How To Use A Sewing Machine – A Step-By-Step Guide

Last updated: October 18th, 2022

Sewing machines are really useful as they help us in making different projects with almost all types of fabrics. Though using a sewing machine is not everyone’s cup of tea and you must have little knowledge about sewing machines to get started with them. Since there are different types of sewing machines and projects available out there, you must know the basics of each of them to get started with them.

If you are a complete beginner then you must work only on easy to do projects and buy sewing machines that are made for beginners to get the best out of your fabrics and to make the learning process easier.

How To Use A Sewing Machine Guide

Here in this post, we are going to tell you everything about how to use a sewing machine for beginners. It doesn’t matter if you are a complete newbie to the sewing machines or one with some knowledge, you will definitely find this post useful.

We have tried to mention every possible information about the sewing machines in this post so you can improve your knowledge about the sewing machines. Read this post till the end and you will find it really helpful to work on the sewing machines. So don’t waste more time and get started with how to use a sewing machine guide for beginners right away.

What Is A Sewing Machine?

A sewing machine is a machine that helps in sewing, stitching, hemming and seaming two or more clothes. Back in the old times when the sewing machine was invented, it was being used only for stitching but nowadays different sewing machines are available that allow you to do different types of work.

It has become a complicated task for a beginner to buy a sewing machine that suits his needs. Even if you are a professional sewer then you must buy a sewing machine that fulfills your needs and provides features you might need to complete your projects. Below we have mentioned some popular types of sewing machines that you can find out in the markets:

Which Sewing Machine Type Is Best For You?

Mechanical Sewing Machines – These sewing machines are widely used by people all around the world. You can find different types of mechanical sewing machines with different features. The best thing about these machines is that most of these machines can be operated by both hands and feet. Most of these machines are made of very high-quality material.

Electronic Sewing Machines – If you don’t have much budget but want to enjoy some highly advanced features in a sewing machine, then you can consider buying these machines. If you want more features in less pricing, then an electronic sewing machine is what you need to buy but consider buying a branded one for durability instead of a non-branded machine.

Computerized Sewing Machines – These machines are used specially by professionals and manufacturers. Some of these machines come with built-in memory function where you can store designs and stitch types. Then machines can be run for an infinite time following those settings so they are generally costly and not suitable for beginners.

Portable Sewing Machines – These are small machines that can be carried easily from one place to another. Since they are small in size, you must not expect them to work for big projects. If you are a beginner then you can consider buying these machines as they come with all basic sewing and stitching functions.

Embroidery/Quilting Machines – As the name says, these machines are made specially for quilting and embroidery respectively. If you have specific work like these two, then you can consider buying any of these machines to get your work done. Many variants from low price to high-end are available so you won’t have any problem in selecting one.

How To Start Using A Sewing Machine For Beginners

Understand The Parts and Functions Of The Sewing Machine

Sewing Machine Parts & Functions

Sewing Needles – A needle is the most important part of a sewing machine and this particular part is responsible for making stitches on your fabric. Since there are different types of sewing machines available out there, you can find different types of sewing needles varying in sizes, length, and thickness and they must be bought according to the type of sewing machine and fabric you are working with.

Foot Pedal – Not every sewing machine can work with a foot pedal as this part comes as an attachment that can be used by people when they want to keep their hands free. If you are a complete beginner, consider buying a sewing machine either comes with a foot pedal or which supports a foot pedal so you can buy it separately.

Presser Foot – This part helps the thread stay in its place. You can find it right above the needle and there are many sewing machines that come with Presser Foot with a lever. You can use the lever to adjust the pressure of the thread on the fabric. Old and vintage sewing machines have manual presser foot lever.

Stitch Selector – If you have got a sewing machine with different types of stitches only then you will get this part. It can either be a dial, touch-screen, or a lever that allows you to select the type of stitches you want to make. You can use this function to try different stitches on different types of fabrics.

Bobbin Winder – Bobbin Winder acts like a thread guide because it helps the thread to go directly from the bobbin to the threader. It doesn’t matter which type of sewing machine you are using, you will always find this part in it. Every sewing machine has a bobbin winder placed at different places so you might need to read the manual to find it.

Thread Tension Dial – Only a few sewing machines come with thread tension adjustment and for a beginner this feature is useless. Though you must know about it since it comes in handy when you are working on different types of fabrics. By using this part you can adjust how tightly the thread pierces the fabric. You might need to adjust it manually many times as keeping the thread too tight might break the stitches.

Select Best Fabrics To Use On Your Machine

Types of Fabrics

Each fabric requires different treatment and you must know about the type of stitches and needles to be used on each of them. You can’t use all fabrics on every sewing machine so you must make sure that you are using a compatible fabric with the machine you are working on.

Also, if you are a complete beginner then you must work only with thin to medium-thick fabrics as they are easy to sew. We will not recommend you to go with hard to sew fabrics like denim, canvas, velvet, etc. Below we have mentioned some of the fabrics along with their difficulty so you can know which fabric is the easiest to work with.

