Anatomy class: parts of a sewing machine

If you use your sewing machine often or if you are just getting started in the world of sewing, it is very important to know the names of the parts of sewing machine and their functions.

While all sewing machines are different, most share basic features that are similar to one another. In this article you will find a general guide to the parts of a sewing machine.

However, if you have the owner’s manual for your sewing machine, I recommend using it, but if you have lost it, you can search for it online with the make and model of your machine and you will surely find it.

Here is a list with the sewing machine part names and what they are for!

Parts of a sewing machine diagram

We will use this diagram for reference with the numbers in the list. Each number belongs to different parts of sewing machine.

Parts of a sewing machine_

Parts of sewing machine and their functions

Sewing machines are all different, but this general guide to their parts will help you understand more about their components and their functions.

Let’s get started!

  1. Needle

    The needle is a tool used for sewing. It is a pointed metal with a hole at the other end where the thread is inserted.

    It is used for the permanent union of various layers of fabric or other materials and, in addition to penetrating the fabric and transporting the thread, it facilitates the formation of the loop that will form the stitch.

    Sewing machine needles are removable and come in a variety of sizes and shapes. For example, they can be thinner or thicker, single or double, etc.
  2. Needle Clamp

    The needle clamp is what holds and tightens the needle. It makes sure the needle is steady and won’t move during the sewing process. Also, it is used to exchange the needles in case the needle breaks or you need to use a different one.
  3. Presser Foot

    Presser foot are one of the most important and versatile tools for sewing machines. They are removable and hold the fabric in place while the sewing machine is running.

    In general, sewing machines include a basic presser foot among their accessories. However, there are different presser feet for different sewing techniques or fabrics.

    For example, presser feet for zippers, double feed, for difficult fabrics that require special treatment, for embroidery, among others.
  4. Presser Foot Lever

    This lever controls the presser foot. It allows the presser foot to be raised so that the fabric is free.
  5. Feed Dogs

    This mechanism is made up of small metal or rubber teeth that pull the fabric between the presser foot and the needle plate.

    The feed dogs also regulate the length of the stitch by controlling the amount of fabric that passes through at one time.
  6. Needle Plate

    It is a metal plate that sits under the needle and presser foot. It has a central hole that allows the bobbin thread to come out and the needle to make stitches through.

    Most needle plates have small notched lines to the right of the presser foot; these serve as guides for seam allowances and for sewing straight lines.
  7. Tension Control

    This dial allows the upper thread tension to be varied depending on the type of stitch or fabric being used. On some machines this setting can be digital.

    Proper thread tension will allow you to create perfect stitches. If the tension is set too tight, the stitch will pucker and break; but if it gets too loose, the stitches won’t hold.
  8. Take-Up Lever

    This lever supplies the needle with the necessary amount of thread to be able to perform the stitches. The upper thread passes through this lever which moves up and down along with the needle.
  9. Thread Guides

    The thread passes through metal loops to regulate the thread tension and to maintain the upper thread path when sewing.
  10. Bobbin Winder Tension Disk

    The tension disk helps guide the thread between the spool and the winder.
  11. Stitch Selector

    This function allows the choice of the type of stitch that the machine will use to sew.

    Most sewing machines can do straight, zig-zag, and embroidery stitches.
  12. Stitch-Length Selector

    This function is used to regulate the length of the stitches. The number on the selector indicates the length in millimeters of the stitches.

    For general sewing, use medium length stitches; for fine fabrics, shorter stitches; for heavier fabrics, or when basting or gathering, use long stitches.
  13. Bobbin Winder Pin

    Its function is to wind the thread on the bobbin quickly and uniformly, it has a brake to control the amount of thread that is loaded.
  14. Spool Pin

    This small metal rod holds the spool of thread. Some machines come with multiple spool holders and can be horizontal or vertical.
  15. Hand Wheel

    This knob is used to control the sewing machine, when turned it allows you to manually raise and lower the needle, without the need to step on the pedal.

    In addition, on some sewing machines, it has a function that allows it to be deactivated in order to refill the thread bobbins.
  16. Power Switch

    This button turns the sewing machine on and off. On most sewing machines it is on the right side. Turning it on starts the sewing machine and the light that illuminates the needle.
  17. Reverse-Stitch Button

    By pressing this button, the direction of the stitches will be reversed, ie the machine starts sewing backwards.

    It is used to make bartacks and prevent the stitches from coming undone at the beginning and end of the seams.

Now you know all the parts of a sewing machine!

It is very important to know each of the machine parts to make good use of it and to know how to solve problems when they arise, since knowing the parts of a sewing machine will help you identify it immediately.

I hope this general guide on the parts of a sewing machine helps you to use your own sewing machine!