Sewing Machine Parts and Functions with Pictures

There are different types of machines and equipment are used in garment industry to manufacture garments. Among them sewing machine plays an important role in apparel manufacturing industry. There are a lot of sewing machines used in garment industry. So it is essential to know about sewing machine. If you know the basic parts of sewing machine and how they work is an essential part of sewing. It enables you to properly use your machine and makes troubleshooting easier when problems do arise. In this article I will give explanation of different parts of a sewing machine and their functions with images.

Parts of a Sewing Machine and Their Functions:
The basic sewing machine components are shown in Figure-1 and their functions with pictures are described below.

Parts of Sewing Machine
Figure 1: Different Parts of Sewing Machine

Functions of different parts of sewing machine with images:
Sewing machine parts name and their functions are described below.

1. Foot pedal:
It controls the speed of the machine which depends on the force exerted on it. But it is not an essential part of high-speed sewing machines as the machine speed can be set by one single adjustment and start and stop of the sewing machine is then controlled with the push of a button.

Foot pedal sewing machine
Figure-2: Foot pedal

2. Power cord and switch:
The electricity for the machine is supplied by the power cord which has to be connected tightly to the machine for constant supply of power. The power switch is used for switching ON and OFF of the sewing machines electrically.

Power cord and switch sewing machine
Figure-3: Power socket

3. Hand wheel:
It is used for slowly raising and lowering the sewing needle manually to provide better control to position fabric under the needle. The clutch knob positioned inside the wheel acts as a safety feature, that is, when the knob is pulled out, it avoids the needle from jabbing up and down while winding a bobbin.

Hand wheel sewing machine
Figure-4: Hand wheel

4. Reverse lever:
It is situated on the front side of the machine. This is used for making reverse stitching while sewing at the end of every seam to secure it.

Reverse lever sewing machine
Figure-5: Reverse lever

5. Spool pin and holder:
It holds the sewing thread besides controls the sewing thread direction as it goes through the machine.

Spool pin creel sewing machine

Spool Pin sewing machine
Figure-6: Spool pin

6. Bobbin winder:
It is used to wind the bobbin thread on the empty bobbin. Bobbin winders can be located at the top or right side of the machine.

Bobbin winder

Bobbin Winder sewing machine
Figure-7: Bobbin winder

7. Pattern selector:
It is used to decide the kind of stitch to be sewn on the fabric, such as straight stitches or zigzag or an embroidery stitch. Based on the machine type, a variety of stitches can be selected beside straight stitches.

Pattern Selector sewing machine
Figure-8: Pattern selector

8. Stitch length adjustment:

  • Stitch length determines the length of the stitch
  • The range on the machine is from 0 to 4. 0 is the shortest stitch, 4 is the longest.
  • The stitch length adjustment adjusts the length of stitches the sewing machine makes. The adjustment takes place at the feed dog not the machine needle.
  • Shortening the stitch length shortens the amount of fabric that is fed under the presser foot before the needle comes down and vice versa.
Stitch Length sewing machine
Figure-9: Stitch length adjuster

9. Tension disks:
Thread tension determines the looseness or firmness of the stitch. Tensions disks control the pressure applied to the thread for uniform feed to the machine needle. The main functions of tension device is to

  • Position the thread to needle
  • Regulate the flow of the thread
  • Maintain the smoothness in stitching
  • Control the thread passage precisely

There are two kinds of tension device, such as direct tension device and indirect tension device. Both types have parts like (a) pressure disk, (b) tension spring, (c) thumb nut, (d) tension mounting bar and (e) pressure releasing unit.

On high speed and modern machines, the tension dial with numbers graduated on it is used for varying the tension. The higher the number, the greater the tension and vice versa. When the tension is adjusted correctly, the stitch line will be straight and even on either side of the fabric.

parts of tension disc

Tension disks
Figure-10: Tension disks

10. Needle and needle clamp:
The needle fits into the needle bar, which holds it in place with a small screw. The needle clamp is used to fix the needle in place.


sewing needle
Figure-11: Needle of sewing machine
Needle Clamp sewing machine
Figure-12: Needle clamp

11. Take-up lever:
The take-up lever moves up and down during the stitch formation to provide the extra thread while forming the loop and takes back the needle thread after each stitching to set the stitch. It is used to regulate the needle thread tension at an optimum level.

Take-up Lever sewing machine
Figure-13: Take-up lever

12. Presser foot:
It is used to grip the fabric from the top counter to the feed dog; therefore, the feed dog can move the fabric through the machine. It applies downward pressure on the material as it is fed under the needle.

Presser foot

Presser foot sewing machine
Figure-14: Presser foot

13. Presser dial:
The presser dial determines the quantity of pressure to be exerted on the fabric through the presser foot. Lighter weight fabrics necessitate higher pressure for better control of fabric during stitching and vice versa.

pressure dial image sewing machine

pressure dial on sewing machine
Figure-15: Presser dial on sewing machine

14. Feed dog:
Feed dogs are a ‘teeth-like’ component that combines with the presser foot to transport the fabric by one stitch. It also regulates the stitch length by adjusting the fabric movement per stitch.

feed dog sewing machine
Figure-16: Feed dog

15. Face plate:
It is a cover that conceals all the internal working elements of the machine.

Face plate
Figure-17: Face plate

16. Throat plate:
It has a hole for the needle to go through to the bobbin casing, a pair of slots for the feed dog to move and stitching guide lines. It is a removable part, which covers the bobbin and bottom of the sewing machine.

Throat Plate sewing machine
Figure-18: Throat plate

17. Sewing light:
It aids in threading the needle and allows you to see the stitching in both day and night.

Sewing Light sewing machine
Figure-19: Sewing light

18. Presser foot lever:
It is used to engage and disengage the presser foot on the fabric against the feed dogs gently. When it is in the upward position, the tension disks are disengaged and vice versa.

Presser Foot Lifter sewing machine
Figure-20: Presser foot lever

19. Thread cutter:
Sewing machine thread cutters are usually located behind the needle of the sewing machine, so that it is convenient while the fabric is moved to the back of the machine, the sewing thread can be cut using the thread cutter.

Thread Cutter sewing machine
Figure-21: Thread cutter

20. Slide plate:
It is a plastic cover that protects the bobbin case from the dirt and dust. It also gives the open space for accessing the bobbin zone under the sewing machine for changing the bobbins and other maintenance work to be carried out in this area.

Slide Plate sewing machine
Figure-22: Slide plate

21. Bobbin case:
It is the case where the bobbin has to be fixed. This can be found under the needle plate and usually has a piece of plastic that flips up to cover the bobbin case when not sewing. Bobbin cases are not exchangeable in different sewing machines.

Bobbin case
Figure-23: Bobbin case

22. Bobbin:
A bobbin is a small package that carries the bottom sewing thread and is fitted onto the bobbin case. Bobbins are filled on the bobbin winder and the thread should be evenly distributed on the bobbin.

Figure-24: Bobbin

You may also like:

  1. Different Types of Embroidery Machines and Their Functions
  2. Classification, Properties, Factors and Basic Requirements of Sewing Thread

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