Basics of Using a Sewing Machine

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Using a sewing machine requires preparation, such as winding the bobbin, loading the bobbin, loading the spool of thread at the top, threading the machine and setting the right tension for the fabric. Understand a few basics of using a sewing machine with instructions from a sewing craftsman in this free video on sewing.

Part of the Video Series: Sewing Machine Techniques
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Video Transcript

Hi my name is Sam Lewis from and I'm here to talk about the basics of using a sewing machine. The beauty of sewing machines is they haven't changed significantly in the last 150 years so any sewing machine you find should work like any other sewing machine. Basically you have two spools of thread. One is on a spool you get and one is on a bobbin that you have to wind yourself and the sewing machine basically works to lock the two threads together. The first thing you do is wind your bobbin, find your instructions on your sewing machine, follow them, that's easy. In this particular machine you drop the bobbin in the bottom and lock it in, then take your top thread and there will be a series of steps which are going to be different for every machine but the basic series is going to be the same. First you are going to run it around the top guide, then you are going to run it through the tensioning. On some machines you'll have a big dial across the front that has to go through or around and on most new machines it will be vertically. It has to go in this little slot here but either way it will go through the tensioning and you are going to go down and up around here and again there will be a piece that looks like this on every sewing machine. Sometimes they're up here, sometimes they're off to the front, sometimes they are off on the side but the piece will be there. Pull it through there and underneath there will be a guide above the needle, a guide on the needle that you pull through. Then you'll thread your needle. Most sewing machines have a guide or a way to do it themselves but it is easy enough to snip off your thread, a nice clean edge. Thread your needle, pull your thread through under your presser foot and then again most sewing machines, one cycle through and then pull your thread through, close up your bottom bobbin and your machine is ready to go. Now the other thing to remember and again all sewing machines are the same basic function. It will change depending on exactly your machine but the thread tensioning is your most important adjustment and really there is nothing I can tell you about it other than play with it. You go from very high tension which will work for thick fabrics, heavy fabrics, leather, and down through to very light tension which is good for taffeta, lace, things that are thing. You don't want to put a lot of tension and pucker it but really the only way to actually decide what tension you need for a given situation is to do it. The final set of adjustments on this machine are electronic but they are your stitch length which is the amount of distance that the fabric moves as the needle goes up and down and the width of the stitch and again those will depend on your exact circumstance and what you need. Your manual is your best friend with your sewing machine.


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