When it comes to using a sewing machine, there are typically two types of initial responses. There are those who take to using a sewing machine naturally and those who need some guidance when navigating the machine. Fortunately, using a sewing machine is not difficult once you understand the basics of the machine. So with this in mind, how do you use a sewing machine?
To use a sewing machine, turn on the power and then insert a needle into the needle clamp. Then, wind and insert the thread into the bobbin and make sure you thread the machine with the top thread and the lower thread from the bobbin. Select your preferred tension and stitch level and begin sewing.
If you have never used a sewing machine, I know that description probably reads like ancient hieroglyphics. But rest assured, this guide will explain what these features are and take you through the process step-by-step. Using a sewing machine is daunting largely because of all the features that need to be set, but it’s a breeze once you thread the machine a few times. Read on to find out how to use a sewing machine if you are a beginning sewist.
In this Guide
- How To Start a Sewing Machine
- How To Set Up a Beginner’s Sewing Machine
- How To Thread a Sewing Machine
- How To Sew a Straight Line Using a Sewing Machine
- Can I Teach Myself To Use a Sewing Machine?
- What Tools Do I Need for a Sewing Machine?
- How To Use a Walking Foot on a Sewing Machine
- How To Use a Needle Threader on a Sewing Machine
- How To Use a Ruffler Foot on a Sewing Machine
- How To Use a Darning Foot on a Sewing Machine
- How To Use a Darning Plate on a Sewing Machine
- How To Use a Double Needle on a Sewing Machine
- How To Use a Bias Binding Foot On a Sewing Machine
- How To Use A Rolled Hem Foot On A Sewing Machine
- How To Use A Piping Foot On A Sewing Machine
- How To Use A Zipper Foot On A Sewing Machine
- How To Use Cone Thread In A Sewing Machine
- How To Use Elastic Thread In A Sewing Machine
- How To Drop Feed Dogs On A Sewing Machine
- How To Hem Using A Sewing Machine
- How To Sew A Button Using A Sewing Machine
- How To Bypass Using The Bobbin On A Sewing Machine
- How To Avoid Injury Using A Sewing Machine
How To Start a Sewing Machine
When you first unbox your sewing machine, the first thing you will want to do is set everything on your table and then plug the adapter cord into the sewing machine.
Plug the machine into the wall and ensure everything powers on properly. For the pedal, you may also need to do the same if your pedal is not connected to the main power supply of the sewing machine.
Make sure you keep your hands away from the needle plate if this is your first time setting up a sewing machine. We recommended that you go ahead and power on the machine so you can easily check the presser foot once you assemble to ensure it stitches properly.
Now, let’s go through the setup process.
How To Set Up a Beginner’s Sewing Machine
Before learning anything about using a sewing machine, you will first need to know how to set a machine up properly.
Most sewing machines come with a range of accessories: feet, tools, needles, bobbin, thread, and a useful instruction manual for reference.
The bottom of the sewing machine is known as the flatbed attachment or the base of the sewing machine. You can leave this attachment on most of the time, but it will need to be removed for sewing cuffs on sleeves so the fabric can wrap around the arm. You will also need to remove the flatbed attachment for cleaning and maintenance.
On some machines, you will also have a wide table that surrounds the flatbed, on newer models, this can be removed according to your preferences when sewing. I prefer to leave the table on because it’s wonderful for sewing larger projects where a lot of space is necessary to hold the fabric during sewing.
Additionally, and usually connected to the flatbed, is a small accessory compartment. This compartment is convenient for storing your tools and thread.
To get going, the basics of setting up your machine can be broken down into 4 tasks. Let’s take a look at each step.
Insert the Needle
When looking at a sewing machine needle, you will notice that there is a flat part of the needle that begins to round once it reaches the top of the needle. This helps to guide the needle in for your specific machine.
On the machine, locate the screw attached to the needle area and loosen it up enough to slide the needle in place.
In many machines, you can only insert the needle with the flat area facing the back. Keep turning the needle until it slides into place. Be sure to slide the needle up as far as it will go, and then tighten the screw.
Be sure to change your needle often to prevent skipped stitches.
