Now that you have everything you need, let’s get to know your sewing machine!
Since sewing machines differ, I’ve included photos of my ’70’s Singer, ’80’s Bernette, and my mother’s newer Ellure Baby Lock machine. Don’t worry if your machine’s parts look different or has different features. Every sewing machine has the same basic components. Just check out your manual if you can’t find a part on your machine. (And if you don’t have your manual, many manuals are now online so use good ol’ Google).
Spend some time reviewing the list of sewing machine’s parts and their function. Use the photos to find the machine parts and try each one out. We will get into more detail about each part of the machine in upcoming tutorials.
MACHINE PLUG Connects the power cord and foot pedal to the machine.
MACHINE PLUG SOCKET Machine plug is inserted here to connect the machine to the power cord and foot pedal.
POWER CORD Supplies the machine power through the electrical plug including turning the machine light on and off.
FOOT PEDAL The foot pedal runs the machine (makes the needle go up and down). The harder you press, the faster the machine and needle go.
HAND WHEEL Located on the right side of the machine. The handle wheels moves the needle, feed dogs, and uptake lever when turned. Always turn the wheel toward you (counter clockwise). The hand wheel is used when threading the machine and to do precision stitching – one stitch at a time.
SPOOL PIN Holds the spool thread in place while it feeds through the machine. Machines either have a vertical spool pin or a horizontal spool pins with a cap.
BOBBIN THREAD GUIDE WITH TENSION Takes the thread from the spool to the bobbin winding spindle. The guide has a tension disc for a tightly wound bobbin.
BOBBIN WINDER SPINDLE Spins the bobbin to wind thread around it. If your machine doesn’t have a bobbin winder, you will probably wind the bobbin in it’s house. This is mostly seen in older machines.
BOBBIN WINDER STOPPER Pushed against the bobbin when winding begins. When the bobbin is fully wound, it pops back and stop the bobbin winding mechanism.
THREAD CUTTER Used to cut the bobbin thread when it is fully wound.
THREAD TAKE-UP LEVER Controls flow of needle thread. It is connected with the needle and controlled by the hand wheel.
THREAD TENSION DIAL Adjusts the tension of the upper needle thread for a perfectly balanced stitch. Use this to select the right tension for your stitch, thread and fabric. Increase tension by selecting a higher number and decrease tension by selecting a lower number.
THREAD GUIDE Thread feeds into the machine following the thread guide.
THREAD CUTTER Small blade for cutting needle thread.
NEEDLE SCREW CLAMP Holds the needle in place. Turn the knob away from you (clock wise) to open the clamp and release the needle.
NEEDLE Pushes and pulls thread through fabric.
NEEDLE PLATE Covers the bobbin house and has engraved lines to show seam allowance measurements. It has a hole for the needle to dip into to reach the bobbin thread.
FEED DOGS Metal teeth that grip on to the fabric and moves it forward while the needle inserts the thread. The fabric would not move with out the feed dogs. The feed dogs do not damage the fabric.
PRESSER BAR Holds the presser foot holder in place by the thumbscrew.
PRESSER FOOT HOLDER Clips on to the presser bar and held in place by the presser foot thumbscrew. On some machines the foot and foot holder are all one piece.
PRESSER FOOT THUMBSCREW Holds the presser foot holder in place on the presser bar.
PRESSER FOOT Holds the fabric against the feed dogs as you sew. There are many different types of presser feet. You will be introduced to them as we learn new techniques. There are two types of presser feet. Snap On presser feet that clip into the ankle and Screw On presser feet that screw into the ankle.
PRESSER FOOT RELEASE for SNAP ON PRESSER FOOT Pinching this lever opens the ankle and releases the presser foot allowing you to change the presser foot.
DROP FEED LEVER
PRESSER FOOT LEVER/LIFTER Found at the back or side of the needle. It lifts and lowers the presser foot.
FLAT BED Large flat sewing area. Some machines will have a removable part of the flat bad to reveal a free arm used for sewing arms or cuffs.
BOBBIN Second thread source sitting underneath the needle.
BOBBIN CASE A protective case. Front loading machines have a bobbin case where top loading machines do not.
SHUTTLE COVER Covers the bobbin house on front loading machines.
HOOK COVER PLATE Plastic piece that covers the top loading bobbin.
REVERSE STITCH BUTTON/LEVER Reverses the direction of the feed dogs which moves the fabric toward you allowing you to stitch backwards/in reverse. Back stitching is a way to reinforce stitching at the beginning and the end of a row of stitches.
STITCH SELECTOR DIAL Select the style of stitches built into your sewing machine: straight, zig zag, decorative, etc. Older machines have a knob while newer electronic machines have a touch screen.
STITCH LENGTH DIAL Select the length of your stitches. Older machines will have a dial while newer electronic machines have a touch screen panel to select stitch length.
STITCH WIDTH DIAL Selects the distance the needle moves from side to side when sewing zig zag or decorative stitches. Older machines will have a dial while newer electronic machines have a touch screen panel to select stitch width.
SPEED CONTROL Newer machines have a slider that allows you to limit the maximum stitching speed for more even stitching.
Now that you know the parts of your machine, you are ready to set it up to sew!