3/31 | Parts of a Sewing Machine

When you take up sewing as a hobby, one of the things you’ll quickly learn is that there’s a whole lot of sewing terminology. And some of those terms describe the various basic parts of the sewing machine. You don’t need to memorize these – you’ll pick them up soon enough. In the meantime, this handy guide is great to keep on hand.

These are the basic parts of a simple beginner sewing machine. If you have a computerized model or electronic model, you’ll find that there are some obvious differences. For example, there may be a computerized touch screen that takes the place of some of the parts listed below.  You may also find that the parts on your particular model of sewing machine are placed somewhat differently than on this one. The basic ideas and functions are the same though. Check the manual for your machine to compare. Without further ado, lets jump in and check out all the parts of a sewing machine!

1. Spool pin:

The spool pin holds your spool of thread.

2. Bobbin winder spindle:

This is where you place the bobbin when winding it with thread.

3. Stitch width dial/button:
This is where you set the width of your stitches.

5Hand wheel:
Use this to raise and lower the needle. This is done mainly for bringing the bobbin thread up through the needle plate and moving the needle for pivoting corners or other changes in position. Always be sure to turn it towards your body.

  1. Stitch length dial/button:
    This is where you set the length of your stitches.

  1. Reverse stitch lever/button:
    Use this to make the sewing machine go in reverse for backstitching.

  1. Power switch:
    On/off switch to power the machine.
  1. Thread tension dial: 
    This is how you control the upper tension in your machine.

  1. Thread take-up lever:

As you sew, the thread take-up lever moves up and down with the needle and thread passed through it.

  1. Presser foot:
    The presser foot holds the fabric in place while you sew.

  1. Bobbin cover:
    This covers and protects the bobbin while sewing.

  1. Needle:
    Self-explanatory. Along with the thread, this creates the stitches in your sewing project.
  2. Feed dog:
    The feed dogs are what pull the fabric through your machine while sewing.

  1. Throat plate:
    Also known as the needle plate. This is a metal plate under the needle and presser foot. In some machines, these plates can be changed out for a specialty plate for things like darning and attaching buttons to heavy fabric.

Understanding the essentials of how your sewing machine works can make you a better sewist! Keep this simple guide near your machine so you can refer to it anytime.