How To Set Up A Sewing Machine (Like a Pro!)

Do you want to learn how to set up a sewing machine like a Pro?

If you do, then keep reading.  

In a nutshell, setting up your sewing machine pretty much involves:

  1. Unbox your sewing machine
  2. Find a Suitable Surface to Place Your Sewing Machine 
  3. Plug In Your Machine
  4. Insert The Sewing Needle
  5. Add a Spool of Thread to Your Machine
  6. Thread Your Machine 
  7. Guide The Thread Towards The Needle
  8. Add Thread to your Bobbin 
  9. Wind Your Bobbin
  10.  Add the Bobbin to your Machine 

Why We Created This Guide

Does the thought of setting up your sewing machine from scratch make you want to run for the hills a bit? 

If so, we get it…

Heres the thing: 

We understand that setting up a sewing machine for the first time can be exhilarating for some people. For others it can be downright overwhelming.

This my friends is why we decided to bring to you a simple and easy to follow guide.In this guide, we have outlined step by step instructions on how to setup your sewing machine like a Pro!

Let’s dive in.

What Can You Do With A Sewing Machine?

The things you can do with a sewing machine should not be limited to your home or office. Sewing machines can help you with almost every sewing and fabric-related problem you will ever have. 

As an example:

  • Do you have pants that are too long? If so, there’s a rolled hem foot inside your sewing kit for that.
  • Do you want to bring an older outfit back to life by adding a few accessories to it? Your sewing machine has got you covered!  
  • Need a craft to boost your mood, relieve stress, and take your mind off a life’s occasional mishaps? Take up sewing as a hobby. That's right! Sewing is a great form of therapy that helps with restoring mental health.

Whether it’s updating a summer dress that doesnt fit or adding embellishments to plain fabric, a sewing machine will get the job done. 

And here's the best part:

The functionalities of a sewing machine are wide-ranging and some will definitely blow your mind! 

From customizing and altering clothing, yarn drawing, embroidery, all the way to interior décor, these machines are simply amazing!  We can assure you that once you’ve become acquainted with using your sewing machine it will open up a world of creativity for you. 

Supplies Needed To Set Up a Sewing Machine

So at this point, you are aware of all the great things that you can do with your sewing machine.


Before we jump into the steps on ‘How’ to setup your sewing machine, as well peek into a list of essential supplies to use.Here is a list of supplies and resources needed to setup a sewing machine:

#1: Your Machine’s Manual

Your sewing machine manual (aka user guide) is going to be your go-to resource for everything that you need to know about your sewing machine.

Most sewing manuals include a ton of information on things like how to use your machine, plus troubleshooting tips. They also include info on how to use the advanced features of your machine as well. 

With the help of an instructional manual, sewing is bound to be very easy.  In case you misplaced yours, you can pause and go find it or simply download one here.

#2:  Thread

To sew your garments together, you will definitely need to use a large spool of thread.

Here’s something to consider:

While it may be tempting to use any old type of thread for your sewing projects, it's better to use a high quality thread.

When it comes to your sewing projects, you want to make sure that you are using thread that works well with the type of garment you are sewing.

For example, if you're sewing denim projects then using a heavy duty polyester thread will work best.

Whereas if you're sewing a small project like a throw pillow cover a regular spool of thread like this one will get the job done.

The bottom line is, whether you are buying cotton, polyester, or multi-purpose sewing threads make sure you choose the best quality.

#3:  Sewing Needle

An essential item that every sewing machine needs is a great sewing needle.   In fact, choosing the right needle for your sewing projects is just as important as your thread, fabric choices and any other elements that you use.  

As far as sewing machines are concerned, the needle that you use should work well with the type of fabric that you are using.

For instance:

  • In American sewing machines, needle sizes range from 8 to 19. A size 8 needle is used for finer and lighter fabric, while a 19 is used for heavier ones.  
  • European market sewing machine needles start from 60 and go to 120. In this case 60 is used for finer fabrics whereas 120 is used for heavier fabrics. 

In a nutshell, just remember the lower the number the finer the fabric. The higher the number the heavier the fabric. 

#4:  Bobbin

A bobbin is a crucial sewing machine accessory that every sewing machine needs.   Bobbins are usually added to the bottom of a sewing machine and is where the lower thread is wound up. 

Here’s the cool part: 

Singer Sewing MAchine Bobbins

Your sewing machine will basically make stitches by catching thread from the upper threading system and a bobbin (aka the lower threading system) of your machine.

We recommend using transparent bobbins like the ones displayed above with your machine. They are much easier to work with especially if youre a beginner.

Here Is a Step By Step Guide on How to Set Up a Sewing Machine


We’ve come to the fun part. 

