The simple answer is that the needle moves in a side-to-side direction like your hand when you sew.
If you were to sew by moving the fabric towards you the needle would go back and forth in a way that would cause it to get tangled up.
So sewing machines are designed to move the fabric away from the sewer while the needle goes back and forth.
The answer above is technically correct but it doesn’t really address why sewing machines were initially designed to sew backward.
The reason has more to do with tradition and ergonomics than anything else.
If you think about it most people are right-handed. And when you sew by hand you typically pull the fabric towards you so that your right hand can guide the needle.
It’s a more natural motion for most people.
Sewing machines were designed to mimic this same motion with the fabric being pulled towards the sewer by the machine.
Of course you can now buy sewing machines that sew forwards but they are still in the minority.
And many sewers prefer to stick with the tried and true tradition of sewing backward!
How To Fix A Sewing Machine That Sews Backward?
To fix a sewing machine that sews backward you’ll need to first identify the problem.
There are a few possible issues that could be causing your machine to sew backward. Once you’ve identified the issue you can then take the necessary steps to fix it.
One possible issue is that the needle is inserted into the fabric correctly.
If the needle is not inserted correctly it can cause the stitches to appear backward.
To check if this is the issue remove the fabric from under the needle and take a look at how it’s inserted.
The needle should be inserted with the point facing downwards and towards you.
If it’s inserted incorrectly simply remove it and reinsert it correctly.
Another possible reason why your machine is sewing backward is that the feed dogs are not set correctly.
The feed dogs are the teeth that help to move the fabric through the machine.
If they’re not set correctly it can cause the fabric to bunch up and sew backward.
To check if this is the issue take a look at your manual and make sure that the feed dogs are set correctly.
If you’re still having trouble getting your machine to sew correctly it’s best to take it to a professional for repairs.
A professional will be able to quickly identify the problem and get your machine sewing correctly in no time.
How Do I Change The Direction Of My Sewing Machine?
There may be a knob or lever on your sewing machine that allows you to change the direction of the needle.
Consult your sewing machine manual for guidance on how to change the direction of your particular model.
If your sewing machine does not have a knob or lever for changing the needle direction you’ll need to sew in reverse.
To do this simply sew backward over a few stitches to secure the thread then continue sewing in the reverse direction.
Again consult your sewing machine manual for specific guidance on how to sew in reverse with your model.
Why Is My Sewing Machine Not Sewing Forward?
Your sewing machine might not be sewing forward because the bobbin thread is not properly threaded.
First remove the fabric from the machine. Next locate the thread tension disc on the top of your machine.
There is a small hole in the center of the disc.
If you look closely you will see that there are two threads protruding from this hole – one is called the take-up spool thread and one is called the bobbin thread.
The take-up spool thread comes from the top of your spool of thread and wraps around a small post in the center of the tension disc.
The bobbin thread comes from underneath your fabric and passes through a small hole in the bottom of your machine into a cavity called the bobbin case.
To properly thread your machine first make sure that the take-up spool thread is correctly wrapped around the post in the center of the tension disc.
Next insert your bobbin into the bobbin case so that the bobbin thread passes through the hole in the bottom of your machine.
Finally pull on both threads (the take-up spool thread and the bobbin thread) until there are about 6 inches of slack.
Now your machine should be able to sew forward correctly!