How To Use A Sewing Machine

Using a sewing machine is easy once you know the basics. You can easily learn how to use a sewing machine by following just a few steps. After that, you can start making your own clothes and accessories. In this blog post, we’ll show you all the basics of operating a sewing machine.

Learning the Parts of a Sewing Machine

Before you learn how to use your sewing machine, you should first learn the parts of the machine and its function:

1. Locate the power switch

sewing machine power switch

The power switch is located in different places depending on the type of sewing machine you have. But usually located on the right side of the body of the sewing machine.

2. Find the spool pin location

sewing machine spool pin

The spool pin of a sewing machine is typically located on the top of the machine. It is a small plastic or metal pin, that holds the spool of thread in place while the machine is running.

3. Look for the thread guide

seing machine thread guide

The thread guide is usually located near the top of the sewing machine. It is usually a metal or plastic piece that helps guide the thread to the bobbin winder.

4. Locate the bobbin-winder

sewing machine bobbin winder

The bobbin winder is a small plastic or metal pin usually located near the top or side of the machine, usually indicated by an arrow. Most machines have a lever or switch that operates the bobbin winder. It is used to wind thread onto the bobbin for use in the machine.

5. Find the stitch adjustment buttons

sewing machine stitch adjustment button

Stitch adjustment buttons are typically located on the stitch adjustment buttons the front or side of the sewing machine. They are usually labeled with what type of stitch they adjust, such as “zigzag”, “straight stitch”, or “buttonhole”. These buttons determine the type of stitch you’re creating, the stitch length, and the stitch direction (forward or backward).

Check the manual for your specific machine to determine the functions of each of the buttons.

6. Look for the thread take-up lever

sewing machine thread take up lever

The thread take-up lever is located on the front left side of the sewing machine. It is a lever with two cut-in grooves and there are typically numbers and arrows printed next to it to clearly direct you the way in which to thread the machine. The thread take-up lever is an important part of the sewing machine as it helps to control the tension of the thread as you sew.

7. Locate the tension dial

sewing machine tension dial

The tension dial is a mechanism on a sewing machine that helps regulate the flow of thread from the spool to the needle, it adjusts how tight or loose the thread is.

It is controlled by a dial or a keypad on the front of the machine, which can regulate two threads at once. The tension dial is adjusted to a higher number (turned clockwise) to increase the amount of pressure on the thread, or to a lower number (counterclockwise) to decrease the pressure. It is important to adjust the tension dial correctly in order to produce balanced stitches and strong, elastic seams.

8. Look for the needle clamp screw

sewing machine needle clamp screw

This small, threaded screw helps keep the needle in place while sewing. It is usually located beneath the arm of the sewing machine and can be loosened or tightened to adjust the needle size.

9. Find the presser foot

sewing machine presser foot

The presser foot is a metal attachment that sits on the shank of the sewing machine. It holds the fabric in place as the needle moves up and down to sew a stitch. It is usually located near the needle on the front of the machine.

10. Look for the presser foot lever

sewing machine presser foot lever

The presser foot lever is located on the side of the sewing machine. It is usually a small lever or switch which is used to raise and lower the presser foot.

When the lever is in the down position, the presser foot is in the down position and ready to be used. When the lever is in the up position, the presser foot is in the raised position and ready to be removed.

11. Find the needle plate

sewing machine needle plate

The needle plate is a flat metal plate located below the needle. It covers the feed dogs and needle area and is used to help guide the fabric through the machine. It can be removed to clean the feed dogs and needle area.

12. Look for the feed dog

sewing machine feed dog

The feed dog is a small metal or plastic bar located under the presser foot of a sewing machine. It is used to help hold the fabric in place and move it through the machine as you sew.

 13. Locate the bobbin cover and bobbin release

sewing machine bobbin cover and bobbin release

These are located on the front of the sewing machine, near the needle. The bobbin cover is usually a small, hinged lid that lifts up to reveal the bobbin. The bobbin release is usually a small lever or button, it is used to release the bobbin from its holder.

How to set up a sewing machine?

After you choose the best sewing machine for your needs, you should learn how to set up your machine:

1. Place the machine on a strong table

a sewing machine on a sturdy table

Placing the sewing machine on a sturdy table is essential for successful sewing. A stable table or desk prevents the machine from moving as you work, ensuring accurate stitch placement.

