In this Sewing Machine Anatomy Guide from Hooked on Sewing we will get to know all the important parts of your sewing machine.
Just like with any piece of equipment, it’s helpful to become familiar with the working parts. I mean, what do all those buttons, knobs and levers mean?
Not that you can’t just jump right in and learn how to sew without knowing your sewing machine, but it sure makes it easer. And it sets you up for success!
So, are you ready to get to know your sewing machine?
Great! I thought so!
Sewing Machine Anatomy
Obviously, not all sewing machines are made the same way or even look alike when you really take a closer look at them.
But, they do have a few things in common, like:
- Take-up lever
- bobbin holder
- hand wheel
- feed dogs
and more. So, let’s take a look at the anatomy of a sewing machine.
Let's learn the most common features of a sewing machine. In other words, the anatomy of a sewing machine.
- Sewing Machine
SEWING MACHINE FRONT ANATOMY
1 – Bobbin Winder
Used to wind the thread onto the bobbin. The bobbin is used as the lower thread.
2 – Spool Pin
Holds the spool of thread.
4 – Tension Knob or Dial
Controls the tension of the upper (spool) thread.
5 – Thread Guide
The thread guide is used when winding the thread onto the bobbin and/or when threading the sewing machine.
6 – Thread Take-Up Lever
The thread is usually wrapped around this lever, which moves up and down, when threading the sewing machine.
7 – Thread Cutter
A blade that is used to cut threads. On some sewing machines, the thread cutter is located along the left side near the back of the sewing machine. On others, it may literally be on the back of the machine. Some machines do not have a thread cutter and some have a built-in thread cutter. My machine has a built-in or automatic thread cutter. The thread is cut simply by pressing a button.
19 – Presser Foot Holder
Holds the presser foot, usually with a screw.
20 – Presser Foot
The presser foot applies pressure consistently on the fabric as it is sewn. There are different kinds of presser foots. Be sure to select the correct presser foot for your fabric type and sewing application.
21 – Feed Dogs
The feed dogs feed the fabric under the presser foot.
SEWING MACHINE BACK ANATOMY
11 – Handwheel
The handwheel is used to manually raise and lower the needle.
12 – Power Switch
Turns on the power and light on and off.
13 – Jack
Where the plug on the power supply cord is plugged into the sewing machine. (Pictured above between the Power Switch and Foot Controller Jack.)
14 – Foot Controller Jack
Where the foot controller is plugged in to the sewing machine.
15 – Feed Dog Lever
The purpose of the feed dog is to pull or “feed” the fabric through the sewing machine. The Feed Dog Lever allows you to lower (disengage) and raise (engage) the feed dogs. Make sure your sewing machine needle is in the up position before lowering/raising the feed dog.
16 – Presser Foot Lever
The presser foot lever is used to raise and lower the sewing machine’s presser foot.
17 – Foot Controller
Most sewing machines are equipped with a foot controller. You simply plug in the foot controller into the sewing machine and press on the foot controller to begin sewing and to control the speed at which the machine sews a stitch.
Sewing Machine Anatomy Reference Guide Book
Sometimes it’s just really handy to have a printed reference document that you can refer to any time you want. I recommend that you download and print all the sewing reference guides and keep them together in a binder.
You can also have them spiral bound at your favorite office supply store, like Staples for just a few dollars. To download a free copy of the Sewing Machine Anatomy guide (a 21 page PDF), simply fill out the below form.
Learn to Sew Series
You will find an entire Learn to Sew series just for beginners here on Hooked on Sewing:
- Buying a Sewing Machine for Beginners
- Essential Sewing Tools for Beginners
- The Best Fabric and Thread for Learning to Sew
- Anatomy of a Sewing Machine (what you’re reading right now)
- Learn to Sew a Straight Stitch
- Sew a Beginner Friendly Project
And this is just the start!
All the lessons are designed to help you understand specific sewing skills, gain knowledge, and set you up for success in your sewing journey.
If at any point you have questions, feel free to leave a comment below!