How Does a Sewing Machine Work

How does a sewing machine work? Obviously, you plug in the machine, you push the foot petal and the needle mysteriously goes up and down. But what does it all mean?

How Does a Sewing Machine Work?

For ease of explanation, you consider a sewing machine to have four different "control" areas" "controlling the thread," "controlling the fabric," "controlling the stitches" and "controlling the power source."

The parts that assist with thread tension are located on different places around the sewing machine. For example, the part that controls the tension of the thread in the bobbin is called the "bobbin thread tension screw" and is located in the bobbin control case. The bobbin provides the thread that runs through the bottom part of the machine for sewing. The rest of the tension parts help control the tension of the thread that runs from the spool on top of the machine. The parts that control the upper thread include the slack thread level and the presser part release. The presser part release opens the upper thread tension. This helps the fabric that is being sewn to be removed more easily. The thread uptake spring helps keep the upper thread from breaking, despite any applied tension.

The next area serves to control the movement of the fabric. Take a look at the front bottom of your machine. You will see a part that resembles a pair of skis, called the presser foot. Underneath the presser foot, you will see small "snaggy" teeth, called the feed dog teeth. When the presser foot is down on the fabric, the feed dog teeth help move the fabric over the throat plate, the flat metal area by the feed dog teeth, as the needle and the bobbin run thread through the material.

The third area on your sewing machine controls your stitching. This area includes the mechanism that makes the needle move up and down, the hook ring, which brings the thread from the bobbin into play, and the needle itself.

In days gone by, feet and a hand provided the power source for sewing machines. Today, modern sewing machines are powered by electricity and hand. Whether you are using an "old fashioned" sewing machine or the newest of the new in today's technology, the focus is on the balance wheel, which is located at the back or on the side of the machine. When your sewing machine is activated, the balance wheel runs on its own. However, when you need to work stitches slowly, you turn the balance wheel by hand.

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