How To Use a Sewing Machine

At first glance, a sewing machine may seem quite overwhelming due to its design. You may wonder where should you put the needle or how do the buttons work. But once you understand the simple mechanism, this machine will not seem complicated anymore.

For beginners, a simple sewing machine is enough to learn how to sew. Most of the beginner-friendly sewing projects require you to only alternate between straight stitch and zigzag stitch. Therefore you don’t need to worry about any fancy stitches when you’re learning how to use a sewing machine. With that being said, we are here to guide you on everything you must know about how to use one.

Different Parts of a Sewing Machine 

On/Off Switch 

Generally located on the side of the machine, there will be an on/off switch. You need to turn on the sewing machine every time you use it. It might be indicated by a small light right above the needle. 


Although most sewing machines come with a needle already placed in them, the manual with the machine will guide you on how to place it. Unlike hand sewing, the needle in a sewing machine goes in and out of the fabric without passing through the fabric fully. 

Depending on the thickness and type of the fabric material, you’ll need to use a specific needle size. The standard ones are 75 or 80. Finer fabrics can be sewed using 60 while tougher ones may require the size 110 or 120. 


This the accelerator of the sewing machine while allows it to operate. 


Located under the foot and needle area of the sewing machine, a bobbin is a tiny plastic or metal spool which is loaded with the bobbin thread. It takes part in forming a stitch when the bobbin thread and the top thread meet. To learn how to load your bobbin, check the manual of your sewing machine.

Thread Feed

To avoid tangles a sewing machine uses a thread feed. Before the spool reaches the needle, it threads through multiple loops and channels. You can vary the tension of the thread through the numbered dial on your sewing machine. It can be lowered or raised based on the requirement of the specific fabric. 

Stitch Selector 

The stitch selector of a sewing machine can be of three types: dials, switches, or knobs. You can just use the basic stitches for simple projects. Once you excel in those you can switch to stitches that do not only revolve around straight stitch or zig-zag. 

Stitch Length

A stitch length of 2 or 2.5 is sufficient for a regular stitch, while quick tackling lines require a long stitch. The dial or knob on the sewing machine can be used to alter the length of the stitches as per your requirement. 

Reverse Stitching

Reverse stitching makes your stitches secure. All you need to do is go back and forth a few centimeters to hold the stitch in place. Most sewing machines including older models have a button or switch that allows you to reverse stitch.

Hand Wheel 

If you’re working on tight spots, you can use the handwheel to move the needle up and down manually. Make sure to turn the wheel towards you so that the thread doesn’t get tangled or caught in the machine.

The Right Sewing Machine For You 

Although the mechanism of all sewing machines is quite similar, it’s important to opt for the one that does not have too many features to overwhelm you especially if you’re just starting. For beginners, a mini sewing machine would be the ideal choice. This is because these lightweight machines are quite easy to use.

Also, they’re perfect if you have limited space because they do not take up much room. Compared to standard sewing machines, the mini ones are much more affordable as well. To get your hands on one, check out the Top 5 Easy Home Mini Sewing Machine In 2020

How to Use a Sewing Machine 

Before you get to your sewing machine you must know how to thread the main needle and bobbin. What you need to do is bring up the bobbin thread so that both your top thread and bobbin thread are trailing your sewing machine. It’s easy to follow through looking at the manual that comes with any sewing machine. Once you’re set on this, it’s time to start sewing. 

Step 1: First, raise the presser foot which is located right under the needle. Then, follow the indicator guide on your machine which usually shows seam allowances as well. You need to align your fabric edge with the displayed guide. 

Step 2: Pass through the fabric under the presser foot as you continue to use the pedal of the sewing machine. You can ease through the sewing by holding the fabric in the front and behind the presser foot. 

Step 3: Once you reach the corner of the fabric, you can raise the foot and spin the fabric while making sure that the needle is pointed exactly where the corner of the thread lining would be. Now, you can continue sewing after lowering the presser foot. 

Step 4: After you complete the stitch, you can do reverse stitching to secure the stitch. To finish, raise the presser foot while the needle is in the “up” position, and remove the fabric from under the presser foot. You can cut the attached thread once done. 


Whether you’re planning to purchase a new sewing machine on your own or you have it in your birthday or Christmas wish list, you’d need to learn how to use it at some point if you want to create beautiful pieces. Our guide here should be able to help you choose the right sewing machine for you, as well as teach you how to use one.