It also helps prevent the machine from vibrating and damaging the components. It’s important to choose a table that is at a comfortable height for you so that you can easily reach all parts of the machine without straining.

2. Install a needle securely

Install a needle securely

Locate the needle clamp screw on the arm of the sewing machine. It should look like a large nail and stick out to the right side of the needle.

Pick up the needle and insert it into the clamp screw. Make sure that the flat side of the needle is facing toward the back and that the groove down one side is facing the direction from which the needle is threaded.

Push the needle into the post and securely tighten the thumbscrew.

Double-check that the needle is secure by pulling on it gently. If it doesn’t budge, it’s in place correctly.

Refer to your sewing machine manual if you still have trouble installing the needle securely.

3. Wind the bobbin and insert it

Wind and insert the bobbin

A sewing machine uses two thread sources, one from the spool on the top and one from a bobbin. To wind a bobbin, place the bobbin spool on the bobbin winder on the top of the machine. Wrap the thread from the spool around the guide and to the bobbin. Turn the bobbin winder on and wait for it to stop automatically when the bobbin is full. When the bobbin has been wound, place it in the bobbin cage below the needle on the lower half of the sewing machine.

For some machines, the bobbin simply drops in and is held in place by a bobbin case that is built-in. In this case, it is important to pass the thread through a small notch at the front of the case and then pull it to the left. Leave the end of the thread outside. It will need to be brought up through the hole in the needle plate after you have threaded the top thread.

To insert a bobbin, you need to first remove the bobbin case from the machine. To do this, lift up the bobbin cover and it should come off from its position. Pull out any existing bobbins from the case and replace them with your new bobbin. Make sure that it is inserted with the thread running in a clockwise direction. Depending on your machine, there may be a small notch or slit that you can use to guide your thread through. Once you’ve put your bobbin in place, put the case back in its original position and make sure that it is securely fastened.

When inserting a bobbin, it is important to check that it is inserted correctly. You can do this by turning your machine on and pressing gently on the foot pedal. If your machine runs smoothly and without any snags, your bobbin has been inserted correctly.

4. Thread the sewing machine

how to thread the sewing machine

Threading a sewing machine can seem intimidating at first, but it is actually quite straightforward. To thread a sewing machine, start by winding the thread from the spool on top around the thread guide and then around the take-up lever.

 Next, pass the thread through the needle from left to right, or from front to back depending on the machine. Finally, hold the needle thread taut and turn the hand wheel towards you once to get both threads out.

Then, pull up on the needle thread and the bobbin thread will be looped over the needle thread. With practice, threading a sewing machine will become second nature.

5. pull both threads out

how to get both threads out

both threads will need to be pulled out before you can start sewing. To do this, hold the needle thread taut with your left hand and turn the handwheel on the right side of the sewing machine one full revolution with your right hand. This will allow the needle to catch the bobbin thread and bring it up above the needle plate. Once the bobbin thread tail is pulled, you will now have two threads ready for sewing.

It is important to ensure that both threads have been pulled through and that there are no knots or tangles. Once both threads are out, you can begin sewing.

6. ­Turn the machine on

plug the sewing machine

Plugging in the machine is the final step before using it. To turn the machine on, simply press the power switch. The machine should make a humming sound, indicating that it is running properly.

Once the machine is on, the user can adjust settings such as the needle position and stitch length. The user can also practice using the foot pedal to control the speed of the machine and practice different types of stitches. After familiarizing themselves with the controls, the user can begin creating their own projects.

Start sewing with your machine

When you set up your machine, you should think about beginning your first demo project:

1. Choose a straight stitch and medium stitch length

select the stitch lengthand width

To select a straight stitch with a medium stitch length, you will need to adjust the settings on your sewing machine. Depending on the type of machine you have, the stitch selection and stitch length adjustment may be located on a dial, knob, touchscreen, or a combination of the three.

Once you have located the stitch selection, select the straight stitch option.

Then, adjust the stitch length to a medium setting. The exact length may vary depending on the model of your machine.

The exact length can vary between machines, so it is important to refer to the manual to get the correct setting.

2. Try it out on some scrap material first

piece of fabric for sewing

Practicing scrap material is an important part of learning how to use a sewing machine. It allows you to get comfortable with the machine and your own abilities before tackling an important project.

