What is the Function of a Sewing Machine? (Helpful Mechanism Guide) Update 05/2022

When technology assisted in the development of the sewing machine, it was intended to make sewing much simpler, easier, and faster. Learning how to use a sewing machine is an excellent method to keep your sewing life interesting.

How Does a Sewing Machine Work? A sewing machine can be operated in two ways. The first method is the simplest, as all you have to do is plug it in, turn it on, and choose your stitch and design. Alternatively, you can use a manual sewing machine and operate the needle using the handwheel or treadle. In any case, you’ll be able to appreciate your sewing duties a lot more.


Continue reading our post to understand more about the sewing machine and how it works. It contains all of the knowledge you’ll need to comprehend the machine’s mechanics.

How Does a Sewing Machine Stitch

I – The Loop Stitch

Sewing your fabrics together with a sewing machine is not the same as manually sewing them together. When hand sewing, a loop stitch is used to connect two fabric pieces by passing the needle and thread through them.

You receive your loop stitch once you tie the thread through the eye of the needle and pass it both through the fabric pieces. That is practically hard to perform with a sewing machine. To compensate for the failure, the sewing machine only puts the thread halfway through the fabric.

The eye of the needle on a sewing machine is down towards the pointed end. After threading the needle, attach it to the sewing machine using the needle bar. When the electricity is turned on, the needle bar moves up and down, threading the fabric.

A motor drives the needle bar, which uses a system of gears and cams to ensure that all of the moving elements move as they should. The loop is pulled to one side of the fabric when the needle’s point goes through it.

The loop is then pulled around or through another piece of thread or loop by a device. The machinery is hidden beneath the cloth. There are many distinct loop stitches, and the machine handles each one differently.

II – The Chain Stitch

This style of stitch is easily handled by the sewing machine. The cloth is sat on a metal plate and held down by the presser foot to make it function. The sewing machine needle makes a loop at the start of each stitch.

After then, the looper mechanism grips the loop before the needle travels up, moving in time with the sewing machine needle. The feed dog component propels the fabric forward when the needle is removed from the fabric.

The needle then goes through the middle of the previous loop when it goes down to start a new one. After that, the looper mechanism captures the loop and wraps it around the needle’s next loop.

Because the loops are connected together like a chain, it’s called a chain stitch. The first link secures the second.

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III – The Lock Stitch

This is a more durable stitch that can be found on almost all sewing machines. The lock stitch is similar to the chain stitch in how it works. Your sewing machine uses the bobbin to add extra thread, which is then utilized to hold the stitch in place, rather than chaining it together like the chain stitch.

The bobbin assembly and shuttle hook are the most crucial components of the lock stitch. The bobbin transports thread beneath the fabric and disperses it using the motor’s power.

The loop is pulled through the fabric by the needle, while the feed dog moves the fabric like a chain stitch. The stitch is then secured to the bobbin thread rather than the loops that follow it.

The shuttle hook captures the loop created by the needle and tugs it around the thread coming from the bobbin. This method produces a strong stitch that should last a long time.

Sewing Machine Working Principle

The sewing machine can be operated in a variety of ways based on the functioning principle. Despite the fact that there are many different types of sewing machines, the basic idea stays the same. The gears in both the manual and electric variants are moved by manual or electric power in a concerted effort so that the needle travels up and down, placing a thread into your cloth.

The many sections of each type of sewing machine then conduct their jobs to ensure that you receive the best stitch possible or the one you wish to utilize.

For example, a treadle and belts are used to drive the different gears and move the needle and feed dog, bobbin feature, shuttle hook, and other important sewing machine parts on a manual foot-powered sewing machine.

The handwheel models do the same job as the treadle types, but without the treadle. The sewing machine’s parts are all moved by hand and are built in a similar way, with belts and gears to move the key moving elements.

The electric variants simply use electricity to accomplish the same task. These sewing machines eliminate the need for human labor and save you a lot of energy. A rotating cam shaft should be present in all models and handle all movement of the parts put after it.

The treadle, hand wheel, or electric motor turns the shaft. That is the sewing machine’s functioning principle in a nutshell.

