How to Start Using Your Sewing Machine

Get to know your sewing machine so you can prep it before your next sewing project. Every machine is different, so it's important to follow your owner's manual alongside this guide.

Related To:

Sewing Machine 101 06:39

Kelly's mom shares tips and tricks on how to master the sewing machine.

2019 Mother's Day - Sewing

Photo by: Sarah Busby

Sarah Busby

Using your sewing machine for the first time can be intimidating, but it's just a matter of getting to know it better. The first step — threading — often feels like the hardest. Machines differ, so make sure to read your owner's manual for specific instructions. Over time, you'll get used to the process and won't need to consult the manual every time.

The machine we used in this guide is a Singer Simple, a great entry-level machine.

Threading the Bobbin

Your machine can thread the bobbin for you. First, place your spool in the spool holder (Image 1). Next, place the empty bobbin on the metal rod. The diagram on your machine should show where it goes (Image 2). Follow the numbered diagram with your thread (Image 3), and wrap the thread around the empty bobbin a few times. Click the metal rod with the bobbin over to lock it. Slowly press your foot pedal and start your machine to thread the bobbin. When the bobbin is full, take your foot off the pedal, remove the bobbin, and cut it loose from the main thread spool.

Threading the Machine

Remove the threaded bobbin (Image 1), and set aside. Unwind some thread from the main spool, and now follow the diagram for threading your machine (Images 2 and 3). Make sure the presser foot is up (Image 4), and, using the wheel on the right side of the machine, make sure to move the thread guide — the vertical piece above the presser foot — to its top position. Hook the thread on top of the needle to hold it in place. Finally, thread the needle, and pull the thread end so it lays behind the presser foot.

Insert Threaded Bobbin

2019 Mother's Day - Sewing

Photo by: Sarah Busby

Sarah Busby

Locate the bobbin housing on your machine. You may have to remove the swing arm located directly below the presser foot like we did. Some machines house the bobbin next to the presser foot instead of underneath. Place the bobbin in its case found in the housing. Pull the thread through the indention and out the lever at the top. Gently pull the thread to make sure it unravels. Place the case in the housing until you hear a click (Image 1). Replace any lids and parts you removed.

Catch the Top Thread and Bobbin Thread

Now that your top thread and bobbin thread are in place, you'll need to bring the bobbin thread up before you start sewing. Lower the presser foot, then slowly use the wheel on the right side of the machine to raise and lower the needle until it pulls the bobbin thread up. You should have thread coming from above and below now. Place both away from you, behind the presser foot and base of the machine.

You are ready to start sewing! If you're new to sewing, start with something easy like our lavender eye pillow project.

Keep Reading

Next Up

5 Must-Have Sewing Skills

We show you the easy way to tackle sewing basics, from hemming jeans to sewing on a button.

How to Bring Hotel Style to Your Home

Get the look of a sublimely-designed hotel at home by taking a lesson from New York City's stunning Beekman Hotel.

How to Use a Power Drill

Using a drill doesn't have to be intimidating — use this handy guide to learn about the different parts, how to use it and how to take care of it.

How to Perfectly Wrap a Gift

Get those crisp corners and symmetrical ends with these easy tips.

How to Elevate Your Wine-Drinking Experience

On National Drink Wine Day and beyond.

How to Make More Money at Your Yard Sale

These super simple changes could help you make some serious cash.

Top 8 Tips on How to Be a Good Neighbor

Simple tips for keeping the peace with the folks next door.

How to Set Yourself Apart As a 5-Star Airbnb Host

Don't get lost in the search pages with these tips for guaranteeing a trip guests will remember fondly — and write about! Hello, Super Host Status.

How to Sew a Beaded Bag

Instead of knitting this bag, sew yarn and fabric scraps onto stabilizer and embellish with beads.

Celebrate Valentine's Day With a Stay-at-Home Date Night

If crowded restaurants aren’t your style, and PDA makes you cringe.

Go Shopping

Refresh your home with stylish products handpicked by HGTV editors.

Watch Live TV

Don't miss your favorite shows. Live stream HGTV now.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.