How to Use a Sewing Machine

the sewing machineParts:

The diagram above displays the parts of a sewing machine. Each part will be explained.

  • Spool pins – This is the part where the spool (the thread roll) goes.
  • Bobbin winder – Spins the bobbin to allow thread to wind onto it
  • Hand wheel – This is used to move the needle up and down from the fabric
  • Stitch selector – This allows you to select which stitch you want as well as the width
  • Stitch length dial – This allows you to change the length of the stitches
  • Reverse stitch lever – This allows you to lock a stitch or stitch backwards (to stitch backwards, must press on foot pedal simultaneously)
  • Needle plate – A metal plate under the needle to prevent it from damaging the machine
  • Shuttle cover – A spool inside the base of the sewing machine, designed to hold the bottom thread in place
  • Feed dogs – A metal piece with spikes on the metal plate which can move the fabric as you sew
  • Presser foot – Used to keep your fabric straight and flat while sewing
  • Presser foot lever – Lifts and lowers the presser foot
  • Needle – Moves the thread through the fabric
    Tension control – Adjusts the tightness of the stitches
  • Thread guides – A slit and hook to keep your threads in place
  • Take-up lever – Thread goes through this lever, controls the motions of the thread (up or down)
  • Pressure regulator – Adjusts the amount of pressure the pressure foot uses to hold down the fabric
  • Bobbin winder tension disc – Keeps the thread stretched and straight while the bobbin winds up the thread

Setting Up:

To set up the sewing machine, start by:

  1. Threading the bobbin. One can achieve this by placing a bobbin on the bobbin winder and switching the bobbin winder towards the right.
  2. Take a piece of thread and wrap it around the lower thread guide.
  3. Attach the thread onto the bobbin by putting it through the holes
  4. Turn on machine and press on the foot pedal
  5. The bobbin will start rapidly spinning, but just keep on holding onto the end of the thread
  6. Once the thread is done winding, snip the excess
  7. Switch the bobbin towards the left this time and the thread from the lower thread guide and place the thread and the upper thread guide instead
  8. Put the thread through the slit
  9. Bring the needle up using the hand winder
  10. Thread the thread through the needle
  11. Place the thread under the presser foot
  12. Remove bobbin and bobbin holder (from the compartment inside the roof of the sewing machine) and place the bobbin inside the bobbin holder
  13. Place the bobbin holder back inside the compartment
  14. Let the thread from the bobbin stick out and hang
  15. Wind the needle down using the hand wheel to pickup the piece of thread inside the shuttle cover
  16. Continue winding until the needle is at the top
  17. Pull the thread out until you see both threads on the needle plate

Starting to Sew:

To start sewing after the machine has been set up:

  1. Place fabric in between the pressure foot and the needle plate.
  2. Bring the pressure foot down using the pressure foot lever.
  3. Use the foot pedal to start sewing
  4. To begin the stitch, lock it using the reverse switch lever and end the stitch with it too

After all that, you’re ready to go!

Your First Sewing Machine Projects

So, you bought your first sewing machine and you’re excited to start your first sewing project. The problem is the machine looks really confusing to set up and you’re worried about making a mistake on your very first project. Don’t worry however, these doubts are felt by everyone when they first get their sewing machine and easily overcome by simply doing something with it.

Simple Advice When Using Your Sewing Machine For The First Time

In this article we going to give a few tips to make sure that your first sewing machine project is at least an enjoyable one, if not necessarily the most successful sewing project you’ll ever undertake.

