by watching Bernina and WeAll Sew tutorials and instructions and dream about the many projects I will be able to do once I am able to sew on my wonderful Bernina machines again!

  21. I’ve made 12 placemats for my grandkids that involved embroidering 6 blocks each and then sewing together. Then there’s a mystery quilt I’m working on. And then there’s a Hawaiian quilt I’m working on. Oh. And although it’s not until December, I did sign up for a Virtual Bernina class about my 790+. Not a beginner, but I just want to know more about what my machine can do. So little I know about it.

  22. I am celebrating National Sewing Month by working on Halloween quilts, participating in a mystery sewing along and making a Storm at Sea quilt that has been on my list for years

  23. To celebrate, I pulled out UFO tablerunner to finish from 10 years ago. It is a combination of paper piecing and applique. Newer to me methods of preparing applique pieces are helping me to finish it.

  24. I celebrated NSM first by having my machines serviced at my favorite Bernina dealer. Then I purchased the OESD Bernina logo and design of my 880. I am making a new cover for my machine, and later a new tote bag for myself. Then I quilted a 90 x 90 quilt. On my list is a Fall quilt and some Fall and Halloween totes. And the month is only half over!

  25. Celebrating National Sewing Month by SEWING. Have to complete a quilt by Oct 2 for grandson’s wedding and a baby quilt by Dec 3 for great grandbaby’s arrival. Sew…..lots of machine time being put in this month. Love it!!!

  26. I’m celebrating Mational Sewing Month by spending more time in my sewing room! I plan to finish several old projects & celebrate when they’re completed!

  27. I’m celebrating National Sewing Month by trying my hardest to finish at least 3 projects that have been in progress for awhile. Already finished one — a Minecraft quilt for my nephew’s birthday!

  28. National sewing month is a great way to introduce non-sewers to such a wonderful experience. Plus, if they enjoy themselves, a lot of items are on sell and help ease the burden of expense of a new hobby. I try and find new things to use or learn during National Sewing Month. It’s also a good time to finish all those UFO’s. Un-finished Objects.

  29. I’m celebrating National Sewing Month by (are you ready?) Sewing! A vinyl table cover for hubby’s man cave, two Halloween costumes, a cork handbag for me, and one of those adorable glow-in-the-dark FSL OESD pumpkins! A busy, fun month!

  30. I’m celebrating National Sewing Month by sewing, quilting or doing machine embroidery on one of my Berninas every day! I’ve also challenged myself to do more with my Bernina Designer software, which I began using 23 years ago. 🙌🏼💙

  31. I am celebrating National Sewing Month by purchasing my new 790 plus, upgrading from B780. I am enjoying getting to know my 790 and finishing a baby quilt. I’m so impressed with all the education you provide online. Since the machine is similar to the 780, I only need to travel to my dealer for targeted instruction.

  32. I’m celebrating National Sewing Month by completing some UFO’s, learning new techniques of sewing and embroidery. I want to complete my Halloween quilt before Halloween.

  33. I broke my foot in August and knowing I wouldn’t be going anywhere any time soon, I have been embroidering on my 790 and loving every stitch! I also quilt and got some scrap blocks put together as well as stitching some cork hand bags. I’ve owned many Bernina machines, still use my 1130, but every upgrade has been a delight! I recommend Bernina to every seamstress, and quilter I know. Best machine to tickle my heart!

  34. Not only is September National Sewing Month but it is also my birthday month, sew… I am finally going to make the Happy Birthday ME bench pillow kit I have had for quite a while.

  35. I am sewing some UFO’s I’ve had around too long. I have 3 quilts that need binding and sleeves. I love my Bernina machines and they will be getting their yearly spa treatment, LOL, once I’ve completed the finishing on these 3 quilts.

  36. I’m celebrating National Sewing Month by making and donating a pennant banner for the local 4H Club which I use to be a 4H leader for 13+ years. I will be using my B590 for the project.

  37. This month I did double-sided garden flags for two of my daughters-in-law. I am also going to finish a 28″ square table topper with edge-to-edge quilting- have not done that before.

  38. I am celebrating national sewing month by sewing something everyday. So far I have quilted one quilt, made numerous sweat pants for the grands and now I am making fleece pullovers. Looking for something new and adventurous to finish out the month

  39. I have been learning more about my new machine & all it’s special goodies. Made a couple of masks just trying out things, hemmed some jeans, now on to some real sewing. Lol

  40. Sewing is an ongoing project for me all the time. Currently finishing binding two quilts. Then have more quilting projects in various stages to work on. Have finally accumulated the fabric for an Hawaiian print quilt for a friend wo has cancer and LOVES Hawaii.

  41. For me, every month that I find time to sew is “sewing month.” I recently joined a group at my church that makes Fidget Mats for people with dementia. I took my Bernina 330 (easily portable) and sewed up a storm for 4 hours with some nice like-minded friends.

  42. Durung national sewing month, or any month for that matter, I love to sew bags, with lots of pockets inside and out.i like to creste a design for the outside pockets with my embroidery machine. The latest tote bag has a pocket tailored to fit my kindle so im always ready to read on the go.😍

  43. I’m taking a Bag Boot Camp at my dealer and working my way through all the fun projects. Great instruction – and lots of tips on using different Bernina feet and features! It’s even giving me a jump start on my holiday gift making .

