Sewing Machine Basics

Want to find out more about that sewing machine which has been languishing in your spare room? Here are the basics that should help you out.

Buying a Sewing M

If you want to buy a new machine there are some things that you should know. Number one is that they are not cheap. It’s important to consider your options and why you want one in the first place.

Think about what you are going to use it for. Are you just going to mend clothes or are you planning to embark on a grand embroidery affair? The latter will require a sophisticated model and one that might stretch the budgets – some machines can cost close to four figures!

Locate a sewing machine specialist and don’t be afraid to try out some of the in-store models. They will let you bring along some fabric scraps and get a feel for each of the machines. That way you can make the best decisions possible.


Educate yourself on the parts that make up the sewing machine. A thorough inventory will help you work out how to make the most of your machine. It may also help you in times of need. If you know the parts of your machine you can navigate through your troubleshooting manual with ease! Here are just a few parts that you should familiarise yourself with:

  1. What Bobbins Look Like The bobbin –The bobbin is the part that provides the thread of the stitches. It is really the heart of the machine – without it you simply won’t be able to sew anything. Always make sure you have a spare – most sewing machines come with 1-3 bobbins that you can put different coloured thread onto. The bobbin sits inside the bobbin care. Sometimes it is removable from the machine in other cases it is not. The bobbin winder is sometimes found within the bobbin case as well and it is the part, which maintains the tension on the thread.
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  3. The light –Most machines come fitted with a light, positioned close to the needle. This prevents eye fatigue and so it is important that you make use of it when doing length, detailed work.
  4. The pressure foot –This is the part which keeps your fabric in place when sewing. Some foots have guides etched into them which will help you when sewing. It is controlled by pressure foot lever

  5. Hand Wheel From A Sewing Machine The hand wheel –The hand wheel can be found on both older manual machines as well as newer electronic models. It allows you to control the stitching by hand and also allows you to control the position of the fabric.

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  6. The Tension Discs –The discs control the pressure applied to the thread. The right amount of tension will result in an even stitch. If you can’t see any discs on your machine then the chances are that you have a new model, where they are inbuilt and controlled electronically. In that case, this is one area that you don’t have to worry about.


    A sewing machine needs to be cared for. Don’t just let it languish in the dust. When you take one on as a responsibility you need to give it love and attention.

    Sewing Machine Needle Plate Keep it clean –Remove the bobbin case and shuttle and thoroughly clean and oil the parts after every 10 hours of sewing. A few drops of sewing machine oil (i.e., an oil which doesn’t contain any silicon) on these parts will ensure that the area is clean and that the fabric and stitching flows easily.

    Get it serviced –If you use your sewing machine regularly you should get it serviced every one or two years. A qualified technician will do a thorough check on the wires and screws and will clean it up for you. This will ensure that your machine lasts as long as it should. It’s cheaper in the long run – think about it, either pay a few pounds to get it seen to on a regular basis or risk having to stump up the cash for a new machine altogether.

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    There is so much to learn about sewing machines. It is impossible to give a complete low down but hopefully this will have provided the novice into how they work.

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