Updated at: 20-06-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

Study the two-thread system of an automated sewing machine as well as what happens to fabric during stitching. We’ll also go through the stitches that machines can produce to help you better comprehend this 1790 invention.

To learn more about the sewing machine’s engine, why not have a look at how it works? In order to help you better grasp the following information, this article concentrates on each and every part of the machine.

What Is A Straight Stitch Sewing Machine?

A straight-stitch sewing machine is the most basic of all sewing machines. The sewing machine can only do straight stitching, as implied by its name.

The treadle sewing machine is an example of a straight stitch sewing machine. Modern models can only stitch one straight line. If you’d want to learn more about a treadle machine, check out our own article.

How Does A Sewing Machine Make A Stitch Quickly And Perfectly

How do stitches are stitched?

In contrast to hand stitching, which relies on a threaded needle inserted into and removed from the fabric, a sewing machine uses needle thread and bobbin thread to sew. Only one thread is used while sewing with a machine, and that thread is the needle.

It will make an elongated knot with the bobbin thread when the needle thread passes through the fabric, prior to the sewing machine drawing the thread up. Instead of sewing by hand, which is entirely dependent on the needle, knots use a machine to generate the stitches.

Are you having a hard time visualizing how your sewing machine stitches? Learn the ins and outs of how it works:

  1. Thread on the needle plate creates an extended loop that is threaded through both the needle and the fabric.
  2. A rotating hook captures the loop and wraps it around the casing of the bobbin.
  3. The lower or bobbin threads get caught in the loop of threads and a knot is formed.
  4. A second tug of the thread secures the knot. The stitch is completed at this point.

The way the fabric and stitching move simultaneously

To get the best results from your sewing machine, it’s critical that the stitches move in sync with the fabric. Because the feed dogs and presser foot force the cloth toward and through the stitches when the two threads meet, this is feasible.

What Are the 3 Types of Sewing Machines?

Modern sewing machines fall into one of three broad categories, each powered by electricity but differing in various ways:

  1. sewing machines operated by hand Manual sewing machines employ knobs and levers to set stitch lengths and widths, making them the most affordable.
  2. The use of electronic sewing machines Stitch lengths and widths are set using push buttons on electronic machines.
  3. Machines that sew with a computer. To calculate stitches, computerized machines use a touch-screen monitor, which is more expensive and complicated. Memory cards are a standard feature on computerized machines, allowing you to store and download presets, stitches, and patterns.

11 Sewing Machine Parts and Their Functions

Your sewing machine’s components are the first step in learning how it works. Despite the fact that each machine is unique, the essential components are the same and serve the same job across the majority of them.

  1. The power switch and the cord. All sewing machines have an on/off switch and an electrical cord, which is normally located at the back of the machine.
  2. The pedal is pushed by the user’s foot. In order to stitch a line rapidly, you must push firmly on the foot pedal—if you press it lightly, the needle will move more slowly, and it will take you longer to create a single line of stitching. A cord connects the foot pedal to your sewing machine.
  3. Needle. Using a sewing machine without a needle is like using a sewing machine without a needle. A wide range of needles can be used on most sewing machines.
  4. A pin for attaching a spool. To feed the needle, the thread is wound around a spindle or pin on the upper portion of the machine, which is used as a spool holder.
  5. Footpress. In order to keep the fabric in place, you lower the presser foot onto the fabric with a lever.
  6. Case for bobbins. A bobbin case is located beneath the needle and presser foot, where a small spool of thread called a bobbin is kept. Stitching machines use bobbins to provide lower threads for your stitch, which are used by a bobbin driver to secure the upper threads in place when the needle punctures fabric. It’s common for bobbin cases to come with bobbin winders, which make it easier to wind thread onto bobbins.
  7. Knob for adjusting the needle’s location. Your sewing machine will feature a hand wheel or button that you can use to manually adjust the needle’s height (for example, when you wish to remove your cloth).
  8. Buttons can be reverse stitched. In order for your machine to continue stitching, you need to press down on the foot pedal. Your sewing machine will feature a button that allows you to make a few reverse stitches (for example, at the end of a line to prevent it from unraveling).
  9. A knob with a stitched design. Most sewing machines allow you to choose from a variety of stitch kinds, including straight stitch, zig-zag stitch, and decorative stitching. Manual machines use a knob, while automated machines use a touch-screen display to accomplish this task.
  10. Knob with a stitch-length. This knob determines how far your needle may travel before piercing the fabric again—long stitches indicate fewer holes, while short ones result in more close-packed holes. With computers, you may select stitches from a computer screen.
  11. Wheel for determining stitch width. Straight stitches will have a stitch width of 0 on either side, however zig-zag stitches can have a stitch width of 1 or 2 depending on how broad the needle goes when piercing the fabric. Using a computer monitor on a computerized machine, you can set the stitch width.

