how to set up a sewing machine

How to Set up a Sewing Machine in 7 Easy Steps

Warning: Undefined array key "titleWrapper" in /home/nanahxof/public_html/wp-content/plugins/seo-by-rank-math/includes/modules/schema/blocks/toc/class-block-toc.php on line 103

Whether you were gifted a sewing machine by a friend or family or bought a new sewing machine, getting everything set up can feel overwhelming. No worries, we have everything covered to teach you how to set up a sewing machine and have a FREE chart to help you remember the essentials. 

If your sewing machine came in a box, go ahead and take it out. That’s the easy part of learning how to set up a sewing machine. Here are the essentials it should have come with. If you are missing something, you will want to order. We have a list of essential supplies. 

How to Set Up A Sewing Machine

Your sewing machine needs the following items to work successfully:

  • Foot pedal
  • Bobbin Case
  • Spool of thread
  • Empty bobbin
  • Universal Needle
  • Pieces of fabric

Step 1:Instruction Manual

As part of learning how to set up a sewing machine, you want to read through the safety instructions and instruction manual.

Each particular machine has some of the same basic functions but each one has a little different way the sewing machine works.

If you bought a new sewing machine and didn’t receive an instruction book you can Google your model and see if you find a manual online or contact the company and ask for a manual.

Step 2: Power Cord

The first step is to remove the foot controller from the box and connect it to your first sewing machine, making sure that your sewing machine has power when you learn how to set up a sewing machine.

On the side or back of the machine is a place to put in one end of your foot pedal power supply, and the other end plugs into an electrical outlet.  

For safety measures, we do recommend that you use a Surge protector just in case of electrical charges.  The pedal foot goes to the bottom of the floor. 

how to set up a sewing machine

Step 3: Select your needle and thread

We do have a free sewing machine needle and thread guides available. You can download that and know which needle you need to be using.

We do recommend that you start with a sewing machine practice sheet and then move on to a piece of cotton fabric to practice different stitches before trying one of our simple sewing projects. 

Step 4: Setting the Needle

Turn your hand wheel toward you until the needle bar raises to its highest point. Then you want to loosen the needle clamp enough to get the needle into it.

Third, you want to place the flat side of the needle towards the back of the sewing machine and insert in the needle clamp as far as it will go.

You will then tighten your thumb screw, but be careful with your strength that you don’t tighten so hard you break your needle.

Your needle should be snug and not loose, moving around or up and down. 

how to set up a sewing machine

Step 5: Removing Bobbin Case and Bobbin

Part of learning how to set up a sewing machine is learning about the bobbin.

To prepare your sewing machine for sewing, it is necessary to wind your bobbin with thread place it properly in your bobbin case and insert both the bobbin and case in the shuttle body of the machine.

  •  1: you want to turn your hand wheel toward you until the needle bar is at its highest position. 
  • 2. Open shuttle race cover
  • 3. Grasp the bobbin case latch and remove the bobbin and case from the machine.
how to set up a sewing machine

Step 6: Bobbin winder

You will want to watch the video to see how to wind your bobbin.  

When your sewing machine has been properly set up for winding the bobbin, it will look like the picture below. The sequence of steps for this operation is described below, and our guide has each step with coordinating photos.

  • 1. Free your needle bar by holding the hand wheel and turning top motion now toward you one-half turn
  • 2. Place a spool of thread on the spool pin. Make sure you use the same size thread as the upper thread
  • 3. Bring your thread through the tension discs

Insert thread through any hole on the upper side of the bobbin, leaving 3–4 inches of thread projecting from the bobbin.

Place bobbin on spindle, slipping groove in bobbin over spring in spindle. Push on all the way. You want to push the bobbin and spindle to the right to engage the spindle drive and the hand wheel.

Hold the end of the thread and operate control to start your sewing machine. When the spindle starts to spin, the end of the thread may break off.

Your spindle will stop when the bobbin is full. To release, push your bobbin and spindle to the left. 

Remove your bobbin from the spindle and cut your upper thread. Don’t forget to hold the hand wheel and tighten stop-motion know by turning it away from you clockwise.

Practice sewing skills

As you are learning how to set up a sewing machine, we recommend that before you thread your machine and make your first project that you use our sewing machine practice sheets to learn straight stitches, zigzag stitch along with some other basic stitches.

This will make using your domestic sewing machine easier for your first project with fabric. 

sewing practice sheets

Step 7: Thread your machine

As you learn how to set up a sewing machine, you learn there is only one correct way to thread your machine.

The photo below has a basic idea but remember that different sewing machines may have a little different thread path.  The following instructions are general instructions.

  • 1. Raise your presser foot lever
  • 2. Turn the hand wheel towards you until the needle is at its highest point
  • 3. Place a spool of thread on the spool cap at the top of the sewing machine.
  • 4. Slip the thread under and up into the rear thread guide’ bring the thread forward over the arm and through the front thread guide.
  • 5. Draw the top thread down around and between tension discs from right to left. Pass the thread under the check spring and hook the thread under the top of the check spring from right to left.  You want to pull the thread under the thread tension guide and up to the take-up lever, then insert the thread through the hole in the take-up lever from right to left.
  • 6. Draw the thread down from the top of your machine through the cover guide and need bar thread guide
  • 7. Now pass the needle through the eye of the needle from front to rear on the front of the machine.  Your machine may have an automatic needle threader. If it does you will follow the instructions in your sewing machine manual.
how to set up a sewing machine

Remember, we believe it’s a good idea to use the sewing machine practice sheets before you work on your first project especially if you are learning how to set up a sewing machine for the first time.

When you are ready, choose some cotton fabric and make simple projects. Here are a few suggestions that are in our sewing library.

Other Sewing Resources:

If you are new to sewing, we recommend that you start by learning the basics and starting with a simple project like the potholder.

Start with:

Have Questions?

Come join us in the Facebook group where you can ask questions about your sewing machine, and we also release new tutorials in the group and in email.

I hope that with all the sections, you learned how to set up a sewing machine and are ready now to sew your first project. Email or our Facebook group is the best place to ask any questions.

Our Sewing Library is full of free tutorials for the kitchen, home decor, bathroom and more.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

Similar Posts


    1. Do you have your manual for your machine? It will tell you where to oil. It also depends on how much sewing you do how often you should oil.

  1. How can I differentiate between bobbins for my three machine nes? Website? I’m desperate 🙃

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *