1: parts of the sewing machine – with kids


A little warning, your kid will think this lesson is boring.  HELLO, I just want to sew, I mean, come on!

The truth is, they need to know it though, at least to some extent.  So instead of making them learn all 20 parts we go over in the Introduction to Sewing Course, this lesson will only go over the 10 most basic parts.


Get out the Parts of the Sewing Machine Diagram – pages 2-4 of the sample book.

Each machine is a little bit different, so make sure you’re familiar with these ten parts on your own sewing machine before you begin teaching them.  If you have to fiddle around and look something up, you’ll lose their interest FAST.


Point to each part of the sewing machine labeled below.  Explain what it does, and let them touch each part of the sewing machine as you go.

#1 the needle
The needle on a sewing machine is different than a hand needle in that the eye is at the tip, rather than at the wide end.

#2 the presser foot
This can be confusing because the name sounds like you might be talking about the foot pedal.  The presser foot is a foot that stomps up and down.  When it’s up you can put your fabric under it.  When it’s down it “presses” the fabric in place so you can sew.

#3 the presser foot lifter
This is exactly what the name says. Move the lifter up and down to lift and lower the presser foot. It is best to lift the presser foot while threading the machine, but always sew with the presser foot lowered.

#4  the measuring plate (needle plate)
The needle plate is the flat part that the needle goes into. It is marked with measurements to help you guide as you sew.

#5  the hand wheel
This is a knob on the right side of the machine. ALWAYS TURN THE KNOB TOWARDS YOU. When you turn this knob it will move the needle up and down. You move this when you need the needle up high to thread the machine, and when you want to stitch slowly, one stitch at a time.

#6  the spool pin and cap
This is a small rod-like piece where you place your spool of thread.

#7  the bobbin
The bobbin is the lower thread, wound on a small circular spool. My machine is top-loading, and no bobbin case is required (pictured below on the left). Many machines are front-loading and require a metal case, known as a bobbin case, to insert the bobbin into the machine (pictured below on the right).  Determine which type of bobbin loading your machine has, and just teach them about that kind… don’t bother teaching them about a part of the machine that they don’t even have.

#8 the foot pedal
The foot pedal is what you press with your foot to make the needle move up and down.  The farther down you push on the foot pedal, the faster it will sew.

#9 the reverse button/ lever
This helps you stitch backwards. This is usually used to reverse-stitch, which makes a stitch strong at the beginning and end to keep it from coming apart.

#10  the stitch width and length regulators
This is either a knob or electronic buttons that help you change how long and wide your stitch looks.

When you adjust the stitch width smaller your stitch becomes narrow (left), and when you adjust the stitch width larger your stitch becomes wide (right).

When you adjust the stitch length smaller your stitch becomes short (left), and when you adjust the stitch length larger your stitch becomes long (right).

After you’ve shown and explained all 10 parts of the sewing machine, quiz them by asking them to point to each part as you name them.


To help them practice, print out the Sewing Machine Diagram PDF.  It includes an answer key (pictured below), and two fill-in-the-blank diagrams, one of which has a word bank if they need it.


‘Sewing with Kids’ Lessons:
1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8

Posted in sewing with kids (original).


  1. Good Morning!
    I really like your notebook for teaching kids how to sew! How can I get a copy of this? I have six daughters and seven grand-daughters and have tried to teach some of them how to sew but could have really used your organized plan! Currently, I work at a copy center at a university and have the capibilities to download but I know it is copyrighted material and want to buy one copy from you…..does this come in pdf formate? Thank you for you time and your wonderful creativity…..
    Lizabeth Zane

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  4. Hi!
    would i be able to use your booklets for a group of ladies i am teaching to sew?

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