I get asked all the time what the best sewing machine is for beginning sewers. See my post about that here. Once you decide on the sewing machine you want to buy, the next step to knowing how to use a sewing machine is knowing what the different parts do. Below the photos are of a Pfaff Hobby 1032, which was the sewing machine I received as a teenager that is still going strong. All sewing machines are slightly different, but the parts below will be found in some way on your sewing machine.
It’s not as intimidating as it seems, I promise.
Bobbin case – This is what the bobbin goes in. The bobbin holds the thread that makes up the underside portion of a stitch line.
Bobbin compartment – This is where the bobbin case goes.
Bobbin winder – This is how you fill the bobbin with thread.
Bobbin winder tension disc – This keeps the thread winding evenly onto the bobbin.
Take up lever – This moves the thread up and down.
Spool pins – This is where the spools of thread sit.
Stitch type selector – This determines if you want a straight stitch, zig-zag stitch, etc.
Stitch length selector – This determines the length of the stitch. Longer stitches are for gathering or basting, and shorter stitches are for button holes.
Tension Control – This keeps the tension accurate.
Thread guides – The thread is fed through these to keep it sliding accurately.
Thread cutter – You slide the thread through this to cut it. (Not all machines have this handy component.)
Needle – This is where the sewing machine needle goes.
Presser foot – This keeps the fabric stable under the needle.
Presser foot lever – This raises the presser foot up and down.
Feed dogs – These help guide the fabric as you’re sewing.
Throat plate – This has measurement guides and can be removed for cleaning.
Reverse stitch lever – This enables you to make a reverse stitch.
Hand wheel – This enables you to make slower stitches using your hand.
Foot pedal – This makes the machine go.
Foot pedal plug – This is where the foot pedal plugs in.
On/Off switch – This is how you turn the machine off and on.