Wind the Bobbin
There are many different bobbin sizes, not to mention plastic or metal, so be sure to only use bobbins that are for your specific sewing machine.
Most machines will have an automatic bobbin winder located on the top of the machine. Place the thread spool on the line extending from the winder, add the spool cap and follow the guides located on the top of the machine or in your manual to wind the thread.
This will involve putting the thread through the clip, wrapping the thread around the knob, and checking to ensure the thread is pulled tight enough.
Now slide the thread through one of the holes of the bobbin. Make sure it is wound in a clockwise direction, and then slide the bobbin winder shaft over, holding onto the thread for a moment, and then press the presser foot.
Check that the thread is threading evenly into the bobbin. Now, you can insert the bobbin into the machine. Most machines have a top drop-in bobbin, however, there are also front and side-loading bobbins, so be sure to check your manual if your bobbin is either of those.
Drop the bobbin in, wrap the thread, and then put the cover on. With this complete, the bobbin is ready to go.
Thread the Machine
To thread your machine, place the spool onto the spindle onto the machine, and then place the thread onto it.
Now, you will need to run the thread through the clip on top, going down, and then up, making sure you catch the thread take-up lever, and then down behind the guide which is located behind the needle clamp.
Now, you will need to thread the needle or, if you have an automatic threader, this process is even easier. Just touch the button and pull the thread to the back.
Attach the Presser Foot
The last step is to attach the presser foot. For most machines, this is just a case of clipping it on by lowering the presser foot using the lever on the side.
To test that everything is in order, grab a scrap of fabric and stitch to make sure the machine is threaded properly.
If the machine doesn’t stitch properly, rethread the needle and check the bobbin. It’s best to do all of these steps slowly and methodically if this is your first time because it’s so easy to miss a step.
Threading is arguably the most difficult setup procedure for beginners. Be sure to follow every step I have outlined above, and if you need a visual guide, check out this video which will walk you through the process of threading.
How To Thread a Sewing Machine
We briefly touched on the threading process during the setup, but it’s important to explain this process in more detail since it can be quite confusing for beginners.
Before we begin with a traditional threading process, it’s important that you always consult your instruction manual for any exact instructions pertaining to your machine. Each machine truly is different, and even automatic machines can have slight alterations and differences to set the machines apart.
But there is an intuitive and traditional certainty that comes with threading a machine, and this threading process is fairly universal.
The threading process begins by taking your thread and placing it into the spool pin on top of the machine and the farthest to the back.
You will need to make sure that your thread rolls off of the pin in a counter-clockwise fashion–meaning that the thread should be rolling out towards the back of the machine, not the front.
Depending on your machine, there may be numbers listed on the top, and these numbers guide you through how to thread the machine, so you can follow these in order with the thread winding through each step listed.
The first thing you should do with the thread is put it through the top loop (looks like a protruding hook) and then pull the thread down which will pull the thread through the tension disks which resemble a lined space leading to the needle plate.
You always want to make sure that your thread is through these tension disks, which will change the tension when you are sewing. So, it’s helpful if you hold the thread still at the spool pin because as you are pulling with your left hand and threading the machine, the spool at the top is going to move, which will leave you with a large tail of thread.
Go down and back up with the thread until you reach the top again (near the hook) and then you need to put your thread around the screw that pulls the thread up and down. To make this piece appear, all you need to do is use the handwheel on the side of the machine and twist this wheel towards you, not away from you.
This is going to make your needle go up and down which will pull the lever up that you need at the top to finish threading. Make sure the lever is at its highest position and then pull the thread through it. Then, pull the thread back down and you will notice to the left of the needle there is a small hook–put your thread through this hook.
If you have a long tail leftover, you can just cut this off. The last step is to take the thread and put it through the eye (hole) of the needle. If you have an automatic machine, this process can be taken care of for you by pressing the lever to the left. Otherwise, ensure your thread end is straight and use a magnifying glass if needed to pull it through the needle eye the old-fashioned way.
To finish, place your thread underneath your presser foot.
How To Sew a Straight Line Using a Sewing Machine
Now that you are ready to sew, the first thing you should try to master is sewing a straight line onto fabric.
