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How to Use a Sewing Machine – Beginner Guide

Thank you so much for sharing!

How to use a sewing machine is the topic of lesson 2 of our Learn to Sew series! I made this video for all of my friends out there who want to learn how to sew but aren’t sure where to start. This beginner sewing series is for you.

Are you on the Learn to Sew email list? It’s totally free and we are doing a giveaway! I will send out little bonus content and tips and tricks for those of you who would like to be on it. It’s not required for following along with this Learn to Sew series.

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How to Use a Sewing Machine

I will do my best to write out and explain things in this post, but the video is a great visual way to learn:

  • the parts of the machine
  • how to turn it on
  • referring to your manual
  • fill up a bobbin
  • thread the machine
  • troubleshoot the stitch quality
  • use a needle threader
  • change the tension
  • install fresh needle

Full video embedded at end of the post.

Basically, this video goes over all the things for someone learning to sew who just took their machine out of the box and doesn’t know what to do next. I wanted to make this video for people who ask, “Is using a sewing machine easy?” While it does get easier with time, it can be a daunting skill to learn from scratch. Not to fear, I’ve got slow paced video tutorials with step by step instructions to take any frustration or worry out of learning to sew and how to use a sewing machine.

The FIRST step

The very first thing is to take your machine out of the box and plug it in! Hooray! I get messages all the time from people who still have their machine in the box, so you are already off to a great start!

how to use a sewing machine

Now, find your manual and get acquainted with the different parts of your machine once you have it plugged in and turned on. Don’t forget to fill out all the info for the warranty and send that in.

how to use a sewing machine

How to Wind a Bobbin

Once you have a little idea of what your machine buttons and functions are, let’s fill up a bobbin. Your machine should have come with at least 1, hopefully a few. You will want to have more than this so you have have lots of colors threaded and not waste thread. For now, 1-3 is just fine. Follow the instructions on you manual and follow along with this short video to wind a bobbin and prepare to sew our first stitch!

I know some of you will ask, what is a good type of thread? I like Aurifil, but here is a post my Mom did walking through different options.

How to Thread a Sewing Machine

After your bobbin is filled and inserted into your machine, you can thread the machine, but only if you have a needle in there. If not, place your needle in the machine following the guidelines in your manual and then you can thread the top thread of your machine. Here is another short video for your reference.

Want to know more about sewing machine needles? Here is my sewing machine needles faq post with tons of great info that would be beneficial for you to check out!

Create Your First Stitch

Ok, not your bobbin is filled, your needles in in place and threaded… let’s stitch! Place some fabric under your presser foot and VERY slowly push down on the foot pedal. It will take some time to feel the relationship of the foot pedal and the speed. Create a nice long straight stitch and then let’s take a look at it!

how to use a sewing machine


Ok, so you have that first stitch. How does it look? If it looks beautiful, then yay!! Don’t worry about anything and you can start on our first lesson. Often times though, your tension will need an adjustment to get that stitch looking gorgeous. Learning how to use a sewing machine is also a bit about troubleshooting and learning what your machine likes.

  • Refer to diagram on manual and adjust tension. Sew a bit more and see how it looks now. This make take a few adjustments to get it perfect.
  • If you are still struggling with the tension, try rethreading your machine and try again.
  • Those two things should solve it, but if not try a new needle, new thread or new bobbin. Don’t do all of them at once though, you want to know which one did the trick 😉

If you are on Pinterest, here’s an image you can save for later! Just hover over the image and click the “pin it” button ;).

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