Last Updated on June 1, 2022

Sewing is fun once you have your sewing machine up and running. However, knowing how to get started, especially if you are a beginner, can be so intimidating. In this article we will show you exactly how to set up a sewing machine.


The good news is setting up your sewing machine can be quick and straightforward. This article will walk you through the basic steps and give you some tips that every beginner should know.

 So let’s get started!



How To Set Up Your Sewing Machine


1. Insert the Needle

This is the first step, once your sewing machine is free of all packaging.

  1. Check both sides of the needle – one side is flat while the other has a slightly sharp point. Make sure the flat side of the needle is facing towards the back of your machine.
  2. Locate the small hole in the needle plate (the metal piece that makes contact with your fabric). Slide the flat end of your needle into this hole.
  3. Be sure to insert the needle straight without applying too much or not enough pressure to keep it from sliding out.
  4. Once inserted completely, tighten the screw on either side of your needle plate. 
  5. Now you’ve inserted your needle! The next step is checking whether your needle is positioned correctly (the set screw should be in line with the flat part of the needle).
  6. Make adjustments while carefully noting any effect on stitch formation while sewing.


Close up photo of the sewing machine needle and the presser foot


Important Tip

You may want to remove needles when changing thread colors or re-threading a machine. Just remember to insert a new one before moving forward!

Moreover, different tasks require different types of needles, so there’s no harm in being prepared for what comes next!



2. Wind the Bobbin

This part might be challenging if you’re new to sewing, but following the threading diagram on your machine together with these guidelines is usually sufficient! Before

long, it will be second nature for you.

We recommend using a bobbin that’s been specifically designed for your machine.

  1. Place the thread spool on the spool pin.
  2. Pull the thread from the spool and insert it into the thread guide.
  3. The thread should be wrapped around the tension disk.
  4. Insert the thread end into the bobbin and drag the thread until you have a 4-5 inch tail.
  5. Place the bobbin on the bobbin winder and secure it with a click.
  6. Pull the thread tight and firmly grasp the tail end of the thread. Step on the foot control to start the bobbin spinning until it is full. The thread on the bobbin should be equally dispersed.
  7. Cut the thread and remove the bobbin. Open your machine’s manual and find where to insert the bobbin for your particular type of sewing machine. And your bobbin is ready to go!


Bobbin thread bunching


Important Tip

Use bobbins that match your thread. For example: if you use size 65/9 polyester thread, only use the same type and weight of bobbin. Otherwise, you could end up with a machine that doesn’t wind correctly.

If you’re using the same bobbin for several colors, make sure to wrap the thread around the bobbin before inserting it into your machine. This prevents possible color transfer or bleeding.



3. Thread the Machine

Now that your machine is ready, you will need to thread it. The general rule of thumb is to thread the machine in this order:

  1. Place the thread spool on the spindle provided on the top of the machine with the thread going under and around.
  2. Drag the thread through the thread guide and pull it down around the tension knob.
  3. From the tension knob, bring the thread up through the second guide and insert the thread on the eyelet of the take up lever (the bar that moves back and forth with a small hook at the end).
  4. Pull the thread down following the path of the needle bar and over the top of the needle.
  5. Lastly, thread the needle. Make a small loop with the end of the thread and insert it in between the flat side of the needle from front to back. Pull gently so that the thread comes out through the top of the needle.


Now that you have threaded your needle, bobbin, and the sewing machine, you are ready to attach the presser foot.


A person threading her sewing machine



4. Attach the Presser Foot

The presser foot is the metal or plastic piece at the bottom of your machine, near the needle (the one that goes against the fabric and pushes it along as you sew).

  1. To attach it to the sewing machine, slide it up from underneath and guide the two small pegs on either side into their corresponding holes.
  2. The presser foot should fit snugly against the arm of your sewing machine.
  3. If it appears too loose, tighten the screw on the presser foot mount by turning clockwise.
  4. If it appears too tight, loosen the screw by turning counter-clockwise.
  5. Lower the feed dogs. The feed dogs are the teeth near the presser foot that help move the fabric along as you sew.
  6. To lower them, turn the handwheel towards you (counter-clockwise) until they reach their lowest position.
  7. If they do not drop all the way down when turning your handwheel, hold down the lever on the side of the handwheel. And manually push the feed dogs to their lowest position. And you’re done! It’s time to test your new stitch.


Attaching a presser foot



Helpful Tips

To test, load a piece of scrap fabric in the machine. Hold the material with your hand as you sew to keep it from bunching beneath the presser foot for extra stability.

The presser foot should rise at a consistent speed, and your stitches should look balanced and not crooked or wobbly.

It’s normal for the thread to get caught underneath the presser foot occasionally, especially if you’re just starting. But this situation shouldn’t happen every time. Adjust your needle position slightly and try again if you’re having problems with the thread getting caught.

If you’ve adjusted all the parameters, but the thread is still catching underneath, it is probably that your presser foot or bobbins are not installed correctly. Make sure to double-check this before you sew, as it is easy to miss.




Proper installation in every part of your sewing machine will make a massive difference in how your machine performs. In the end, you need to have a little patience and know that it will be worth your time.

By following the outlined steps above together with your manual, you will not have any problems later down the road.

Happy sewing!




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