How to Set Up your Sewing Machine

I remember when I first got my mother’s sewing machine out of the closet it was already threaded and ready to go. I was toying away with it when I accidentally pulled the thread out of place and tried to re-thread it but could not figure out how to do it and had to give up until she could dig up the instructions manual. Sometimes the actual process of sewing by machine may not seem so intimidating, but how do you actually get the machine going?

Here is a guide on how to get your machine ready to sew.

First, you’ll want to get your thread spool placed on your machine. Note: Not every machine is exactly alike, so take these as general guidelines because your machine may have some slight differences. The basic idea is the same!

The first step for a beginner who's learning to sew is to put the thread on the sewing machine - Sew Me Your StuffThe first step for a beginner who's learning to sew is to put the thread on the sewing machine - Sew Me Your Stuff

The first picture is a free standing spool of thread, with the spool pin behind it. In the second picture, the spool has been placed on the spool pin and secured, with one end of the thread free to sew.

Next, it’s time to wind your bobbin.

Winding the bobbin properly is important for a beginner learning to sew on a sewing machine - Sew Me Your Stuff

To wind the bobbin, thread the proper guides and tension discs as your machine requires. My machine is illustrated to show you how to properly place the thread. After you have done this, insert one end of the thread upwards through a hole in the bobbin top (Click the picture to enlarge for clarity). Place the bobbin on the spindle until it clicks in place and if needed, slide the spindle to the side until it clicks. Hold onto the end of the thread as pictured and press your pedal.

Your machine will typically automatically stop winding the bobbin when it fills with thread. At this point you can cut the thread that attaches it to the spool.

A properly wound bobbin is important for an beginner learning to sew with a sewing machine - Sew Me Your Stuff

I didn’t fully wind this bobbin, but you can see the remnant of the thread that was stuck through the top of the bobbin and the loose end that was just cut.

Next, into the machine it goes!

Placing your bobbin properly in the case is important for any beginner learning to sew on a sewing machine. - Sew Me Your Stuff

While inserting the bobbin into the case, hold the loose end of the thread in your fingers and pull it through the gap in the case until it resembles the picture. If you pull the end, thread should come out of the bobbin without a lot of resistance.

Next, insert the bobbin and case into the machine.

Inserting the bobbin and bobbin case properly into the sewing machine is important for any beginner learning to sew on a sewing machine - Sew Me Your Stuff

Do this by lifting the latch on the top of the case while pushing the case into the machine until it clicks into place.

Next it’s time to put your needle in place!

Inserting a sewing machine needle properly is important for any beginner learning to sew on a sewing machine - Sew Me Your StuffInserting a sewing machine needle properly is important for any beginner learning to sew on a sewing machine - Sew Me Your Stuff

In the first picture, I am sliding the needle upwards into place. In the second, I am securing it by twisting the knob (lefty loosey, righty tighty, of course).

We’re almost done! Next it’s time to thread the needle with the top thread.

Threading your top thread on your sewing machine properly is important for any beginner learning to sew on a sewing machine. - Sew Me Your Stuff

Follow your machine’s specific instructions, but on machines like mine you’ll find a numbered guide to help you thread the machine properly.

When you reach the needle, push it on through.

Threading your sewing machine needle properly is important for any beginner learning to sew on a sewing machine - Sew Me Your Stuff

Some machines have fancy gadgets to thread the needle for you, but I just physically push the end of the thread through the eye.

Now you need to retrieve your bobbin thread.

Setting up your sewing machine properly is important for any beginner learning to sew on a sewing machine - Sew Me Your Stuff

Hold the end of the thread upwards and to the side.

Setting up your sewing machine properly is important for any beginner learning to sew on a sewing machineSetting up your sewing machine properly is important for any beginner learning to sew on a sewing machine - Sew Me Your Stuff

Using the handwheel, not the pedal, slowly rotate so that the needle goes downward and back up through one stitch motion, holding on to the top thread with your hand the whole time.

Setting up your sewing machine properly is important for any beginner learning to sew on a sewing machine - Sew Me Your Stuff

A loop of thread will appear out of the bottom of the machine. Voila, this is the bobbin thread!

Setting up your sewing machine properly is important for any beginner learning to sew on a sewing machine - Sew Me Your Stuff

Pull upwards on the top thread that you’re holding until the loop comes loose and the end of the bobbin thread is out.

Setting up your sewing machine properly is important for any beginner learning to sew on a sewing machine - Sew Me Your Stuff

Push the two ends of thread under the presser foot and backwards, and you’re ready to roll!

It may seem like a very long process, but once you get the hang of it it’ll be a snap! Happy sewing!

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