Home / Parts of the Sewing Machine: Your Sewing Machine’s Handwheel

Parts of the sewing machine: The Hand Wheel (It’s that “bump” on the right side of your machine!)

In this series of articles, I thought it might be helpful for those of you who would like to expand your knowledge of sewing, to talk about the parts of the sewing machine. The first part I will discuss is the hand wheel.

The hand wheel is an important part of the sewing machine. Although most sewing enthusiasts love the power of the electric sewing machine, there are times when knowing how to do some of your stitching manually is really helpful. On most modern electric sewing machines the hand wheel (that “bump” on the right side of your sewing machine) is turned toward you (counter-clockwise if you are looking at the machine from the right side of your machine) to take a manual stitch.

The times you use the hand wheel to make a stitch include when you want to turn a corner on your project (called a pivot) and you need the needle in the fabric to do this. So…you turn the hand wheel toward you till the needle is in the fabric, lift up the presser foot and turn your work. Then you put the presser foot down and continue to stitch. Another time you need to use the hand wheel is if when you come to the end of your stitching if the take-up lever is down. You need to turn the hand wheel until the take up lever is in the topmost position in order to complete your stitch. Another time you use the hand wheel to stitch a manual stitch is at the end of a dart. I will talk about dart construction in more detail in a later blog post, but this is an important instance of using the hand wheel to make a manual (non-electric) stitch.