  • Cotton – Very Easy
  • Rayon – Easy
  • Silk – Medium
  • Linen – Very Easy
  • Cashmere – Easy
  • Wool – Easy
  • Jersey – Hard
  • Leather – Very Hard
  • Spandex – Hard
  • Nylon – Medium
  • Polyester – Medium
  • Acrylic – Easy
  • Corduroy – Very Hard
  • Velvet – Hard
  • Denim – Very Hard

Thread Your Machine

Threading a sewing machine is very easy and a lot of sewing machines comes with automatic needle threader that makes the entire threading process easier for beginners. Though sometimes you might need to thread your machine manually and it completely depends on the type of machine you are using. To thread your machine, refer to the directions provided in the user manual. Here is how almost every sewing machine is threaded:

  1. Take the thread out of the thread spool and make it go through the thread guide (tension disk). This step is optional as many machines don’t have thread tension adjustment disks.
  2. Next is to insert the thread in the eye of the needle. Snip off the edge of your thread to make it go through the eyes of the needle easily.
  3. Once done just put your thread under the presser feet and keep moving it towards the backside of the machine. Pull-out a little thread from the end you have just threaded to check if it is coming correctly from every part.

Start With Basic Stitch Types

Types of Stitches

Making stitches with a stapler handheld sewing machine is easier than doing it with your hands. You might need a little knowledge about various types of stitches you can make with a sewing machine. Almost every medium to high-end sewing machine comes with built-in stitch functions which can be used to set the type of stitches made by the machine.

Below we have mentioned some of the most popular stitch patterns which you can use on almost all types of fabrics and while doing any type of stitching and sewing project. Before making any of them make sure you are using the right sewing machine and fabric else the stitches won’t last long.

Straight Stitch – It is one of the simplest stitches you can ever make. You don’t necessarily need a sewing machine to make a straight stitch as it can be made with the hands too. As the name says, this stitch is made as a single line and you can customize this stitch with one, two, or more threads as per your needs but the stitches must be made in a straight line.

Darning Stitch – When you want to cover a small hole or frayed-out fabric then you can use darning stitch on it. Automatic and mechanical sewing machines can make this type of stitches very easily and if you want then you can also use hands to make it. If you are a complete beginner, then it will take some time for you to learn it completely.

Embroidery Stitch – There are different types of stitches included in this one “embroidery stitch”. Embroidery sewing machines are the best to make these types of stitches and some of them can be made even by hands. The complexity of embroidery design determines the stitches that need to be made on it and by which method.

Cross-Stitch – This stitch type if one of the oldest type which is being used since very long. These stitches are made as X or + sign by intersecting one stitch with another. It is basically a fancy stitch type and used mostly to create designs on the fabrics. You can find this stitch on woven sweaters, jackets, denim, etc.

Chain Stitch – To make this type of stitch you need to loop one stitch into another, creating a chain-like figure. Normally this stitch is made only on thick fabrics as lighter fabrics might not be able to hold its strength. You might need to spend some time learning this stitch as it is generally hard to make.

Start Making Stitches On Your Fabric Using The Machine

Before starting your work try making some stitches on a sample fabric first. It is done to know if there are any issues with the threading or any parts of the sewing machine. If you think that stitches are being made perfectly, you can start working on your main fabric. It depends on the machine and your needs what type of stitches you want to make.

You can refer to the types of stitches we have mentioned above and start with the basic ones.

  • Lift the presser foot of the machine and place of fabric under it.
  • Pull thread to the back of the machine so it doesn’t get tangled in the starting.
  • Lower down the presser feet again and you can now adjust the pressure of your presser feet.
  • Make a couple of stitches forward and then do it in reverse to secure them from fraying.
  • Keep stitching as per your needs and at the end, make a couple of stitches together.

Check The Results and Re-Do It Again

Check Stitching Result

One thing that makes a person achieve expertise in something is practice. You need to keep practicing on sewing machines until you know everything about it. Keep working on different projects, fabrics, functions, etc. to increase your knowledge. When you are done with any project, check everything like stitches, alignment, how much time it took you to complete the project, and so on.

These things might not sound important but will eventually help you in increasing your knowledge about sewing machines. Next time, you can try making changes in the entire process to see the outcome. Compare the details of every project and then stick with the one you found easier and more durable. Do not hesitate to do something new with your sewing machine and different types of fabrics.

Final Words

So this is all about how to use a sewing machine for beginners and we hope you have found this post useful. There are many guides available on the internet by which you can learn how to use a sewing machine but we have tried to mention only the basics so you know how to use a sewing machine step by step.

We will keep this post updated with more information on how to use a sewing machine needle threader and others, so keep visiting Sewing Machine Portal to know about it. If you are facing any issues in using any type of sewing machine or you have any questions related to the sewing machines then you can ask us about it via the comments below.

WRITTEN BY Aman Sharma

Aman Sharma is a content writer who specializes in creating compelling, informative content. His writing style is engaging and easy to read, making it perfect for online readers. Aman is also an expert in social media marketing and knows how to use social media to promote your content.

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