How to Use a Sewing Machine – Step by Step Guide

Did you ever think how amazing the sewing machine lying around the corner, covered with layers of dust, can turn out to be a magical gadget? Or did you just throw it away like hundreds of ideas that come into your mind just because of the fear of learning to use it? If the answer is yes, this can be a fresh new start for you.

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Using a sewing machine can seem to be difficult and complex to understand at the very beginning. But with proper guidance, you can overcome the fear. Here, we are going to have a step by step direction that surely will help you to use your sewing machine and understand your machine even better. Things that you should do and what you must avoid are going to be discussed and as a bonus, you are also going to have some tips and tricks that will make you a master of this art.

You are just one step away from beginning your imagination come into reality only by some simple stitches on a piece of fabric.

Before starting, it is essential to know about the machine you are going to use. However, it needs to be mentioned that every machine is different from each other. The manual that was provided with the sewing machine can be a great helping hand in this case.

Knowing the parts of the sewing machine is a must as it will help you to understand the rest of the tutorial accurately.

The Structure of the Machine

The basic sewing machine parts that are mandatory to know in order to learn how to use it is given below:

Power Switch: Power switch is solely used to turn on or off the machine and usually found on the right side of the body of the device.

Speed Control: The speed control helps to adjust the speed of sewing according to your fabric and your purpose. You can adjust the speed from low to high using this feature.

Spool Spin: A spool spin helps to rotate the fabric to your desired direction.

Thread feed: A not so good thread feed will not give you smooth stitches. The thread feed guides the thread coming from the spool to the bobbin. Not keeping enough care about this can mess up your stitches.

Bobbin Winder: A very small pin that is adjusted to a little wheel on the spool pin’s right side is called bobbin winder. It is also a stopper. It synchronizes with the spool and guides the thread.

Stitch Adjusting Buttons: These buttons will help you to get your wanted patterns of stitches. It is usually placed in the front of the machine, like a screen with buttons. Directions of the stitches can also be placed through this.

Thread Tension Settings: The tension settings work best to set the thread settings.

Needle: A sewing machine needle is the first thing that may come into your mind while imagining a sewing machine. A needle is placed with the help of a needle bar and a needle plate is placed just under the needle. The numbering of the needle can differ, considering your fabric. Different kind of fabric requires a different type of needle. The American sizing makes the thinnest needle numbered 8 and the largest numbered 18.

​Presser Foot: The presser foot helps to hold the fabric and to bring out nice and clean stitches. You can find it under the needle clamp screw. Various kinds of presser foot are used in different types of stitches.

​Presser Foot Lever: Presser foot lever adjusts the foot according to the need.

​Feed Dog: A feed dog is a plate placed beside the loop taker. This helps in moving the fabric for accurate directions.

Bobbin and Bobbin Case: The bobbin provides the thread and the bobbin case keeps the bobbin altogether at the bottom of your sewing machine.

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The Steps of Using the Sewing Machine

Step 1: Have a clear idea of your sewing machine

As every sewing machine have some of their own characteristics, you need to know the anatomy of yours. In the above, we have already discussed about the parts of a basic sewing machine. For any further confusion, do not hesitate to have a look at your manual.

Using the Sewing Machine

Step 2: Its time to set up the machine

Now when you have got a clear idea about the anatomy of your very own sewing machine, it is time for a perfect set-up. Setting the machine wrong can waste your precious time and effort. A heavy bottom table or a flat surface works best for placing the machine. The sitting space should also be proportionate with the sewing machine table or the surface the machine is put on. An appropriate sitting position can cause you back pain and also make you less productive.

Step 3: Insert the needle

Installing the needle correctly is a must. The flat side of the needle is commonly faced back. The groove and the way the needle is threaded should be faced in the same direction. After inserting the needle, the thumbscrew has to be tightened enough.

Step 4: Wind the bobbin

Put the bobbin spool over the bobbin winder, which is on the top side of the machine. Now wrap the spool with thread. Now turning on the bobbin winder will make the spool full with thread and will stop when it is done.

Step 5: Insert the bobbin

Put the bobbin in the bobbin case that you will find under the needle of the machine. The end of the thread has to be left out to avoid the drops in the bobbin case.

Step 6: Thread the needle

Now it is time to thread the needle accordingly to the manual.

Take the thread and pull it through the thread guide at the top, and then down and around the takeup lever. Follow the general pattern of left, down, up, down through the needle. Thread guide before the needle is located nearest to the direction from which you must thread the needle.

Now plug the power in and turned the pedal switch on too.

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Start Off with the sewing

If you have followed the following steps correctly, by this point, your sewing machine should be ready to work with. The steps given below can be your guide to sew in the machine:

Choose the stitch: Every machine has its knob to set the stitch length and type on different parts of the machine. Have a look in your manual and find out yours. Take the needle up and set the stitch. Use a medium length and choose either one of the straight line or zigzag one.

Practice casually: Take a piece of leftover fabric or a fabric that you are probably not going to use again. Practicing in woven materials like cotton twill, satin, chiffon are great options for first time sewing.

Sew on the right side: Keep the rest of the fabric on the left side of your machine and sew it on the right side of the fabric.

Set the pressure foot down: Tug the fabric and set the pressure foot down to the fabric.

Have control over the loose ends: When starting the sewing, you will have to hold the loose ends of the thread with your hand. When you are gone a long way, you do not have to do that anymore.

Have control over the foot pedal: Control your speed according to your need using the foot pedal. Push it slow at the beginning and gradually push it harder to speed it up. If your machine has a knee bar instead of a foot pedal, push it on the right side using your knee.

Use the reverse button and handwheel: You can make the fabric coming towards your direction using the reverse button. Hold the spring made a button-down to sew in reverse. You can also move the needle upwards using the handwheel.

Lock stitch for the better finish: Locking the stitch with a reverse lever will provide cleaner stitch. When done with one side, turn the fabric in a Ninety-degree angle and turn off the machine and put the needle down. Pull up the pressure foot lever and turn the fabric into your desired direction. After that, pull the lever down and proceed.

Trim the thread: You can cut the thread using the notch that is already behind your machine. If that’s not the case, use a sharp tool like scissors to cut it down and leave an end for the next sewing. When all have been done, turn the machine off. Remember, a good finishing is mandatory to perfection, just like landing the very crucial to an aeroplane.

Experts’ Advice:

  • Do a lot of practice.
  • Prefer quality over quantity.
  • Wash the fabric before using it to avoid shrinking and press it when you are done sewing.
  • Use varieties of sewing patterns.
  • Be careful about the details of the fabric.
  • Use good quality materials.
  • Do not forget to take the help of your manual.
  • Take the help of technologies if needed.

Easy Sewing Guide For Beginners

Give Yourself Time

At the very beginning, the process may seem complicated. But do not let your failure stop you from trying different patterns and from experimenting with the thread and needle. The machines can do wonders! Give yourself enough time, keep patience and keep room for improving yourself. With hard work and dedication, you can achieve perfection.

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