How To Use A Sewing Machine

Just got your very first sewing machine? Then it’s about time you learn how to use a sewing machine and start stitching!
This process can either be a walk in the park or a straight-up hassle — it all depends on you taking the time to get to know your sewing machine and learn the basics of things.
Below is a simple step-by-step guide for beginners to cover all fundamentals of using a sewing machine.

Step 1: Set Up Your Sewing Machine

Before you can start using your sewing machines, you should get familiar with the device's anatomy and how to set it up. Many beginner sewing guides will list all the different parts of a sewing machine and expect you to memorize them, but not this one.
Learning is most effective through the application, so you're better off getting familiar with the parts of your sewing machine along the way as you adjust and prepare each of them for stitching.

Position Yourself and the Machine

First things first, you should place your sewing machine in a proper spot. Ideally, you want to park it on a sturdy desk or table.
Make sure that the desk is level with the ground and stable enough to keep the machine from wobbling while you work.
After that, grab a chair and set it at a comfortable orientation and height from your machine. The result should look like this: on the left, the needle end, and on the right, your body.

Mount the Needle

Next, you should mount the needle. Two things to keep in mind in this step are the direction of the groove and the orientation of the needle’s flat side.
You want the flat side of the needle to face backward and the groove to face the needle threading direction. Once you get the needle in place, further secure its position by tightening the thumbscrew.

Wind the Bobbin Thread

Any sewing machine features two major threads: the lower thread -also known as the bobbin thread- and the top thread.
Now, you’re looking to wind the bobbin thread. To do this, simply put the bobbin on its winder that usually sits at the top of the machine. After that, take the thread and wrap it around the guide onto the bobbin.
Switch on the bobbin winder and wait until it automatically shuts off when full. Next, insert the bobbin into its cage on the lower part of the machine. Remember to check for special instructions in your manual.

Thread the Machine

Typically, you’ll find the thread spool on the top of your sewing machine. You should unwind it first to fasten it onto the needle.
Grab the thread and pass it through the top guide then down to the takeup lever. Curve the thread back up around the lever then down again until you arrive at the needle.

Get the Bobbin and the Top Threads Out

The next step is to position both the bobbin thread and the top thread just under the needle while angled backward. Here’s how:
  • With your left hand hold the needle thread.
  • Use your right hand to turn the handwheel toward your body for a full needle revolution.
  • Next, pull the needle thread you got in your left hand. You’ll notice that the bobbin thread is now looped over it.
  • Let the needle thread go and pass your scissors between the plate and the presser foot. This way, the looped bobbin thread gets pulled out.
At this point, you should be looking at a thread’s end coming from the needle and one coming from under the bobbin.

Turn the Machine On

You’re now ready to fire up your sewing machine. Plug it into an outlet and locate the power switch to turn it on. Generally, it’s located on the side or the back of the unit.

Step 2: Pick the Fabric

Time to choose the fabric you'll be working with. Fabrics are available in a wide range of types, but as a beginner, it's best if you start with cotton because it's easy to play with.
Cut the fabric into long strips and fold them to make a crease at the half-line.

Step 3: Choose the Type and Length of the Stitch

For a beginner, you should start with simpler settings for the stitch. A straight-type stitch and a medium length should be appropriate.
To input these choices into your sewing machine, refer to your manual because different brands and models don’t have the exact same settings. But in general, the first stitch on any sewing machine is the straight type, whereas the medium length is 2.5 or 3.

Step 4: Position the Needle and Load the Fabric

The needle should always start and finish at the highest point. Once you get this done, bring the presser foot upward.
Now, position the fabric below the needle with the target next to the crease. Then, bring the presser foot down to level the plane of the fabric with the needle and maintain a continuous feed while stitching.
The last step before you start stitching is to carefully place your fingers on the fabric to move it as the machine sews along the line.

Step 5: Get Your Stitch On

You finally made it to the stitching step! Now, you want to start gently pressing the foot pedal so you can get used to its feel before.
Stitch down the line on your fabric and once you’re, relieve the pressure on the foot pedal. Make sure that the needle is resting in the highest position.
Raise the presser foot and take out the fabric slowly. Use a pair of scissors to trim the threads but leave a good portion of both threads extending out to accommodate the next stitch.


There you have it, a simple step-by-step guide on how to use a sewing machine. Remember, mastering the use of such a machine won’t happen overnight, but once you nail the basics, the rest is super easy to learn.