First and foremost, and something I wish I would have paid attention to during home economics in high school, is to never focus your eyes on the needle! It’s natural for the eyes to focus on the needle moving, but make sure you pay attention to the seam guidelines to the right and left of the needle plate.
Your needle will always sew accordingly, so you have to make sure you watch the seams of the fabric being threaded. Align the fabric according to the measurements of the fabric you wish to sew according to the lines on the seam guide. Most fabric seams are either ⅝ or ½ inches, and most newer machines will have seam guides.
If your machine doesn’t have seam guides, you can use a marker of some kind, such as a piece of tape, just so you have a visual marker of where the fabric should align.
Make sure your tail threads are pulled out a bit as this will save you some time not having to worry about tension issues. Next, place the needle down and then the presser foot, and make sure the needle is holding down the fabric according to the seam guideline.
Start sewing slowly and pay attention to the seam guideline. Sew a few stitches forward, and then it helps to push your back-stitch button to also ensure the fabric is aligned properly.
Once you stitch back to the edge of the fabric, then you are going to sew a straight line. Go slow and keep guiding the fabric along with the needle slow and steady all the way to the end of the fabric.
Pull up the presser foot and once again, make sure you pull the tail threads to free up any tension. Place the thread on the side of the machine to hold it in place when you are ready to sew again.
If you followed all these steps, you will notice that you successfully sewed a straight line.
One thing to keep in mind when you are sewing is the balance of your hands and how much tension needs to be applied to the fabric. The presser foot is designed to take care of this, but you will need to guide the fabric along so your fabric doesn’t get zigzags.
Try holding the end of the fabric and giving it a light pull while you also do the same thing to the top of the fabric. This ensures that no tension issues arise and your fabric does not sway off course.
Can I Teach Myself To Use a Sewing Machine?
Yes, in fact, this is the only way that people eventually learn how to sew. But ultimately, everybody has to consult the user’s manual or read a guide like this one or watch a video to learn how to do the basics with setting up a sewing machine properly.
When it comes to actually sewing, you can learn a lot through trial and error. Starting out my learning to sew a straight line, which we discussed above, is one of the best ways to introduce yourself to learning how to navigate the needle and presser foot.
As you continue sewing, you will learn how to use tension adjustments and the other tools and accessories that come with a sewing machine. Using a sewing machine is a bit like a car in how you will know to adjust certain things as you work with your fabric. Sort of like how you know exactly when to start applying the breaks when you judge when to stop your car.
But everybody has to learn somewhere or from someone. Today, with resources like an online guide like this one and YouTube, anybody can follow along and learn how to work a sewing machine. Before the rise of the internet, those wanting to learn how to sew had to learn from a parent or a grandparent, read a book or take a class such as middle or high school Home Economics ( Family and Consumer Science) classes.
But now the resources are plentiful enough to easily teach yourself how to use a sewing machine.
What Is the Best Fabric To Start With?
Starting with 100% cotton fabric is a great choice. Cotton is so easy to work with and typically you will have two layers you are sewing together, which is made all the easier due to the lightness of cotton.
Of these two layers, there is a right side and a wrong side when using sewing terminology. To make sure your raw edges and seams aren’t showing on the outside of your project, you will have to ensure the two sides are facing the right side together.
When sewing any project, you also need to include seam allowance.
For example, let’s say you wish to make a cloth carrying case for identification and credit cards. All you need to do is to cut a fabric square at least three times the size of the card, and then trace the card onto the fabric. Then, you would cut the fabric around the card—but this is not the correct way and you will end up cutting a piece of cloth about half the size of the card!
This is an example of allowing seam allowance. Using the example above, when you are tracing the card on the fabric, make sure you add at least a half of an inch of extra space or seam allowance and you will then find that everything will be stitched together to form the correct size.
What Tools Do I Need for a Sewing Machine?
When using a sewing machine, you will find that there are some essential tools that you need to have to make the sewing process easier. Let’s take a look at some essential tools for sewing machines.
Fabric scissors are essential because they are super sharp and cut clean lines. Make sure the pair of fabric scissors you buy are sharp and durable, as you will need the scissors to be able to cut everything from excess string to thick material like denim.
