How To Set Up A Sewing Machine In Only 2 Steps

Last Updated on 6 months by Susan Mayrich

It’s easy to learn how to set up a sewing machine because it’s essentially two steps. We will discuss the process in a bullet-type guide to make it easier to follow. We’ll also share what settings to use with your sewing machine as a beginner. 

how to set up a sewing machine

Do you own a specific brand of a sewing machine as well? One of the most common ones is Brother, so feel free to read this tutorial on how to use a Brother sewing machine for additional information. 


What Are The Steps To Setting A Sewing Machine?


Step 1. Thread the sewing machine

  • Insert the needle through the spool’s hole to wind it around the bobbin
  • Place and lock the winded bobbin onto the spool pin
  • Have the needle on the larger spool and let the bobbin get winded with thread by pressing the sewing machine’s pedal 
  • Load the threaded bobbin in its case accordingly
  • Guide the thread through the top of the sewing machine; it should be easy to know the paths by referring to your model’s manual
  • Bring the thread across the sewing machine going up, down, up, and down until your reach the needle’s eye and thread it
  • Turn the sewing machine’s knob to have the bottom of the thread come up the base and make it easier to catch
  • For a more in-depth guide on threading Singer and Brother models, check our tutorials on how to thread a Singer sewing machine and how to thread a Brother sewing machine that is both easy to follow

Step 2. Set the sewing machine 

  • Set the sewing machine since you’ll only be using it for the first time
  • Start with the stitch setting via the knob or digital display, depending on the sewing machine model you have
  • Refer to the sewing machine manual to know what stitch setting to use and what adjustments to make for each setting
  • Make the necessary alteration on the sewing machine tension accordingly
  • Test the settings you applied by inserting a fabric under the needle
  • Raise the machine’s presser foot via the lever and insert a tester fabric underneath
  • Lower the presser foot and gently press the pedal to start sewing
  • The pressure on the foot pedal will move the sewing machine, so you must use your fingers to guide the material
  • As you’re sewing, you can identify if the stitches or speed need adjustments
  • The most common places and features to check are the stitch setting, tension, and threading


How Do You Set Up A Manual Sewing Machine?

How to set up a Singer sewing machine (manual)

  1. Thread the hook on the top of the sewing machine and onto the tension assembly
  2. Guide the thread through the uptake lever and hooks until you reach the needle
  3. Set up the bobbin by putting it in its case using the correct direction that it must thread out
  4. Have the thread through the designated gap and test how the bobbin turns
  5. Put the bobbin case back in the sewing machine until it’s secured in place
  6. Hold the top thread and turn the handwheel to help you pull it out with the bobbin thread


Do you own a Pfaff model? It is also one of the most popular manual sewing machines, so consider reading how to service a Pfaff sewing machine if you’re having trouble with its features and setup.

How Do You Set Up An Electric Sewing Machine?

  1. Study the instruction manual of your specific electric sewing machine model
  2. Turn off the power switch and insert the plug into the socket on the sewing machine
  3. Connect to an electrical outlet and test to see if it’s getting power by turning on the switch
  4. Turn off the sewing machine and lower the presser foot to install or replace the needle safely
  5. Turn the handwheel towards you to lower the presser foot
  6. Hold the needle and loosen the screw to remove it from the clamp
  7. Insert the new needle according to the proper orientation mentioned in the manual
  8. Make sure you’ve pushed the needle through to secure it on the needle clamp
  9. Tighten the screw and attach the presser foot
  10. The presser foot attachment will differ for every sewing machine, so install it accordingly

What Setting Should My Sewing Machine Be On?

The setting you must use for your sewing machine will depend on the specific model you have. Furthermore, sewing machines can either be mechanical or electric, where some computerized models already have sensors adjusting for you. Nonetheless, the safest way to set your sewing machine is to refer to your manual. 

For extra information, the average straight stitch length is ten stitches for every inch, while the average stitch tension for a straight stitch is 4. This is mentioned since most people do straight stitches with the sewing machine. 



And that’s it! To recap how to set up a sewing machine, you only need to thread it and then adjust the settings. The manual and electric types also differ in setting them up, so please reread our step-by-step guides for each of them.

We hope this was a helpful read, and additionally, feel free to check how to unfreeze a sewing machine, so you’ll know what to do when it happens. 


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