How to set up a sewing machine-For beginners

How to set up a sewing machine for beginners

Step by step photo directions on how to set up a sewing machine for beginners. 

Its now mandatory that everyone in the commissary and bx wear a face mask. But even before that, military members needed to have some sort of face coving while at work. 

Since my husband works different hours, he would have woken up and scrambled to put something together. 

Probably something “hey, it works!” worthy.


So what do you do when the kids are eating cereal and you take a scroll through FB only to find out he needs something in T minus 4 hours? 

You break out your sewing machine you’ve used only once. 

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How to set up a sewing machine for beginners

Just kidding. I didn’t have one!

I had a nice little sewing kit with a needle and thread along with clothes we were going to donate. 

I found a shirt that didn’t have pink or flowers on it and two hours later….. it was something that was the equivalent of  

“hey, it works!

One week later and I mentioned to a friend how I wish I had a sewing machine to make a better mask for him, and a commissary mask for myself. 

Low and behold this friend had two sewing machines! What!! 

Turns out when she PCSed the plug for the sewing machine went missing. Been there right? 

Like the time i found my lamp shades in the dog food container.


The next day we did a drive by trunk exchange and controlled the urge to give each other a hug. 

Back at home I took it out of the bag, placed it on the table and said…. “oh crap.”

This machine was legit. It had bobbins, knobs, dials, slits at the top. My daughter came over at one point and the entire bottom came off!

Ok, all I need to do is make a face mask… we can do it! 

How to set up a sewing machine for beginners

Map of the sewing machine

How to get thread on the bobbin

How to set up a sewing machine for beginners

The bobbin is going to be placed in the lower part of the machine. The thread from the bobbin is caught by the top needle, making a stitch. 

Place your thread on the horizontal spool pin and follow the bobbin thread guide. 

Thread guide
Thread bobbin spindle

Place the thread on the bobbin spindle through the center hole from the inside out. As shown in the photo above. 

Place the bobbin on the winder spindle with the end of the thread facing up. Push the bobbin to the right, locking it in place. 

While holding the small tail of the thread, lightly push the foot peddle to start spooling the thread. 

Once you have enough for your project, click it back to the left and cut your thread. 

Placing the bobbin in the spool case

Once you wind the thread, we’ll need to place it in the spool case. Open the bottom part of your machine and lift the tab, pull out the case. 

DO NOT! I repeat DO NOT move those black levers out of place or all heck will break loose. Ok not all heck, but that is a pain to get back into place.

thread bobbin holder

Give the thread a little tug to make sure that it is spinning in a clockwise motion. 

Putting the case back into the machine, hold the little tab and snap into place. You will feel it snap and it might take a try or two to get it right. 

Thread bobbin

Upper Thread Guide

To thread the top portion of the sewing machine, follow the upper thread guides. 

For this particular model we will go around #1, down #2, up to the right of #3 and making sure our thread hooks on as we go from right to left from 3 to 4. If that silver hook is not visible towards the top, turn the handwheel on the right on machine towards you until it comes into view. 

Upper thread hook

Once you thread down to #4, place the thread behind the hook right above the needle. 

At this point you may have a needle threader, but for the rest of us, squint and try to thread the needle. 

Place the thread between the pressure foot and hold it to the side.

Picking up the bobbin thread

With the pressure foot raised, turn the handwheel towards yourself, raising and lowering the needle. This will allow the thread to catch the bobbin thread. Bringing it up in a loop. 

Take both pieces of thread and place them towards the back of the machine. 

At this point you are set up to start practicing. Be sure to lower the pressure foot before you begin and to hold both piece of thread taught towards the back of the machine, until you get it started and a feel for it. 

When will you use reverse

A reverse stitch strengthens your beginning and ending stitch. Once you have several stitches started, hold the reverse lever and slowly place your foot on the peddle, stitching over the ones you have just completed. 

Back at the beginning, let go of the lever and continue with your work. 

Repeat and do the same for the stitches at the end. 

A few other things

If your pressure foot comes loose or off, just tighten it back into place. 

Thread cutter

On the side of the machine you have a thread cutter. 

Thread cutter on side of machine

Final Thoughts

Your thread may get caught. You’ll have to adjust the pressure foot pressure. You may need to change the stitch length, but all those things came with time and practice. 

Play around with it, and if you stick with it, you might just find it to be a lot of fun. 

My hope is that soon this sewing machine won’t be for making masks, but curtains for the living room. 

And when that day comes, I’ll be sure give you guys a peek. 

Best Wishes,
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