Scrap fabric is also a great way to practice different stitches and techniques. Be sure to use a similar fabric to whatever you plan to use for your project so you can get a feel for how the fabric moves through the machine and the best way to control it.

Start with something small, like a simple stitch, and then move on to more complicated patterns like zigzags or buttonholes as you become more confident.

3. Place the fabric under the needle

piece of fabric under the needle

Line up the fabric under the needle is an essential step when using a sewing machine. It is important to ensure that the fabric is properly aligned, as this will ensure that the stitches are even and secure.

4. Lower the presser foot

Lower the presser foot onto the fabric

Lower the presser foot by pressing the presser foot lever down until it clicks into place. Make sure the presser foot is directly over the fabric before lowering it.

It is also important to make sure that the fabric doesn’t bunch up while sewing, as this can lead to uneven stitches.

5. Hold the free ends of both threads

Hold the free ends of threads

For the first few stitches, it is important to hold the loose ends of the threads out of the way. This prevents the threads from retreating into the fabric and ensures that your stitches will be securely in place.

You need to use both hands to control the fabric and the machine, so make sure to hold only for a short distance before letting go. With a bit of practice, you will soon be able to sew with ease and confidence.

6. Press the foot pedal

Press the foot pedal

The foot pedal is an important part of using a sewing machine. It is used to control the speed of the machine. The harder you press down on the foot pedal, the faster the machine will stitch.

It is important to start off slowly and gradually increase the speed as you become more comfortable with the machine. Additionally, pressing down on the foot pedal will allow the needle to stitch, while releasing it will cause the needle to stop stitching.

7. Find the reverse button or lever

the reverse button or lever

The reverse button or lever on your sewing machine will allow you to sew in reverse, which is a handy feature for securing the ends of seams. Typical sewing machines will have a button or lever located near the stitch length or stitch selection buttons.

Depending on the model of your machine, you may need to hold down the reverse button while you sew, or it may be a lever that you can move up and down. To try it out, practice sewing a few stitches in reverse on scrap fabric before starting your project. This will help you get used to the feel of the machine and ensure that your stitches are secure.

8. Use the hand wheel to move the needle

use the hand wheel to move the needle

Using the hand wheel, the needle can be moved to its highest position. This is the optimal position to begin sewing because it allows for the tension to be set correctly, the presser foot to be lowered, and the fabric to be aligned beneath the needle.

For more intricate stitches, the needle can also be adjusted to a lower position. Make sure that the presser foot is lowered when beginning to sew; otherwise, the fabric will not move when the hand wheel is turned.

9. Cut the thread

cut the thread

When you are sewing, it is important to cut the thread at the end of the stitch when you are finished. This will help prevent any loose ends from unraveling. To do this, use a pair of small scissors to snip the thread at the end of the stitch.

10. Practicing sewing a seam

Practicing sewing a seam is a valuable skill to learn. It allows you to make garments, quilts, and many other items that require accurate and precise stitching.

It is important to understand the basics of how to operate a sewing machine and the different parts of the machine before attempting to sew a seam.

To begin, you should make sure that the machine is properly set up and threaded. After the machine is ready to go, the next steps are:

  • line up the fabric under the presser foot and lower the foot onto the fabric.
  • press down on the foot pedal and adjust the speed as needed until you have perfected the seam.

Once you have practiced this process several times, you will be well on your way to creating beautiful items with your sewing machine.

11. Learn how to sew sharp corner

How to Turn a Corner While Sewing

  • Lower the needle all the way into the fabric. To do this, turn the hand wheel towards you.
  • Raise the presser foot.
  • Leave the needle down in the fabric.
  • Rotate the fabric to the new position, leaving the needle in it.
  • Lower the presser foot with the fabric into the new position. Finally, you can resume sewing.


Try a simple sewing project to get used to using a sewing machine. Start by choosing a small project, such as a pillow or bag, and selecting the necessary materials. Make sure to purchase the correct type and size of needle for the fabrics you are sewing.

Once you have gathered the items you need, familiarize yourself with the parts of the sewing machine and practice threading it. Start by setting the machine to a straight stitch, and use some scrap fabric to practice running a seam.

Once you have mastered this, you can move on to more complex projects. With some practice, you will be able to create beautiful handmade items with your sewing machine in no time!

Allen Miller

Allen Miller is the main author of Stitching Elite. He’s a whiz with a needle and thread. He spends his time reading, playing football, and writing. You can find more about him here.

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