How to Use a Hand-Held Sewing Machine

Written by kay patterson
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How to Use a Hand-Held Sewing Machine
Threads ranging from No. 40 to No. 60 are advised for a hand-held sewing machine. (thread image by studio vision 1 from

Hand-held sewing machines offer portability and convenience at an affordable price. The trade-off is stability: Because the machine is held in your hand, steady and even stitches can be difficult to achieve. Also, hand-held machines do not offer a variety of stitch styles, options and adjustments common on full-size machines.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • No. 40 to No. 60 thread
  • Bobbin
  • Fabric
  • Seam ripper
  • Needle threader

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    Threading the Machine

  1. 1

    Place the bobbin on the bobbin spool, on the side of the machine, with the thread exiting the bobbin in a counterclockwise direction.

  2. 2

    Wrap the thread over (but not around) the tension control, a spindle on the side of the machine above the needle.

  3. 3

    Insert thread into the eye of the needle on the side closest to the tension control. Pull a few extra inches of thread through the needle.

    Sewing With a Hand-Held Machine

  1. 1

    Lift the machine's presser foot, above the bottom arm of the machine and below the needle.

  2. 2

    Align fabric under the presser foot and lower the foot.

  3. 3

    Complete the first stitch by turning the hand wheel on the side of the machine until the needle completes one full cycle of lowering then raising.

  4. 4

    Hold the machine in your right hand and use your thumb to operate the power button. Use your left hand to guide the fabric.

  5. 5

    To change the direction of your stitches, adjust the position of the fabric while the needle is lowered.

    To Finish a Seam

  1. 1

    When seam is completely stitched, use the hand wheel to raise the needle.

  2. 2

    Insert the dull, back side of a seam ripper behind the thread and pull out about 3 inches of thread. Use the sharp side of the seam ripper to cut the thread at that point.

  3. 3

    Turn the fabric over and look for a loop of thread at the end of the seam.

  4. 4

    With the back side of the seam ripper inserted into the loop, pull upward to bring the thread through the fabric.

  5. 5

    Tuck the wiry eye of the needle threader under the last stitch on the back side of the fabric. Insert about 1 inch of the loose end of thread into the wiry eye of the threader.

  6. 6

    Tug the threader (and the thread it contains) back under the last stitch on the fabric. Pull the thread end tight to complete the seam.

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