  1. The first thing to remember is to just take your time. Most sewing projects are similar to flat packed furniture. They rarely turn out well you rush them. And if you are inexperienced using your sewing machine then you can be pretty much assured that if you are in a rush things will go wrong in a range from slightly wrong, to very wrong. So leave yourself plenty of time to puzzle your way through both the instructions relating to the setting up your sewing machine, and the instructions around your first sewing machine project.
  2. For your first sewing machine project you do not necessarily have to use a pattern. The reality years that some patterns are quite difficult to follow. For a beginner using the sewing machine for the first time it can be difficult to determine whether or not a pattern is difficult or straightforward. The manufacturers of patterns have understood this and have tried to help by making an easy pattern line to follow. These lines tend to be slightly easier, and can be usually finished in less time. However, it is worth remembering that your first project doesn’t necessarily need to be a complicated pattern project, it can be something as straightforward as making a pillowcase.
  3. Perhaps the best material to start your sewing project with is cotton. The fact of the matter is that cotton is a very easy fabric to work with. The reason for this is that it tends not to unravel, not to stretch, and not to slip in the way that some other types of fabric have an annoying and frustrating habit of doing. The other benefit of using cotton is that it’s readily available, and can be obtained in a wide variety of colours, patterns or prints. It is also relatively inexpensive which means that you can start your sewing machine career without risking expensive material.

Suggestions For A First Sewing Machine Project

Perhaps one of the easiest clothing items to make is an A-line skirt. The reason for this is that the seams of the skirt are predominantly straight, and therefore good practice to get a feel for your sewing machine. In addition, because it’s relatively easy to make and relatively quick to complete you can quickly get to the point where you have a finished wearable skirt you can show off proudly.

As previously mentioned, other good projects begin with our pillowcases or cushion covers. Again, the principal reason for this is that all of the scenes are straight and give you the opportunity to set up your machine, and complete a project, without it being so complex that you do not really get the baseline sewing machine experience that you really need at this point on your learning curve.

Essential Sewing Equipment

Basic Equipment:

These are the basic equipment you need and also the most important. These include:

  • Sewing Machine – This is probably the most important piece of equipment one will own. It is a machine used to sew larger projects such as bags, blankets clothes rather than smaller projects, which can be accomplished easily by hand sewing.
  • Shears (fabric scissors) – These are scissors, which should only be used for cutting fabric. It can cut through multiple layers of fabric but by using it for other purposes can dull-down the scissors.
  • Measuring tape – This is used for measuring the amount of fabric one needs. It is especially useful for clothes to ensure a perfect fit. Without this, the result will be uneven and unprofessional.Lamp – This, or any other light source, is essential to sewing. If there isn’t good lighting, it’s impossible to witness everything that’s going on, therefore making the project prone to mistakes.
  • Pen – A water-soluble pen or a chalk is best. It is used for marking measurements to improve accuracy.


These are the equipment that is still extremely important and almost every sewer should own, but one can sew without it:

  • Seam Gauge – This ensures accuracy when pressing pleats or hems.
  • Pin and Pincushion – Pins are important to keep the fabric in place to prevent it from moving all around, making it prone to accidents like sewing the fabric in the wrong place. A pincushion is important so that one can easily stick the pin back without it going anywhere and to prevent injuries.
  • Iron and ironing board – Not only does ironing the fabric make it neater, it also makes sewing easier. If a fabric is all crinkled up, once it gets straightened out it could be sewed wrong.
  • Rotary cutter – This makes cutting out certain shapes or patterns much easier than scissors. It also comes with replaceable blades in case it gets blunt.
  • Self-healing mat – This is usually used with the rotary cutter. If a slit it made, it immediately forms back into a normal mat unlike a normal mat, which would just stay damaged. This is a life-saver when it comes to using cutters.
  • Seam Ripper – Used to clean up mistakes. It is in a shape similar to a needle to pick away at the seams

Extra Equipment:

These are equipment that makes one’s sewing life changing. However, it isn’t as important as the other equipment listed above and one can certainly sew without these. The equipment includes:

  • Thread snips – To cut loose threads or after finishing up and tying a knot, it can cut off the excess thread.
  • Extra sewing machine needles – Machine needles can break.
  • Hand sewing needles – In most projects, it requires a little bit of hand-sewing.
  • Ruler – Used for measurements but not completely essential because a seam gauge can also double up as a ruler. However, it can only double up as a ruler to measure small amount so having a large ruler is handy.
  • Dressform – When making dresses or skirts, it’s best to have some sort of “model” to work on, to ensure accuracy and to make sure the elastic (if any) works well.