How to use a Sewing Machine?


Buying a new sewing machine was a very exciting point in my life and I am sure you would be excited too if you have just bought one. You might want to start sewing as soon as possible. You do not want to delay a bit but at the same time you do not want to make mistakes in haste. This article is designed to assist you in learning about how to setup a sewing machine and use it.

How to setup a Sewing Machine?

First of all, to set up and use your new sewing machine, you first have to understand how a sewing machine works. When you know how your machine works, it will be easier for you to set it up, use the machine and solve any problems you might face during its installation and use.

How does a Sewing Machine work?

A sewing machine basically has stitches and to form a single stitch, a sewing machine has to go through certain steps. Let us explain you the process of forming a stitch for your better understanding:

Step 1: The needle is threaded. The needle passes the thread directly through the fabric.

Step 2: The thread is already up in a looped position in the needle. The extended hook from the rotatory shuttle takes up the loop in the thread and makes a bigger loop.

Step 3: When the bigger loop is created, the thread from the bobbin, which is placed inside the rotatory shuttle, gives out another thread and the two threads lock with each other.

Step 4: At that moment, the needle will move up and pull out the original thread to form a tight stitch. It then inserts again in the fabric to form another stitch and so on.

Parts of a Sewing Machine

Before you start putting all the parts of the sewing machine together, you would want to know exactly which part goes where. We advise you to read the manual properly so that you would easily be able to identify and assemble your sewing machine. However, for your convenience we will describe the main parts of the sewing machine herein.

Sewing Machine Parts
  • Needle

Needle is perhaps the most important part of the sewing machine. The needle is attached to the needle bar with a screw which punches the fabric when you sew. There are different types of needles available in the market for different uses.

The needles can be identified by the numbers given to the needle. The thicker the needle is, the higher the identification number. The universal size of needle starts from 60/8 which is the thinnest to 120/19 which is the thickest.

The thinner needles are used for soft and thin fabrics like silk and crepe while the thicker needles are used for thicker fabrics like denim. If you use a thick needle on a thin fabric, it will create a hole and if you use a thin needle on a thick fabric then the needle will probably break.

To select the perfect needle for your sewing, you should consider the quality of the material and the requirement of your sewing. You will learn this better with experience.

Points to be considered while using the needle:

  1. The needle should never be fixed in a tilted manner. It should be fit straight.
  2. Rusted or damaged needle should not be used.
  3. Blunt needle should not be used.
  4. Selection of proper sized needle is imperative.
  • Needle bar:

The part of the sewing machine to which the needle is attached is called the needle bar. The needle bar helps to move the needle up and down to form stitches on the fabric.

  • Metal needle plate:

The metal needle plate is the place where the fabric is spread out for stitching. For any kind of material light or heavy, the metal plate will give you the surface to work on.

  • Presser foot

A presser foot is the part of the sewing machine which will hold the fabric in place while sewing. It helps you to get clean stitches. There are several types of presser foot available in the market and you can easily change the presser foot in accordance with the type of purpose. Many sewing machines come with different types of presser foot as accessories.

  • Bobbin

As the needle supplies thread from the top of the fabric, the bobbin supplies thread to the fabric from the bottom. The bobbin is to be threaded in order to stitch. Threading a bobbin is very simple in some machines which come with automatic threading. Some machines have top loading bobbins while some have bottom loading bobbins.

  • Bobbin case (Shuffle)

A bobbin case is a case in which the bobbin is encased. The bobbin can rotate easily in the bobbin case for a supply of the thread.

  • Thread tension settings

The tension on the thread determines the neatness of the stitches. If the thread tension is too high, the thread will break in places while if the thread tension is too low, the stitches might not form properly. Hence, the thread tension has to be just right.

  • Stitch length selector

This part of the machine lets you select the length of the stitch for stitching. In case of lighter fabrics, you would want to have smaller stitches while for heavier fabrics, lengthier stitches are good.

  • Select stitch dial

The feature of a sewing machine which attracts most customers is the number of types of stitches it provides. The select stitch dial lets you select the type of stitches you want.

  • Reverse stitch controller

The reverse stitch controller, as the name suggests, helps you to stitch in the reverse direction to get extra strength to the stitching.

How to use a Sewing Machine?

We would like to reiterate the importance of reading the manual of the sewing machine you have bought. After having made sure you have all the things you require to start the sewing machine, you can start your first project.

The step by step instructions to start your new machine are as follows:

Step 1: Thread the needle.

Step 2: Wind in the bobbin and put it in the bobbin case. Fix the bobbin case in its place.

Step 3: Pull up the lever of the presser foot

Step 4: Place the fabric you want to stitch on the metal needle plate.

Step 5: The metal plate has an indication for a straight stitch. If you want a straight stitch then put the fabric in correspondence with the straight line on the metal plate.

Step 6: Press back the lever of the presser foot in accordance with the material you want to stitch.

Step 7: Once that is done, you are ready to stitch. Press the pedal and start stitching while moving the fabric backwards. You can also adjust the speed and length of the stitches.

Step 8: When you are done, ensure that the needle is inside the fabric. At this point, raise the lever of presser foot to release the fabric or to turn the fabric.

This video will guide you to set up your new machine:

Pro Tips

  1. Never use dull or blunt needle in the machine. Change the needle frequently.
  2. Wind up the bobbin properly. If winding is not done properly, stitches will not be neat.
  3. For a professional looking stitching, always over lock your clothes with a proper seaming stitch.
  4. Always wash your cloth before sewing to give it a perfect fit.
  5. Iron your clothes once you stitch them to flatten the cloth
  6. Clip the corners before flipping the right side out
  7. Don’t forget to clip your threads because lingering threads will give a dirty look
  8. Always use the right kind of needle
  9. Make sure you follow the pattern lines on the fabric while stitching.
  10. While attaching zippers and laces, ensure that they do not bleed colour so pre wash them.

Safety Concerns

  1. Make sure the electric cord is in proper condition while setting up the machine. It might be dangerous especially for small children.
  2. Watch your fingers while sewing.
  3. Unplug the machine after every use
  4. Tie your hair back while sewing. You do not want your flowing hair sewn with the fabric
  5. Regular maintenance of the sewing machine is extremely important.


In a nutshell, if you love stitching as much as we do, then do not hold yourself back. Go on and fulfil your dream. Give life to your imagination and your craftsmanship. A sewing machine can give your old clothes a new look and you can design your new clothes. Not only that you can make your own purses, bags, and a thousand different things with your new machine. If you want to share your experience with us please leave us a comment. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask this friend of yours. We will always be here to help you. Moreover, make sure to check our in depth review of the best sewing machines in India.

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