The First Few Stitches

The first few stitches on a machine are definitely the scariest. But, while basic sewing is very simple, there are a couple of things that might help out with those beginning frustrations!

After you've threaded the machine, and made the stitch selections you'd like, the first thing to do is look for, and lift or slide the lever to raise your presser foot:

Slide your fabric under the presser foot, lining it up with the edge of the foot, or one of the guides along the plate.

Don't forget to lower the foot back down! If you sew without the presser foot down, you will create a "thread nest" on the bottom of your fabric, which will eventually stop the needle from moving, and make a big mess, which you will have to remove :o)

Another important step: hold your thread down with one finger for the first couple of stitches. If you wonder why your needle is always de-threading itself, it is probably because the thread is slipping out when you first start sewing. (I still forget to do this sometimes!)

Unless you are sewing a gathering stitch, you usually want to start out with a little "backstitch". Backstitching is a securing stitch, kind of like tying a good knot in your thread. You will find a lever somewhere on your machine that you can press to make the fabric feed backward. Hold it just long enough to do a couple of backward stitches, then let go of the lever to sew forward again. Backstitch at the beginning and end of your seam.

Once you are done with your stitching, lift the presser foot, and gently pull out your fabric. If it resists, turn the handwheel back and forth slowly, to jog the needle, as you pull. Never pull harshly on your fabric if it resists, as you will probably break your needle!

Then snip your threads, leaving about 3" or so on the needle for next time!

Fun, right?!


  1. Thanks soooo much for these tutorials-you have no idea how much and how easy you make it to understand. These are the little things sometimes you just don't know why are happening & doning something so simple can keep you from pulling out your hair...

  2. hi,

    i just recently following your bog (silently) and read nearly all posts here. and i heart you and your blog :)

    i never know we can/must hold down the threads before started sewing. i know..thanks a bunch sis!

  3. Thank you so much for these wonderful tutorials. I could not, for my life, figure out why I kept finding "thread nests" under my projects.

    Have a blessed day!

  4. thank you so much! i have been having huge problems with my needle dethreading. getting back to basics!

  5. love these tutorials can you do one on how to read a pattern I just bought my first one and I don't know a thing about how to read it

  6. Hi, I just started sewing and i am having problems stitching in a straight line. Will that come with practice or am I doing something wrong?

  7. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for putting these tutorials up! You're are completely teaching me how to sew and I have NO experience at all except for a few months in middle school :)

  8. Hi, Disney,

    Thank very much for posting this tutorial! I find it very helpful when I did my first stitch days ago. Thanks for encouragement! I love the optimistic air in your sewing basics tutorial.

  9. Thank you! I just got a sewing machine. I am a little intimidated to use it, but really want to learn to sew.

  10. Thank you so much!! I got a sewing machine for christmas and I've been terrified to start. Your blog posts about starting were the biggest help I have found and exactly what I needed!!

  11. love this girls' posts on sewing for beginners!!
    thanks disney!!

  12. Love this tutorial - I will use this to show my middle schoolers how to do their first stitches!


Post a Comment

Thanks so much for leaving a comment! I just love finding them! Comments on older posts are moderated, so if your comment doesn't show up right away, it will soon! :o)