It is very difficult when it comes to describing in writing what the different parts of a sewing machine do exactly. So The best way for me to do it was to do this short video guide just below. Also read the notes below the video for more helpful info.
It might seem a little complicated the first time you watch this video showing what the parts of a sewing machine do, but trust me it will all become second nature after you have used your sewing machine a few times.
Modern sewing machines are very reliable and can be used mostly trouble free. The trick is to learn how to set them up and use them properly in the beginning. Also to do regular basic sewing machine maintenance.
Every step shown in this video plays an important part in making your sewing machine operate properly. Miss even the smallest thing and it will simply not stitch your fabric as you want.
A little tip for successful sewing is to watch this video several times. This will help you become familiar with all the main parts of a sewing machine. Using a sewing machine will become a very simple process to you after a few trys. You are just repeating the same steps every time you sew your fabric.
The info below gives you more details to add to the video here. It is useful for jogging your memory.
Foot control pedal: with power lead for mains wall socket and power lead to fit socket on sewing machine.
ON/Off switch: This switch is usually found on the right side of your sewing machine under the handwheel.
To the right is the power lead socket.
Spool pin: Holds your spool of thread in place for sewing. This is where your top thread starts its journey through your sewing machine. On this singer sewing machine the spool pin is horizontal. However it is common for it to be upright in the vertical position. Just a word of caution is that it will save you a lot of heartache.
If you spend a little more for your sewing thread. Always choose a quality sewing thread. The cheaper threads have microscopic loose fibers that will clog up your machine so much quicker. This means you will find the thread snaps far more often when trying to sew.
I personally use .
Bobbin: This is the small spool that fits in to the bottom of the sewing machine. The lower sewing thread is wound on to this bobbin before you start sewing.
Some sewing machine bobbins fit inside a bobbin case made of metal. This case is then insert under the foot plate.
This one is made of plastic but they are also commonly made of metal. It will make your life a lot easier if you have several bobbins pre wound with sewing thread before you start sewing.You can find the extra here.
Bobbin winder spindle: This where you wind thread on to your bobbin before you start sewing.
Bobbin winder stopper: Automatically stops winding the sewing thread on to your bobbin when it is full. The arm on the right is the bobbin stopper.
Bobbin winder thread guide: This guides the sewing thread on to your bobbin when loading it with new thread. The arm on the right again acts as the thread guide.
Bobbin cover: The cover can slide towards you to open, or simply lifts up and serves protect the bobbin holder while sewing.
Some machines have front loading bobbins rather than top loading as in the picture here. These bobbins sit inside a bobbin case which is then inserted into the front of the machine.
Bobbin cover release button: Some sewing machines have a button to Release the cover for access to the bobbin.
My Sewing machine does not have a button to release the cover on the bobbin. However many machines do and it is often located to the right of the cover.
Stitch pattern selector: For selecting the stitch pattern you want to sew with. In our case we stick with the basic straight stitch pattern. Stitch patterns can also be selected using a dial or a menu screen depending on your sewing machine.
Handwheel: The large wheel on the right side of your machine. This when turned manually raises and lowers the needle. You will use this when starting sewing to lower the needle into your fabrics ready to start sewing.
Also when you need to change the needle because it has become blunt or if it has snapped. This can happen if you sew over a dress making pin holding your fabrics together. Sometimes it happens because the fabrics are very tough to sew.
Stitch length dial: Adjusts the length of the stitch. You need shorter stitches for thinner fabrics, longer for thicker fabrics.
Reverse stitch button: or maybe your sewing machine has a lever arm. Your machine will sew in reverse while the button or lever is depressed. You would use this to do what is called bar tack.
That is to sew backwards and forwards a few times over a distance of about an inch. This is done usually when you come to the end of a sew seam. This has the effect of locking the stitching at the end of your seam. Preventing the stitches from working loose over time. You also do this at the Start of a seam for the same reasons.
Thread take-up lever: The top thread must pass through the thread eye in the take-up lever. It moves up and down in time with the needle as it sews.
Needle clamp screw: This holds the needle firmly in place. This is the thumb wheel to the right. When replacing a needle you will find it has a flat edge at the top. This flat edge sits to the back of your machine when inserting the needle upwards into the needle clamp. This is to ensure the needle is in the right position to sew correctly.
Presser foot: This presses down on the fabric to be sewn. The lever to raise and lower the foot is found on the back of your machine just behind the foot. This presser foot is made of plastic but they are also commonly made of metal.
When you start looking around at presser feet on other sewing machines. You will see all sorts of designs for different kinds of sewing. However for sewing curtains you will usually only ever need the regular presser foot with the slot in the middle.
Feed dog: A mechanism with small ridges in the base of the sewing machine next to the needle. The feed dog pulls fabric forward during sewing.
Sewing Needle: A needle pushes the thread through the fabric to create a stitch. When I first started sewing it used to take me an age to thread the needle even when wearing my glasses. However like most things in life it gets a lot easier with practice :-) ...so persevere.
You can find sewing machine needles here for any model sewing machine.
Sewing thread tension control: This controls how much tension is on the top thread. If it is too tight then the bobbin thread comes through on to the right side of the fabric. If it is set too loose then the needle thread loops up on the underside of the fabric. Only practice sewing different kinds of fabrics will help you learn what is he right thread tension for different kinds of fabrics.
Needle plate: This is a metal plate under the needle and presser foot. It has openings for the needle to pass through as it stitches, also others for the feed dogs to come up through and move the fabric forward whilst sewing.
That covers all the basic parts of a sewing machine that you need to know about when it comes to sewing curtains. I know for a newbie it can seem a bit overwhelming but just take your time and enjoy the learning journey. It really is worth the effort being able to create your own beautiful curtains.
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