At first glance, your sewing machine may look complicated; however, all those buttons, leavers, and knobs you see are simple to use, and you'll be sewing in no time!

Here is your Girlfriend's Guide to the essential parts of a sewing machine and how they function.

Bobbin and Bobbin Case
A bobbin is a removable part that is wound with thread and makes the underside of a machine stitch. The bobbin case holds the bobbin.

Presser Foot
The presser foot presses and holds the fabric down the feed dog to give stability while you sew, which is controlled by a lever on your machine.

Needle and Needle Clamp
Needles are removable and made for the thread to go through. A needle clamp holds the needle in place.

Throat/Needle Plate
This metal plate sits with a small opening below the needle and presser foot. It allows the bobbin thread to come out and the needle to pass through to make stitches. This plate can be removed for cleaning.

Thread Guide
From the spool pin, the thread passes through these metal loops to help regulate the tension of the thread.


Feed Dogs
This mechanism is the teeth-like metal underneath the plate that feeds the material under the needle. As it goes up, it grabs the fabric and pushes it back. It is a function you may need to configure often.  

Spool Pin
A small dowel holds the thread. Your machine may have multiple spool pins that can be horizontal or vertical.

This knob raises and lowers the take-up lever.

Slide Plate or Bobbin Cover
A slide plate or hinged bobbin cover allows access to the bobbin.

Stitch Selector
Newer machines have buttons to select stitches, while older sewing machines will have a dial to choose different machine stitches.

Stitch-Length Selector
This dial or lever selects the length of the stitches.

Stitch Width-Selector
This dial or lever controls the width of decorative stitches.

Menu Screen
On electronic machines, this menu screen allows you to adjust functions and stitches.

Reverse-Stitch/Backstitch Button
This button will reverse the direction of the stitches.

Foot Controller
It controls the speed of the stitches by pressing them with your foot.

Follow our YouTube channel "Learning with the Girlfriends" for even more sewing education. 

November 03, 2022

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