How to Set up a Sewing Machine

Even if setting up a sewing machine seems daunting at first, it will become second nature after a few sewing projects.

  1. Turn on the machine. To begin sewing, you must first thread the sewing machine, which entails passing the thread from the spool via a series of thread guides, take-up levers, or hooks until it reaches the needle’s eye. When threading for the first time, refer to your machine’s instruction manual. If you are stuck, check for the little tips and diagrams that are printed on the sewing machine itself to help you out. Don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it after a few tries.
  2. Prepare a wound bobbin by winding it on the bobbin holder. In sewing machines, a bobbin is a second spool of thread that sits beneath the needle. The bobbin should be positioned in the correct orientation on your machine, which will be indicated by an arrow.
  3. Take up the slack. In order to begin sewing, you must link the top and bobbin threads once they have been set up. Make a loop in the bobbin thread by lowering your needle all the way down and then raising it again with your needle position button or knob. In order to keep the two thread strands from tangling, pass a ruler or other flat item under the needle.

How to Use a Sewing Machine

Your sewing machine is ready to go as soon as the machine has been set up. The following is an overview of what you may expect from the process:

  1. Make sure your needle is pointing upwards. With certain machines, you may elevate the needle by turning a knob or pressing a button.
  2. Put your fabric down… You can begin sewing by placing your cloth under the needle and lowering the presser foot to keep it in place as you go.
  3. Step on the gas pedal slowly and gently. Pressing the foot pedal begins the stitching process, which can be sped up or slowed down according on your preference.
  4. Begin by securing your first stitch. Locking your stitches (also known as “backstitching”) at the beginning or end of a seam is a good idea to prevent them from unraveling. Make a few forward stitches before pressing the button on your machine to reverse (or “lock stitch”), and then press the button again to go backwards and make the first few stitches doubled.
  5. Your fabric should be steered by you. Keep the edge of your cloth aligned with the seam allowance guideline on your machine to stitch a straight line (recommended for beginners). With the help of feed dogs, your sewing machine will do all of the work of stitching the cloth for you.
  6. Close the ends of your stitches. Using your machine’s reverse button, reverse sew the last few stitches of your line to ensure that your seam doesn’t unravel (or lock stitch button, if it has one).
  7. Raise your needle and presser foot up. Remove the needle and presser foot from the fabric after stitching is complete.
  8. Your needle and presser foot should be raised. Finish sewing, then remove the needle and presser foot from the fabric.

How to Clean Your Sewing Machine

The importance of treating your sewing machine with respect cannot be overstated. What is the most important thing you can do to keep your sewing machine in good working order? Remove all of the lint from the machine! As a result of sewing, it’s impossible to avoid it. It’s a fact of sewing that the more you stitch, the more lint gets into the workings of your sewing machine. Your machine will run better if it is cleaned on a regular basis. Furthermore, a silent machine is a clean machine. Taking care of your computer on a regular basis will save you money in the long run, as well. To Janome America’s credit, they walked us through the essentials of self-servicing upkeep between visits to your dealer for a more complete clean and service.

Depending on how frequently you use it, you may need to clean it more frequently. After at least 10 hours of use, Janome suggests cleaning a machine. But it’s alright if you use it more frequently. Try looking inside the bobbin case. When lint starts to build up, it’s time to undertake some cleaning and maintenance. According to popular belief, you should clean your bobbin case every second or third bobbin replacement.

