What Are The Parts of A Sewing Machine

Since their first invention by Isaac Singer, sewing machines have been a very important machine in the household.

When he first invented them, he decided to have a mass production of his sewing machines capable stitching any part of your fabric.

Other inventors later produced sewing machines that had advanced features but the components remained the same.

21st century sewing machine evolved from an appliance with an objective of simplifying embroidery, darning and dressmaking.
Sewing machines found favor in many households that preferred making their clothes at home rather than buying them. These days, sewing machines are important tools for dress designers, crafters and those interested in knitting.

The structure and parts of a sewing machine whether treadle sewing machine, manually operating sewing machine or electric sewing machine are all the same. Our guide here is suitable for both newbies and experts in the world of sewing machines.

There are normally three types of sewing machines:

1. Mechanical sewing machines/manual sewing machines

2. Electric sewing machines

3. Computerized sewing machines.

Historically, until 1960s most sewing machines were mechanical/manual. Such mechanical sewing machines were traditionally driven using rotary wheels.

computerized sewing machines

These types of sewing machines used dials and knobs to adjust the width and length of the stitch.The most common brands of sewing machines in the market today include: Sears Kenmore 15218, Kenmore 15212, Kenmore Mini, Elna 2005,Singer 6038, Kenmore 11101 and Bernina 1008.

No matter the brand you decide to use in your knitting projects you will find that the different components that make up your sewing machine are one and the same in standards from one manufacturer to the other.

The modern sewing machine has both changeable parts and moving parts. Some sewing machines have open systems where there is an option of adding more mechanical or electronic parts to boost the functioning and operation.

Regardless of the manufacturer of your sewing machine, most sewing machines come with the same parts.

It is always essential to know the basic parts of a sewing machine because by so doing you will be able to use your sewing machine in the best way possible especially during your initial stages of understanding what is composed of in terms of parts.

Mechanically it is very needful to understand composition of the machinery during operation and repair. Most of the sewing machine come along with their manual from the manufacturer unfortunately it takes time to learn word by word and the way of its operations.

What are the Parts of a Sewing Machine

Garments manufacturing industry highly depends on sewing machines. Sewing machines are designed to join different pieces of leather and fabrics through different means such as chain stitch or lockstitch.


Sewing machines can be divided into two main parts.

  1. Upper parts
  2. Lower parts

The upper part of a sewing machine has Bed, Arm and Head. The lower part of a sewing machine contains legs, Treadle, Dress guard, Belt Guide, Band wheel, Belt Shifter, Pitman rod and Band wheel crank.

Upper Parts of a Sewing Machine

1. Arm: This part contains mechanisms for operating the sewing needle. It is normally the curved part of the head.

2. Hand wheel/Balance Wheel: This is the part that sets motion mechanisms. Its function is to lower and raise the needle. It is driven by the motor but in some cases may be turned using hands to adjust the height of the needle. This wheel is on the right side of the machine.

3. Bed: The bed is mounted on the feed dog found below it. This is normally the flat part of the sewing machine. On top of the feed dog there is also a lower thread and shuttle. The main function of the bed is to stabilize the sewing machine.

4. Bobbin Case: This is the place where the bobbin stays. It provides tension for the lower thread and holds the bobbin. The bobbin case wraps the bobbin thread when the thread is pulled around.

bobbin case

5. Bobbin Cover: The main function of this part is to cover the bobbin case and the Bobbin in your sewing machine.

6. Bobbin Winder: Bobbin winder’s main function in a sewing machine is to ensure that the bobbin gets controlled.While winding the bobbin the speed should be medium otherwise it can stretch and break.

bobbin winder

7. Bobbin: This is the part that holds the thread. ?By looping the needle thread and the bobbin thread together it forms a stitch.

8. Face Plate: This the part that makes it easy to oil the different parts of the needle bar that require oiling. Some of the parts that can also be oiled includes take-up lever and the bar plate.

9. Feed Dogs: The feed Dog is made up of teeth placed beneath the needle plate.This is the part that ensures the cloth moves forward as you sew.

10. Head: This part is basically made up of the whole sewing machine without the carrying case and the cabinet.

11. Needle Bar: This is the part that gives motion to the sewing needle.

12. Needle Clamp: This is the part that holds the needle tight and ensures that the needle is in the right position.

13. Needle: Needles normally come normally come in different sizes and types depending on your knitting needs. Almost every knitting project requires use of a needle.

