How To Prepare A Sewing Machine

How to Dampen Threads on a Sewing Machine

Sewing machines are one of the most important tools in the sewing process. Proper care and maintenance are essential for ensuring good results. One of the most important aspects of machine care is preparing the threads. Threads must be dampened so they can be securely wound onto the bobbin, allowing for a neat and consistent stitch. Preparing sewing thread correctly is an essential part of successful sewing.
First, cut the thread according to the required length. The stronger and longer the thread, the better the stitch. Then, use a damp cloth or sponge to dampen the thread. Dampening the threads helps to reduce the amount of fraying, which can result from knotting. Tightly coil the dampened thread in a spool to prevent it from unraveling.
After dampening the thread, place it on the spool pins and adjust the spool so the thread is tightly wound and evenly distributed. Finally, attach the spool pin to the spool to secure the threads. Use a dab of adhesive if needed to keep it in place.

Secure the Bobbin

After the threads have been dampened and the spool has been adjusted, it’s time to secure the bobbin. Start by attaching the bobbin case to the machine, ensuring it is correctly aligned. Then, insert the bobbin with the open side up and turn the hand wheel to the right. This will move the diaphragm of the bobbin and secure it in place.
Once the bobbin is secured, add the thread. Pull the thread from the spool and guide it under the thread guide. Raise the take up lever and thread the bobbin case with the thread. Activate the take up lever and guide the thread through the thread guide. Finally, lower the take up lever and allow the thread to settle in place.

Attach the Thread’s Needle

When the bobbin is properly secured and the thread is in place, it’s time to attach the thread’s needle. Start by raising the presser foot, then insert the needle into the machine. Ensure the needle is properly aligned and check that the needle is not bent. Then, carefully thread the needle as per the manufacturer’s instructions. To do this, pull the thread from the rear of the needle to the front, then rotate the hand wheel towards to yourself until the thread is securely looped through the needle’s eye.

Connect the Machine to the Power Source

Once the needle is attached, the next step is to connect the machine to the power source. Do this by plugging the power cord into an appropriately rated surge protector and then into a wall outlet. Turn on the switch on the machine and make sure the machine is running properly.
If the machine is running but the needle isn’t moving, check to make sure the bobbin is properly installed. If the bobbin is installed correctly and the thread is threaded properly, the needle should move freely. If the needle still isn’t moving, consult the manufacturer’s instructions or take your machine to a professional for repair.
Once the machine is running, you can now start your sewing project.

Clean and Oil the Sewing Machine

Regular cleaning is essential to ensure your machine lasts for a long time. Dirt and dust can get inside the machine and cause the parts to wear out faster. This can also result in malfunctioning parts which can cause a lot of inconvenience.
Clean the machine surface and body parts regularly using a soft cloth, vacuum or compressed air. It is also important to keep the needles, screwdrivers and associated tools clean.
Your sewing machine also needs regular lubrication as a way to maintain its performance. Lubricate your machine using the recommended type of oil, or consult the manufacturer’s instructions for the best oil for your machine. Then, apply two to three drops of oil to each part and rotate the hand wheel to help spread the oil evenly.

Check and Adjust Tension

Ensuring that the machine’s tension is adjusted correctly is important for maintaining a consistent stitch and avoiding problems such as puckered fabric. To check the tension, perform a few test stitches on a scrap fabric. The threads should be equal in tension on both sides. If not, adjust the tension as needed.
If the upper thread is too loose, tighten the tension by turning the tension knob clockwise. If the bottom thread is too loose, loosen the tension by turning the tension knob counterclockwise.

Test the Sewing Machine

Once all of the above steps are complete, it’s time to test the machine and ensure it’s working properly. Start by performing a few test stitches on a scrap fabric. Look for signs of tension or tension problems, or any malfunctioning or irregular stitching. If any problems are detected, consult the manufacturer’s instructions for troubleshooting.
If everything looks and works as it should, then you have prepared the machine and can start your project.

Maintaining a Sewing Machine

Regular inspection and cleaning of the sewing machine is important to ensure it lasts for a long time. Wipe the machine surface with a soft, lint-free cloth to prevent dust accumulation. Then, check the working parts and ensure they are clean and well-oiled.
Also, routinely check for any signs of wear or damage. Any damages should be repaired or replaced immediately. Consult the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning and maintenance instructions.

Getting Professional Assistance

If you are having difficulty preparing the machine, or if you notice any malfunctioning parts, it is best to consult a professional technician. A professional technician can check the working parts and ensure they are in optimal condition. They can also suggest solutions to any problems and advise on further maintenance.
They can also help with other machine-related tasks such as replacing worn parts, rethreading the machine and adjusting tension settings.

Using the Right Needle

Always use the right size and type of needle for your project. The size should depend on the thickness of the fabric, while the type should depend on the fabric’s material. Using the wrong needle can cause problems such as needle breakage or skipped stitches.
Be sure to check the size and type of needle as indicated on the package before starting a project. Replacing a worn needle or using a needle of the wrong size or type can result in problems with the machine and the project itself.


Whether it’s a beginner or an experienced sewer, it is essential to prepare a sewing machine correctly. Doing so will ensure the machine is in a good working condition and that the stitches are neat and consistent. Following the steps outlined in this article will ensure you get the best out of your sewing machine.

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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