Parts of a Sewing Machine

There are various types of sewing machines. It all started in 1830, when Barthelemy Thimonnier, a French tailor created the first sewing machine. This machine only had a hooked needle and thread that made a cross stitch similar to the method used in embroidery.

Since then, several modern designs have come out and have made stitching less complicated. Most of us have the trusty Singer sewing machine, passed down from generation to generation. This sewing machine came out in 1851 and was found in just about every household and every tailor shop.

If you have a basic sewing machine then chances are it’s similar to a Singer machine. If you Google “the most popular sewing machine,” you will find the new Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 Computerized Portable Sewing Machine right on top. This brand dominated the sewing industry back then and is still doing so now.

Sewing Machine

So, let’s take a look at the parts of a sewing machine:

Sewing Machine Parts

  1. Arm
  2. Bed
  3. Feed Dog
  4. Balance Wheel
  5. Foot Pedal
  6. Belt
  7. Spool Pin
  8. Thread Guide
  9. Take-Up Lever
  10. Pressure Foot Lifter
  11. Pressure Foot
  12. Tension Disc
  13. Needle Plate
  14. Needle Bar
  15. Needle Clamp
  16. Needle
  17. Bobbin
  18. Bobbin Case
  19. Bobbin Cover
  20. Bobbin Winder
  21. Face Plate
  22. Side Plate
  23. Stitch Regulator

Understanding the Function of Each Sewing Machine Part

  1. Arm: The top part of the sewing machine is called the arm and contains the mechanism that operates the needle.
  2. Bed: The bottom part of the sewing machine is called the bed. Its function is to provide the main machine parts a flat surface to rest on. Under it is the feed dog, which houses the lower thread mechanism and shuttle.
  3. Feed Dog: This part of the machine contains little textured metal pieces that keep the fabric moving during sewing.
  4. Balance Wheel: This part is what helps you set the machine in motion. The balance wheel offers manual operation mechanism, which moves the needle up and down.
  5. Foot Pedal: This is the part that connects to the sewing machine’s motor and allows you to operate it automatically.
  6. Belt: This part helps connect the balance wheel to the foot pedal motor.
  7. Spool Pin: Located on the top part of the sewing machine, the spool pin is the round metal rod standing straight that holds the thread roll.
  8. Thread Guide: This is the part of the sewing machine extending underneath the arm. It keeps the thread straight.
  9. Take-Up Lever: A small hole in the take-up lever directs the thread from the spool to the thread guide. The lever helps keep tension in the thread as it moves up and down.
  10. Pressure Foot Lifter: Another lever that engages the tension disc. It can be controlled by the machine’s pressure dial.
  11. Pressure Foot: This part of the sewing machine looks like a foot and keeps pressure on the cloth in resting mode.
  12. Tension Disc: There are two concave discs pressed together and attached to the vertical side of the arm. The thread passes through this disc to the pressure foot. It helps control the tightness and looseness of stitches.
  13. Needle Plate: This is a semi-circular plate attached on top of the feed dog and it houses the bobbin case. The straight line of this plate allows you to keep the fabric straight and make perfect seams.
  14. Needle Bar: This is the steel rod that keeps the needle steady. It is held in place by a clamp.
  15. Needle Clamp: It secures the needle in the thread guide with the help of a screw.
  16. Needle: This is the pin extending from the needle bar. Unlike regular needles, this one has a threading hole at the pointy end.
  17. Bobbin: This is the low spool, which holds the lower thread. When the bobbin and needle thread are looped together, a stitch is formed.
  18. Bobbin Case: This part holds the bobbin. It adds tension to the bobbin thread. When the needled thread gets pulled around the bobbin case, the bobbin thread wraps around it, pulling it up and out of the needle plate.
  19. Bobbin Cover: This is the cover that holds the bobbin case and bobbin in the machine.
  20. Bobbin Winder: This part controls the bobbin as the thread is winded. It’s a mechanism that allows you to wind the thread easily on the bobbin. Make sure to keep the speed on medium when winding the thread or you risk breaking it.
  21. Face Plate: This is a small disc plate underneath the thread guide that gives you access to the needle bar’s oiling points. It also helps you fix the take-up lever and pressure bar.
  22. Side Plate: Gives you access to the bobbin.
  23. Stitch Regulator: This part controls the width and length of the stitches. It determines how narrow or wide and long you want the stitch to be.

A Tailor’s Sewing Machine – Parts and Their Functions

A tailor’s sewing machine is typically placed on a table with a mechanism underneath that allows the one who is sewing to create a sewing station.


  1. Band Wheel Crank
  2. Band Wheel
  3. Pitman Rod
  4. Belt Shifter
  5. Belt Guide
  6. Foot Pedal or Treadle
  7. Dress Guard


  1. Band Wheel Crank:Helps work the band wheel.
  2. Band Wheel:Connects the belt and the balance wheel.
  3. Pitman Rod:Holds the band wheel crank to the treadle.
  4. Belt Shifter:Allows you to remove the motor’s belt from around the wheel.
  5. Belt Guide:Keeps the belt in place.
  6. Foot Pedal or Treadle:Allows you to operate the sewing machine with your feet. It starts, runs and stops the machine.
  7. Dress Guard:Prevents the dress from getting caught in the wheel.

Our Final Thoughts

Understanding the functions of these parts might not make you a talented tailor but it sure will get you started with the learning process. In fact, when you hit a snag while sewing, you will know exactly where to look to solve the problem.

In our book, that’s half the battle won.

So, happy sewing!

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