Sewing Machine Inductions - proposed route forward

Hey all,

There’s a bit of a backlog on the sewing machine inductions at the moment due to the inductors not being around much anymore.

I’d like to propose a similar route forward to that currently happening for the 3d Printer.

A group of new inductors should form from people with experience of sewing machines, not necessarily our own. The group should then either create or assess existing risk assessments, updating where necessary. A brief induction document should then be made which will outline what should be covered in the induction. From there inductions can then begin.

Generally I think this sort of thing will become the standard way for the hackspace to get out of these deadlocks. It’s a similar process to what would happen if we were buying new equipment, so I think it’s appropriate.

I’ll volunteer myself to be a sewing machine inductor/maintainer, but welcome anyone else who’d like to get involved.

As i’m on the board, I don’t want this decision to be seen as insider training or biased, hence posting here to open the floor to any comments before beginning this process.


Joe without a board member hat on.


Hi Joe- I’m wondering if anything came of this idea? I’m asking because I recently volunteered on the telegram to help Tom develop some training, so I was looking over what might be on the forum about sewing machines, and saw you had proposed this last October (I’ve only recently joined, so didn’t see it then).
I have been using sewing machines for years, just as a hobby, not professionally. I’d like to get some skills at teaching people, so I’d like to try being a trainer for the sewing machine. But I am new to the hackspace, and I don’t want to make a mess of any systems that are in place.

I’ve looked over the manuals for the sewing machines, and here is what I think would be a good basis for inductions that people could do themselves:
1- read the manual
2- a brief ‘quiz’ asking if they feel confident plugging in the machine, threading it, changing a needle, changing the presser foot, going through the troubleshooting section of the manual if they have a problem, and reporting the problem to the maintainers if they can’t get it sorted
3- if they don’t feel confident with that, they can ask anyone to show them how to do it (even inviting a guest to do it) until they do feel confident

I hope that point 3 would make the route accessible to people who get confused by manuals.

Hiya Arteth,

Sorry I didn’t reply I’m away with work at the moment. Thankfully this problem mostly resolved itself and we now have several trainers on the sewing machines, which is great. You’re welcome to become one, the process would be 1) you get inducted, 2) you arrange to induct someone else unsee the supervision of an existing trainer. 3) existing trainer adds you to the list.

What we don’t have yet is a rough outline of teaching points that should be covered in the induction, so we can make sure every induction covers the same basics (Inductors are welcome to go above and beyond these points though if they like).

I started this document a while ago before I was inducted, but it is probably far more detailed than what is needed. If you’re looking for somewhere to help, developing this document would be a great help. You’re welcome to edit the document.

It would be handy if someone from @Team_Wood could share one of their induction sheets here for one of the saws. I can’t find them on the Google drive.

Looping @tomh91 in here since he was also talking about something similar.

That document is a good start- thanks for the link to it. The comments on it are useful, too. I’ve edited it a bit, mainly to check I could edit it.
I will have a go at getting the document to a usable state, and hopefully @tomh91 will be able to contribute as well, and maybe even use it to do an induction! (Well, I don’t think things will run as smoothly as that, but I can hope)


I’ve edited that document to the point where I think a trainer should see if it works for inductions and make any changes to the document that are needed to make it work for inductions.
I still need to check the type of bobbin the space’s machines use- I will try to do that this week but if someone else knows, please feel free to edit that bit of the document.

I think they’re a ‘class 15’ but feel free to correct the document

Thanks Arteth, this looks good. I’m happy to be a test trainee.

Thanks Arteth & Joe, document looks really solid to me! I’d be more than happy for that to be the basis of sewing inductions going forward.

A wider issue might be the overlocker and leather machine. Currently they’re all the same training category on the members system, so anybody that is marked trained as per this document would also be signed off on those machines despite them being out of the documents scope.

Worth a brief mention on them in the document, and fall back on standard hackspace rules for folks to research & familiarise themselves before use? I think this has been the implicit plan so far.

Or, if we’re wanting to be more cautious, develop separate training plans - if we have enough expertise in the space to do so?

I’ve never used an overlocker and have no desire to work with leather, so I don’t feel like I can help with that.

Could we change the system so that the overlocker and leather machines have separate inductions, and just get moving on the sewing machine? How do we go about doing that?

Thanks for doing that Arteth!

I’ve reformatted it to our usual fonts, and done a quick slim down on some of the information to make the document flow a bit better. I’ve also put in a link for the proper sewing machine risk assessment as the previous link was to the archived one. I’ve also updated the tool pages on the membership system with some of the more superfluous information the average novice probably doesn’t need to know.

For the test section at the end i’ve also added what Chris did with us during our induction. We were made to draw a large number 5 on a sheet of paper, and then sew it. This worked really well as the paper reveals if you’re pulling/pushing the sheet through the machine too hastily.

I agree with Rob, very happy for this to become the formal training document. I don’t think we need to have signatures and paperwork like WoodyDusty have, as the risk category is markedly lower here.

In terms of the overlocker and leather sewing machine, there’s a balance to not overcomplicating things here.
Are the risks similar? Yes, all of them will stab you if not used properly.
Is someone who can’t use a sewing machine likely to use an overlocker or the old machine? No
If a machine is threaded incorrectly, it’s just going to tangle, not harm anyone nor the machine.
The main hazard is snagging on the 95k40 old singer. For this i’d suggest a sign is put on the table saying something like ‘Snag Hazard - keep loose clothing away and hair tied back’.

Therefore if you are inducted on our basic sewing machine, you can use the rest of the sewing tools. I think that would be proportional and cover our duty of care.

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Thanks all for the help and feedback. It seems like we’re ready to test how it works. @martinpick are you alright to ask on telegram for a trainer to use it for an induction with you? With a warning that they will be testing the process as well as doing an induction, so there might be interruptions for editing the document. If you can find a time @tomh91 can do his trainer thing, that would be great.
I’m sort of busy for a week, but then I’ll ask on telegram for my sewing machine induction and do a second test of the document.

Martin and I used the document to do an induction for ourselves on Thursday. We found a few little things to add to the document so I’ve added those. The process does work, so I think people can use the document now.

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Great news! Thanks for your help :slight_smile: glad it went well.