If you’re having problems with your machine, cleaning it can be the solution. Janome recommends re-threading the needle and bobbin, inserting a new needle for the job, then cleaning the machine as part of its “testing trifecta” of fixes when things go wrong.

Dust, lint or thread pieces can cause a number of issues with a machine’s working parts. Your local dealer can inspect your equipment if it continues to malfunction after you’ve cleaned it. Attempting to stitch when your machine is malfunctioning will exacerbate the issue.

The Janome Horizon Memory Craft 15000 we’re using in the photographs below shows that all machines, no matter how basic, require frequent maintenance. A big thank you to the team at Eugene, Oregon’s Paramount Sewing & Vacuum, where we had our photo session. Thank you very much for everything!

10 Basic Stitches You Should Know

1. The Running Stitch

This is the most fundamental hand sewing stitch, so if you’ve ever sewn before, you’re probably already familiar with it. To swiftly mend clothing, this stitch comes in handy.

  1. Starting from the back of the fabric, take your threaded needle and go through the fabric (the wrong side)
  2. If you want to sew in the opposite direction of where the knot on the end of the thread was, you may simply re-insert the needle and draw it all the way through the fabric.
  3. Repeat the process of bringing the thread back up through the fabric.

2. The Basting Stitch

Just like the running stitch, but a little bit longer. Rather than spacing your stitches one centimeter apart, make them between 14 and 12 inches apart.

As soon as you get into a rhythm, the basting stitch will outpace the running stitch.

3. The Cross Stitch (Catch Stitch)

Cross-stitching is undoubtedly familiar to you. Finishing the hems and creating designs that are visible from the front are two uses for cross-stitching. Once you get the hang of this stitch, it’s a little more complicated than the running or basting stitches.

Cross-stitching is all about producing Xs in the fabric:

  1. Knot the thread by pulling it up from the back of the fabric.
  2. To the left, approximately a centimeter away, do a diagonal stitch.
  3. Bring the needle up through the back of the fabric, about a centimeter backward from the where the thread went in last, and a centimeter to the left of where the last stitch began
  4. A centimeter and a half to the left of where the last stitch began, and a centimeter backward from where the thread went in last.
  5. Begin stitching by inserting your needle about a centimeter from where the last thread was inserted and a centimeter to the left of where that last stitch started.

Begin stitching by inserting your needle about a centimeter from where the last thread was inserted and a centimeter to the left of where that last stitch began.

4. The Backstitch

This stitch was employed to make all garments prior to the introduction of sewing machines. Using a series of back stitches, the strands were woven into a pattern that could be worn. It’s a well-done job.

  1. The first step is to sew a very little stitch.
  2. Insert the needle back into the end of that stitch, where you just pulled the thread out
  3. Re-insert the needle into the end of that stitch, where the thread was just yanked out of.

It’s important that these stitches appear to be overlapping.

5. The Slip Stitch

When sewing hems, this stitch is handy since it hides the stitches. Patchworkers will appreciate it.

  1. Through the fold, this stitch is to be used. Fold the bottom of the fabric up underneath, even if it’s just one piece.
  2. Make sure you stitch a straight line through your hem by using pins.
  3. Bring the needle through the hem and then up through the fabric’s crease at the top.
  4. In order to keep the threads from tangling throughout the stitching process, you only need to pull your needle a few threads at a time.
  5. In order to re-insert needle into fold, you must keep it parallel to the fold.
  6. Steps one through five should be repeated.

Stitches should be about a half-inch apart, and they should be a little slack.

6. The Blanket Stitch (Buttonhole Stitch)

This stitch, as you may have guessed from its name, can be used to finish the edges of blankets or to make buttonholes.

  1. Stitch from the back of the fabric, pulling the needle through till it comes out the other side
  2. The needle should be reinserted via the fabric’s reverse side rather than the front as you would normally do with regular stitches.
  3. Pull the needle twice through the back of the fabric to make a loop. The needle should be inserted right through the loop.
  4. If you’re making a blanket, space your stitches about a centimeter apart as you go through stages one through three.

