The Beginners Guide To Sewing Machines

The Beginners Guide To Sewing Machines

Entering the world of sewing machines can be daunting if you are a beginner sewist, there’s many different points you have to consider before purchasing your first machine such as its; type, anatomy and how to use it.

The Beginners Guide To Sewing Machines

Check out TopSewingMachines.UK for more on sewing machines.

With this in mind we have decided to build you a complete beginner friendly guide to sewing machines so you can feel confident and have fun when sewing. You can also check Sewing Is Awesome for additional tips.


What Is The Basic Anatomy of a Sewing machine?

Before we dig into how to use a sewing machine you need to familiarise yourself with all the machines important parts.

Every type of sewing machine will be a little different, newer machines tend to have extra techy parts, but they all share the same core.


The needle on a sewing machine is attached via a needle bar and screw, this punctures the fabric while sewing, you can use different types of needles depending on the machine and what you are sewing.

Make sure you get to know this place as this is where you will change your needles often.

Presser foot

The presser foot on your sewing machine will ensure your fabric is held tightly during sewing, these feet come in different categories depending on what you are sewing (for example you can get a presser foot for quilting).


Think of the bobbin as your very important thread supplier, the main job of a bobbin is to supply thread from the bottom up to make stitches, nowadays this can be done with easy winding systems and is enclosed within a casing.

Thread tension

Setting the thread tension of your machine is an important part, this will make sure your thread doesn’t snap when stitching and stop your stitches from becoming uneven if the tension is set too low.


Lower priced basic machines will most likely have their stitches already set to a specific width and length.

More modern machines will have adjustable stitch length and width buttons that can even allow you to select decorative stitches.

The way you set your stitches should be ideal for the specific material you are sewing.


Types Of Sewing Machines

So now you’re familiarised with the basic body parts of a sewing machine, we can get into the different types there are on the market.

There are three main types of sewing machines to choose from; >mechanical, computerized and electronic, each has pros and cons depending on your preferences and budget, so let’s dig into them below. (sponsored link)



Mechanical sewing machines are perfect for beginner sewers and very easy to use. They allow you to have manual control over your sewing due to their buttons and dials. They also tend to be bigger and heavier but allow you to set your stitching speed, width and length. Price wise they are the most budget kind of sewing machine you can get out of all three.

One of the brands that stand out in this category is Baby Lock, known for their durability and ease of use, making them a great companion for those embarking on their sewing journey. Despite their simple setup, machines from Baby Lock often come with a variety of helpful features, such as built-in stitches and adjustable tension systems, which can be very forgiving for newcomers to the craft. It’s an inviting option for anyone looking to start with a reliable machine that grows with their skills.

  • Low price.
  • Good for beginners.
  • Manual dials.
  • Common.
  • Manual setting can be time-consuming.
  • Fewer options.
  • Bulky.



Electronic sewing machines are a mix of mechanical and computerized machines, they are normally much more portable and less complicated than computerized sewing machines.

These models tend to have features such as; an on/off button, free arm, LCD, push button for setting and reverse stitch options.

The price of these machines are normally higher than a mechanical sewing machine but lower than a computerized one.

  • Mid price.
  • Lightweight.
  • More options for free arm sewing etc.
  • More expensive than a mechanical.
  • Can be complicated for beginners.



These sewing machines are very technical and advanced, they come with a lot of automatic features which can save you time (such as an automatic needle threader) and can even be connected via USB to store your embroidery patterns on a computer.

They do tend to be a little bulky and expensive but can save you a lot of time and even be good for beginners once you get a hang of the more complicated controls.


  • A lot of automatic options to save time.
  • Can be connected via USB to store patterns.
  • Gives advanced options.
  • Bulky.
  • Expensive.
  • Can be complicated.


How To Use a Sewing Machine!

Now we have covered your basic beginner knowledge of sewing machines. We are left with one last thing to cover, how to use your machine.

It’s always best to check your sewing machines manual before going ahead as this will explain each of your machines parts and channels, however we put together a basic step by step guide below to give you that extra help.

Step One –

Thread your machine and set your bobbin accordingly, this is where you should also select your preferred fabric.

Step Two –

Pull your presser foot level up in the opposite direction and put your fabric sample underneath.

Step Three –

Pull the presser foot lever down and make sure your seam allowance is okay, there will often be guidelines on the metal plate for a straight stitch so stay in line with this.

Step Four –

Hold the thread back to ensure no loops for the first few stitches then press the pedal and begin sewing!

Step Five –

Do a few reverse stitches on your beginning stitches to secure them, once you reach the end point of your fabric take a 90 degree turn with the presser feet pulled up and the machine stopped, then start stitching again.

Step Six –

Enjoy and let the creative process begin!

There you have it, here’s our no fail beginner sewing guide, once you know these three main points about sewing machines you will be on your way to becoming an advanced sewing machine professional. Happy sewing!

* This post contains sponsored content.

About The Author


Danielle Holke is a long-time knitter, first taught by her beloved grandmother as a young girl growing up in Canada. In 2008 she launched KnitHacker, a lively blog and knitting community which has since grown to be a popular presence in contemporary knitting culture, reaching more than a million readers each year. As a marketing professional, Danielle advises and works with a motley squad of artists, yarn bombers, film makers, pattern designers, yarn companies and more. Learn more about her latest book, Knits & Pieces: A Knitting Miscellany.

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