How to use a sewing machine

How to Use a Sewing Machine – Step By Step

The sewing machine is a wonderful home appliance for DIY crafting. Whether you are an expert or have plans to go through a few basic sewing decorations, using a sewing machine would be an exciting and rewarding hobby.

A sewing machine can be fun if you understand it. This piece of machine is quite a bit complex as it has several parts and mechanisms. You may feel intimidated to take the first step as a beginner. There are so many things that can blow your mind. You may wonder, how to start this machine. Is there any switch for that?

Do not worry. You will get to learn its machine parts and the step-by-step process to use in this article. So, let’s jump into this.

Key Takeaways

  • Knowledge of machine parts for beginners.
  • Step-by-step process to use a sewing machine.
  • Maintain safety cautions during sewing.

Learn The Machine Parts: Beginner’s Guide

There are a few mechanical parts that have to be in your concern before you touch a sewing machine. Most of the parts and mechanisms are small but important considering one another.

First, you need to find a power button or cable to start it. If it is a manual sewing machine then it is just a matter of your effort. A manual sewing machine does not have electrical connections to run by itself.

Spool pin, Spool holder, and Thread guide

Then, there is a spool pin, a small plastic or metal pin that sticks out of the top of the sewing machine, and holds your spool of thread. The spool holder holds the thread in place and the cap with it is used to hold down the spool so it won’t go off.

Look for a thread guide at the top of the machine. This thread guide leads the thread from the spool on the top of the machine to the bobbin winder.

Bobbin, Bobbin winder, and Bobbin case

The bobbin holds the lower thread. A stitch happens when the bobbin and needle thread are looped together.

Now, you need to find a very important part, the bobbin winder. On the right of the spool pin on top of the sewing machine is another smaller plastic or metal pin, next to a small horizontal wheel. This is the bobbin winder. This winds bobbin to be filled with thread from the spool.

It holds the bobbin and makes tension to the lower thread. As the needle thread is moving around the bobbin case, it bundles around the bobbin thread and pulls it right up through the needle plate.

Presser Foot

A presser foot looks like a foot shape metal bar. The presser foot holds the fabric down to the feed dog. This gives consistent stability while sewing. There is a lever in your machine to control it. The position of a presser foot may vary depending on the machine’s brand and model. You can change it by using the lever.

Feed Dogs

Feed dogs are like metal teeth that drift surface from a hole in the throat plate of a sewing machine. This mechanism moves as you sew. This feeds the material under the needle. Feed dogs work as it goes up, it snatches the fabric and pushes it back. You may need to configure this often whenever you lower the teeth down.

Needle, Needle Clamp, and Needle Plate

A sewing machine has a needle to sew. This needle is a bit different than needles in general. It has a holding point at one end and a hole on another end where the thread is inserted. The holding part is attached and tightened with a needle clamp. The needle clamp holds the needle steadily so that the needle won’t move during the sewing process.

This all happens on a needle plate. A needle plate is a plate-shaped steel surface that keeps your fabric in the sewing area.

Hand Wheel or Balance Wheel

This wheel makes the sewing go on by functioning to raise and lower the needle. The automated sewing machine has a motor that powers the wheel. But it needs to be operated by hand to adjust the sewing needle height. Most sewing machines have this wheel located on the right side as you sit.

Stitch Pattern Selector

This pattern selector lets you choose the stitch type want to use. Most sewing machines have straight stitch patterns, zig-zag patterns, and embroidery stitches.

You Need to Operate Step by Step

Now, to sit down and start working with your sewing machine, you need to operate it step by step. Let’s discuss it chronologically.

Step 1: Set up

First, you need to place the sewing machine on a sturdy table, desk, counter, or sewing cabinet. Then, place the machine in a way that the hand wheel is on your right and the needle side is on your left. Do not plug in before checking all the necessary machine parts.

Set up
Set up

Step 2: Inserting The Needle

Install the needle safely. Needles have a thick side to attach with a needle clamp. Now, there is only a sharp side felt to use. To attach the needle with the needle clamp, there is a regulator to tighten it. Put the needle back inside the needle clamp and adjust it. You also need to adjust the needle straight to the presser foot.

Inserting the needle
Inserting the needle

Step 3: Insert The Bobbin

After the needle is done, work with the bobbin winder. To wind the bobbin, place the bobbin spool on the bobbin winder up top. Turn on the bobbin winder and it will automatically fill the bobbin.

When the bobbin is coiled then place it in the bobbin case below the needle on the lower half of the sewing machine. In this case, you need to pass the thread through a small notch at the front of the case pulled to the left. Leave the end of the thread outside. You need to bring it up through the hole in the needle plate.

Insert the bobbin
Insert the bobbin

Step 4: Thread The Sewing

Now, connect the spool of thread on the top of the sewing machine and attach it to the needle. To go there, you need to pull the thread across the thread guide. Bring the thread around the thread guide to the take-up lever. Now, take the thread down to the needle to loop it into the needle guide next to the needle.

The threaded needle needs to be in its top position. You can reposition it by turning the hand wheel towards you to bring the needle up manually into this position. Now pull out the thread into the needle hole precisely. After threading the needle, bring the thread down into the presser foot.

