If you have some simple hand sewing to do, one of the first things you need to learn is how to thread a needle and tie a sewing knot. I will show you just how easy this can be and have you starting to sew in no time.
How to Thread a Needle - Supplies
All you need is just a simple sewing needle, scissors and some thread. Nothing fancy!
Now there are a lot of different types of needles but really they all do the same thing - push the thread through the fabric. General purpose, medium sizes sewing needles are called Sharps and most packets contain numerous sizes. Just eyeball the packet and choose one with an eye that your thread will fit through.
Further Reading - Hand Sewing Needles
Threads come in a rainbow of different colors and of course different types. Once again since you are just starting out, purchase an all-purpose thread. These are usually made from polyester and can be purchased really cheaply. Try and get a color that matches the garment or project you are going to sew. Matching color thread hides everything and is a beginner's best friend.
Further Reading: Types of Sewing Thread
Scissors? Well, any old scissors will do. Just make sure they are sharp enough to cut thread cleanly. Blunt scissors can burr the end of the thread making it harder to thread.
Further Reading: Cutting Tools
How to Thread a Needle
How to Get the Thread Through the Eye
Step 1 in learning how to thread a needle is to get the thread through the eye of the needle. The eye is simply what they call the hole in the non-pointy end. It looks a bit like a cat-eye don't you think? In the photo below, the eyes are gold-dipped. Your needle may be all silver.
You can get the thread through the eye with your fingers or with a needle threader. I normally use my fingers. By the time I mess around finding the needle threader I could have threaded 5 needles with my fingers. But you do need good eyesight! If your eyesight is bad then skip straight to the needle threader instructions.
How Much Thread to Cut
From your reel of thread, cut off 18-20 inches (46-50cm) of thread. This is a good length that generally does not get too tangled as you sew. If you have a choice, use a light-colored thread. That is because black is the hardest color to thread as it blends into the background. If you need to sew a black clothing item though you'll have no choice. Just get the best lighting you can.
How to Thread a Needle Using Your Fingers
The easiest way to do this is to first cut the end of the thread at a sharp diagonal angle.
Unless your needle eye is huge you will never get a fluffy thread end through it without a sharp cut.
Once you have a nice clean end on your thread, then push it through the eye of the needle to the other side. You would usually use your thumb and index finger to hold the thread but you can come up with your own method.
If you are struggling to get the end through the eye, try wetting the end of the thread. You might need to grab some glasses and make sure you are standing in a really bright light.
How to Thread a Needle Using a Needle Threader
If you are having trouble threading the thread through the eye with your fingers, then here is a little tool that can help make your job easier. It is called a needle threader and it often comes free with packets of needles. Notice the coin-like appearance of the head? That is fairly typical.
Push the diamond-shaped wire of the needle threader through the eye of the needle. The wire is really thin and bendy so it should go through easily.
Now pass the end of the thread through the diamond-shaped wires.
Pull the needle threader back and the thread will pull through to the other side with the wire. Grab the end and pull it through.
If you want more photos and a longer explanation, read my full article on how to use a needle threader.
Here is a video on how to thread a needle using a needle threader.
How to Tie a Sewing Knot
Now you know how to thread a needle, it is time to learn how to tie a sewing knot. Once the thread has been passed through to the other side, pull it through so you have 2 tails.
Single Vs Double Threaded
Now you need to decide whether you want a single thread or double thread for your sewing project. Unless you are attempting embroidery or sewing something ultra-fine, then do a double thread as it is stronger and easier to hand sew with.
You can see in the photo below, that double-threaded means there are 2 strands of thread in the knot. Single-threaded means that the knot is just on the one end of the thread.
How to Tie a Sewing Knot
To knot the end of the thread, create an overhand knot. It is also sometimes called a single knot.
- Form a loop by passing the cut end over the attached end
- Tuck the end inside the loop
- and pull tight
Don't worry about trying to get the knot right at the end of the thread. You can cut off any excess at the end.
How to Thread a Needle - In Conclusion
Now you know how to thread a needle and how to tie a sewing knot, you are all ready for the next step - hand SEWING.
Let me point you in the right direction.
- Do you want to sew a button?...YES, please!... Read how to sew a button
- Do you want the quickest and easiest seam? YES... Read how to sew a running stitch
- Do you want to sew a really strong seam? YES... Read how to backstitch
- Do you need to do mending with an invisible stitch? YES... Read how to do a ladder stitch.