This is where you will learn how to setup your sewing machine like a pro! Do you have your sewing machine handy and ready to go?

Good, let's dive in…

Step 1: Unbox your sewing machine

Take all of your sewing machines components from the box.  Your sewing machine should come with a specifications guide, user guide and information about your machines warranty.  

Find a good place to store these items in a safe place in case you need to access them later.

Step 2: Find a Suitable Surface to Place Your Sewing Machine

Do you have an empty table or surface somewhere in your home that you can use your sewing machine in?Or perhaps you have a certain area in your kitchen or dining area that you use for sewing.  

Either way, you will need to make sure that you have a sturdy surface to setup your sewing machine.


If you happen to have a spare room in your home that you can use for sewing purposes, then using a sewing machine table would be the ideal. 

Step 3: Plug In Your Machine

After you have chosen a place to set up your sewing machine it's time to plug it in.   Unless you are using a manual sewing machine, the lead-in step is making sure it is connected to a power source. 

Next, you need to locate the power switch.  For most Singer and Brother sewing machines, you will find the power switch on the right-hand side. All you need to do is switch it on and you are good to go.

For Janome sewing machines, the power plug/switch is located on the foot pedal.

Step 4: Insert The Sewing Needle

Make sure you insert the needle correctly if you want your stitches to come out the same way.  Use a needle insertion tool in this stage to avoid being pricked by the needle ( although it’s bound to happen).  

Step 5: Add a Spool of Thread to Your Machine

Adding a spool of thread to your sewing machine is easy peasy via a nifty spool pin.  Your spool pin is the tall lever on your sewing machine that is allocated for the spool of thread that you are planning to use on your sewing project.  

As we’ve mentioned in some of our previous articles, be sure to use a high quality thread for your sewing machines.

HC1850 Computerized Sewing Machine Review

Step 6: Thread Your Machine

To make sure that your stitches come out correctly, you will need to thread your machine appropriately.  Threading your sewing machine works in two parts: threading the upper part of the machine and bobbin. 

To thread the upper part of your sewing machine, you will need to first add a spool of thread to your Spool Pin.

Next, draw a few inches of thread from the spool then slip it across the top surface of your machine then down, and back up, then downwards to where the needle is located. If you run into issues with threading your sewing machine, check your sewing machine manual for instructions.

Step 7: Guide The Thread Towards The Needle

To do this, you will need to slide the thread through the orb of your sewing needle and pull until it is stretched out tightly.

Next, look for a knob-like wheel at the side of your sewing machine? Once you’ve located the wheel, turn it gently approximately three times.  You will see the thread appear through the bottom of the machine towards the top.

Pro tip: Your needle should always be sharp for the best stitches.

Step 8: Thread your Bobbin

First, locate your sewing machines bobbin. If you don’t have one, we recommend using a clear bobbin with two holes in it like the one shown below.  

You will also want to make sure that the bobbin works with your brand of sewing machine.  Next, with your bobbin in hand, feed a piece of thread through one of the holes in your bobbin. Now, proceed to step 9 where you will wind the thread on your bobbin.

Step 9:  Wind Your Bobbin

To wind your bobbin you will need to first locate your Bobbin Winder Spindle.  This device is located on the top of your sewing machine.

Next, place your bobbin onto the Bobbin Winder spindle.  While holding onto the thread in your bobbin, gently press the speed controller on your sewing machine to fill the bobbin with thread.   Once your bobbin is full of thread, move on to step 10.

Step 10: Add Threaded Bobbin to your Machine

The last and final part of setting up your sewing machine like a pro is to add your threaded bobbin to your machine.  As directed by your manual, you will need to set the bobbin inside its case then cover the bobbin case again. 

After you hear a click sound, you should be on the right track.

Please keep in mind: 

That there is a slight difference between the top and front-loading bobbins. For the former, you will find the loading compartment right underneath the needle. While for the latter, you will have to first extract the bobbin holder when you open the compartment.

Where to Go from Here

After completing all of these steps, you can go ahead and verify that your sewing machine is working.  To test your machine, simply add a piece of test fabric to your sewing machine, put it beneath your presser foot, and start sewing.  

Your machine should now be setup successfully! If you encounter issues, please view your sewing machine manual for more guidance.

Thanks for reading!


Shelly is the main editor and author of this website. She is passionate about helping fellow sewing enthusiasts find the right sewing machine for your sewing projects plus design beautiful sewing spaces that inspire your creativity. If you're ready to DIY a stunning sewing room (on a budget), be sure to check out the Sewing Room that Sizzles Workbook bundle (complete with a 50+ page workbook) and two Bonus Guides that will put you on the fast track to setting up, designing and organizing a sewing room that is TOTALLY you (on a shoestring budget).