Rotary Cutter and Rotary Cutting Map
At the beginner stage, you may not need to worry about having these tools. But these cutters offer much more durability than fabric scissors if you will regularly be cutting thicker fabrics. The rotary cutting map is a good idea to place under the fabric since this mat can help protect the blade of the rotary cutter.
Straight Clear Ruler
Having a ruler is a great idea because you are going to need to make exact measurements on fabric during your sewing projects. A clear ruler allows you to be able to see underneath, which will save you a lot of time and headaches from having to do guesswork and then end up cutting too much or too little fabric.
Having a tape measure for sewing is also a good idea. This special kind of tape measure is designed for measuring the body and will ensure that you do not make fabrics or clothes that are too small or too large.
Seam rippers can become your best friend during the beginning stages of sewing. A Seam ripper allows you to undo mistakes that can (and eventually do) get made when sewing. A seam ripper can also be used to take apart clothes without outright ripping or damaging the fabric since the tool is aimed to be used on the seams only.
Sewing Pins and Magnet Holder
Sewing pins are a great tool to have. For example, you can use sewing pins when you piece the right sides together in order to hold the two pieces of fabric together.
The pins can easily be removed when you place your fabric aligned properly into the needle plate. With the presser foot lifted up, you can then slide your pins out when you reach the pins in the sewing line.
How To Use a Walking Foot on a Sewing Machine
Not every sewer uses a walking foot, but the tool can be incredibly beneficial for beginning sewers. The walking foot is the accessory that looks almost like a hermit crab–there is an outer case that features many suspended arms and hooks below it.
To use the walking foot, you will need to remove the foot as well as the holding case for the foot that sits above it. You can use the screwdriver that came with your sewing machine to remove the foot chamber. Make sure you keep these two pieces together for when you decide not to use the walking foot.
To install the walking foot, align the outer plastic arm of the foot onto the pole latch that holds the needle in place and then simply align the feet of the walking foot along with the needle plate until it locks into place. Tighten the screw on the side and then lower your presser foot and the walking foot is not properly installed.
The basic concept behind the walking foot is that there are teeth or feed dogs on the bottom of the foot that catch onto your fabric to help guide thicker fabrics along with skipping and catching. The feed dogs on the bottom of the walking footwork together with the feed dogs in the needle plate to pull your fabric along simultaneously.
This feature is truly great when you are doing something like quilting or especially if you are working with a very slippery fabric that has a tendency to shift, this is when you want to use this foot.
The walking foot will also come with a guide which sort of resembles a hooked pole that comes with the foot. This guide is designed to be placed in the hole in the back of the walking foot mechanism. You can place the guide in the two holes on whichever side of the walking foot. Align the guide to your desired length (1 inch for example) and you will also want to make sure that your needle is also one inch.
This guide will help you to make a perfectly aligned stitch.
How To Use a Needle Threader on a Sewing Machine
An easier way to thread your sewing machine is to use the needle threader attached to the sewing machine if this is a feature that comes with your machine.
To begin, turn off your sewing machine and make sure the needle is at its highest point. Use the ham wheel on the side of the machine to raise or lower the needle and to make sure it is as high as it can be. You will also want to make sure you position the presser foot down to ensure that you have enough space when you are threading the needle.
Next, take the thread in your right hand, and while simultaneously using your left hand, you’re going to pull down on the needle threader. Then, take the thread from the left to the right around the needle threader holding bar, and then continue pressing the needle threader down with your left hand until you can’t push down anymore.
A common mistake that a lot of people seem to make when using the needle threader is that they don’t push down hard enough with their left hand. So to allow the needle threader to work, there is a tiny little piece of wire that goes through the eye of the needle, so you need to make sure you press down to be able to do this.
Next, you will want to take the thread at a right angle and position the thread through the groove on the side of the machine, which also may be a hook on the right side that you will want to loop through. Once this is done, slowly release both of your hands and you will find that the needle is properly threaded to the back.
You may find sometimes that the thread actually gets caught onto the hook, and all you need to do is simply pull it off gently if this is the case. Always remember that you must pull the thread through the needle from the back. Otherwise, if you pull the needle from the front, you will pull the thread out of the needle and will have to repeat the process over again from the beginning.
