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Basic Sewing Machine Parts To Know (All 10)

by: Kelsi Watts - Needle: The needle is one of the most important parts of a sewing machine, as it is responsible for piercing the fabric and forming the stitches.

Bobbin: The bobbin is a small spool of thread that is placed underneath the fabric and provides the second thread needed to form the stitches.

Presser foot: The presser foot holds the fabric in place as it is fed through the machine, allowing the needle to form the stitches.

Feed dogs: The feed dogs are small, ridged metal bars that are located underneath the presser foot and help to move the fabric through the machine as the stitches are formed.

Stitch plate: The stitch plate is a metal plate that is located under the presser foot and has markings that indicate the stitch length and width settings.

Throat plate: The throat plate is a removable metal plate that covers the feed dogs and helps to guide the fabric through the machine. It is also marked with guides that indicate the seam allowance.

Handwheel: The handwheel is a large wheel located on the side of the machine that is used to manually move the needle up and down. This is useful for making adjustments to the stitch length or positioning the needle at the start or end of a seam.

Foot pedal: The foot pedal is a device that is used to control the speed of the machine. By pressing down on the pedal, the machine will sew faster, and by releasing the pedal, the machine will slow down or stop.

Power cord: The power cord is the cable that connects the sewing machine to a power source. It is typically located at the back of the machine.

Thread guides: The thread guides are small metal or plastic devices that are used to guide the thread from the spool to the needle. There are typically several thread guides located near the top of the machine.


Get the Perfect Stitch: See Kelsi's Top 5 Sewing Machines For Home Use

Cause of fabric movement in a sewing machine

The needle plate, a metal plate located under the needle, moves fabric forward during sewing. The needle plate works best with an optional presser foot engaged above the fabric while sewing because the needle plate and presser foot then work in tandem at the same speed.

The meaning of E1 on a Brother sewing machine

Psst, you likely forgot to lower the presser foot! According to documentation provided by the manufacturer, E1 is the error code you get when you press the foot controller while the reverse/reinforcement button is also pressed AND the presser foot is still raised. Solution: Lower the presser foot and the error should be cleared.

Bobbin case location on a sewing machine

Front loading bobbin cases are always located on the side of the sewing machine facing the user. Side loading bobbin cases are more rare on newer machines and are located below the needle plate.

Note: front loading bobbin cases can be used on side loading machines but side loading bobbin cases, whether removable or inset, cannot be used with front loading sewing machines.

Difference between a computerized and a regular sewing machine

A computerized sewing machine is programmable for repetitive tasks and a regular sewing machine is not. Computerized machines typically have more options and settings to fine tune results.

Mechanical machines, on the other hand, require manual user input to perform the same tasks. Many digital machines don't even require a foot pedal to control speed.

Basic sewing machine parts to know (All 5)

Flatbed sewing machine description (what it is)

A 'Flatbed' sewing machine, often simply called a traditional machine, is the most common type of sewing machine with a traditional flat base, typically used to sew flat pieces of fabric together. The needle arm extends over a flat base that contains the bobbin and feed dogs. Very common (and popular).

Sewing machine 'walking foot' description and use

A 'walking foot' is a small brace on your sewing machine that sits on your fabric and guides it past the needle while sewing. The walking foot rests on the top layer of your fabric and ensures that fabric moves ahead at relatively the same speed as the feed dogs below the fabric.

The sewing machine belt shifter - what it does

A sewing machine's belt shifter is located on the lower part of the sewing machine and its function is to help remove the drive belt. Not all models have a drive belt, or a belt shifter, but for sewing machine models with a belt drive the shifter is needed for belt adjustment and removal.

A presser foot holds the fabric while sewing

The presser foot is what holds your fabric while using you sew with your home sewing machine. It's important that you remember to lower the presser foot each time you start to sew of you'll find that the fabric doesn't move through your machine as easily as it should. When I first started sewing I forgot it ALL THE TIME!

Sewing machines have improved over time

Sewing machines revolutionized the sewing industry when they first became commercially viable, and they continue to change. The two biggest changes to were the introduction of electric sewing machines and, more recently, the addition of electronic models capable of performing automated sewing tasks.

Perhaps computers will be able to help sew entire pieces of clothing at home in the near future.

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