Tools / Video

Video: Sewing machine fundamentals everyone needs to know

This post contains affiliate links.

Often knowing the basics is what will make or break a sewing project. But when we are in a hurry, or perhaps want to save a few $$ it’s easy to forget those best practices. And while sewing on a regular machine is pretty straightforward, skipping a few seemingly unimportant things can really impact the result in a bad way. So I did this video with five tips that I really think is important to remember when you are sitting down to sew.

What are your sewing machine fundamentals that you noticed makes a huge difference?

Products and tools mentioned in the video

Quilting guide bar

I think the English name is a bit misleading, as this is an inexpensive, and often included, multi-purpose tool that can be used for all kinds of dressmaking, especially hemming. The Swedish name means edge ruler which I think is more fitting. Example of a quilting guide bar  (Amazon affiliate link)

Edgestitch foot/stitch in the ditch foot

If your machine lacks one,  get one ASAP! It is simply life changing. Here is a generic edgestitch foot (affiliate link) that works on several brands.

Good quality needles

I use the Schmetz/Euro-Notions universal needles for my sewing machine, but I’ve heard that Organ’s needles are really good too (affiliate links).

Get the best thread

As I show in the video, using cheap, bad thread can be a disaster. So opt for a reputable brand. I like Gütermann thread, but I would love to hear if you have any other thread brands to recommend!


  • Summerflies
    July 16, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    Some good tips. I never use that cheap thread as it nests up in the bobbin and breaks of course. I like Gutterman thread the best but I also like Rasant thread too. The simple basics like needles, thread and cleaning the machine make such a difference to any quality machine and the resultant stitching.

    • Johanna
      July 17, 2018 at 11:03 am

      Rasant is a brand I have not heard of before! Is it an Aussie brand? And you are so right, the simple basics are often the ones that makes the biggest difference

    July 16, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    It is nice to remind folks about the basics.
    1. presser feet – the feet i use the most, zigzag foot both regular and clear, straight stitch foot and plate, adjustable zipper foot (not just for zippers), edge stitch foot for top stitching especially important when i make my jeans
    2. needles – been using bernina needles in my bernina sewing machine (350pe and artista 180)
    3. thread – mainly gutterman, i have a commerical account with HA Kidd so I am able to get supplies from them at wholesale pricing vs retail

    • Johanna
      July 17, 2018 at 11:05 am

      That adjustable zipper foot sounds intriguing, I need to investigate that one 🙂 I have not seen Bernina needles sold here in Sweden, but maybe I have been looking in the wrong places. Good to know!

  • Accordion3
    August 1, 2018 at 3:19 am

    I like the Rasant thread too, it is similar quality to Gutermann or Mettler. I don’t think it is Australian. I also use Schmetz needles moslty. Klasse are also good, but my sewing machine does not appreciate them. I’m experimenting with Organ needles too.

    I like good lighting! My 23 year old Pfaff is a powerhouse machine but the older filament bulbs just don’t cut it for my eyes. I have a desk study lamp shining above my hands and a new LED bulb in the machine.

    Finally, I’ve been using a small strip of electrical tape as a hem guide. I will having a go with quilting guide instead. .

    • Johanna
      August 1, 2018 at 12:50 pm

      I second the lightning, I finally invested in proper light this year(with a magnifying glass from Prym) and it has made sewing so much easier. Great idea about the electric tape, I use it too for many functions, as it easy to see and remove

  • Lorain
    September 18, 2020 at 8:03 am

    I enjoyed your post, I have a Bernina 1010 for over 27 years , hadn’t used it for a long time. I am home now so I decided to make masks, it needed a service. It would take 3 weeks that’s too long to be without out its , never really thought much about Brother machine, but someone was selling on on Market place. I got one for $140 plus I got a box of Gutermann thread which I only used for years. It is computerized 130 stitches plus 50 letters and stuff. Also got a led light brand new, the light on the machine is very poor also a large quilting ruler. Sewing machines are very expensive.


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