Thread the sewing
Thread the sewing

Step 5: Bring Up The Bobbin Thread

Now your top thread is ready, it is time to connect the bobbin thread from below with the top one to make it ready to sew. Gently turn the hand wheel to bring the needle down and back up again to make a whole rotation.

When the needle goes down, it will catch the bobbin thread to bring a loop back up. When you see the loop gently pull it out to release the loose, and pull it out to expose. And back toward the machine to release the full thread. After doing that, you now have two threads. The top one and the bottom one. Before you start to sew in the next step, hold them both for a second with your left hand to stop and being pulled into the machine as the needle moves.

Bring up the bobbin thread
Bring up the bobbin thread

Step 6: Ready for Sewing

Afterward, bring the needle up by hand wheel and place the presser foot by using the lever. Now, connect the power code and switch it on. Slide the fabric under to start sewing. The machine most likely has an indicator guide on the plate to give you measuring allowances. Line this guide with a fabric edge. It will be useful to move the fabric along with the indicator to keep an even distance from the fabric edge.

Lower the presser foot to protect the fabric in place and move the hand wheel towards bringing the needle down. It will go up and down through the fabric. Now, it is ready for you to sew.

Ready for sewing
Ready for sewing

Step 7: Use a Foot Pedal

Use the foot pedal to make the sewing by pressing it. You can control the speed of sewing with this foot pedal. Feed the fabric under the presser foot on the feed dogs. Hold it in front of the foot and ease it through.

You can easily turn a corner without finishing your thread. Make sure the needle is down in the fabric at the point of turning. Then raise the presser foot and spin the fabric in the new direction. Lower the presser foot and carry on sewing.

Use a foot pedal
Use a foot pedal

Precautions of Use a Sewing Machine

Precautions of use a sewing machine
Precautions of use a sewing machine

As you sew with your sewing machine, it might seem a bit easier by now. But it can be dangerous if you are underage and do not understand the basics of a machine like a sewing machine. It is very obvious, this machine is not foolproof. So, to have a harmless experience, you need to maintain a few things.

1. Plug in: You need to be very careful before plugging in with electricity. This has to be maintained as if the machine is on or has malfunctioned, it can get out of control or worse. So, check your automated sewing machine again and again before switching it on. Take advice from an expert if necessary.

2. The needle: In the whole sewing machine, there is one important part of the mechanism that can cause severe harm to anyone. And that is the needle. This needle is strong and sharper than regular needles. When the machine is spinning very fast, even at a medium speed, it can damage your hand if you are less sincere and not concerned about it. This can cause your hand disabled for years and you might have to pay a lot of bills in the hospital.

3. Tie your hair: While you are sewing, you might forget due to excitement and concentrating on maintaining the sewing lineup. One of the things you can possibly forget is your hair. If you have long lovely hair, you might lose or cut your hair by screwing them with the hand wheel. There is a lot of machinery moving on and on. So, if you want to avoid getting your hair into trouble, tie your hair to keep it away from potential tangling dangers.

4. Pay Attention to the Task: You need to be very cautious about what you do with your sewing machine. A single mistake can bring you a lot of extra work that may waste a lot of your time. Likewise, the spool thread can be screwed with other parts of the sewing machine if you do not thread the bobbin and the upper thread. So, make sure you do it right accordingly.


Can a beginner sew clothes?

Of course, I think it is easier than ever to start sewing with all of the instructions on the internet, now these days. Anyone can get started sewing from any level. Once you get a handle on some of the basics, it can be actually easy to do things.

What is the hardest clothing to sew?

A sharp contrast to leather, sheer fabrics, georgette, voile, organdy, and organza are tricky to work with because they are very soft and delicate. They are easy to get damaged and can easily be torn with rough handling.

Can anyone learn to sew?

Yes, anyone can learn to sew. Sewing machines are built in a beginner user-friendly way. So, even a 7-year-old can sew with proper instructions. But it is definitely not a hobby for everyone. So before you gain loads of guilt yourself for not being able to sew, set your mind first.

Is sewing stressful?

Sewing can encourage mindfulness and reduces stress and anxiety through regular use. The meditative action of sewing inspires positivity in the way of feeling relaxed. Being forced to concentrate on one particular task enables you to become stressed on a particular subject.

Is sewing a basic life skill?

Sewing is a potential skill that can be a great hobby and save you money for a lifetime. As a practical saving, sewing can actually teach many important life skills such as perseverance, patience, concentration, and creativity.

Final Thoughts

Sewing is fun if you have an easy-to-go sewing machine. Before you put your hand on it, you need to learn the basic machine parts to understand and indicate. Then you follow all the steps in this article. Missing one simple step and machine part can lead you to a confusing situation. Also, maintain every possible safety to have a wonderful sewing experience. With this, I hope your understanding of how to use a sewing machine is increased.


Hey I’m Sherry Howes an expert in sewing, knitting, crocheting, and embroidery. With a passion for fiber arts and a talent for crafting, I Have spent years improving my skills and sharing knowledge with others. Whether teaching a class or creating a new project, I’m always excited to share my love of crafting with the world. I like researching new techniques and trends in the crafting arts community.

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