how does a sewing machine work

How Does a Sewing Machine Work? Operational Principle of 4 Powerful Mechanisms

When it comes to sewing machines, you may be wondering how does a sewing machine work. The basic mechanism of a sewing machine is made up of several different components.

These parts work together to create the perfect stitch.

  • First, the machine feeds a top thread from a spool and a bottom thread from a bobbin.
  • Then, the needle starts high and lowers itself to penetrate the fabric.
  • When the needle reaches the appropriate height, the top thread passes through the material, and the next stitch is formed.

During this process, the tension of the top thread must be appropriate to prevent the fabric from coming out too thick or too thin.

You can also learn about the Overlocker (Serger) sewing machine here.

how does a sewing machine work

How Does a Sewing Machine Work?


A sewing machine’s mechanism is composed of several parts. These parts are linked together through interlocking mechanisms.

  • The bobbin and shuttle mechanism helps to create the stitches, and
  • The feed dog and needle mechanisms help to move the fabric through the machine.

Both of these parts use gears to turn quickly, and they also operate the machine’s feed dogs, which are small teeth that move fabric upwards or downward through the presser foot and throat plate.

The needle plate is the flat area where the fabric passes through the sewing machine. It holds the thread taut, and it prevents the fabric from falling into the sewing machine.

Some machines have a front or top loading mechanism, which makes them easier to use. The needle plate is a metal plate that holds the needle and thread. It contains the mechanism that operates the needle.

The Motor Mechanism

The motor runs on an electric current. When the sewing machine is turned on, the motor rotates, causing a belt to stretch between two disks. This belt connects the motor to the hand wheel, which raises and lowers the needle.

Another mechanism is the feed dog, which moves the fabric between stitches.

There are many problems that can occur with the mechanisms of a sewing machine. Some require professional repair, while others can be fixed by the owner.

For example, the needle needs to be changed often. A blunted needle will make holes in the fabric and weaken stitches. To replace the needle, check the manual of your sewing machine.

how does a sewing machine work

Feed-dog Mechanism

The feed-dog mechanism is responsible for moving the fabric in a circular fashion during the sewing process. This cyclic motion is controlled by the feed dog’s speed, which is adjusted according to the speed of the fabric.

During each cycle, the feed dog moves up against the fabric. It then moves downward, releasing it and pressing it again.

A sewing machine’s feed-dog mechanism helps to move the fabric through the machine at a consistent speed and ensures that the stitches are equal in length. This is done by two interlocking mechanisms:

  1. A cam and
  2. A crank.

The cam drives the lever, which rocks back and forth, while the crank pushes the feed dog up and down.

Needle Mechanism

The sewing machine’s needle mechanism is a complex system that operates on two main axes:

  1. The motor and
  2. The needle bar.

The motor rotates in a cyclical pattern, while the hand wheel moves the needle bar upward or downward. The needle rod, or the vertical axis connected to the needle, is located underneath the machine.

To change the direction of the needle, the operator needs to push a lever located on the right side of the machine. The lever will move the needle 24 and the follower 26 up or down 180 degrees. The lever can also be adjusted in increments of 90 degrees or 270 degrees.

sewing machine

Presser Foot Mechanism

A presser foot mechanism is the component of a sewing machine that moves up and down in response to pressure applied by the needle. This mechanism keeps the assembly from shifting during the stitching process.

It is crucial that the foot is tightened prior to contacting the needle clamp. The presser foot mechanism of a sewing machine is crucial for creating uniform stitches with zero shifting.

The presser foot mechanism is composed of two main parts. A finger 1 extends over the feed dogs and is pivotally attached to a finger attached to a hub at the front end of the presser foot arm.

The finger is adjustable and connected to a shaft that extends across the machine from side to side. The finger has a stud on its head and is drawn into the hub by a spring.


A sewing machine has many different components. In general, there are four main parts of a sewing machine.

The Head

The head is the most important and consists of four main mechanisms:

  1. Hook thread,
  2. Barbed material,
  3. Thread take-up, and
  4. Feeding.

It also contains auxiliary mechanisms like:

  • Winding,
  • Pressing, and
  • Tooth falling.

All of these parts work in a cyclical pattern to create the finished product.

Transmission Components

A sewing machine’s transmission part consists of a:

  • Frame,
  • Hand crank, and
  • Motor.

The frame is what supports the sewing table. The hand crank or motor is operated by the operator and drives the bobbin case, which is a pulley on the machine. The motor is located on the head, and most models feature a hand crank or motor mounted directly on the head.

how does a sewing machine work

Other sewing machine parts include:

  • Accessories,
  • Needles,
  • Bobbins, and
  • Oil pots.

These are the mechanisms, components and operation of sewing machines. I do hope you enjoy reading this article. Feel free to share it. Thank you.