How to Use a Sewing Machine: All the Details Needed to Improve

The purpose of this article is to teach as many people as possible how to use a sewing machine. In order to be great at it, you need to know how you can thread your machine properly, making it ready for use. A little sewing practice will also help you out a lot.

Understanding How to Use a Sewing Machine

Learn to Sew Along a Straight Line

It may appear that sewing a straight line with the help of your sewing machine is one of the easiest things to do. But that’s not quite the case. Once you give it a shot for yourself, you are bound to realize that you will need to practice to become proficient in sewing in a straight line.

It is advisable to practice first before using expensive sewing fabrics.

use a sewing machine

Important Safety Warnings

Warning! Please switch off the power and make sure that your foot is far away from the foot pedal whenever you adjust the material under the presser foot and needle. You don’t want to accidentally start the sewing machine while you are making these adjustments. If that happens, you can injure yourself quite badly. So please take care whenever you are adjusting the fabric. No matter how much you need to hurry, you should never skip this step under any circumstances.

Warning! Always check for bent needles before using them. Never use bent needles. Even a slightly bent needle poses a high risk of breakage and injury.

You should first check the needle correctly. Place the needle on a flat surface on its flat side. Check the needle carefully from the top and sides for any signs of bending. Bent needles should be disposed of immediately.

Easy Way

The method explained here is very easy and inexpensive, and you will really like it.

You will not even have to use fabric or thread in order to learn sewing along a straight line.

Use Tissue Paper

You can start practicing with the help of tissue paper that has been marked with straight lines. You don’t even need to thread your sewing machine. Just use the needle without thread.

You should first mark straight lines on the paper with the help of a pen. After that, carefully place the paper under the presser foot. You should then ‘sew’ along these lines. Of course, there will be no stitches since you have not loaded any thread. But the needle will nevertheless pierce the paper to create a trail of holes as you run the paper through your sewing machine. The trail of holes should ideally lie along the marked lines.

You will be able to gauge your sewing expertise by noticing how much the trail deviates from the lines.

While practicing, you will notice that the paper stretches and wriggles as it gets pierced repeatedly by the needle. Initially, your trail may not be perfectly aligned, but you will see noticeable improvement after just a few runs.

Why Tissue Paper Is Good

You can practice with tissue paper and ordinary paper. Tissue paper is great because it is flexible and therefore tricky to sew correctly. This will make you more skilled at sewing stretch fabrics, which are one of the most difficult materials to sew. This is important because you will almost certainly work on stretch fabrics and knits since they are so comfortable and ubiquitous.

Foot Pedal Control

During this practice exercise, you will also gain control over the foot pedal. You can increase the pressure on the pedal to increase the sewing speed. You must first practice at low speeds.

You might notice that the sewing speed increases dramatically even with small foot movement. The sewing speed may appear to increase in a nonlinear manner with respect to your foot displacement.

But don’t worry. With a little practice, you will soon become adept at varying sewing speed by skillfully making small increments in foot displacement.

It is just like controlling the accelerator pedal of your car. The first time around it may have felt clumsy and uncomfortable to work the pedal with your foot. But with just a little bit of practice, you must have made significant improvements.

Your foot control will also improve rapidly with just a little sewing practice. You will soon master the foot pedal and work at any speed you like.

More Practice

You can vary thickness by folding the tissue paper. Practice with different stitch lengths. For this, you will need to use the stitch length adjustment button.

You must also learn to change the stitch direction. To do this, first, stop the machine by lifting your foot away from the foot pedal. Then raise the presser foot and turn the paper around under the needle. Once you have properly set the paper, you can lower the presser foot and start sewing again.

Remember that the needle will become blunt at the end of your paper sewing practice. Replace the needle when you start sewing fabric because blunt needles will not sew properly.

Learning to Replace the Needle

The needle is kept in place by means of a screw in the vertical needle clamp. In most sewing machine models you must first push the ‘needle position’ button ( or similarly named button). Doing so will raise the needle. You will have to use a screwdriver to make the screw loose.

You can then take out the needle from the needle clamp since it is now loose enough to be released. Replace the needle with a new one.

Hold the new needle vertically so that the sharp end is pointing downwards. Now insert it into the needle clamp and push it until it touches the stopper. You won’t be able to move the needle any further upwards. Using a screwdriver, you can then tighten the screw to rigidly secure the new needle.

You should always remember to use a needle size which matches the thread and thickness of the fabric that you are using.

This is the basic procedure for replacing needles. For instructions specific to your sewing machine model you should check the user manual.

Threading Your Sewing Machine

The threading procedure may have slight variations between different models, but the basic principle is the same for all. You must pass the thread through all the guides on the sewing machine as well as the tension disk before you can pass it through the eye of the needle.