14. Pattern/Stitch selector: Depending on the type of stitch suitable for your project, a stitch selector allows you to have either straight stitches, zigzag stitches or embroidery types.

stitch selector

15. Presser Foot: It is the guide located under the needle of your sewing machine. While sewing, this is the part that ensures your fabric stays in place. You can either use low, high or slant adjustments to adjust the fabric while sewing. It is the part that guides your fabric to the needle. Depending on your fabric type, the sewing feet are changeable.

16. Pressure Foot Lever/Lifter: This part/lever usually located at the back of the sewing machine. The main function of this part is to lower or raise the presser foot while sewing. This is the part that allows you to adjust the amount of pressure exerted on the presser foot. It controls the part that holds the cloth down while sewing.

17. Reverse Lever: This is the part that controls both forth and backward motion of the fabric when sewing.

18. Slide Plate: Rectangular in shape. Its main function is to cover the bobbin case. This part makes it easy removing the bobbin case without having to lift your sewing machine.

19. Spool pin for bobbin winding: This is the part where you place the spool of thread as the bobbin winds.

20. Spool pin: Its main function is to hold the reel and it’s normally fitted on the top section of the arm.

21. Stitch Regulator: A stitch regulator controls the width and length of stitches. This would depend on how narrow or wide you want your stitch.

22. Take up lever: This is one of the most important upper parts of a sewing machine. It plays a major role when it comes to threading the machine.

23. Tension Disc: This disc is made up of two concave discs brought together with convex sides. The main function of this part of a sewing machine is to control the tightness and looseness of the stitch.

24. Thread Cutter: Basically this is a blade that comes along with modern sewing machines.It is conveniently placed behind the needle at the side of the machine.

25. Thread Guide: Thread guide’s main function is to direct the thread to pass through the needle from the spool and also ensures that the thread is in position.

26. Throat Plate: It is a disc plate with a semi-circular shape. It is the part that covers the bobbin case and feeding dogs. Depending on the seam allowance that you want on your fabric, this part of the sewing machine has markings that help you do so.

27. Hook: The hook normally carries the thread located on the top through the bobbin. To avoid jamming the thread, the hook should be well designed. This will ensure that the thread does not get damaged.

Lower Parts of a Sewing Machine

Lower Parts of a Sewing Machine

1. Band wheel: This is the part that ensures the balance wheel goes through the belt connection.

2. Band wheel crank: Band wheel crank ensures that the band wheel moves.

3. Pitman rod: Pitman’s main function in a sewing machine is to hold the treadle onto the band wheel crank.

4. Belt guide: Belt guide ensures that the belt is held onto its right place.

5. Belt shifter: This is the part that removes the belt away from the wheel.

6. Dress guard: This is the part that shields your cloth or fabric against the wheel.

7. Foot pedal or treadle: Foot pedal or treadle is the point where the feet of your sewing machine are stationed in order to drive the band wheel. This part also controls stopping running and starting of your sewing machine.

8. Leg: This is the part that supports the entire sewing machine including the cabinet.

Other Parts of a Sewing Machine

Other Parts of a Sewing Machine

Apart from the upper and lower parts of sewing machines, there are also some extra features some sewing machines come with to enhance their performance.

Some of these extra features include:

Speed Control: Depending on the project you do, some sewing machines come with speed control options to make it easy to adjust the speed you use.

Extra surface for sewing: Older models of sewing machines came with their own cabinets and sewing tables. These days, sewing machines come with extra space for sewing on the table which is an advantage for individuals with a lot of knitting projects.

If you are planning to venture into the world of sewing or maybe you have many knitting projects, it is advisable to go for a sewing machine that comes with extra space for sewing.

Stitch Library: Some sewing machines come a stitch library that will allow more stitch choices especially for embroidery and crafting.

Stitch recorder: There are some sewing machines that come with a feature capable of recording speed, length and width used in various stitches. This feature is suitable for individuals who have to jump from one stitch to the next.

This guide alongside your user manual will help you comprehend your sewing machine very well and everything that you need to know about the different components that that make up sewing machines.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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