Sewing 101

This course will introduce you to the basic terminology and use of a Bernina Sewing machine. You will start by learning about the sewing machine itself and then later sections will teach you about sewing equipment and tools, making seams, edge finishes, buttonholes, and other sewing construction. 

Intro to the Machine

Bernina Machine Parts

Copy of Copy of Sewing Parts test key

Threading the Sewing Machine

It is important that you learn how to properly thread your sewing machine. Correct threading leads to fewer issues while sewing, resulting in less time fixing problems or unpicking and more progress on your projects during class. You will be required to pass off correct threading of the sewing machine and bobbin before being allowed to sew with thread. 

Thread the Machine

Most brands of sewing machine follow the same general threading procedure. After studying the video to the right and following the instructions, you should be able to thread many different brands of sewing machines.  

Thread the Bobbin

Threading the bobbin correctly is just as important. If the tension of the bobbin thread is incorrect, your stitches will not be made correctly while sewing. Study the video to the left to make sure you follow the steps and successfully wind your bobbin. 

Bernina Tutorials

Bernina Tutorials

Bernina has a set of tutorials for most of their machines. These tutorials range all the way from unpacking your machine to using the various feet that may work on your machine. 

Tutorials for Bernina 350

Tutorials for Bernina 215

Webpage to search for another machine. 

Let's Start Sewing!

Seams and Backstitching

A seam is done when you sew multiple layers of fabric together parallel to an edge. A seam requires a backstitch when you start and end in order to prevent the seam from coming undone.


A backstitch is done by using the reverse control to:

  1. When you start a seam:
    • Sew 1/4"
    • Reverse to overlap backwards 1/4"
    • Release the reverse control to sew forward again and complete your seam 
  2. When you end a seam
    • Stitch to the end 
    • Reverse to overlap backwards 1/4"
    • Release the reverse control to sew forward again to the end

A backstitch is completed in whichever stitch length and seam allowance your project calls for. 

Seam Allowance

Seam allowance is the distance from your seam to the edge of the fabric. Your project instructions will inform you what this measurement should be. If your instructions do not include a measurement for seam allowance, the measurement you would use is 5/8 inch. Use the stitch plate on your sewing machine to help you make your seams accurate and parallel to the edge. 

Stitch Length

There are 4 main stitch lengths that you need to be familiar with. These stitch lengths will be used more often in the next course but being introduced to them now will still be helpful. 

  1. Reinforcement = 1 mm or 24 spi (stitches per inch).
  2. **Regulation = 2.4 mm or 10-12 spi 
  3. Easing = 3-4 mm or 8-10 spi
  4. Basting = 4-5 mm or 6-8 spi

**Regulation is the all purpose stitch length. Just like 5/8" is the seam allowance if a project doesn't tell you, regulation is the stitch length ALL THE TIME unless you are instructed to do differently.

Edge Finishes

Edge finishes, or seam finishes, are required in order to prevent your seam allowances from fraying and making your seam weak. There are many different techniques people use depending on the project they are making.

In this class you are required to learn and perform three edge finishes. Read through the instructions below and watch the videos. 


  • Use a serger to stitch along the edge of your seam allowance. Try not to cut much off of your seam allowance, you want to just add the stitching to prevent fraying. 

Clean Finish

  • Fold and press each seam allowance 1/4" to the wrong side of the fabric. 
  • With backstitching, stitch each seam allowance, SEPARATELY, less than 1/8" from the fold. 


  • Change your stitch to the zigzag stitch using the stitch selectors. On our machines it is stitch number 2. If you have a manual machine you will just use your width control knob to add width to your regulation stitch.
  • Practice your zigzag on a scrap to make sure it is the size you want. Use the length and width controls to change it if needed. 
  • Zigzag each seam allowance, SEPARATELY, with the zigzag touching the edge of the fabric or almost touching the edge, with backstitching. 

Clean Finish