How To Use a Ruffler Foot on a Sewing Machine
The ruffler foot, like the walking foot, is a bit odd-looking but is a crucial tool when sewing to make design patterns.
What the ruffler foot does is it essentially pleats your fabric and it gives you three different options of the size of pleat that you want. It can also do a straight stitch if you want to use the foot for that as well.
To install the ruffler foot, you first need to align the top hook of the foot onto the needle holder until it locks in place and then place the bottom opening mechanism onto the shank screw.
First, you need to take off the presser foot and unscrew the shank holding the presser foot as well. Then, slide in the ruffler foot according to the instructions above and screw in the shank screw nice and tight to hold the foot in place. You will notice on the top of the ruffler foot are markings known as setting tabs. This is usually a star symbol, a 12, a 6, and a 1. What this means essentially is how many stitches are in-between each pleat that will create ruffles. The star symbol is for straight stitches only.
Once you have the ruffler foot installed and properly threaded, you will need to place your fabric over the first ridge of the foot, underneath the second ridge, and over the third ridge. You may find that using a large pair of tweezers to pull in all the fabric and glide it over and under and over is the best method for loading the fabric.
You can also sew a few stitches if you are having trouble getting the fabric through all the ridges and claws on the bottom of the ruffler foot.
You can then begin stitching your pleats according to your desired width between the number of stitches to create a pleat. For example, if you stitch on a 5 to 1 sets, the ruffler feet will create a pleat every 5 stitches to create ruffles.
The ruffler foot is perfect for creating ruffled collars on a costume or a dress and is also great for creating carry sacks or consumer carrying bags.
How To Use a Darning Foot on a Sewing Machine
The darning foot, also known as a free motion foot or a quilting foot is a sewing foot that is commonly used for quilting or embroidery work.
This foot is much smaller than the ruffler foot, and installing this foot is also a bit easier. To begin, remove the presser foot and then install the darning foot in its place by screwing it tightly into place.
Then, you can place the fabric underneath, which is typically thick material like a quilt, and press the needle into place under the circular hole of the foot that holds the needle. Make sure your stitch length is set to zero and put your presser foot down to begin quilting.
The great thing about the darning foot is that you can easily change directions in your sewing without having to move or twist the fabric too much. You can do any random squiggly design with the stitching, and you may notice this as being common on quilts.
Make sure you go back to your starting point and stitch it a few times to secure the fabric.
How To Use a Darning Plate on a Sewing Machine
If you will be using your darning foot a lot or exclusively for all your sewing, it is a good idea to attach a darning plate as well.
Before attaching a darning plate to your machine, make sure it is on the front side. Remove the footer and place the darning plate on and make sure to properly align the holes. Set the tension thread between 2 and 6 and make sure the presser foot is set to zigzag with a stitch pattern of zero.
Set the length to ‘any,’ and you can adjust the width as necessary based on your desired preferences. Place the button below the zigzag foot, lower the presser foot in place, and then adjust your desired width setting.
You are now ready to begin sewing with your darning foot and its appropriate plate.
How To Use a Double Needle on a Sewing Machine
It is common practice for many to use twin needles when sewing. A double needle is a needle set that has one haft at the top that holds together two needles stacked one behind the other. Double needles can be used to create reinforced and durable stitches for fabrics that need tight binding.
If you have two spool pins on your sewing machine, you can thread both of these correspondings to both needles. However, if you only have one spool pin, you can still accurately thread both needles.
The important thing to remember when threading double needles to decrease the chance of the threads becoming tangled and crossing over is to try and get the threads to come off the spool pins in opposite directions. For example, you can place both threads on the spool pin and make sure one thread comes off the left side and the other comes off the right side.
Then, thread the sewing machine like normal. Make sure you put both threads through the applicable first and second thread guides on the needle plate chamber.
Now you can sew as normal, and this double-needle will create two parallel lines of stitching along your fabric.
How To Use a Bias Binding Foot On a Sewing Machine
The Bias Binding foot is a simple bar attachment with different width bindings and ribbons. The binding foot feed is wider at the opening and tight at the rear, so you may also need to use pins or a stiletto tool to manipulate fabric at the back of the feed if needed.