How Does a Sewing Machine Work Step by Step

For the electric sewing machine, we will only offer a step-by-step description. The foot and hand-operated variants function similarly, but with fewer parts and no motor. With a few exceptions, the step-by-step instructions are the same for all models.

Here are some initial steps to take:

I – Setup

Find the power switch first. They are not always at the same spot, however they are frequently on the machine’s right side.

Second, spool your thread onto the spool pin.

Third, feed your thread through the thread guide from the spool. This is a small item located near the spool pin on the top of the machine.

The bobbin winder and bobbin winder stopper are located to the right of the spool pin. Make sure your bobbin is in place and that the thread for rewinding is attached to it.

Fifth, if your machine has one, adjust the stitch dial to the stitch type you want to use.

Take your thread through the thread take-up lever on the sixth step. This is normally found on the machine’s left side.

The seventh step is to adjust the thread tension dial to achieve the desired thread tension and to ensure that the sewing machine functions properly.

Eighth, thread the needle and feed the thread through all of your sewing machine’s other components.

Ninth, make sure you have the thread you need for your stitch option by setting up your underlying bobbin.

Lastly, switch on the machine.

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II – Operation

  • Place your sewing machine in a cabinet or table that is solid, stable, and sturdy. Make sure you’re comfortable, and that the chair sits properly next to the cabinet, allowing you enough of legroom.
  • Set up the needle. Needles can usually only be inserted in one direction. The needle has a flat side to assist you in getting it right.
  • Wind and insert your bobbin next. This is the thread you’ll need for your best stitches.
  • Thread the machine by placing the spool of thread on the spool pin. Unless you’re changing colors, skip this step if the machine is already threaded.
  • After that, thread your needle and remove your bobbin thread from beneath the bobbin cover.
  • Turn on your sewing machine after plugging it in. Start your sewing project and spend your free time doing something you enjoy or making repairs.

Not every equipment will be as straightforward to operate. There are numerous models with numerous features that you must consider before beginning your sewing endeavor.

Making sure you read your instruction handbook beforehand is crucial to a successful operation. That way, you’ll have all the information you need to ensure your sewing machine is properly prepped.

How do Sewing Machine Bobbins Work

Before you can grasp how a bobbin works, you must first understand what it is. The bobbin is responsible for providing the bottom thread for sewing. You can use the same thread color on your bobbin as on your spool, or you can use a different color for unique effects or if the thread will be hidden.

Second, the bobbin can be constructed from a number of materials. They are 1 inch in diameter and can be constructed of stainless steel, other metals, or plastic. That is the regular standard size.

Depending on the model and age of your sewing machine, the bobbin size might range from 1/4 to 1/2 inch. The thread is already wrapped around the spool of the ready-to-use bobbins.

Third, after threading a small thread through the bobbin’s top, it must be placed on the bobbin winder. Place the bobbin on the winder and the winder stopper against the thread once that’s done.

Before you begin stitching, wind the thread a few times around the bobbin. After that, you should be able to sew as much as you like. Drop your bobbin in an underside bobbin holder and pull the thread out a few inches if you have one. After that, you may start stitching with ease.

The Inner Works of a Sewing Machine

The cover conceals many of the secrets that allow modern sewing machines to function.

When you remove it, you’ll notice a plethora of gears, pulleys, cranks, belts, and other components lying beneath and out of sight.

All of these components are powered by a single electric motor connected to a drive belt. The drive belt rotates the top drive shaft by moving the drive wheel. The higher drive shaft then moves many mechanical pieces attached to it.

The crank is one of those moving pieces. The purpose of the crank is to move the needle up and down so that you may finish your stitching on time. The upper and lower drive shafts are connected by a belt, which ensures that the lower drive shaft moves the mechanical pieces attached to it.

The needle and shuttle move in lockstep because the two drive shafts are linked.

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Final Thoughts

Understanding how a sewing machine works can be fascinating. You gain an advantage in repair work if something goes wrong since you understand how the machine works. Without consulting a technician, you may instantly identify the issue and know how to resolve it.

This knowledge should help you sew more quickly while also saving you money. Knowing how your sewing machine works is beneficial since it allows you to see how everything works together to improve your stitching time.

Of course, more advanced machines have a lot more pieces to understand, but that’s only because they have a lot more functionality.

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