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Hand Wheel - Parts of a Sewing Machine

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Close up view of a hand wheel on a Singer Fashion Mate Model 237

Hand Wheel on Singer Fashion Mate

Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com

Basic Purpose of a Hand Wheel:


  • The main purpose of a hand wheel on a sewing machine is to slowly turn the needle by hand. This gives you control to position fabric under the needle and align fabric to guides built into the machine.

Older Machines and Newer Machines:


  • On older model sewing machines the hand wheel has an inner wheel that is loosened to allow the machine to wind a bobbin while disengaging the needle area of the sewing machine. This is done by holding the outer wheel and turning the inner wheel.

  • Newer electronic machines have a simple hand wheel that does not have a disengaging feature. This feature is built into the machine when you move the bobbin toward the bobbin winding brake.

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