The back screw adjusts the alignment of the stitch lines. The front screw adjusts the width of the binding clamp. Make sure you turn the screw forwards to widen and reverse to narrow the width of the binding feed.
To use the bias binding foot, you will first need a piece of cut cloth that is cut at an angle from the two folded ends to a central fold–almost like a paper airplane.
This pointed edge can then be inserted into the binding component of the foot, and you will need to make sure the binding go completely underneath the metal foot. The screw on the binding foot is there to allow you to tighten and untighten the foot to move the cloth left, right, front, and back, according to the stitches that you need to make.
Move slowly when sewing and stitching, and you will need to adjust the cloth accordingly throughout the process. Using the bias binding foot is only recommended for cloth, and when trying to use the foot for something like quilting, the gap between the two layers where the material is held is not deep enough to hold thick fabrics.
The bias binding foot can create the most beautiful and evenly matched stitches on both the top and the reverse of a piece of fabric.
How To Use A Rolled Hem Foot On A Sewing Machine
When you need rolled hems on your fabric, the best way to do this sewing exercise is to use the rolled hem foot. This sewing foot is rather small and contains round grooves on the feed dogs which allow the hem to receive a firm curl as the fabric stitches the material together.
The rolled hem foot comes in 2, 4, and 6 mm feet that correspond to the hemline of the fabric according to the various widths of the stitches you wish to use.
The 2 mm is for lighter weight fabrics, and the heavier the fabric you choose to roll, the higher the millimeter dimensions should be.
This foot is great to use for hemming gowns.
How To Use A Piping Foot On A Sewing Machine
The piping foot is essential for allowing a neat finish to your piping work when sewing. The foot is a snap-on that has a space in the center for the needle to pass through.
On the back of the foot are grooves that help the piping to stay in place.
To install, lift the presser foot up and make sure the needle is in the up position. Push the lever from the backside and then remove the presser foot. Place the piping foot below the needle drive and press the presser foot down. You are now ready to sew.
The piping foot is to be used with a piping cord that you must purchase. Basically, you will cut the fabric into one-inch pieces and take two-inch pieces, and lay them side by side in an L-shape. You can then insert the piping cord in the pieces and place a pin into the fabric to hold the cord in place.
You can now stitch the piping to your desired effect.
How To Use A Zipper Foot On A Sewing Machine
The zipper foot is a handy tool in sewing when you need to align cloth around the zipper compartment on clothes or bags. Like the bias binding foot, it can be a bit difficult to get the hang of using this foot, so let’s take a look at how the zipper foot is used.
The zipper foot has both a left and right side with a bar in the middle of the foot. The left side of the foot and the right side of the foot has an outer holding bar where you can clamp your shank to hold the fabric in place. There is also an opening that allows you to get as close to the zipper as you can without snagging the zipper teeth.
To install, take off any foot you already have on the machine, choose the right or left side of the foot to work on depending on which side of the zipper you are stitching, and then lock the presser clamp onto the zipper foot.
Once installed, you will need to pin down your two pieces of cloth for both sides of the zipper. The basic use of the zipper foot is that it allows you to get really close to the edges of a zipper or a cord, without having to worry about stitching into the zipper of the cord. So when you need to stitch close edges, rather on the left or right side, the zipper foot is the foot to use.
How To Use Cone Thread In A Sewing Machine
If you do a lot of sewing, specifically something like quilting, using spools of cone thread is a great cost and time-saving measure. Using cone thread is fairly easy, so let’s take a look at the process.
To use cone thread, you may notice that many machines may not have a large enough spool to hold an entire cone of thread. You can improvise if this is the case, and simply sit your cone thread spool in a container or glass next to your sewing machine. Thread the machine like normal from the back, and you are ready to sew.
At some point, you may find that it is beneficial to get a spool holder to place to the side to hold the cone thread. A spool holder can hold and deliver the thread much like the machine’s holder would and eliminate the thread falling to the front.
How To Use Elastic Thread In A Sewing Machine
Sewing with elastic thread is certainly possible with your sewing machine and is mostly seen during the process of shirring fabric. Threading your machine with this thread type is much like the normal thread method except you will have to wind the bobbin with the elastic thread by hand.
When winding the bobbin, make sure you do not stretch the elastic thread, as this will create a ruined mess and waste the thread.
