How Do You Use A Handheld Sewing Machine

Basics of Using a Handheld Sewing Machine

Handheld sewing machines are a convenient option for those who need to make quick and light repairs to fabrics or clothing. Unlike large, heavy and expensive floor models, handheld machines are smaller and more convenient for carrying. Most of today’s handheld machines come with accessories and are made of plastic housing for lightweight portability. They are simple to operate and can be used to quickly mend a seam or patch up a tear.

The most important thing to remember when using handheld sewing machines is to read and follow all of the instructions included with the machine. Most come with a user manual that outlines the key features and operation of the machine. It is important to become familiar with the machine’s features and functions so that it can be used safely and effectively. It is also important to check the machine and its accessories on a regular basis to ensure that it is in proper working order.

To use a handheld sewing machine, the user should first select the stitch they want the machine to make. Setting the correct stitch will depend on the material being sewn and the desired effect. Different stitches offer different results, from functional repairs to decorative stitching.

Once the user has selected the desired stitch, they should place the material to be sewn underneath the needle. It is important to correctly place the material to ensure that the machine runs smoothly and that the stitches follow the pattern correctly. After the material is in place, the user should then secure the thread at the start of the seam and insert the needle into the fabric.

The fabric can then be moved so that the stitch can be formed. Depending on the model of the handheld sewing machine and the material being used, the user may have to press a button or pedal while stepping on it to get the desired effect. If a pedal is used, the user should press lightly and never pull the fabric. The pressure should be light to avoid breaking the machine’s parts.

When using a handheld sewing machine it is important to double-check the stitches to ensure they are correct and even. If the sew is not correct the first time, it can easily be rectified by pulling out the loose thread and starting again. If a mistake is noticed after the seam is complete, it can be corrected by stitching over the mistake using a reverse stitch.

Spooling Thread On A Handheld Sewing Machine

Prior to using a handheld sewing machine, the user should spool the thread onto the machine. This should be done carefully and properly to ensure the machine can sew effectively. After the spool is in the machine, the user should thread the machine following the manufacturer’s directions. This is typically done by pulling the thread from the spool, through the eye of the needle and then securing it to the machine with a knot.

It is important to note that some handheld machines come with multiple thread spools and will have to be threaded multiple times. This is usually done to make patterns that involve different colors. It is also important to use the correct thread size for the machine and material being sewn. Using the wrong thread can cause the machine to jam or the stitch to be too tight or loose.

The final step before beginning to sew is to check the tension of the thread. This should be done to make sure the stitch is even and follows the desired pattern. If the tension is too tight it can make the stitch too tight, whereas if it is too loose, the stitch may be too loose and have an uneven appearance.

It is also a good idea to always have an extra spool of thread handy in case the spool gets jammed or the thread runs out during the stitching process. By having extra spools and different colors of thread, users can create intricate patterns and designs with their handheld sewing machines.

Pros And Cons Of Using A Handheld Sewing Machine

A handheld sewing machine has many benefits over other types of machines. The portability and convenience of these machines are perhaps the greatest advantages. Using a handheld sewing machine eliminates the trouble of setting up a heavy machine and can make repairs easier to do on the go. For example, if the user notices a tear in their clothing while away from home, a handheld sewing machine can quickly and easily mend the issue.

However, it is important to note that there are some drawbacks to using a handheld sewing machine as well. They are not as powerful as floor models and often only work with lightweight fabrics. Furthermore, if too much pressure is applied to the fabric, the needles may break, and the user may not be able to repair the machine themselves.

One final important element to remember when using a handheld sewing machine is that practice makes perfect. Even the most experienced sewers need to practice to ensure they are getting the desired results. Anyone who is unfamiliar with using handheld sewing machines should practice using scraps of fabric or old clothing before using the machine to make important repairs.

Features Of A Handheld Sewing Machine

The features of a handheld sewing machine can vary depending on the model. Some can be basic machines with few features, while others may have a range of advanced options. Many come with adjustable tension, needle threaders, automatic sewing and reverse stitching. Some even come with built-in lighting, allowing users to sew in the dark.

Other features may include an adjustable presser foot, which can be used to adjust the thickness of the material being sewn. This is especially helpful when using thicker fabrics or materials. Features that come with some models include thread cutters, adjustable speed, and optional accessories such as foot pedals.

It is important to consider the features of a handheld sewing machine before purchasing one. Buying the wrong machine can lead to frustration in the future. Consumers should read the product descriptions carefully and check customer reviews to determine which machine offers the best features for the intended purpose.

Considerations Before Buying A Handheld Sewing Machine

Before buying a handheld sewing machine it is important to carefully consider the requirements needed for the intended repairs. This includes choosing a machine that is the right size for the materials being sewn, as well as ensuring it has the necessary features and attachments. Some machines are designed for specific types of fabrics and repairs.

Consumers should also consider cost when looking to buy a handheld sewing machine. While floor models may offer more features, they are much more expensive. Handheld machines are often more affordable, and the right one can provide the consumer with everything they need to make simple repairs.

Finally, it is important to read customer reviews of the machines being considered. This can help the consumer determine which machine is best suited for their needs. It is also a good idea to check the warranty that is included with the machine. This can help protect the consumer should anything go wrong with the machine.

Common Mistakes When Using A Handheld Sewing Machine

Common mistakes when using a handheld sewing machine include not reading the instruction manual, not checking the tension, not holding the fabric correctly, and applying too much pressure. All of these mistakes can lead to headaches and frustration with the machine, as well as poor stitching.

When using a handheld sewing machine, it is important to select the right stitch for the fabric. If the wrong stitch is used it can cause the fabric to pull or pucker. It is also essential to check the tension of the thread before beginning to sew. This should be done to ensure that the stitch is even and that it follows the desired pattern.

When stitching, it is important to hold the fabric firmly in place. Holding it too loosely can cause the material to bunch up and pull. It is also important to never force the material through the machine. If it is too thick or difficult to stitch, it is best to switch to a larger machine for the job.

Finally, it is essential to read and follow all safety instructions. This includes making sure that hands, fingers, and clothing are kept away from the needle. It should also be made sure that the lights on the machine are functioning and that the pedal is working correctly.

Maintenance Tips For A Handheld Sewing Machine

It is important to care for handheld sewing machines correctly to ensure they last a long time and continue to provide accurate and precise stitches. This involves following the manufacturer’s instructions and cleaning the machine regularly.

It is important to inspect the machine before and after each use. This should be done to ensure all parts are functioning correctly and that the machine is free from dirt, dust, and oil. Cleaning should be done on a regular basis and any oil should be applied as instructed by the manufacturer.

Additionally, it is important to make sure the thread is changed regularly and that the tension is set correctly for the material being sewn. The needle should also be checked, as a worn-out needle can cause problems with the stitching. Finally, if the machine is exposed to extreme temperatures it should be allowed to cool down before being stored away.


Using a handheld sewing machine is a straight-forward and convenient way to make quick and light repairs. By reading and following the manufacturer’s instructions, becoming familiar with the features and functions, and spooling the thread correctly, users can ensure that the stitch is precise and even. Furthermore, maintaining the machine properly and following safety protocols can help the machine last a long time.

Geoffrey Kirby is an experienced author and sewist who has been creating sewn projects for over 20 years. He has a passion for teaching beginners and inspiring more advanced sewists both online and through his writings. Outside of writing about sewing, Geoffrey loves to explore new techniques and styles of sewing that incorporate upcycling fabric remnants into sweet items with personality.

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