New to sewing? Getting to know your sewing machine parts will help you get going on your first project. Knowing the important parts of sewing machines can also help you decide on which sewing machine you would like to buy, should you be in the market to having your own. Important Sewing Machine Parts If you are looking at buying a sewing machine, you will find a number of different brands available. In addition, each brand may offer several types of sewing machines that can differ according to size or features offered. However, there are basic parts that are common to most sewing machines. The hand wheel is the knob on the back of the sewing machine. This wheel allows you to move sewing needle up or down. The wheel moves automatically when the machine is sewing. The threads that a sewing machine uses comes from two locations, from the thread spool, which is located on the top of the machine near the back, and from the bobbin, which is placed in the bobbin case. The bobbin winder is used to wind thread from the thread spool onto the bobbin. The location of the bobbin winder varies according to machine. You will also see various knobs facing you on a sewing machine. These knobs control functions of the machine such as stitch length, stitch width and upper tension control of the thread. In addition, you with see a switch that will allow you to reverse. Also facing you will be the thread take-up arm, which helps with the slack in the thread. The needle plate is located in the "sewing area" of the machine and covers the area where the bobbin is kept. Also called a throat plate, the needle plate includes a hole for the needle to pass through and different stitch guides. The feed dogs help move the fabric through the machine as you are sewing. The presser feet, which actually look like a pair of skis, help keep the fabric in place. Look at the other features that sewing machines offer. Then decide whether the extra cost with worth the ease of use.