7. The Standard Forward/Backward Stitch

It’s important to learn this stitch when you’re ready to go from hand sewing to machine sewing.

  1. Straight stitching 1/8 to 3/8 inches from the edge of the fabric is a good starting point.
  2. Make a backstitching motion over the pinned seam and then stitch forward again
  3. Step two should be performed backwards.
  4. Repeat the first three steps.

8. The Zigzag Stitch

The zigzag stitch can be found on the majority of sewing machines. This stitch is strong and will prevent fraying of seams, so you won’t have to run over the fabric several times with it. Buttonholes are easy to sew using this technique.

  1. Zigzag stitch on your sewing machine
  2. Stitch length and width can be altered by adjusting the machine’s settings
  3. To make the machine work more slowly, gently press the pedal. This will also help to guide the cloth as it works.
  4. Continue to sew the fabric till the end, but don’t stitch over the same spot more than once.

9. Blind Hem Stitch

Straight and zigzag threads combine to form this stitch. Even better, it’s practically undetectable, making it ideal for hemming and mending. This stitch can be used to sew two pieces of cloth together or to join the folds of a single piece of fabric.

  1. Stitch two or three times in a straight line.
  2. Zigzag stitch one broad row (cross-stitch)
  3. Repeat

10. The Buttonhole Stitch

In addition to the zigzag stitch, most sewing machines offer a buttonhole foot attachment or a pre-programmed buttonhole preset that can be used to stitch buttonholes.

  1. Input the buttonhole foot into the machine (if you have one)
  2. On the fabric, measure and indicate the location of your buttonhole.
  3. The presser foot should be placed on the buttonhole’s end.
  4. Stitch up (or down, depending on which side you started on) to the opposite end of the buttonhole in a zigzag motion
  5. Finish the buttonhole by stitching a zigzag line along (or up) the side of the buttonhole from where you began stitching.
  6. Open the space between the stitches with a seam ripper, and voilà! You now have a buttonhole!


Why are the stitches looping in the sewing machine?

The most common cause of looped threads is incorrect tension. Correcting an upper-side loop is as simple as adjusting the upper- or lower-tension screw to make it tighter. If the loop is on the underside, the best way to fix it is to alter the upper tension of the garment.

How is a stitch made?

Stitching is done by pulling the needle right through, moving it along the cloth a bit to produce a stitch, and then pushing it back through, leaving some thread behind.

What is a lockstitch machine used for?

Seaming, topstitching, and cover-stitching are all examples of uses for this type of thread. Lockstitch 306 is used for blind stitching.

Why do sewing machines have two threads?

In contrast, the sole purpose of a sewing machine needle is to puncture the fabric in order to pass a single thread through and tie a knot with a second before being retracted. The knot is now the heart of the design.

Why is the bottom stitch on my sewing machine loose?

An erroneous winding of the bobbin thread could cause the machine to malfunction. – Check to see that the bobbin is seated correctly. – This machine’s bobbin must be compatible with the one you’re using. – Make that the shuttle race bobbin is securely threaded.

Why is my sewing machine knotting underneath?

It’s possible to have a problem with the bobbin thread if you see looping on the fabric’s underside or back, which indicates a problem with the fabric’s top tension. Loops will cease if the top tension is increased, however this additional stress may break delicate strands.

Why is the thread bunching up?

Your thread tension should be adjusted depending on the weight of the fabric and thread you are working with. Take a look at your threads and make sure they are all the same weight. Make sure you keep your fabric taut, otherwise you’ll end up with thread that’s dangling from the underside of it.


Please tell me if you learned something new from this article. As a refresher, we learned how a sewing machine creates stitches by combining the needle’s threaded knot with the bobbin thread.

When a single-threaded needle generates a stitch instead of stitching by hand The sewing machine is equipped with a second or lower thread that is necessary for the stitch to be made. We also learned that the thread take-up lever plays a role in stitching, since it raises and lowers the thread as it is pulled through.