Are Sewing Machines Hard to Use?

Are Sewing Machines Hard to Use?

Generally speaking, no. Apply pressure to the foot control pedal and guide the fabric as the feed dogs pull and the machine does the rest of the work for you.

While sewing may be simplified to those simple steps, there are a lot of other considerations to sew with care.

Sewing With Care means following the proper steps of using a sewing machine with prudence. Beneath the cover of each sewing machine are many gears and mechanisms that work together to produce a stitch - meaning there are lots of opportunities to wrong your machinery. 

Below are some insights as to what you can expect when handling a sewing machine:

1) Wind or Load a Bobbin
A bobbin is a small metal or plastic wheel designed to hold thread for your bottom stitch. Sewing machines generally follow the same arrangement for loading a bobbin - insert thread into your bobbin, place your bobbin on the rotating receiver and apply foot pressure to your pedal. Once the bobbin is full, cut the thread and place your bobbin in the designated spot (depending on if it is a top-loading or front-loading bobbin system).


2) Thread the Machine 

In this case "thread" is a verb, not a noun. To "thread a sewing machine" means to install your top thread to your sewing machine. Most have guides on the sewing machine which are numbered. This makes it very easy to install - while holding the end of your thread, simply follow the numbers and arrows. It'll take you up, down and across the machine until you reach the needle.


3) Set the Stitch Settings

Sewing machines have the ability to do multiple stitches, but the most common stitch settings are:

  • Tension: 4
  • Needle Position: Middle
  • Width: 0
  • Length: 2.5mm
  • Stitch Type: Straight Stitch

This setting seems to be a common stitch setup for medium-weight fabrics. It'll change based on the fabric you're using, so be mindful of how the composition, weight, elasticity, etc impact these settings. 


4) Backstitch at the Beginning and End

A backstitch is a stitch made by reverse stitching over your previous stitches. It is done at the beginning and end of your stitches as it helps to lock in the thread and prevent it from unravelling. 

How to Backstitch:
a) Stitch forward 3 stitches
b) Hold the reverse lever/button
c) Create 3 stitches over your original 3 stitches
d) Release the reverse lever/button
e) Proceed stitching over these 6 stitches and forward

Other Helpful Tips:

  • The hand wheel can help for control but it should only be rotated towards you, never away from you
  • Only release your fabric from the sewing machine when the needle is in the highest position
  • Test your stitch settings with scrap fabric before applying stitches to your project


Using a sewing machine can seem daunting because there are many steps to remember but the more practice and research you're able to do, the more comfortable you will be when using it.