Thread your machine
The first step before using any sewing machine is to thread it. This basically involves threading the upper half, from the thread spool in the spool pin, through the various guides and finally to the needle.
It also involves threading the lower half of the machine, which includes the process of winding the bobbin (this should be done before threading the upper half), then inserting the filled bobbin to its compartment, either on the side of the machine or just below the needle.
An important note: ensure the machine is switched off before threading to avoid any needle piercing accidents.
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Select the stitch pattern
Next step is to select which stitch pattern to use. Generally, as a beginner, you will only be using a straight or zigzag stitch because they are the best for training purposes. Therefore, select the one you prefer using the in-built selection mechanism, which can be a dial, switch or buttons.
Also, select the preferable stitch length or leave it at default as you learn the basics first.
Start with the needle in the highest position
With the presser foot lifted, always ensure that you begin with the needle in the up position. Most modern machines have settings to ensure that the stitching cycle always stops with the needle being in the up position but if yours does not have this, simply turn the hand wheel until the needle is lifted.
Place your fabric between the presser foot and feed dogs
Insert the fabric between these two parts and position it in a way that the needle will pierce it closer to the crease.
Lower the presser foot
Next is to lower the presser foot and this is an important step because the pressing action caused by this part is what gives the feed dogs the grip required to pull in the fabric as you sew.
Guide the fabric using your fingers
With the next thing being the actual stitching process, ensure that you guide the fabric as it is being pulled in by the feed dogs so that the stitch is created just where you want it to be.
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Stop the process with the needle in the up position
Lastly, always stop with the needle in the up position and cut the thread, leaving at least 6 inches of both the bobbin and top thread for starting the next stitch.
However, some machines have needle up/down settings as well as thread cutting settings so as to do this step automatically for you.