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Parts of a Mechanical Sewing Machine

Sewing machine diagram

Terms used to describe parts of the sewing machine

Head - The complete sewing machine without cabinet or carry case.

Bed - The flat surface of the sewing machine. A flat bed machine has one level to sew on. A free-arm bed has a removeable U-shaped part of the bed to reveal an arm or tub used for sewing hard-to-reach areas like a pant cuff or sleeve.

Hand wheel - the wheel located on the right side of the sewing machine. This wheel is driven by the motor, but may be turned by hand to adjust needle height.

Bobbin Winder - Mechanism used to wind bobbins.

Bobbin - Low spool that provides the lower thread.

Thread take-up - Arm that pulls up slack in thread.

Thread guide - Device which carries thread to a certain location.

Upper tension - Mechanism which controls delivery of upper thread.

Lower tension - Provided by the bobbin case. Controls delivery of the bottom thread.

Bobbin Case - Device which hold the bobbin and provides tension to the lower thread.

Pressure Foot - Foot that presses down on fabric to stabilize its movement.

Feed Dog - Mechanism which controls motion of the fabric.

Needle Plate - Plate under pressure foot with slots to allow feed dog to reach fabric and openeiong for the needle to move up and down.

Hook - Device which picks the thread off of the needle.

Feed drop - Adjustment used to take the feed dog out of play for free hand work.

Stitch length - Adjustment used to determine length from front to back of the stitch.

Stitch width - Adjustment which allows a variety of widths from side to side.


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