Also, make sure you use regular thread on top and only use the elastic thread below in the bobbin.
How To Drop Feed Dogs On A Sewing Machine
The feed dogs, or feed teeth, are one of the most important mechanisms on any sewing machine. These teeth are located on the needle plate, and can also be found on various foot extensions you may need to use when working with various fabrics and styles.
The feed dogs feed your fabric through the machine, which means you should never be pushing or pulling the fabric as the needle works, but simply guiding it along. Almost all work on a sewing machine is performed with the feed dogs raised, but some projects like quilting or sewing a button will need the feed dogs to be lowered. Let’s look at how to raise and lower the feed dogs.
To lower and raise the feed dogs, there will usually be a button near or behind the needle plate on the front or back of your machine. Press this button down to lower the feed dogs, and press it up to raise the feed dogs again.
The feed dogs are designed to be always raised to prevent fabric feeding problems, so when you work with the dogs down, be sure to raise them back up when you are finished.
How To Hem Using A Sewing Machine
When you need to hem fabric, the best beginner method is to fold the edges of the fabric over twice and sew along the edge of the lifted side.
You don’t want to sew in the middle because it will cause your hem to flip over. If you make the mistake of sewing the middle of the hem, you will notice that the hem starts to lift up and create an uneven line in the fabric.
To make the hem sewing process faster, and to ensure that your edges stay down, you can press the fabric with an iron before you begin sewing.
How To Sew A Button Using A Sewing Machine
I was raised to always sew a button by hand with needle and thread, so the process of using a sewing machine to do this was strange to me my first time. But there is truly nothing to it once you know how the process works.
On a sewing machine, you can typically sew buttons that have either two or four holes. If your machine doesn’t come with one, you may also find that it is helpful to have a foot clamp for button holding. If you cannot get a foot clamp, you can just place some sticky tape over the needle plate to hold the button in place as you sew.
To sew a button, make sure the stitch length is set at zero and lower the feed dogs. Add on the button foot clamp (or place the buttons on a piece of applied sticky tape to the needle plate), and make sure your machine is threaded.
Then, place the fabric underneath the foot and drop the foot or the needle down. Set the width to 3 (this is the easiest method) and move the needle in and out of the holes until the button is stitched to the fabric. You may need to adjust accordingly to ensure the needle is fully going in and out of the holes.
You may find that you need to do at least 10 stitches in each hole, or whatever it takes to ensure the button is fully stitched. Remove the cloth, snip the threads accordingly, and you can use your seam ripper to remove any loops in the thread.
You have successfully used your sewing machine to sew a button.
How To Bypass Using The Bobbin On A Sewing Machine
One of the most common problems you will encounter when using a sewing machine is tension with the bobbin. Depending on your machine, there are ways to bypass the bobbin tension, and let’s explore some ways that you can do this.
Frequently when doing embroidery or even working with crochet thread, these types of thread are guaranteed to cause bobbin tension in the machine. If your machine has speed control, this is the best method for ensuring you can control the bobbin speed once you wind your chosen thread in the bobbin spool.
Set the speed to the lowest setting, remove the bobbin case on the needle plate and place the bobbin holder. Do not loop the thread around the bobbin tension, instead, simply take the thread and pull it straight back to the back of the machine. You will need to pull the thread up through the hole behind the feed dogs.
You can now start sewing without worrying about bobbin tension. Always make sure you sew slowly when bypassing the bobbin tension, especially with thick threads.
How To Avoid Injury Using A Sewing Machine
Using a sewing machine is generally safe, but there are some things to be aware of to ensure your safety.
Firstly, never place your hands or fingers near the needle when sewing. It helps to never take your eyes off of the fabric and to keep your fingers to the sides at all times.
When threading the machine, cleaning the machine, or applying feet, always do this with the sewing machine turned off and this will ensure you never have any safety issues. Always keep your foot off of the foot pedal as well when you are not sewing.
Finally, it is important as a beginner to take your time with everything. Thread the machine and bobbin slowly, and most importantly sew as slowly as you can. Going slow helps to prevent possible injuries and it is also ensuring that you are soaking up as much information and learning experience as you can.