Getting Aquainted with Your New Sewing Machine

by Leanna Levine | Last Updated: February 25, 2017

It’s an exciting moment when your first sewing machine arrives at your home! But oddly enough, it can be a little scary too. Here are some steps to build up your confidence quickly and get off to a solid start on your sewing journey.

You’ve threaded your sewing machine, now what?

First set your new machine on a sturdy table and pull up a comfortable chair. You want your hands to rest on the machine at a height that doesn’t stress your neck and shoulders.

Next pull your owner’s manual out of the box. Keep this little book close by because you will need to refer to it very often.

The first thing you’ll need to do is thread your machine and wind and insert the bobbin. The directions for these tasks will be in your manual. You’ll also find some additional tips in this article.

Get to Know your Sewing Machine:

Learn to sew a straight line:

Now it’s time to get acquainted with your new sewing machine by making a test sample. Find a few pieces of solid colored or white scrap fabric. You can even use an old pillowcase, piece of a sheet or old shirt for this. You want to be free and not worry about “ruining” fabric.

Cut rectangles of fabric about 12 inches wide and 18 inches long. These are not exact measurements. Just make pieces that will be a manageable size for you.

Then use your marking chalk or pencil and your ruler to draw several straight parallel lines on the fabric. Make them about an inch apart.

Start at one end of a line and sew to the other end using a straight stitch. The stitch setting will be a straight stitch, but your line probably isn’t. That is completely normal! Keep practicing sewing down each line. You’ll see your lines getting a little straighter each time. Good job!

Try out different stitches

Try changing the settings for longer or shorter stitches. See how fast each one goes.

Try a few lines of zig-zag stitches. Experiment with the length and width settings to see what they do.

For even more fun, switch your settings to the decorative stitches. Try them all out.

You’re ready to start working on your first project!

By the time you finish these fun exercises, you’ll have taught yourself several key sewing skills, from cutting and marking to setting up and operating your sewing machine. You’ll also have a sample of what your machine does on different settings to look at when making choices for your future projects.

From there you can go online and choose a simple project to make. There are thousands of free tutorials and pdf patterns offered by generous bloggers.

Look for something like a pillowcase, apron, or tote bag that doesn’t involve more advanced skills like zippers or buttonholes.

It’s OK to start with simpler things and add more skills on future projects.

Going for something really complicated at first may frustrate and discourage you.

So take it step by step and keep it fun.