It is important to follow the correct order for threading. You must pass the thread through eyelets and tension disk in the right sequence. Failing to pass the thread in the correct order may result in broken threading and poor stitch quality.

Threading Is Really Easy

Threading the sewing machine for the first time may feel rather daunting the first time. You might have to wind your thread round a perplexing labyrinth of guides and holes. But don’t let this intimidate you. You need not to worry because once you do it correctly, it will soon become second nature to you. Threading your machine will become a habit and become much easier every time you do it. Very soon, you will wonder why you were even worried over such a simple procedure.

Threading can be broken down into three parts:

  1. winding your bobbin
  2. threading the upper part of your sewing machine
  3. and threading the lower part of your sewing machine

Threading Diagrams

There will probably be illustrations on your sewing machine that will show the threading path. These diagrams will also show how you must pass the thread around the guides.

Threading is very easy and self-explanatory in the presence of these diagrams.

Winding Thread Around the Bobbin

  • Step 1

You should first put the thread spool onto the spool pin. There are two pins on the top towards the right side of your sewing machine. The spool pin is the larger one, and it works by securely holding the thread spool in place. Drop the thread spool on the spool pin and then unwind some thread from it.

  • Step 2

You should now pass the thread around tension disc located on top towards the left of the sewing machine. It is located on the metal structure that stands prominently on the top left side of the machine.

  • Step 3

You must pass the thread through a hole in the bobbin and wrap it around the bobbin a few times so that the thread is secure.

  • Step 4

Place the bobbin on the bobbin pin. This is the smaller of the two pins towards the right side on top of your sewing machine.

Slide the bobbin towards the right. You will hear a click sound. The bobbin is now securely held for winding.

  • Step 5

You must now press the foot pedal to start winding the thread around the bobbin. When the winding is complete, you should cut out the extra thread that is sticking out of the bobbin hole.

Threading the Upper Part of Your Sewing Machine

  • Step 1

First, the thread spool must be placed onto the spool pin. You will find two pins towards the top right side of your sewing machine. The larger one is the spool pin. Its job is to hold thread spool securely. You can simply drop the thread spool onto the spool pin. Pull out a bit of thread from the thread spool.

  • Step 2

You must now wind the thread through the thread guide. You will find the thread guide towards the top left side of your sewing machine. It is a prominent metal structure on the left which you will notice immediately. Pull out some thread from the thread spool and pass it around this thread guide. Pass the thread over the rear of the thread guide.

  • Step 3

You will now have to pull the thread towards yourself from the rear of the thread guide. The channel that lies in the path of your extended thread is basically another thread guide. It is located on the front side of the sewing machine towards you.

Pass the thread downwards through this guide. There are tension disks at the bottom that you must pass the thread around.

You will now have to take your thread upwards through another guide which is similar to the previous one. This time, the thread will be travelling upwards. The two channels and the tension disc in the bottom give a rough U shape to your thread.

  • Step 4

Once the U shape has been completed, you should then pass your thread around the takeup lever and then back down again. The takeup lever is another metal component at the top of the second channel of the U shape guide. The takeup lever has a hole on its top.

You must pass the thread through this hole. Once this is done, your thread will have mapped out a long and very narrow ‘S’ shape.

Threading the Lower Part of Your Sewing Machine

  • Step 1

Remove the transparent cover located next to the presser foot below it. You will find the bobbin case in this compartment.

  • Step 2

Unwind a bit of thread from the bobbin. A few inches should be enough.

  • Step 3

Drop the bobbin in this compartment. You must make sure that the bobbin is winding in the right direction. A small diagram near the top of the chamber will indicate this.

You can now place the transparent cover to close the compartment.

  • Step 4

You should now expose your bobbin thread. The bobbin thread will now be concealed with the plate under the needle. Turn the wheel located towards the right of your sewing machine. The thread will now come out. Catch hold of it and pull it so that a couple of inches of the thread get exposed.

The job is now done. Your thread is now in a perfect position for needle threading. Doesn’t that sound simple enough

Needle Threading

Needle threading can be done very easily with one neat trick. The reason why needle threading is so frustrating is that the fibers at the tip of your thread are likely scattered. These scattered fibers might prove too big to pass through the very narrow eye of the needle.

You can suck the thread tip so that the loose fibers stick together. They now have a smaller area collectively and will through the needle eye with very little effort.

Make sure that there is plenty of illumination. Keep your hand steady by resting it on the sewing surface while you are threading the needle. your sewing session can now proceed forward without a hitch

Your sewing machine has now been properly threaded, and you can now begin your sewing projects. You also have a good idea now about how to use a sewing machine.

Our Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to use a sewing machine properly, go get started on your next project. If you don’t have a sewing machine yet or want to upgrade, here are some of our favorite sewing machines.

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