  44. I am celebrating this month by tackling all my small, to do’s so I can move on to a new project. Not as fun but sure will feel good to have a clean sewing table.

  45. I’m celebrating National Sewing Month by working on a board game cloth with my granddaughter.
    She would like to enter the project in a local county fair next year.

  46. I’ll be sewing some panel pants from the Sewing Workshop Pattern Co. and Joining a group of like minded friends at our church to sew several projects for charity.

  47. All months are “sewing months” when you retire. But especially this month since I’m getting ready for my first grandchild – receiving blunts, burp cloths, quilts and bins.

  48. I am recently retired! Finally time to use my Bernina whenever I want. My goal for this month is to finish a few quilts that have just been waiting to be quilted on my Q24 and become more proficient using it!!!

  49. I am celebrating National Sewing Month by reacquainting myself with my B880 Plus. First, I am making a pillow, then an apron. Finally, I will be finishing a quilt that I made over Labor Day weekend. In case the predicted storm cuts the power, I always have my English Paper Piecing to work on by candlelight!

  50. I am celebrating by FMQ baby quilt for my nice’s son who was born on September 1, 2021. So far, I am enjoying the process and am excited about putting the binding on soon. I think my niece will love this quilt!!

  51. I’m learning to use my BSR with the new Sew Steady Wish Table. I have several quilt tops pieced by my husband’s Grandmother in the 1950s-1960s — they need to get finished! (Fingers crossed)

  52. I am celebrating this month sewing Halloween projects currently working on the kimberbell Halloween bench pillow. I am also working on a few knit tops for me! Thank you for the opportunity.

  53. This sewing month I have been cleaning and reorganizing my srwing room. I need to do this to refresh my mind and help me decide new projects for the winter months ahead!

  54. I sew mostly craft things. Yesterday I made a hand painted canvas journal cover. I sew mostly home decor and craft things. Love my Bernina 1130, old but still sewing well!

  55. I’m celebrating by persevering though making a quilt top that I love the affect but it is very repetitive. I’m sure everyone has experienced something similar. But I do love sewing and have 2 other quilt top to quilt sooo there’s that.

  56. I have been sewing up a storm getting ready for next week’s charity holiday boutique. Santa and his elves have been cheering me on, but in stead of the usual ho, ho, ho, I keep hearing sew,sew,sew!

  57. I’m spending time during National Sewing Month finishing some pincushions and Japanese rice bags, putting away fabrics, and cleaning my sewing room. I need to have a clean(er) slate to work on holiday sewing projects on my two Bernina sewing machines and one Bernina serger.

  58. I am celebrating National Sewing Month I am working on UFOs and starting new projects, as usual. But this month I am also setting up “sewing stations” for my granddaughters. They each have a sewing machine on a table, and organizer with scissors, clips, etc. So they can sew anytime they come over.

  59. For National Sewing month I am organizing fabric purchases made while traveling this summer, quilting some table runners I pieced over the summer months, and designing a quilt for our son’s Christmas present.

  60. I’m celebrating National Sewing Month each and every time I step into my “studio” (aka spare bedroom!) to sew. I love working on “small batch” sewing projects – unique, one-of-a-kind kimonos and fun, reusable drawstring gift bags. Each finished project is a cause for celebration – especially during National Sewing Month!

  61. To celebrate National Sewing Month, I am working on a few sewing projects with my granddaughter including pillowcases and doll clothes. I love passing the love of sewing on to the next generation.

  62. I am celebrating by squeezing in a new dress for me! I typically sew for everyone else, putting myself last. LOVE the makers journal!! And anything Tula.

  63. I’m celebrating National Sewing Month (which just happens to coincide with my birthday) by tackling some longstanding UFOs and some practical sewing projects with my Bernina 770.

  64. For National Sewing month I am trying to straighten up and reorganize my sewing room. Also working on a quilt on my Q24 with QMatic that was made by my 90 year old mother.

  65. I recently got a Bernina 790+, so for sewing month, I am manily learning the machine. I did make my daughter an apron for her birthday. I know not exciting, but it was for her. She loves to cook and especially bake, so something that mom made on her new machine was perfect! Now, on to something exciting!

  66. I will be working on machine embroidery but end the month by going to MSQS for their birthday celebration with my sister in law what better way to celebrate the month.

  67. I am celebrating National sewing Month by organizing my sewing room with my new Kangaroo sewing cabinet and quilting some UFOs with my Bernina 880 plus. I own 3 Bernina sewing machines and a Surger. Love and use them all.

  68. I want to thank BERNINA WeAllSew blog for the fun National Sewing Month prize of a variety of notions, journal and tea towels. I bought a new B570QEE this year but kept my trusty B215. I’ve been sewing a variety of small projects to become acquainted with all the additional functionality of my new machine before I return to quilting my king size quilt project. The first little project I worked on was my latest granddaughter’s Christmas stocking.

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