Whether this is your first time sat in front of a sewing machine or you just need a refresher whilst dusting off your machine thats been sat in the attic for a while, I hope this tutorial will guide you through the basics of setting up your machine. One of the most fun parts about sewing is discovering your machine and what it can do. The boundaries you can push and the results you can get from these oh-so-clever little machines.

Whilst reading this please bear in mind that every machine is different. Some machines are electric whilst others are mechanical. Some machines are domestic whilst others are industrial. Some machines have embroidery functions and pattern programming, the list goes on. In this tutorial I will guide you through my domestic sewing machine that I use for most of my sewing projects and from this you should be able to work out any bits that looks slightly different on your machine.

It sounds simple but the first thing to do is to plug your machine in. (Plug in at the side of your machine and into the power socket). Then position the pedal on the floor somewhere that is comfortable for you to use it whilst sitting down sewing. Ideally you want your machine positioned on a table at the right level so its not too high or too low to give you backache.

Next you need to secure the needle in place. The type of needle you use will differ depending on the type of fabric you choose to sew (more on that in a future tutorial). If the needle is already in place on the machine you can just ignore this section, or perhaps double check it has been put in properly. Plus its useful to know how to change it as your needle will inevitably break at some point.

To loosen and then remove the needle simply un screw the little knob at the side (you may need a mini screw driver to help with this). Then insert the needle by pushing it up into the hole and tighten the knob again. You will notice at the top of your needle that it is rounded with a flat side. Insert the needle with the flat side facing away from you and the rounded side facing towards you. (In some machines you need to put the needle in so the flat side is facing to the side so check your manual first). Please watch the video below to see how!


You can get all different types of presser feet for different jobs on your sewing machine. For example special ones to put in zips or special ones to aid with buttonholes (more on this in a future tutorial).

The job of the standard presser foot (with which most of your sewing will be done) however is to guide your fabric through the machine and to keep it flat against the base of the machine whilst sewing. The presser foot sits on the bottom of the bar behind your needle. My machine feet simply clip on and off as shown in the video below!


To attach the foot on some machines you may need to raise the lever bar and position the foot directly underneath it, then lower the lever until the foot clicks in place. Other machines have feet which screw on and off. You attach and detatch these in a similar way except to do so you undo the screw, take the foot away or put the new one in place and then just tighten the screw back up.

It is advisable not to switch your machine on at any of these stages until you are ready to sew...we dont want any fingers accidentally sewn together!

Thank you for reading. I hope this has been an informative post and will encourage you on your way towards sewing with your machine. For further tutorials please visit the Minerva Crafts Learn to Sew page.

Happy sewing everyone!